2007 Compass Corona 544 vs 2005 Coachman VIP 530/4
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