2007 Com­pass Corona 544 vs 2005 Coach­man VIP 530/4

Practical Caravan - - Secondhand Shootout -

IF YOU’RE ON a tight bud­get and you’re look­ing for a fixed-bed tourer, our choice this month could fit the bill. Armed with a £6000 bud­get, we went shop­ping for some suitable pre-owned tour­ers with a good spec. We vis­ited Se­lect Car­a­vans, near Mans­field, run by Dave King with his daugh­ter Ali­cia. Dave is a keen car­a­van­ner him­self, so he knows what folk want – es­pe­cially first-time buy­ers. He has a good se­lec­tion of stock on dis­play, so there’s al­ways some­thing dif­fer­ent for cus­tomers to view. We took a stroll around, and with his help found two tour­ers that fit­ted our re­quire­ments – a Com­pass Corona and a Coach­man VIP, both fixed-bed mod­els with a cor­ner wash­room and both well-equipped. Ei­ther would be fine for tour­ing all year round. At £4850 for the 2005 VIP and £5650 for the 2007 Corona, we reck­oned these two tour­ers were full of prom­ise for cus­tomers on a lim­ited bud­get.

The con­tenders 2007 Com­pass Corona 544

The Corona was ba­si­cally the en­try level of the Com­pass range, but it didn’t have en­try-level in­te­rior or spec. Based on a BPW chas­sis, it proved to be a pop­u­lar buy. Al­loy wheels were stan­dard, with a spare wheel and hitch sta­biliser. Full oven, fridge, Sta­tus TV ae­rial and blown-air heat­ing were all part of the deal, plus a ra­dio/cd player. The Corona also had a few ex­tras, such as a bar­be­cue point and an alarm sys­tem. The 544 has a very prac­ti­cal lay­out in its fixed-bed guise, with a front dinette – where you’ll find a cen­tral chest of draw­ers – and a large off­side kitchen. Op­po­site this is a size­able side dresser, while the fixed bed is fit­ted on the near­side. The wardrobe is op­po­site the fixed bed, with the hand­basin next to it, while the wash­room is in the off­side cor­ner. This

in­cludes a shower cu­bi­cle and cas­sette toi­let, which is a man­ual-flush model. Light and ven­ti­la­tion are pro­vided here by the roof vent and side win­dow.

2005 Coach­man VIP 530/4

The VIP is a cou­ple of years older than the Corona, but it does have a slightly bet­ter spec. And, although it looks a bit more dated than the Corona, it’s still a smart tourer. Built with GRP front and rear moulded pan­els on an Al-ko chas­sis, the VIP comes with al­loys, a spare wheel and Seitz side win­dows. The ex­cel­lent spec in­cludes a Sta­tus TV ae­rial, bar­be­cue point, ex­te­rior mains socket and awning warmer. A ra­dio/ CD player was stan­dard, as were a full oven, fridge and blown-air heat­ing. The VIP’S lay­out pro­vides a fixed bed on the off­side, so the floor­plan in­cludes a front lounge area with cen­tral chest of draw­ers and the kitchen placed on the off­side. The large wardrobe is op­po­site the cen­tral kitchen. The hand­basin is in the bed­room and the wash­room is in the rear cor­ner, with a side win­dow, shower and elec­tric-flush cas­sette toi­let. The VIP was in good con­di­tion, like the Corona, de­spite be­ing that lit­tle bit older.

Pitch and set up

These tour­ers were both in good con­di­tion, so the choice be­tween the two might come down sim­ply to age and cost. The VIP has a large front gas locker, as does the Corona. The Corona also has high-qual­ity stain­less steel grab han­dles; the VIP’S grab han­dles are prac­ti­cal but not quite as classy. The al­loys on both were in fair con­di­tion, but years of use have in­evitably re­sulted in some graz­ing on the Corona and the VIP. The Corona has that retro­fit­ted bar­be­cue point, while the VIP’S came as stan­dard,

CLOCK­WISE FROM ABOVE Lounge seat­ing is sup­port­ive and spa­cious. This Corona was in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion, in­side and out. The ra­dio/cd player is neatly fit­ted in the off­side over­head locker. The ex­ter­nal bar­be­cue point is a handy retro­fit­ted ex­tra Price £5650 MIRO 1287kg MTPLM 1470kg

CLOCK­WISE FROM ABOVE First-class com­fort with high-qual­ity seat­ing in the lounge. PIR awning light is part of the VIP’S spec. Ra­dio/cd player (with multi-change) is in the front side over­head locker. Bear in mind that the VIP re­quires a slightly heav­ier tow car Price £4850 MIRO 1335kg MTPLM 1540kg

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