Most of my cherished memories caravanning have been with wife Meredyth and family.
Nowadays, though, the kids have moved on — well, not completely. We’re not suffering from empty nest syndrome yet!
Our daughter Alle, 31, is married with children. But sons Paul, 23, and Patrick, 19, are typical of the early Generation Z demographic cohort — tech-savvy and open-minded, and still at home ‘living off the fat of the land’!
Alright, I’ll concede that both have stable employment — albeit significantly contributing to a massive food bill and consistently dipping their fingers into my wallet. (My wife has several hiding places for her purse.)
Regardless, I couldn’t help but get holidaying flashbacks while recently reviewing the roomy STR-6400 family van from Coronet RV.
And the minute I cast eyes upon the full-height tandem-axle van, it wasn’t difficult to envisage this triple bunk model appealing to those with a ‘family values’ travelling bent.
In fact, Coronet RV places a strong emphasis on family vanning. Based in Bayswater, VIC, the boutique RV manufacturer that invariably builds bespoke models, and also offers popular floorplans, says more families are looking to explore the natural attractions that our country offers; that being an attraction within the boundaries of a weekend escape, to an excursion over the school holidays, and everything in between.
With that in mind, let’s go straight to the STR-6400’s kids’ zone encompassing the ensuite. Occupying the back section of the offside wall, the ultra-cosy triple bunks come with their own window, powerpoint and USB port. The only thing I’d add is a DVD player dedicated to each bunk.
Slap-bang in the middle of the rear wall is a large cupboard and four slide-out drawers, a perfect scenario for neatly packing away the kids’ garments. (Well, until they start searching for their favourite glad rags.)
And, as far as the youngsters would be concerned, the bathroom is conveniently located opposite the bunks.
It’s a stylish ensuite complete with full-height fibreglass shower and Thetford C263 ceramic toilet, rectangular washbasin and flick mixer tap, and impressive storage including a linen cupboard, three slide-out drawers under the vanity and two cupboards above the vanity. Thrown into the mix is the requisite 12V hatch, window and vanity mirror, plus a towel rail mounted on the back of a sliding door, hand towel ring and toilet roll holder.
However, I did think the inclusion of a mini-washer wouldn’t go astray — particularly if the slightly more adventurous touring family decided to briefly venture off-grid.
There’s also a skylight to the front of the roomy bunks/ensuite area. No feeling of claustrophobia here!
The voguish interior also extends to the palatial front bedroom and a schmick living zone with an L-shaped lounge that doesn’t encroach on space.
Highlighting the boudoir are a lift-up caravan-queen-sized bed on struts, sunroof hatch, three overhead lockers, panoramic double-acrylic windows, and robes with deep hanging space and storage above. A dresser, reading lamp, powerpoint/USB port and large storage pocket are located either side of the bed, while a heater thermostat is mounted on one side of the bedhead which has shelving.
There’s also an offside corner cabinet, with a Sirocco fan, TV swivel arm bracket and powerpoint above. Wow, there’s even a switch for turning on the ensuite light —handy in the dark of night.
And conveniently tucked away under-bed are the 100Ah Century AGM battery, 12V Shurflo freshwater pump and Swift Ecotherm heater (which draws heat from the hot water system).
Meanwhile, immediately right of entry, is a plush fabric-upholstered L-shaped lounge with a slide-out drawer at each end. A good-sized window offers inviting vistas, and the dining table is manufactured by Coronet RV to the customer’s design criteria.
There are also four overhead lockers, a magazine holder on the ensuite bracing
wall, a coat rack, internal speaker, and a double powerpoint under main section of lounge seating.
Situated directly opposite the lounge, the pragmatic kitchen features a Swift 500 Series gas/electric cooktop and grill, ample formed benchtop space (as the cooktop has a cover), obligatory sink/tap with window above, NCE rangehood, stainless steel effect splashback, BMPRO Trek monitor, internal speaker and double powerpoint.
And importantly, there’s abundant storage for culinary provisions and paraphernalia — including two overhead cupboards above the sink, four soft-close drawers on metal runners under the sink, a slide-out drawer under the cooktop, and a two-tier wire basket pull-out pantry.
Meanwhile, a control cabinet above the rangehood houses the on-board telemetry, including an on/off hot water switch and ‘Sphere suite’, plus a Fusion entertainment system. And a cupboard under the kitchen sink has its bottom section devoted to the Break-Safe system.
Adjacent to the central part of the galley is a family friendly 185L Thetford N3185E gas/electric fridge-freezer, with a 22L NCE microwave above and a BatteryPlus 35SR solar battery management system below.
A centrally located Houghton Belair 3400 reverse cycle air-conditioner complements the heater in the climatic comfort department, and hot water is at the ready via a 27L Swift gas/electric unit.
Internally, I’m also duly impressed by the stunning interior colour coordination melding ultra-white with figura pine (grey grain) to create a warm up-to-the-minute ambience throughout the caravan.
Equally, the butt-hinge cabinetry and furniture which is produced in-house using screws, not staples, to fasten the frame construction. When each furniture module is completed it’s then pocket-screwed to the walls and floor. All furniture is created via AutoCAD to the customer’s design.
The STR-6400 exudes a sleek external look, but the beauty is much more than skin deep.
Intrinsically, this is attributed to its optional cladding construction, with the walls being a 23mm composition of ply, internal veneer and external seamless FRP. Manufactured by Worthington Industries to Coronet RV design these walls are laid up and CNC machined for quality and accuracy. And I must add that this constitution offers second-to-none structural integrity.
Complementing the seamless fibreglass reinforced plastic cladding is a lower FRP black panel that serves two purposes: it’s aesthetically appealing, creating a lower stance; and when subjected to road grime, tar and the like it’s easy to clean.
One of the options for the tested model includes an upgrade to AL-KO rocker roller leaf spring suspension (semi-offroad), a low-maintenance suspension that can be used for maintained gravel roads. Additionally, this STR-6400 rides on a G&S chassis with 160mm main rails, along with 15in x 8in alloy offroad wheels and Trazano Radial SL369 all-terrain tyres. It also utilises AL-KO running gear such as ESC, 12in electric brakes, and a 50mm ball coupling.
Not surprisingly, hitched to a Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, the Coronet towed like a dream. The van’s aerodynamic front features high checkerplate, a voluminous front boot, Manutec jockey wheel, twin 9kg gas cylinders up front, a mesh tray on the A-frame, and an unprotected tap on the outside of the drawbar.
On the nearside is a three-quarter width tunnel boot, fold-down picnic table, roll-out awning, LED annexe light, 12V entrance door handle light, two optional Fusion speakers, and an entry door purchased from Hume Industries. It’s a triple lock design incorporating a full flyscreen detachment. But given that this STR-6400 comprised 300mm additional ground clearance, I was surprised by the absence of an entry step.
A town water entry point, lockable water filler and a vent for the hot water system are based on the offside, while the rear has an easily accessible spare wheel mounted on the wall, a looped bumper bar, LED trailer lighting and a high-mounted rear stop light. However, no reversing camera.
Rounding up, dual 95L water tanks and a 160W roof-mounted solar panel (combined with the aforementioned 100Ah AGM house battery) provide adequate capacity for sticking predominantly to the tarmac.
THE BOTTOM LINE
When I hark back to my family’s formative days caravanning, it’s a case of thanks for the memories. And the Coronet RV STR-6400 certainly had me reminiscing. Make no mistake, it’s a ‘memories are made of this’ type of van that’s pitch-perfect for any family desiring to travel comfortably on the blacktop.
OK, family caravanning is no longer on our brood's agenda, which leads us to our grandkids… Meaning, I can hardly wait for some belated trips down memory lane — perhaps in a triple bunk van?
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Overall length 8.6m (28ft 3in) – includes extended A-frame and spare wheel at rear
External body length 6.4m (21ft)
External body width 2.31m (7ft 7in) – excludes rollout awning
Travel height 2.85m (9ft 4in) – includes air-conditioner
Internal height 1.98m (6ft 6in)
Ball weight 200kg (at Tare), 350kg (maximum permissible)
Frame Worthington 18mm CNC seamless veneer
Cladding Seamless FRP (fibreglass reinforced plastic)
Chassis G&S, with 160mm main rails
Suspension AL-KO rocker roller leaf spring
Coupling AL-KO 50mm ball
Brakes AL-KO 12in electric
Wheels 15in×8in alloy offroad
Battery 1×100Ah Century AGM
Air-conditioner Finch RV (Houghton Belair 3400)
Sway control AL-KO ESC
Cooking Swift gas/electric hot plates and grill
Fridge Thetford gas/electric N3185E 185L
Microwave NCE 22L
Bathroom Full-height fibreglass shower and Thetford C263 ceramic toilet
Washing machine No
Hot water Swift gas/electric 27L
Worthington’s FRP (fibreglass reinforced plastic); seamless external walls; AL-KO rocker roller leaf spring suspension; pair of Fusion external radio speakers
PRICE AS SHOWN
$79,990 (incl. GST)
To enquire about this caravan, please phone (03) 9761 5286