Of course, the opportunity with the growing trend for extra-wide caravans is the chance to revisit previous floorplans and revise them to suit.
Coachman’s VIP 540 Xtra caravan is a great example. It sports a French bed with washroom next to it floorplan that’s often a compromise too far in a standard-width model.
But, with an extra handful of interior width inches to play with, Coachman’s designers have come up with a rather promising re-write of a popular caravan layout of the not so distant past.
As for the rest, it’s all L-shaped. The front lounge seating extends across the front and along the offside of the caravan, while the nearside has a ledge and lower-level locker storage. Unlike some L-shaped lounge arrangements, however, it retains a window on the non-seating side.
That, along with the fixed upper window and a Heki opening rooflight, as well as the traditional three-window front, means plenty of daylight gets in, while the Pioneer stereo, with speakers on the front wall, should allow music to flood through, too. If you want digital radio in your Coachman VIP 540 Xtra caravan, it’s an optional extra.
After the lounge, it’s the slight L-shape to the kitchen unit on the offside mid-‘van that makes all the difference, too, in terms of more storage and worktop space. There’s a flip-up worktop extension, but it does impinge on the lounge seating.
Kitchen equipment starts with a Thetford cooker with dual-fuel hob and separate grill and oven. Note, also, the cast-iron pan rest. An Omnivent over the kitchen area gives you control over whether you want extractor or fresh air in functions.
A large sideboard/worktop is directly opposite the Coachman VIP 540 Xtra’s kitchen. It’s here you’ll find a low-level microwave oven and two lockers, plus a small (by current standards) 98-litre Dometic fridge and a dedicated locker for the free-standing dining table.
The 540 caravan layout is very much open plan. Nevertheless, there’s a pleated door to pull across if you want some bedroom privacy. Maximum dimensions for the double bed here are 1.90m x 1.32m, with full-height padded headboards and high-level lockers, plus some open shelving.
Storage includes an extensive, uncluttered area reached by hinging up the main bed (it’s on struts) which also has an exterior-access hatch.
The washroom is, of course, just a step away. Here, there are folding doors for the fully-lined shower cubicle, which also benefits from a couple of moulded corner ledges. The only surprise/let-down here is the single drainage outlet.
Typical of most washrooms in this caravan floorplan, the main fittings run left to right – fixed basin (a countertop design), swivel bowl toilet and a shower cubicle. There’s good storage in here thanks to upper and lower lockers and an open shelf, plus there’s no lack of details – toilet roll holder, towel loop, towel-warmer radiator, toothbrush mug etc. And it’s always good to see an opening window for best possible ventilation.
Al-Ko’s ATC is standard on the Coachman VIP 540 Xtra, as is Alde central heating, while other VIP signature features range from soft-close drawers and locker doors, to dimmable reading lights and sprung-interior seating.
There’s the distinctive VIP look, too. Lots of black trim to the exterior helps to beef up the overall appearance. Fittings like exterior gas and mains sockets haven’t been forgotten, plus the battery box also houses TV sockets.
Like the rest of its VIP stablemates, the 540 Xtra caravan has a list of changes for 2022. These range from chrome furniture handles, to a mobile phone charging pad on the bulkhead at the front of the lounge, to lighting upgrades – LED awning and exterior services light, floor-level courtesy illumination – as well as the usual soft furnishings, furniture finishes and graphics that all mainstream caravan manufacturers feel obliged to issue for a new model year.
As with so many of today’s caravans, payload isn’t the greatest. There is, however, the option to uprate the chassis and gain another 100kg for your various touring essentials and paraphernalia.
The Coachman VIP 540 Xtra caravan has no rivals in the line-ups from UK rival manufacturers. And even its two closest contenders from Europe are only standard width. Could Coachman Caravans be on to something?
See what you make of the 2022 Coachman VIP 540 Xtra caravan in our walk-through video:
Verdict: A French bed re-visit
Plus: Spacious (especially for daytime living), better than average overall build quality
Minus: Small fridge
In-a-nutshell: Extra width works
There’s more information on the VIP range on the Coachman website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance page.
Alternatives: Hobby De Luxe 495 UL, Knaus Sport 500 UF
Coachman VIP 540 Xtra factfile
|Model||Coachman VIP 540 Xtra|
|Dimensions||7.43m L, 2.44m W, 2.65m H|
|MTPLM||1,700kg (upgradable to 1,800kg)|
|RRP||from £33,265 on the road|
|Safety & security||Al-Ko ATC anti snaking, Al-Ko Secure wheel lock, Al-Ko AKS 3004 stabiliser, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, Phantom Vanguard remote control PIR alarm with tilt sensors, CRiS|
|Key options||DAB stereo upgrade (£170), E&P Self-levelling system (£3,450), Truma Aventa air conditioning (£1,850), 4G wi-fi (£499), 100Watt solar panel (£425), Truma iNet and gas level check (£285), alternative soft furnishings (£250), shelf pack (£50), branded cover (£400), Phantom Sentinel Pro Active tracking system (£425), chassis weight upgrade (£45)|