First look: Lunar Venus 590/6
Lunar’s Venus range has been given a whole new look for the new season, including a much improved spec, lifting the brand above its entry-level origins, says Peter Baber
A whole new look for the range lifts the Venus above its entry-level origins
THE VENUS 590/6 was a new model in Lunar’s budget range two years ago – a family van with fixed bunks in the back and next to them, a children’s dinette that makes up a second set of bunks. That layout has become very familiar in the intervening time, with just about every major manufacturer now offering something similar. But this season, Lunar has given Venus a whole new look, including a considerable improvement in spec. So does this make the 590/6 worth looking at again?
Pitch and set-up
You’ll notice something different about this season’s Venus from the moment you look at it. Yes, it still has that single front window, but in other respects, Lunar has really started to lift the brand away from anything that could be called ‘budget’. The 590/6 is no longer your standard white box, for example. It now comes with a graphite door to the gas bottle locker. There are now white skirts and wheel spats added to the outside, and an A-frame cover, so it certainly doesn’t look basic up front. You even get alloy wheels. Best of all, 2019’s 590/6 gets an external access locker – only on the front nearside, but that is still a step upwards. This season, you also get an Al-ko AKS stabiliser fitted as standard. Admittedly, this is a big van, so you might have done with the ATC anti-snaking system, too. But Venus certainly still seems born anew.
As we said, you are stuck with that single front window in the 590/6. But the ‘Malawi’ soft furnishings in here help to brighten up a lounge that is already bathed in light from the Skyview rooflight stretching down the centre. The central chest has a flap on top that provides a large area for family snacks, or you could use the table stored near to hand in the kitchen. There are TV and mains sockets in the offside corner, and the chest or the sill is large enough to take a TV set. The lounge now comes with a radio and MP3 player as standard, too. (Last season, when no stereo was fitted, Lunar did not include a CD player in the optional stereo combination. The firm says it has had no adverse feedback about this, so Venus customers must be up with the latest technology.) The rear lounge is a slimmeddown version of the one in front. It still comes with a full settee across the back, and a second set of mains, 12V and TV sockets. So your children can watch their preferred TV on their own. There’s even a folding partition to keep them to themselves.
Cooking facilities are another area where Venus has jumped in quality this season. Having a three-burner dual-fuel hob, separate oven and grill, and a microwave, doesn’t really sound like budget, but that is what you get in this space. The microwave is a Sharp this year, replacing Daewoo after the latter company changed its distribution strategy. This central kitchen is just to the left of the door, so there is a windbreak to protect the hob, The large workspace has one socket, houses a round steel sink and is lit by one striplight. There is a substantial overhead locker here, half with shelves and
half with a crockery/mug rack. The sizeable cupboard under the workspace beside the fridge contains a slide-out shelf and a large cutlery drawer, so there isn’t a huge amount of room here for storing large pans – only a small pan locker under the oven.
The front lounge is large enough for the two settees to work as single beds for people less than six foot tall. But it’s easily made into a much larger double, and you get platforms to do this. The fixed bunks are big enough for larger children and come with their own window and light. The widest bed in the back is the one you put together by lowering the table, so perhaps an older child could sleep there. The temporary bunk above is also easy to assemble.
There had to be one area where things still look pretty basic. While the rest of the van has been upgraded, the washroom still looks as poky as it did when the 590/6 was launched. To be fair, central washrooms in family vans always tend to get squeezed, but the shower cubicle, even if it is separate, seems particularly small. This feeling is exacerbated by the visible partitioning around it, but in fact this creates such a deep shower tray that you could almost fill the bottom up with enough water to make a bath for a toddler or small child. A small rooflight illuminates the rest of the washroom, which includes a standard toilet with a shelf above, and an adequate washbasin in front of a mirror that is further illuminated by two LED lights. You also get a toothmug and toilet roll holder, and a towel ring.
The nearside underseat area at the front – the one storage area here that has external access – is completely clear. The offside seat box is relatively free of fittings, although it does include some ducting and electrics. What makes a pleasing change up front is what’s above – instead of a row of identical overhead lockers, there are three lockers with open shelves in between. There are also two small drawers in the front chest. The central wardrobe would probably suffice for a family, even with the aerial fitting partly in the way. Below, what look like four drawers are actually two drawers and a small locker with a folding door. The area below the lower fixed bunk does have some ducting, but it would still be adequate for a bit of storage. It does have an internal access flap. Two more overhead lockers increase the possibilities back here.
This is no longer a standard white box, and it certainly doesn’t look basic up front
The single-piece front window remains, but this is one of few ‘entry level’ signifiers in 2019’s Venus Clothes storage provision majors on the half-length offside wardrobe with drawers underneath Lounge storage options include a combination of overhead lockers and easy-access open shelving
LEFT Kitchen spec has been upgraded to improve the workspace RIGHT Washroom still cramped, but deep shower tray could be useful
The fixed bunks are big enough for older children, while the selfcontained rear lounge has a full settee, plus mains and TV sockets
New improved exterior styling includes a graphite door to the gas bottle locker, white skirts and wheel spats, and an A-frame cover