Reviews

IS THIS THE CORONET’S NEW CROWNING JEWEL?

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The STR 5950 pop-top is certainly a looker, but let’s see if there enough goodies inside to make it a great tourer…

The Coronet name-plate has been around since 1951 where it started life as a business based in Ballarat. Andrew Phillips took over the name in 1991 and has been building caravans and pop-tops customised to suit his customers ever since.

By customised, I do mean customised to a point. Coronet has a few base models to choose from and each base model has a variety of layout options. Customers discuss modifications and spec levels before the build starts.

One thing I like about the way Coronet is building the pop-top vans is that they can be made smaller in width and height to cater to the customer’s storage conditions at home, or to more closely suit a tow vehicle’s dimensions.

Perhaps one of the biggest differences in the way Coronet vans are constructed is that the van interior is built before the walls and roof go on. This means there are no wires or plumbing running within the walls. Coronet essentially uses a plug and play electrical system to power things up, which certainly keeps things neat.

The walls are 18mm thick and fully insulated, which helps the pop-top lock solidly into place when closed. Everything is glued and screwed into place for rigidity and durability, which is why Coronet offers a five-year warranty on the van’s construction and material. The walls can be clad in aluminium or a FRP fibreglass panel finish to create an individual look to suit the owners. Even the interior wall colours can be set up to match the colour scheme.

With the basic recipe sorted, it’s time to get into the mixing process and see what’s included in the package.

Outside

Creating the perfect tourer starts with a proven backbone, in this case a G&S Supagal chassis that is manufactured specifically for each van. On this review model it features an extended 300mm A-frame. Mechanicals on the chassis included a tandem roller rocker leaf-spring suspension system with 10-inch electric brakes plus AL-KO ESC. The alloy rims are shod with 15-inch rubber with the spare mounted on the rear bar, and mudflaps and wheel spats to protect the van.

Underneath our STR features two 95-litre water tanks and a 100-litre grey water tank, which is ideal for free camping.

The A-frame includes a mesh floor, 50mm ball coupling and AL-KO jockey wheel, cable handbrake and a tap, while twin 9kg gas bottles round out the front of the van.

Body-wise, our review model was fitted with solid walls with two-tone aluminium cladding. The front and back are FRP with the front sporting a neat-looking contrasting padded section. The roof and floor are each one-piece for durability, and the tent section of the pop-top, sourced from Tebbs, is heavy-duty vinyl with zippered vents in all walls. There are plenty of double acrylic windows fitted for light and airflow.

There’s a lockable, square top door, drop-down picnic table and a front, full-width locker as well as a boot, which is great for storage. An awning is included in the package for outdoor living, and of course all the lighting is LED except for the 12V door handle. Up on the roof is a 150W solar panel and Winegard antenna.

The exterior package looks good and is pretty functional but like any good cake it’s not just how it looks on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside that creates the real flavour.

Inside

Creating a good looking interior is easy, creating one that is practical is a tad harder and making one that is interesting and a little different is harder still but that’s exactly what you find when you step up into the STR.

Across the back of the van is the ensuite; I was impressed by how the top half of the ensuite wall and door folds down for travel and within seconds lifts up and creates a solid wall for privacy in the shower. This is a great innovation and eliminates the need for flexible screens.

The ensuite features a Thetford ceramic swivel toilet, ceramic vanity basin and a well-sized shower. The only thing I have a problem with is the absence of a shower screen for the top section to stop water splashing into the ensuite. On the plus side, there’s plenty of storage space in here.

In the middle of the van is the main living area. An L-shaped, four-seater dinette sits on the passenger side of the van. There are overhead cupboards above the dining seat and storage underneath as well.

The kitchen, opposite the dinette, has a large 184-litre three-way Thetford fridge up against the ensuite wall. Next to that is a bench top and slide-out pantry. Moving along is a recessed Swift four-burner cooker with grill and a rangehood above that to dispel the smells.

An NCE microwave is located above the fridge and a good-sized sink with a flick mixer rounds out the package.

There’s plenty of storage space above and below the roll-formed bench top, with drawers featuring soft close mechanisms. On the ensuite wall near the door is a large four-door pantry, perfect for storing your food items.

At the front of the van is the bedroom, where all the sweet things happen (Ant, this is a van review – Ed). This space is dominated by a queen-size bed that lifts up to expose storage space and two heaters – yes, two. One is a 12V system that works off the 27-litre Swift hot water system and the other is a Finch reverse-cycle ducted system that works on 240V power.

The electricals are run by a 12V battery system (under the bed) that includes a BM Pro operating system that also handles the solar. This integrated system is in a cupboard above the kitchen bench. The Fusion radio and hot water switches are in the same cupboard, within easy reach.

There are wardrobes either side of the bed and overhead cupboards. There are also two storage pockets located on each sidewall below the window, which again is a practical use of space. Other practical gear includes a shelf above the bed with reading lamps and corner cupboards.

Gloss cabinetry and neutral earthy tones have been used on the inside and while it’s not eye-popping, it is modern and practical. A Sirocco fan, 24-inch TV with DVD capability, roof hatches, curtains and pelmets all add to the mix that makes up the STR interior.

Overall, the simple understated feel of this van belies just how much gear has been added into the mix and that packs some punch for Coronet!

Verdict

It’s a thumbs up for the STR, an easy-to-use, functional pop-top that can be customised to suit your needs and wants. The spec level is impressive, and the heating and cooling are excellent … and all for under 65 large ones! This relatively light-weight van makes for smooth towing, too.  

The only sour note was the shower, which needs a small screen to stop water splashing into the ensuite. It’s an easy fix and one that would take the ensuite from good to great.

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