It’s wide, it’s long, it has storage capacity geared to family holiday needs and with room to spare. With an MTPLM figure of 1680kg, its light weight for its length gives it immense appeal. And at £23,999, this eight-foot-wide family caravan competes well on price.
New from Lunar: an L-shaped central kitchen and an L-shaped TV lounge – the Quasar 696 is a trend-setter layout
New from Lunar: an L-shaped central kitchen and an L-shaped TV lounge – this is a trend-setter layout
Lunar unveiled their new eight-foot-wide family caravan this spring. The 696 puts the Quasar range on the 'maximum-width family tourer' map.
This is the second eight-foot-wide Quasar. The 686 arrived for the 2019 season, with a double bed and a large offside dining area. The 686 is an impressive tourer and, at 1700 kg, it’s among the lightest in its size-class. But the new 696 beats it – by 20 kg, at 1680 kg.
The 696 is a tourer of three rooms and a layout like no other caravan. It has a central L-shaped kitchen and an L-shaped lounge.
These are the two elements that make the 696 special. The kitchen has a huge amount of surface space. And, Lunar designed the luxurious lounge to be more of a relaxing zone in a little apartment than a caravan.
And there’s more. This model has the biggest fridge fitted in any caravan, with 190-litre capacity. That’s even bigger than the tall, slimline 155-litre capacity fridge in the 686.
It’s worth noting both the 696 and 686 have 5 cm more headroom than standard-width Quasars. That’s because Lunar built them on the same body shell as their Flagship Alaria brand.
The eight-foot-wide Quasars have two other advantages over their standard-width siblings.
They have ‘Maxi Skyview’ roof lights (1.5 m long and 60 cm wide) set into a frame with inset lighting.
They also have gas bottle lockers that are not only wider. They have a different construction. Part of this is vertical cantilever hinges, so the door rises upwards, to sit almost over the window.
This means that lifting heavy, full gas bottles into here is easy. The space inside is vast – 2.34 m wide and there’s a depth of 70 m.
One element of the 696 not unique to this model is the children’s room at the rear. Bunks and a large wedge-shaped table are here. And it has seating space for three or four, depending on the sizes of the kids. A sliding door closes off this room from the shower-dressing room forward of it.
The 696’s shower room spans the width of the caravan amidships. It’s a well-planned family wash area, with significant floor space. The shower and toilet are on the offside; four shelves are beside the shower.
On the nearside the wash basin location is almost alcove-style. It has plenty of floor space. Anyone cleaning their teeth here would not be in the way of others walking through the washroom.
A large cabinet is beneath the basin. Alongside it is the wardrobe. There is space for the lounge freestanding table to stow away inside. You secure this with clips on the forward wall.
Beneath the wardrobe are three drawers and a cabinet with plenty of storage.
And towels? There’s a double hook on the door that leads to the kitchen and a loop by the washbasin. Buyers of the 696 will want to install more towel hooks – but that’s a minor detail.
The 696 has a secluded space at the rear for four to sleep. It consists of two fixed bunks and two more to convert from the dining area. This is pretty close to family caravanning perfection.
A wooden sliding door separates the children’s room from the washroom. That, plus the washroom’s forward, hinged door, will provide as good a sound barrier as you’ll get in any caravan. Mum and Dad can enjoy music and television without disturbing the kids.
This layout element of the 696 is a tried-and-trusted feature. It appears in several models because it’s a configuration that works well. These include:
The L-shaped lounge converts to a double bed. It's 1.22 m wide by 1.98 m. You pull out the metal-framed base from under the settee that runs across the front of the caravan.
The 696’s storage capability is vast. The designers used every inch of space available, not only for cabinets but shelves, too.
Four shelves are alongside the shower. Two are inset into the kitchen wall; they’re the right dimensions for wine bottles! Two big shelves are in the dresser unit beside the door. More shelves are in the rear ‘room’.
The space under the lower bunk has exterior access. The lids of the lockers under the rear seats are self-supporting on big spring hinges. The space under the lounge seating is easy to access via the wide hinge-down doors.
Two large lockers are along the sides of the lounge. And two more, deep, triangular shaped lockers are in the corners.
With two dining areas, mealtimes are easy. If your children are of an age when they need to have their evening meal earlier than the parents this works well. Four children can munch through their favourite food at the table in their own room at the rear.
Then, after ‘lights out’ in the rear section, mum and dad can relax over their dinner in the fore-end.
The dining-play area is a cosy environment. There are four lockers to hide away not only clothes but play paraphernalia too.
Our review caravan is the prototype. Production models will have a window at the rear, which will make this room even nicer.
L-shaped seating arrangements are never the best when it comes to mealtimes. This is because people can’t sit opposite one another.
The 696’s lounge-dining area, though, works well for cosy TV dinner evenings. And there’s plenty of space for two or three to find their perfect table-TV angle.
The 696’s lounge is nothing short of luxurious.
The ‘television wall’ on the offside is the focal point. If you like large televisions, this is one caravan in which you can have a TV of domestic proportions.
Lots of shelving under the TV shelf enables you to organise your media equipment. A sound-bar, and plenty of space for books.
And a shelf set into the lounge side of the kitchen unit will hide away all manner of book and magazine stuff.
If you enjoy caravan cooking, you’ll love the 696. It has an enormous and well-designed kitchen surface. The breakfast bar-style L-shaped area measures 53 cm x 1.1 m. It flows into the area occupied by the big (36 cm in diameter!) sink.
We love the hob, with its hotplate on a raised section. You can use any size of pan here without restriction from the trivet.
Storage space is generous, too. You'll find four drawers, 45 cm wide, plus a 65 cm-wide cabinet beneath the sink, and three top lockers.
Also, there are lockers above and below the lovely big fridge-freezer opposite. And above the microwave set into the dresser alongside.
The great thing about this kitchen is its shape means the cook doesn’t get in the way of corridor activity. Like the alcove-style wash basin area, it’s an example of how well planned the 696 is for family harmony.
Unless you’ve towed eight-foot-wide caravans they might feel daunting. We’ve towed max-width caravans over many hundreds of miles; you soon get used to the extra width.
We experienced the 696’s easy-tow performance on a 40-mile route from the factory to its test location.
And we wouldn’t have needed such a hefty beast as our SsangYong Rexton which tows all our review caravans. We’d opt for Al-Ko’s stability control system, at £349, if we were buying a 696. The system gives you added security. Its absence as a standard item is the only reason why it’s a B rating rather than A here.
It’s wide, it’s long, it has storage capacity geared to family holiday needs and with room to spare. With an MTPLM figure of 1680 kg, its light weight for its length gives it immense appeal. And at £23,999, this eight-foot-wide family caravan competes well on price.
The space in the wash area is superb for multi-offspring washing sessions. And the bed-dining room at the rear works well.
The lounge and the kitchen design – the 696’s unique features - are awesome. The 696 is an impressive package of family holiday practicality. Its luxurious lounge that elevates this caravan above its price level.
Is this L-shaped kitchen, L-shaped lounge configuration a trend-setter layout? Yes. Well done, Lunar!