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

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

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.

Lounge

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.

Kitchen

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.

Wash­room

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.

Beds

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.

Stor­age

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

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