Venus equals value, and the award-winning 590 is a very good choice for the important family values of harmony and space as well as monetary value. Even when you add in the £499 cost of the Plus Pack, with which every Venus comes, the 590 still gives you a great caravan for your outlay.
The winner of our Best Family Lightweight Caravan award is an awesome blend of affordable price and first-class layout– with a surprise rear view on tow!
The six-berth 590 is the latest addition to the lightweight Venus range. Soon after its arrival, it won Caravan magazine’s Best Family Lightweight Caravan Award. So this caravan was quickly off to a flying start in its clear mission to appeal to families looking for light weight and affordability.
The judging process, at the NEC show, can't involve taking caravans out of the show for a tow. So this review was my first chance to pull the 590 – and I discovered an aspect of the new Venus that hadn’t become apparent during the awards judging process.
At the very top end of the caravan market, a few models have rear-view/reversing cameras fitted. Here is a budget caravan with rear-view capability – in the form of seeing straight through the caravan from the car’s interior mirror.
On the M6 towing north from the factory where Lunar makes the Venus caravans, I had a wide vista of traffic movements behind the 590, a rare and much appreciated the towing experience. And when we arrived at our test location, Little Orchard Caravan Park, at Weeton, near Kirkham, I reversed the 590 onto a pitch without the aid of the photo man to guide me on distance from the hedge.
If you’re new to towing and the prospect even slightly daunts you, this clear rear view is a reason to consider a Venus 590.
There is, of course, a raft of other reasons to take a close look at this spacious six-berth tourer. One of them is a significant amount of space it gives you; at 5.82m in body length, this is one of the longest single-axle family models you can find.
Another reason is the family “room” at the rear, with beds for four, seating for three or four and plenty of play space. The design is a tried and trusted dedicated family room layout, now brought into the ultra-lightweight Venus range because it's one of the best ways of accommodating kids.
There's more practicality in the 'keeping clean' department, too.
The shower is square and sits right on the wheel arch, which raises the shower tray close to the caravan side, so it forms a perfect little seat for tiny caravanners while mum or dad is helping to shower them. That may of course not have been the intention of the designers of the 590; the wheel arch has to be accommodated somewhere in the layout – but it does add to the family-friendly appeal of the shower!
Floor space in the little room isn’t generous, at 50 x 90cm so, once each small caravanner steps out of the shower, the parent who is helping the towelling procedure will inevitably be crouching in the corridor.
But, as you can tell, we've thought it all through, and we are sure the 590's showering arrangements are practical; this is a family caravan in which everyone can shower quickly; no need to rely on campsite showers.
However, there’s only one towel loop, – for six towels to hang to dry? There's plenty of wall and door space for you to fit a few more loops or hooks, though.
The Venus 590 6 has two fixed bunks and two more to convert from the seating area opposite; this bedroom for four is a delight. And each cosy bunk has its bright spotlight on a universally flexible stalk.
The wedge-shaped table forms the centre of the lower bunk base; the top bunk folds upwards from the wall.
Not all six-berth caravans are bought by families with four children, of course. A six-berth can be an excellent choice for a family of five. And, if one child is still a baby at the carry-cot stage, there's no need to convert the dining area here into beds; there's enough space for a carry-cot on the rear settee. Versatility in a layout is very useful!
There's versatility in the front, too; the settees are long enough to be used as single beds.
The new front bed construction system in Venus models means that making the double bed here is speedy. Metal-framed bases draw out from under each settee to meet in the centre. They're supported at the front by a ledge under the two drawers and at the rear by a metal leg. It's a much easier system to operate than webbing-linked slats.
With six aboard, storage is key to tidiness and harmony. The Venus 590 provides enough hideaway space for everyone's stuff without you having to cram the lockers. Here is how the space works: two top lockers in the rear bedroom for socks, t-shirts and the like. Loads of space under the rear settee, with a drop-down hatch, which is ideal for everyone's footwear and more. Space under the lower bunk (with a front hatch) for sleeping bags and pillows. It's easy to work out how best to make these storage places work best for your needs.
The front settees don't have front access, but the tops are easy to raise; the bed frame is surprisingly light. And there’s a strut to hold each base up while you reach inside.
Three top lockers at the front, plus two drawers and a hatch beneath them are all ideal for small stuff. The wardrobe is 55cm wide, with full hanging depth – and a brilliantly-designed feature. This unit looks as if it has four drawers at its base; there are four handles each attached to a drawer front. The top two are indeed drawers.
But the fronts of the lower “drawers” are hinged together, so you open them as one unit. Inside is a shelf plus a 28cm deep space – perfect for shoes.
The freestanding table for the lounge is stored conveniently in the main kitchen cabinet. This lengthy lounge gives enough room for six to dine – and there's table space for three more at the rear; invite some friends, then!
Kick-back comfort is guaranteed, with big, squashy bolster-style armrests to nestle in. TV points are here (and there are more in the rear area). There are only three power sockets, though, so buyers might like to consider asking their dealer to install extra ones, given the amount of media charging that’s a family necessity.
The lounge is a visual delight, with the (now rare) lovely full-width front window giving an uninterrupted view. The pale grey-fawn seating fabric is simple and modern. Curving lines of turquoise (always a shade that makes you think of summer skies and the seaside) twist through the curtain and cushion fabric. Matt white locker doors contribute to the overall ultra-modern look. We love it!
Venus caravans have a combined oven-grill unit. It’s shorter in depth than a full oven and grill unit, so there’s a good-sized cabinet beneath it. The full-height cabinet on the fore end of the kitchen contains two shelf spaces and a cutlery drawer, plus space alongside the table.
There are two top cabinets alongside the microwave; in total; the 590’s kitchen storage capability matches the needs of six. The 590’s kitchen surface is a brilliant 1.52m long. The circular sink is amply sized and has a cover matching the kitchen surface. And the triangular shape of the hob creates extra surface space compared with a square hob. Altogether a superb kitchen!
The through-view is a splendid asset, although cars lower than our SsangYong Rexton might not quite give you the depth of vision we enjoyed from our elevated driving position. (You don't, of course, need a beast as hefty as a Rexton to tow the 1380kg 590; a major plus-point of this caravan is its suitability for modest-sized cars.) The 590's road performance was a pleasure - and the view of the road behind is an excellent bonus.
There are no optional extras for Venus