2019 New tour­ers pre­view: part two

Think­ing of splash­ing out on a new van in the coming sea­son? Peter Baber con­tin­ues his look at the class of 2019

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

This month it’s the turn of Alaria, Lu­nar and Venus, plus Car­ave­lair and Knaus

LU­NAR

A sub­stan­tially up­graded spec on the en­try-level Venus range is the big news from Lu­nar for the 2019 sea­son, while the Quasar line-up is due to get its first 8ft-wide model and 2019 Alar­ias come with a dif­fer­ent self-lev­el­ling sys­tem. The Pre­ston firm says that with the mar­ket not as buoy­ant as a year ago, 2019 is set to be a year of con­sol­i­da­tion. But the Venus range has still been given a con­sid­er­able boost in spec, with a new ra­dio/mp3 player, dual-fuel hob, Thet­ford K series oven and grill, and Sharp mi­crowave all be­ing in­cluded as standard on the in­side, while an AKS sta­biliser, al­loy wheels, a spare wheel and car­rier and an ex­ter­nal locker door are standard out­side. The new Venus also fea­tures a graphite gas bot­tle locker at the front, along with new skirts, wheel arches, a full A-frame, and a skyview rooflight down the cen­tral aisle. All this has not come cheap, how­ever. Sin­gle-axle Venus mod­els have all gone up in price by over 8%, and now start at £17,699, while the twin-axle 620/6 is up 7.2% to £19,299 – still keep­ing the whole range south of £20,000.

Price points

In con­trast, all other Lu­nar mod­els have gone up by no more than £700, with most ris­ing by £500. That has kept the whole Lu­nar range within the sub-£30,000 mar­ket, with Deltas cost­ing £29,399. The Ariva/quasar line-up gets a new 8ft-wide model, the 686. This re­places the 586 and will in­clude a side dinette with a rear fixed cor­ner bed next to a cor­ner wash­room. The model was still be­ing worked on at launch, with fresh changes likely in the type of shelv­ing be­tween the fixed bed and the wash­room, and the type of ta­ble used in the side dinette. The com­pleted model should make its debut at the Lawns show in Septem­ber. The range as a whole gets re­designed locker doors, and

the same new Thet­ford oven and Sharp mi­crowave as the Venus mod­els. Soft fur­nish­ings, how­ever, have moved slightly away from last sea­son’s Joules-in­spired floral pat­terns and now come in ‘Vi­enna’, while cor­ner lock­ers are in ‘Mon­tana Oak’ and locker doors in ‘Matt Mag­no­lia’. The con­trol panel is now flush with the car­a­van wall, while the satel­lite TV finder has been moved to a more eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble lo­ca­tion. The Stel­lar/lexon range has had the same in­ter­nal im­prove­ments as the Quasar, with soft fur­nish­ings in ‘Verezzi’. Club­mans and Deltas, mean­while, come with new graphics and new white gas bot­tle locker doors, while their front lounges, with ‘Loano’ soft fur­nish­ings and locker doors in ‘Ivory’, have been en­hanced with DAB ra­dio and new spot­lights with USB sock­ets. Kitchens in this range have been im­proved with the same new oven and mi­crowave, but also with posi-locks on the over­head locker doors and a bet­ter se­cur­ing mech­a­nism for the slid­ing bas­kets. The Alde heat­ing sys­tem in these mod­els is now con­trolled by a ‘Lu­nar As­sist’ touch­screen con­trol panel. One lay­out, the Delta RI, has been dropped for this sea­son only, while Lu­nar looks at ways of im­prov­ing the ar­range­ment of its trans­verse is­land bed. The big change in the firm’s up­mar­ket Alaria brand, mean­while, has been the choice of lev­el­ling sys­tem. Alar­ias were the first Lu­n­ar­man­u­fac­tured car­a­vans to be eight feet wide, and last year they were pro­duced with an E&P lev­el­ling sys­tem.

Lev­el­ling sys­tem

This year, how­ever, they come out on a sys­tem that Lip­pert Com­po­nents has been work­ing on with Lu­nar for over a year. This at­taches di­rectly to the un­der­car­riage – thus re­quir­ing the in­stal­la­tion of a su­per­strength floor – and is said to drain less power from the bat­tery and re­quire less cal­i­bra­tion than the old sys­tem. There could be a dif­fer­ence in price, too, be­cause al­though 2019 Alar­ias now also come with the same new USB read­ing lights and DAB ra­dio as the Lexon, the same new oven and mi­crowave and the same new ‘Lu­nar As­sist’ con­trol panel, prices for all three of these mod­els have only gone up by £200 to £33,799. As with the Delta range, the Alaria RI has been deleted this year for the same rea­sons. Over­all, Lu­nar has also spent the past year tak­ing a wider look at its con­struc­tion pro­cesses. For all of their ranges, this has in­volved a de­crease in the num­ber of vis­i­ble screw-cap fit­tings and a re­duc­tion in knock-in edg­ing.

HOBBY

There’s a de­par­ture for Hobby in 2019, as the Land­haus, the firm’s in­stantly recog­nis­able largest model, is dis­con­tin­ued. The six other ranges are all con­tin­u­ing, how­ever, and three are get­ting new lay­outs. The 13-strong Deluxe now in­cludes the 515 UHL, a six-berth with two dou­ble bunks at the back and fixed sin­gles in front.

Up­mar­ket range

The slightly more up­mar­ket Ex­cel­lent range has lost one lay­out, the 540UFE, but gained an­other in the 540FU, which is a 7.27m-long car­a­van with a U-shaped lounge at the front, a rear cor­ner fixed dou­ble bed, and a rear cor­ner wash­room. That same dele­tion and new lay­out are in­cluded in the even more ex­clu­sive Pres­tige range, and in ad­di­tion, this gets a se­cond lay­out, in the shape of the 9.03m-long 720WLC. The lat­ter in­cludes a C-shaped lounge in the front, a spa­cious cen­tral kitchen, fixed sin­gle beds and a wash­room spread across the rear of the van. The whole range also ben­e­fits from a new rear panel this sea­son. In terms of spec, Hobby vans sold in the UK of­ten dif­fer from what you see on the Con­ti­nent. All ranges, ex­cept the bud­get On Tour, in­clude ovens and car­pets as standard. But you have to get up to the Ex­cel­lent be­fore you get USB sock­ets as standard. And for the first time, Alde heat­ing is in­cluded at the very top of the prod­ucts range, as an op­tion in the Pres­tige and standard in the Pre­mi­ums. These two also have a larger oven, a mi­crowave and Hobby Con­nect, to con­trol on-board ser­vices re­motely via an app. All of­fi­cially im­ported Hobby vans now come with a spe­cial win­dow sticker with a QR code that lets you know where your near­est Hobby dealer is, if you have a prob­lem on the move.

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The SI, with an end wash­room and a rear trans­verse is­land bed, was the best sell­ing Lu­nar Club­man model last sea­son Club­mans now come with new graphics and new white gas bot­tle locker doors. In­side there’s DAB ra­dio and USB sock­ets The Alaria comes with a new lev­el­ling sys­tem which Lu­nar and Lip­pert Com­po­nents have jointly de­vel­oped

Deltas now have ‘Ivory’ locker doors Delta TI A sun­roof helps to brighten up the Alaria’s L-shaped lounge The foot­stool can be tucked away un­der the front set­tee when you are on the move or to make more space Alaria TI Alar­ias come with Lu­nar’s large kitchen cup­boards

Spec for the whole Venus range, in­clud­ing the 550/4, has been given a boost Up­grades in the Lu­nar Quasar 462 in­clude re­designed locker doors

Sim­ple lines and light fab­rics en­hance seat­ing Hobby Deluxe 515 UHL The drop-down dou­ble cre­ates four beds in the lounge

Hobby Pres­tige 495

Hobby 540FU

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