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

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

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.

Lounge

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.

Kitchen

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.

Beds

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.

Wash­room

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.

Stor­age

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

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