Startling black fronts, an exceptionally big skylight, a through-the-caravan rear storage compartment, a big-capacity fridge, a long kitchen and a so-cosy bedroom – the new Lunar Clubman SR is a truly awesome package of layout excellence and stunning styling. And equipment? Two USB sockets, an alarm system, Alde heating, four mains sockets…Lots of boxes ticked there, too.
The 2017 Lunar Clubman caravan range is defined by startling black front panels and flashes of bold blue and black on the sides. And a new layout has been unveiled. This is the Lunar Clubman SR, with an island bed at the rear of the caravan.
A new concept in caravan bedroom-shower room configurations has emerged. The idea of putting a bed at the back of the caravan, with the shower arrangements in the centre, is a practical arrangement seen in a handful of models including the Lunar Delta RI, which was launched last September.
The Delta RI quickly found fans among buyers looking for twin-axle length and high spec. In just a year this innovative layout had taken hold.
Now, it has moved on, with Lunar making this bedroom-shower idea available in single-axle form, with a twist, literally. Enter the Clubman SR; shorter, lighter and at £3000 less than the Delta RI, and with its bed longitudinally aligned, with the headboard against the rear wall, as distinct from the Deltas RI, which has its bed positioned across the caravan.
One way in which economy of length has been achieved to make the SR is by making the centrally-located showering area smaller than that in the RI. But even though it is smaller, it’s still a star of a washing area layout, with plenty of space. The main difference between the longer Delta version of this layout is that the Clubman SR’s ablutions area doesn’t contain a large wardrobe and cabinet, whereas the Delta version does. But then there are two wardrobes in the bedroom so a third one in the wash area is just extreme!
The really clever bit about both the Delta RI and Clubman SR is the way the washing room is divided from the bedroom. By means of two sliding doors, which disappear into the wall, integrating with the centre section on which the washbasin is mounted.
The Clubman SR is a caravan for buyers looking for home-from-home luxury, not in a grand sense of plenty of space, but in a cosy sense, with the emphasis on bedroom bliss. You walk into the bedroom and feel that you are in a room that’s totally separate from the rest of the caravan. But first you have to walk through the showering-washing area…
Lots of caravans with central shower rooms have a domestic-style proper door. But only a handful have two further wooden doors. These slide behind the washbasin, neatly and totally invisibly. And you can open one door, or both. Which means you can have privacy in the loo area, closing the offside sliding door to the bedroom, and leave the nearside door open. Or you can use the loo-side door and leave the other one closed.
Cleverly, the SR’s circular shower actually spans two areas of the caravan. Half of it is truly in the washroom sector and the other half disappears into the living room, within a casement to the rear of the fridge. The shower is quite large, almost circular, with a diameter of more than 70cm.
The washbasin sits up on top of its cabinet, in the style of a fruit-bowl, and it has a domestic-style pop-up plug; a small but significant feature that marks another step in caravans becoming closer to houses in styling.
The mirror is surrounded by LEDs, showering light onto a textured, wallpaper-style back panel. A big snake-style Alde heated towel rail is on the offside forward washroom wall alongside the toilet. A towel loop is high up directly alongside the shower in the perfect position for grabbing your towel from within the shower cubicle. Four small shelves give you enough space for shampoo, conditioner and the like. And this cubicle has a couple of stunning style points. A circle of bright light shines down from the centre of the cubicle and a panel on the offside imitates small tiles, in a grey and white pattern. The shower head is the EcoCamel air-inlet type.
The bedroom is every inch a miniature version of one you might find in a very modern house or bijou hotel. Glossy cream doors dominate the styling. And there’s a nice touch to make the best use of space for storage. The drawers and cabinet under each wardrobe jut out by 35cm, not just giving you more space within, but creating a surface that’s ideal for coffee mugs, phones and is even large enough for iPads.
A mechanism to retract the bed integrates with the base. This means there is space at the foot of the bed, so bed-making is easy. At full stretch the bed is 1.77m long (that’s fine unless you’re tall). And when it’s retracted there is a 38-cm corridor along the foot of the bed.
Upholstered panels alongside the windows enhance cosiness. And, because this bedroom has two windows plus a large roof light, it’s exceptionally light and bright.
And this bedroom has a bidden secret…
When you raise the bed you’re in for a surprise. The whole bed base lifts, smoothly and finger-tip effortlessly, to reveal, yes, more of the deep-pile luxurious carpet that we’d already noticed elsewhere – and a storage compartment running the whole width of the caravan, under the wardrobe units, with access hatches on each wide. Think sports kit, perhaps, or golf clubs (provided you don’t disrupt nose weight normality)… This is a brilliantly designed area for all sorts of stuff. And lights within the compartment illuminate each end.
When the bed is in its retracted daytime mode it’s 1.33m long. Picture yourself reclining here, sun streaming in through the big side windows and roof light, engrossed in your sport of passion on your TV mounted on the bracket at the foot of the bed.
Under-settee storage will get more use in a SR than in a caravan with a full double bed box. And there are full-length doors to make it easy.
There is almost 90cm of pull-out table-top length at the centre-front of the lounge, or you can get the freestanding table out from its own compartment within the the kitchen cabinet; the choice is yours.
Lunar set the trend for long, opening skylights when the limited edition Clubman Saros appeared in 2014; the feature is of course here in the 2017 Clubmans. And there’s more. The new Clubmans get sunroofs, so almost the entire length of the lounge has a sky view. It’s utterly gorgeous; like the bedroom, it’s exceptionally light and airy. Although the front sunroof eats into the caravan’s storage capability, we don’t think central front lockers will be missed; the caravan is well endowed with hideaway opportunities. And Lunar has cleverly sculpted triangular corner lockers into the spaces alongside the sunroof.
The settees are 1.5m long; that’s enough space for four to sit comfortably. And the sunny yellow colour in the curtains and cushions certainly adds to the summer holiday image of this airy caravan.
The SR gets the new Dometic RML 9431 fridge-freezer, which has the option to remove the 12-litre freezer compartment. With the freezer in place, the chiller area capacity is 146 litres.
The microwave is above the fridge-freezer. The height is fine for relatively tall caravan testers like me but short-stature caravanners will say it’s a stretch too far.
The kitchen surface is 96cm long , with a 35-cm extension to hinge into position when meal prep necessitates more space. Storage arrives in the form of a double cabinet, with drawers within and triple run of top lockers, beautifully finished in gloss wood edged with white the handle sectors.
We were soon up to a smooth 60mph on joining the M6 from Lunar’s factory south of Preston en route to our review venue, Little Orchard Caravan Park in the hamlet of Weeton close to the Fylde coast, and the SR’s rock-steady performance was a joy; this is a caravan to pick for long cross-Europe journeys, we decided, and with ATC present for added peace of mind.