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Practical Caravan - - Caravan Genius Secondhand Shootout -

HIT­TING THE SPOT

Down­lighters of­fer more con­cen­trated light in the kitchen than the Corona’s strip­light, and it has an Om­nivent

and the VIP’S awning warmer and ex­te­rior mains socket put it a few points ahead. The awning light can also be ac­ti­vated by the VIP’S key fob. Heavy-duty cor­ner stead­ies are fit­ted to the VIP, while both have a hitch sta­biliser; both mod­els should tow well. Ex­te­ri­ors are in good or­der in both, with no real dam­age. The Corona is fit­ted with an ex­tra se­cu­rity lock on the door, which is a good plus point. How­ever, over­all, both equalled up and scored the same points.

Lounge

The pair have very com­fort­able lounges, but the VIP’S more sump­tu­ous up­hol­stery puts it in the lead here. Both also have mains light­ing in the front lounge area, as well as 12V spots and ceil­ing lights. In each, the ra­dio/cd player is fit­ted in one of the over­head lock­ers – the VIP’S ben­e­fits from a multi-chang­ing unit. Un­der­seat stor­age is eas­ily reached via the handy ac­cess flaps. There are mains sock­ets in both lounges, and each has two out­lets for the blown-air heat­ing sys­tem. The cen­tral chest of draw­ers pro­vides a slide-out work­top ex­ten­sion, and both have a Heki roof vent above the lounge. When it comes to stor­age, the VIP’S front over­head locker beats the Corona’s shelf. As well as be­ing a bit less sup­port­ive, the Corona’s seat­ing is a bit faded. So the VIP wins in this de­part­ment.

Beds

Although most folk who go for this type of lay­out will be cater­ing only for them­selves, there are times when they’ll want to use the lounge seat­ing to make up a se­cond dou­ble bed – so which of these two is the best? Both are made up us­ing slats that slide out from the base of the cen­tral chest of draw­ers, with the cush­ions form­ing the sleep­ing sur­face. We reck­oned both would prove equally com­fort­able, so they were neck and neck at this stage. But how about the fixed beds? Both are vir­tu­ally the same size, with sup­port­ive mat­tresses that still have years left in them. The VIP’S mat­tress was in slightly bet­ter con­di­tion, just nudg­ing it past the Corona.

Kitchen

Nei­ther of these tour­ers could be called a spring chicken, but the con­di­tion in both has so far proved to be very good. The kitchen in the Corona is larger than the VIP’S, if you take into con­sid­er­a­tion the mas­sive side dresser, which of­fers stacks of use­ful work­top. Nei­ther kitchen has a mi­crowave, and although the Corona has an oven, its hob is only a three burner. The VIP has a full oven, a hob with four burn­ers, and an ex­trac­tor fan, too. The fridges are the same size in both mod­els. Both kitchens are in su­perb con­di­tion; the VIP’S cream ce­ramic sink looked like new. We thought that night-time il­lu­mi­na­tion would be bet­ter in the VIP, which is fit­ted with ded­i­cated down­lighters, as op­posed to the strip­light pro­vided in the Corona. Over­all, the VIP’S over­head locker stor­age ca­pac­ity is bet­ter, although the Corona’s side dresser does pro­vide great stor­age and that ex­tra work sur­face. But we’re award­ing a few more points to the VIP in this sec­tion, mak­ing it the win­ner here.

Wash­room

Cor­ner wash­rooms do mean you have less floor area, and both of these car­a­vans suf­fer a bit from that. In each, the hand­basin is lo­cated in the bed­room area. How­ever, both are fit­ted with a shower, and both have a side win­dow for light and ven­ti­la­tion. There is also some stor­age space, although it’s not very gen­er­ous. The Corona has a man­ual-flush toi­let, while the VIP’S is elec­tric. Space-wise, both are in the same league. So they come in level-peg­ging here.

Stor­age

This sec­tion gave us a bit of a dilemma, be­cause over­all both have great stor­age. The Corona has that mas­sive side dresser, but the VIP has more stor­age in the front lounge, and its wardrobe is larger than the one you’ll find in the Corona. The over­head lock­ers in the Corona are also a bit smaller, and the VIP has more stor­age ca­pac­ity over the fixed bed. The VIP’S big dou­ble wardrobe should pro­vide enough space for most users, but that size­able side dresser is also a great plus in the Corona. So we de­cided that it’s a draw on the score­board in this sec­tion.

Ver­dict

This was a close-run thing. Here we have two tour­ers that are in al­most equally good con­di­tion – although the VIP is two years older, it doesn’t look it. Both ex­te­ri­ors have a few marks, but no dents or dam­aged trim. The Corona is the newer and dearer of the two, by a rel­a­tively nar­row mar­gin. But the VIP is a lit­tle more up­mar­ket, with smarter looks, air­craft-style over­head lock­ers and gen­er­ally, a bet­ter spec. The over­head lock­ers in the Corona are smaller, look rather dated and don’t have quite the same qual­ity as the VIP’S. So although both of these tour­ers have their at­tractions, we’d rate the VIP as a good solid model, in re­ally ex­cel­lent con­di­tion for the cash. If we were buy­ing our first tourer as a try-out, the VIP would be our choice, mak­ing it our win­ner.

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