Andrew McPhee

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Get the full story on the Belgian built Lunar Champ A511 only in the Practical Motorhome review

Overview

The A511 and, indeed, the entire Belgian-built Champ range, looks like 2007’s best-value coachbuilts with a level of winterisation normally reserved for mid-market models.

A double floor provides frost-proof tanks and pipework and the overcab bed is heated. British models will also have the door on the nearside, with a mirror image of the floorplan shown here.

The A511 is the only Champ under 6m long, though it still manages to fit in an end washroom with a separate shower. Touring couples may find the dinette poor for lounging but this compact layout could work well for families with one child, or toddlers who could share the large overcab bed.

The payload quoted doesn’t include passengers or essential habitation equipment but there should still be enough allowance for bikes or two weeks’ worth of holiday kit. Unfortunately, there are no exterior lockers for chairs or pitching kit so these will probably end up being stored in the rising gas-strut assisted overcab. The slide-out, low-level gas locker is very easy to use, though.

An advantage of Lunar’s use of Fiat’s ‘special’, low van chassis is a lower entrance step with an attractive one-piece door with two locking points and a window.

The chassis also delivers surprisingly decent road manners for such a tall coachbuilt on a relatively short wheelbase. The basic 100bhp Multijet engine should provide enough power to allow you to cruise at 70mph in the A511, even fully laden (it has similar performance to Fiat’s old 2.3JTD engine).

The rear passengers have three-point belts, headrests and reasonable views from the nearside window. There’s the option of a passenger airbag, too, and it’s likely that most buyers will specify this option, along with cab and rear carpets, a colour matched front bumper and a flyscreen door. Lunar looks to have priced the A511 to sneak below £30,000, but even with a roof rack and ladder thrown in with all the above, the on-the-road price would still be only £31,061.

The layout is practical but the dinette doesn’t allow for feet up in front of the telly. A flatscreen TV holder slides out from a locker behind the dinette, though you will need to specify a driver’s swivel seat to make the most of it, or else sit squeezed up on the front dinette seat.

The kitchen has limited workspace but with the table so close this won’t be much of a problem. And, there is a huge amount of kitchen storage space, and a large wardrobe by the washroom.

The well-equipped bathroom, will allow owners to stay at aires, or events with no facilities. This, combined, with winterisation and a strong build quality for such a keenly priced ‘van, will give owners year-round use for years to come. If you can live with the compact layout, the Champ has a lot to offer.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload517kg
Length5.99m19′8″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height3.03m9′11″
Waste water85L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Awning light
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

If you can live with the compromises that such a compact layout necessarily brings, it's a great coachbuilt 'van for year-round family touring.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Price
  • Use of space
  • Levels of winterisation
  • Washroom

Cons

  • No exterior lockers
  • Limited kitchen work surface space
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