THE Corona 362 is the type of ’van that will suit many retired couples who want to continue caravanning but don’t want to have to lug a great big heavy unit around - especially if it needs a big car to tow it.
Externally there’s nothing - other than the graphics - to make the 362 stand out from the crowd. It’s built on a BPW chassis and has an ‘easy action’ on/off handbrake - pull to apply and push to release.
Hence it is much easier to operate than the more conventional brake with its ratchet and push button. The ‘van also has a Winterhoff coupling/stabiliser which, in our opinion, is the best of its kind on the market.
Where Compass has saved money is by not fitting an underfloor spare wheel carrier and wheel, both of which are optional extras, but something which we feel should be standard and could therefore form part of the buying negotiations with the dealer.
The entry door is behind the axle and is left-hand hung so that if it should open accidentally during towing, there’s a good chance that the force of the wind will close it.
To the right of the door as you enter is the rear kitchen. This particular feature used to be very popular in small two-berth models until the advent of the rear end washroom.
The toilet/shower compartment is in the offside rear corner next to the kitchen; then comes the wardrobe and finally the front lounge area.
To the left of the doorway on the nearside, facing the wardrobe, is the Thetford 81-litre fridge, the housing for which has a large worktop - just as well as there is very little working surface in the kitchen unit. Above the fridge housing are two good-sized roof lockers.
This Corona has a Spinflo Prima Oven - just like its big brother the Omega. There’s a storage cupboard below the oven for pots and pans, and to the right of it is a large double door cupboard in which the cutlery drawer has been fitted.
Above the kitchen unit are two roof lockers for crockery storage. Set into the worktop to the right of the three burner hob is a stainless steel sink. The toilet compartment has a Thetford manually operated swivel toilet, shower, and washbasin. There is adequate toiletry storage and we noted that an obscure glazed window has been fitted.
In the Corona 362 the wardrobe is more than adequate. The Truma Ultraheat space heater, which comes with Truma’s rapid blown-air heating system, has been fitted at the base of the wardrobe.
Other features of the ’van include as the pre-wired option for a stereo radio/CD; the waste bin fitted to the door; flyscreens and blinds; full insect door screen; the very nice 230V wall and 12V reading lights; the Midi Heki rooflight; and the Status omni-directional TV aerial.
The Corona 362 has everything in it to enable it to be used all year round - insulation, double glazing, blown air heating, mains electricity etc.
Where cost has been saved is in some of the equipment, such as the manually operated toilet instead of the electric version; and the Piezo ignition to the space heater, but both units do the job just as well as the more expensive options.
What it actually boils down to is the build quality of the ’van, and from what we saw while we were in the 362, potential buyers have nothing to worry about.
Price: £9,995 (delivery £495)
Internal length: 3.68m (12ft 1in)
Overall length: 4.50m (14ft 10in)
Overall width: 2.15m (7ft 1in)
Overall height: 2.73m (8ft 11in)
Headroom: 1.91m (6ft 3in)
MRO: 921kg (18.1cwt)
MTPLM: 1100kg (21.7cwt)
Warranty: 5 years water ingress; 3 years comprehensive factory-backed
• A full version of this review appeared in the December 2006 issue of Which Caravan. To order a road test reprint contact Tina Beaumont on 01778 391187.
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