First look: Lunar Quasar
The 686 – the judges’ choice for Best Large Families Tourer in our 2019 awards – offers buyers a spacious floorplan, luxurious décor and reasonable pricing, says Peter Baber
The award-winning Quasar offers luxury and space at a reasonable price point
THE 8FT-WIDE caravan has been growing in popularity among manufacturers. That additional living space has been offered at the luxury end of the market (think Alaria and Buccaneer) and, at the opposite end, for families wanting more room (think Elddis Avanté and Compass Casita 800). The mid-market, however, has been confined to narrower axles. That could be about to change: this season Lunar replaces its Quasar 586 with the 8ft-wide 686. Ariva/quasar traditionally sat at the lower end of mid-market, a notch above Venus but below Stellar/lexon and well below Clubman and Delta, even before you get to Alaria. This seems to have been a good move, because the 686 won the Large Families category in this year’s Tourer of the Year Awards.
Pitch and set-up
Along with gaining width, the new model is a twin-axle, which should make towing a little more stable. An AKS stabiliser and shock absorbers are fitted as standard, but ATC trailer control is a £349 optional extra – it might be worthwhile if you are unfamiliar with towing wider caravans. Alloys should make the van look superior on the road, as should the slick new exterior graphics. Lunar’s large front gas bottle locker is easy to access, so getting everything in order when you arrive should be simple.
Step in and there’s a warm-air vent near the floor to welcome you, but no hooks for coats. However, that is a minor point. The front lounge of the old 586 was quite spacious. Now, with that extra width, the whole area feels really palatial. Before we go any further, a word about the soft furnishings. You might remember that last season, as part of its tie-up with homeware brand Joules, Lunar introduced fabrics with vivid floral patterns – not to everyone’s taste. This season, the colour scheme is a more pleasing and restful lilac and blue effect. The lounge is even more comfortable, with bolsters at both ends of each settee, while some of the spotlights now come with USB sockets. A 12V socket and TV connections are in the offside corner, with the radio/cd/mp3 player in the offside overhead corner locker. The locker doors this season are finished in gloss white with a metallic trim, which helps to enhance light coming through the huge rooflight above you. Making this particular layout 8ft wide can add dividends when it comes to the second central dinette, because you have enough space to turn it from just a small extra space for kids to an area the family might want to congregate in for a meal beside the kitchen. At the Lunar season launch, this area was still being worked out, particularly when it came to what kind of table to use here. But it has been worth the wait, because the solution Lunar came up with – a clip-on table that can be removed to reveal wraparound seating – is the best of all worlds. You have a table when you need it, and seating when you don’t.
The already sizeable kitchen worktop is enhanced by a huge extension that looks as though it could carry a significant weight,
Benefiting from that extra width, the front lounge in the 686 feels really palatial
even if it does obstruct the door. In this area, lit by a striplight, you get a large sink and a dual-fuel four-burner hob, which sits on top of the new Thetford K series oven with a separate grill, and a sizeable pan locker below. There is one mains socket nearby, with plenty of space around it for a kettle. A rather cavernous cupboard takes up much of the space below the worktop – so cavernous, in fact, that you barely notice the wheel arch intruding. A cutlery drawer is included here. Up above are three overhead lockers. The middle is shelved, while the one on the right includes a crockery/mug rack. Next to all of this is a Sharp 800W microwave and a 101-litre Dometic fridge. Below is a very small pan locker.
The rear-corner washroom doesn’t have a window, but does have a rooflight. The salad bowlstyle basin near the exit is graced with a well-lit mirror, and a cupboard beneath. The shower cubicle at the other end beyond the toilet has a moulded panel that houses the shower itself, a sliding soap rack, a clothes rail and LED lighting, but no rooflight and only one drain-hole.
At 1.89m, the bed is not that long; but it has been widened, and is luxurious, with a second TV socket and individually switched spotlights. Even though it is a corner bed, it’s positioned so someone on the nearside could still squeeze out at the end of the bed without disturbing their partner. The other beds in the caravan are similarly superior. Both the front double and the smaller double in the side dinette come together using platforms, rather than slats, making life easier.
You get four overhead lockers in the front, all shelved, as well as corner lockers: three over the side dinette and three over the rear bed. Underseat storage is just as capacious. You don’t have external access to the nearside area at the front, but it is clear and, while the offside area does include the heater and electrical controls, they are tucked away. The huge area under the rear bed is clear and comes with external access, so you could easily store outdoor furniture here. But even the smaller areas under the seats in the side dinette are clear, for items you might not need to use regularly. And then there’s the wardrobe. It includes the aerial fitting, but its hanging space is adequate, and below are two drawers for small items, plus another locker.
The lounge seating and platforms make up the comfortable and roomy front double bed Lockers finished in white gloss with metal trim add to the feeling of light and space in the lounge area
LEFT-RIGHT Sizeable kitchen worktop is enhanced by a large, sturdy extension flap. Washroom has a salad bowl-style basin and large mirror
LEFT-RIGHT The side dinette is spacious enough for the family to enjoy meals here. Using platforms, the seating converts into a smaller double
Alloy wheels and smart new exterior graphics will make the 686 stand out on site, and the large front gas locker is very easy to access