Benjamin Davies

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Get the expert verdict on the Adria Coral S690 SP in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

The Coral’s red bodywork (a  cost option) isn’t for everyone, but it really does  makes it stand out. The theme is continued inside the cab, with red inserts trimming the cab.

The Coral comes in at 7.36m, although its sleek appearance makes it look shorter. What definitely isn’t short is the overhang: it’s a  huge 2.38m.

Entrance to the living area is  via a low, inbuilt step in the  doorwell, which makes access to and from the living quarters easy. The gas locker is low, too, meaning that fitting and removing heavy bottles is a doddle.

Rear corner steadies and a  wide-bore wastewater pipe are included in the exterior equipment. A heated 85-litre waste water tank comes as standard, and a 110-litre fresh water tank is located beneath the dinette seat.

On the road

The view from the Fiat Ducato cab is typically excellent, with good forward and side vision. There’s no rear window, but reversing sensors are fitted as standard. Those on our ‘van were a bit sensitive, though, sometimes beeping even when it wasn’t close to an object.

The Adria is a three-berth, but it has five belted seats. Four of them face forward and the fifth is made by converting the side single sofa. This involves simply removing the steel-framed seat back and relocating it to face the rear; a lap belt is sited in the seat box.

Travellers in the back also benefit from an on-road heater. The dinette seat provides good support and plenty of legroom. A large, optional Heki rooflight above the cab lets in plenty of light, too.

Finally, we had expected the Adria’s sleek shape to yield an impressive fuel economy and it didn’t disappoint – in the end. It was driven by several testers: our ‘van returned everything from 18.2 to 26.7mpg, finally averaging out at an impressive 25.4mpg.

Lounging & dining

The island bed area takes up so much of the interior that something else has to give. In this case, it’s the lounge area.

The S690 SP comes with a  half-dinette with a single side-facing seat, which doesn’t allow much space for lounging of an evening. The seats are quite hard, too, and the bolt-upright seat backs can become uncomfortable after a while.

The comfiest seats by far are, as always, the swivelling cab seats, thanks to their twin armrests and reclining backs.

There are sockets and pre-fittings for a flatscreen TV in the dinette but they’re located in a cupboard above the single side seat, meaning anyone sitting in that seat can’t view the screen.

Frustratingly, the only mains power socket in the lounge is also located in this cupboard. This means trailing mains lead over to the table if you need to use, for example, a laptop.

Dining is rather more comfortable. There’s plenty of room for five to eat, as the table extends by adding an extra insert that is stored beneath it when not in use. This should be a quick, simple, slot-in procedure, but the clip holding the extension in place is tucked away and awkward to reach.

Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen is another area that suffers from the inclusion of an island bed in a mid-sized ‘van. This section divided opinion among our testers: those who used it most seemed to find it least frustrating, as they learned to work around its limitations.

Work surface is minimal – a couple of our testers remarked on the fact that they had to use the dinette table, too. The circular sink is plenty big enough for washing up, however, and the three-burner hob (with electric ignition) is amply sized. There’s also a small, lidded compost bin located on the worktop, and an extractor fan above the hob.

The 150-litre fridge and freezer gives more than enough room for most people’s food and drink, and the oven/grill unit is excellent, although its location caused some concern; it’s high – above the fridge and freezer – and lifting hot food down from it is a worrying affair.

The amount of kitchen storage space is impressive, with numerous drawers and cupboards. A dedicated crockery cupboard would have been useful, however, to stop plates rattling while on the move.

Sleeping

And so to the double island bed with its sprung mattress. It’s extravagant on space – the whole area is like a proper bedroom, with windows on either side and a curtain dividing the bedroom and living space (a door replaces this curtain in the ’09 version).

Each side of the bed can be raised independently at the head, ideal if one of the  couple likes to read before lights-out, or it can be pressed into action as extra lounge space.

The water- and heater controls are in the bedroom, so you don’t have to get out of bed to turn on the heater before you get up.

The Adria is classed as a three-berth, with the half-dinette converting into a single bed by dropping the table and filling in the gaps with cushions.

Washroom

The washroom of the 2008 model is in two parts. There’s an en-suite area in the bedroom with a sink, vanity unit and shower, and a separate room for the toilet and another sink. (The shower remains in the 2009 model, but the en-suite sink has been replaced with a drawer).

The Coral’s shower, separate toilet and bedroom sink is convenient, but the toilet is cramped and the shower, though spacious, loses floor space due to the intrusion of the rear wheelarch. However, a couple travelling for an extended period of time are likely to find that the benefits of having two separate wash areas outweigh the inconvenience of a small room for the toilet.

You do have to watch that the plastic sliding doors don’t open while showering, though – they’re mighty close to the end of the bed.

There’s another peculiarity of the S690 SP: trying to work out where the switch is for the shower’s overhead light. In fact, it’s alongside the extractor fan in the kitchen – not quite logically placed, though tolerable once you get used to it.

Storage

The double-doored garage at the back of the ’van is roomy enough, has a 150kg payload and has a non-slip floor. It’s heated, too, and lit. The spare wheel attaches to the rear inside wall – better than the underside of the chassis if you need  to change a wheel and it’s wet.

A pair of wardrobes and three lockers mean plenty of storage space for clothes, and the island bed base lifts to afford access to storage underneath. It’s quite heavy though, and is supported by a stay when raised.

Finally, the Adria – which is based on a 3500kg chassis – has a payload of 540kg, which should be plenty for a couple.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload540kg
Length7.36m24′2″
Width2.29m7′6″
Height2.79m9′2″
Waste water85L
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Oven
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater

Verdict

The Adria isn’t perfect. As a three-berth ’van, it warrants just three stars – three occupants would end up falling over each other. Consider the Adria as a two-berth, though, and it makes more sense. There’s still not a huge amount of lounging space, but occupants can use both swivelled cab chairs.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Comfortable double bed; washroom has sinks for two (until 2009); good-sized fridge/freezer

Cons

  • Small kitchen work space; washroom could be larger; not big enough for three
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