The fallout from the pandemic has meant the emergence of the two-model Travel Master range has been a bit stop and start. But in April, we were able to take the single-bed Coachman Travel Master TM 565 out for a long-weekend test to Wharfedale, North Yorkshire.
That all changed when KABE took full control of the company in February 2021. The Swedish firm was already known for making motorhomes in its home market, and it now wanted to do something similar in the UK.
Exterior and cab of the Coachman Travel Master TM 565
This certainly isn’t a small motorhome.
It’s only when you look at it full side on that you appreciate just how long the Coachman Travel Master TM 565 is, at 8.39m. With its sleek design, the ‘van that was shortlisted for the best family motorhome at the Practical Motorhome Awards 2023 certainly doesn’t look like the kind of giant that some vehicles of this length start to resemble.
You don’t really notice the length when you’re driving, either. There is a noticeable bulge in the roof, but we found that hardly affected us on the road, and it was largely a smooth drive. That’s also down to the captain’s seats the motorhome manufacturer has put in the cab, which are probably the most comfortable we’ve sat in to drive a motorhome.
Anyone who sits in the rear is also in for a treat, because the two travel seats are created simply by swinging out part of the offside settee and pulling out a back panel extension. As a result they, too, are very comfortable, with no need to fiddle around trying to fit cushions or infills.
Whoever sits here also has a great view out – and access to a USB port in the spotlight.
The smooth ride is no doubt helped by the 2.2-litre, 170bhp Mercedes Sprinter engine fitted as standard here, along with an automatic gearbox.
With its electronic parking brake too, that means the Mercedes cab interior is free from any handbrake or gear lever that you might stumble over on your way around to the habitation area.
There are other welcome little design touches here as well. For example, the running board outside the cab doors is easily large enough to get two feet on. You won’t feel like you have to scramble up to get in.
There is such a difference between the width of the cab and the width of the habitation section behind it, that the side mirrors barely stick out at all, so you shouldn’t have to worry about a careless passing driver giving them an accidental clip.
That isn’t the only unusual thing you’ll notice about this motorhome body, either. The side panels have an outer and an inner wall made of aluminium, not GRP.
Once inside, you will find that this slightly deadens any outside noise – as does the padded ceiling.
Coachman says the inner aluminium wall also helps to diffuse heat from the Alde system around the motorhome.
Our test model was not fitted with an external barbecue point or an external shower, but both of these items will be added to production models, ideal if you want to be able to enjoy a motorhome barbecue when pitched up.
Lounging and dining in the Coachman Travel Master TM 565
The cab seats are indeed comfortable, but once swivelled around, they give the lounge, with its grey upholstery, a rather automotive feel that might not be to everyone’s taste.
In fact, considering the size of the motorhome overall, this front lounge isn’t that large, accommodating just two people on each sofa. Still, with the cab seats swivelled, that means there’s room for six.
Coachman has been generous with the tables. There’s a small round one bolted on to the front of the nearside settee that is perfect for snacks. If you need anything bigger, a foldaway table with ample room for four is stowed in its own slot to the right of the door. You can get it without disturbing the chef.
The opening sunroof allows daylight to flood in, although, because of the drop-down bed, there’s no second rooflight until beyond the kitchen.
For night-time illumination, you get five spotlights with USBs, including two in the cab, and a large light under the drop-down bed panel. Together with ambient lighting, this creates a very sophisticated look.
The lighting is eventually controlled by the panel above the door, which lets you switch off different nodes or areas of lighting within the ’van.
This panel has been developed by Dometic for KABE and Coachman, and makes much use of symbols that we sometimes felt needed interpretation. Once you get used to it, however, such control is extremely useful.
Near here you’ll also find a handy cubbyhole for keys and fobs, complete with a wireless mobile charging pad.
The TV slides down from behind the overhead lockers on the nearside. From there, it can be seen by everyone except those on the nearside settee itself.
Sleeping in the Coachman Travel Master TM 565
The Travel Master 565 has two single beds at the back, with steps in between. They can’t be made into a full double bed, but they are extremely comfortable, fitted out by KABE’s own mattress supplier – and almost 2m long. And although they are relatively high up, headroom is not a problem, because the overhead lockers are higher still.
In between the beds, under two narrow central shelves ideal for your glass of water, there is a mains socket, two USBs, and a selection of switches. These mean you can control all of the lights in the whole motorhome from here, including a night light by the shower that you might want to switch on if you need to find your way to the washroom at night.
It’s just a shame that, owing to the lack of a second partition, you will never have complete darkness in here, because there is always a bit of light coming through the shower rooflight.
The transverse drop-down bed comes down easily without getting in the way of the door, and the ladder up to it doesn’t obstruct.
Although it can support up to 200kg, this is not the broadest such bed that we have seen. It’s only 1.09m wide at its widest point. So it will need to be used by people who don’t mind being close together. It does have reading lights, though, more USB ports, and even its own rooflight.
While there’s generous space to move around in the central kitchen, there’s not a huge amount of work surface, although the large sink comes with a sturdy cover that can provide extra worktop if you are not washing up at the same time.
The area is well equipped, too: it’s nicely lit, and there’s an extractor fan, and two sockets with enough space for one of the best motorhome kettles and a low wattage toaster in front of them. There’s also a substantial splashback around the window.
You get two waste bins in the bottom drawer, to add to the small one just a step away on the inner side of the habitation door. On this side, next to the door, you get a 171-litre Dometic fridge and a microwave.
The door to the main washroom swings across to partition off the back from the kitchen and the lounge, something which is seen in many ‘vans with a central washroom motorhome layout.
What is a bit surprising, especially given the length of this ’van, is that there is no second partition sealing off the washroom from the bedroom to create a dressing area between the two washroom units.
Most motorhomes with this layout and at this price tend to have that these days. Not having a second partition might create a better feeling of space in the bedroom, but it also means the shower cubicle is always visible to whoever is in the bedroom – not ideal if anyone wants to shower while someone is still asleep in the rear bed.
To us, it didn’t feel the most robust of cubicles, either. The doors meet on a corner and are held together by a plastic clasp, which could go astray.
The cubicle doors don’t extend to the ceiling, even though the cubicle has its own generous roof vent. The shower tray only has one drainage hole, and is compromised by the wheel arch. At least headroom and lighting are good.
The main washroom on the offside is much better. You get a basin in front of a well-lit mirror with shelves behind it. There’s a towel ring close to hand, a towel rail higher up, four robe hooks, and acres of shelf space.
Storage in the Coachman Travel Master TM 565
With more than eight metres for the designers to work with, you’d expect storage to be a plus point, and it is.
The garage is tall enough for a large mountain bike, with holds. You also get convenient access to the controls for the boiler here, and much else.
Inside the vehicle, starting from the front, there are two cupboards above each cab door. The large cubbyhole above the windscreen is netted, so nothing should fall out when you brake.
The underseat areas are out of action because of the travel seat apparatus and the water tank. There is a large overhead locker on the offside; the nearside one is taken up by the TV.
Things begin to look a lot more promising when you lower the drop-down bed. Tucked out of sight in the ceiling just behind this are four overhead lockers, and like many of the lockers in this motorhome, they are lit.
If you need to hide valuables out of sight, you could hardly do better than to use these lockers. We had been in the Coachman Travel Master TM 565 for a good hour before we even realised they existed.
Clothes storage at the back of the motorhome consists of one tall cupboard with five shelves. Opposite is a full-height hanging wardrobe, a bit narrow for the clothes of four, but fine for two. There is a cupboard at the base of each bed, also lit. Although the overhead lockers at the back appear shallow, they go back a long way.
The lower kitchen unit has a pan drawer under the oven, undercounter pull-out storage trays and two drawers above the bins, one with a cutlery tray. This unit can be centrally locked when you are driving. The overhead cupboards all come with shelves.
Washroom storage consists of a cupboard under the basin and a set of shelves hidden behind the mirror.
Coachman is the only all-Alde mainstream caravan manufacturer, so naturally this, its first motorhome venture, is fitted with Alde heating.
It also has water-borne underfloor heating, which makes a noticeable difference in the morning chill.
The air-conditioning unit, which slightly restricts headroom in the bedroom, is also a standard feature. So this would be a perfect motorhome for the Med in summer.
Elsewhere, the spec is exactly what you’d expect in a motorhome at this price. There’s a reversing camera and sat nav integrated into a 10.25-inch MBUX infotainment system in the cab. The 171-litre fridge has a two-way opening door, while the Thetford hob is dual-fuel and comes with an extractor fan, and the microwave is plateless.
Once you get to grips with it, the lighting system gives you a higher than average degree of control, particularly when you get into bed.
Verdict on the Coachman Travel Master TM 565
The Coachman Travel Master TM 565 is a high-spec, very comfortable motorhome, particularly when it comes to driving and sleeping. If overall the front lounge is proportionally on the small side, that might not be such an issue if you prefer to eat in the awning outside (see our best camping chair guide if you’re in need of some awning furniture) – or if you like having room to move around as you cook. The lounge is still comfortable and well lit at night.
We might have liked to see a second partition in the washroom, and perhaps a roomier shower, but overall this is a great debut by Coachman. It will be interesting to see what shorter vehicles the company might produce in the future.
You can also take a look at our guide to the best motorhomes in 2023, to see our pick of the standout models on the market.
Reason to buy:
- Comfortable captain’s seats in the cab
- Luxuriously long beds
- Sophisticated lighting
- Air conditioning as standard
Reason to avoid:
- Shower cubicle could be bigger
- No second partition to seal off central washroom
- Kitchen workspace isn’t the most extensive
You are a couple who are likely to be doing a lot of touring in warmer climes, where you can take full advantage of the air conditioning, and won’t feel hemmed in by a relatively small front lounge – you’ll instead be enjoying the balmy evening air and dining outside, before heading to comfortable beds for a well-earned rest.
Chassis: Mercedes Sprinter with Al-Ko chassis
Engine: 2.2-litre, 170bhp
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Features include: ESP, ABS, attention assist, crosswind assist, cruise control, leather steering wheel, driver and passenger airbags, daytime running lights, cab air conditioning, 10.25” MBUX infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DAB radio and satellite navigation, electric heated wing mirrors, 16-inch alloy wheels
Al-Ko galvanised chassis, balanced aluminium sidewall and roof construction with Ecoprim insulation core; sandwich construction floor with internal bracing and Ecoprim core; ABS rear panel with flush-fitting LED light clusters and high-level brake light; Hartal ‘Evolution’ habitation door
Lounging and dining
Aluminium internal walls to enhance heat distribution; ventilated wall covering to enhance soundproofing; blinds with flyscreens to all windows; door flyscreen; Nordic Oak wood colour scheme; two-tone locker doors with soft-close hinges and positive catches; chrome finish furniture handles; foldaway table with storage slot; small round pedestal table; dimmable lighting, including spotlights with USBs; wireless mobile charging pad; sliding TV bracket and dedicated TV station with mains, 12V, satellite and aerial sockets
Thetford dual-fuel hob with extractor fan, glass lid and flame failure device above separate oven and grill; microwave; Dometic 10.5T Series 171-litre AES fridge
Beds in the motorhome
Rear singles: 1.96 x 0.82m; drop-down: 1.98 x 1.09/0.83m
Exterior mains socket; 12V and mains socket in garage; 140W solar panel; Alde wet central heating and hot-water system; water-borne underfloor heating; Dometic Freshjet air-con; Thetford swivel toilet; smoke alarm; CO detector
Or you could try:
- Hymer Venture S: With an inflatable raising-roof and rear sun deck, this luxurious ‘van is a highly appealing prospect.
- Adria Supersonic 780DC: This A-class ‘van has Continental style and an excellent spec.
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