Legends Series: Coronet Prince pop-top
The Coronet Prince loved the outback. And our judges loved the Coronet Prince.
WHEN IT COMES to faithful, durable pop-tops for two, they don’t get much better than this Coronet Prince. It’s not a van for Cape York. It is, however, a van for the Yorke Peninsula. And in Broken Hill, where the terrain ranged from smooth bitumen to graded dirt tracks, the Prince was, dare I say it, rather regal in its behaviour.
The Prince’s layout is almost identical to that of the Goldstream RV on test – front kitchen, amidships dinette and lounge, with a bed in the back. Even down to the position of the fridge, microwave and storage hatch on the offside of the L-shaped kitchen. Which kitchen is better? Well, considering they’re so similar, the answer to that question has to come down to personal preference.
As it is in the Goldstream, the attention to detail is almost first rate. I say "almost" because the two kitchen drawers didn’t have a stopper, so if the catches failed while you were underway, they could slide open and topple to the floor. An unlikely event, true, but stranger things happen when you’re on the road.
The joinery in this kitchen, however, is superb, especially where the Laminex benchtop meets the splashback – no beading has been used. Instead, there’s a clean line of no more than 1mm that’s neatly filled with silicon.
There’s ample kitchen storage on offer, with a slide-out pantry in the entryway, a spread of cupboards and overhead lockers (sans internal dividers) and that offside hatch. As with the Goldstream, each judge agreed that a seal of some kind would be in order, considering the hatch’s closeness to the sink. A microwave sits above the Dometic 110L three-way fridge.
The offside lounge is a highlight, with storage underneath and above. It’s a comfortable place from which to enjoy the silence of the outback. It’s also not too much of a stretch to use it as additional dinette seating. As it is, the dinette would be a squeeze for any more than two (which isn’t surprising, considering this is a couple’s van), but the setup is perfectly comfortable. Access to the under-seat storage is via a hatch in the entryway.
The bedroom has everything in all the right places. The bed itself measures 1.83x1.52m (the same as the Goldstream) and there are reading lights either side. The bedhead is comprised of a couple of overhead lockers and wardrobes either side (the drawers here could also use a stopper).
Their layouts might be very similar, but there are a couple of major points of difference between the Coronet and Goldstream: the Coronet has a flatscreen TV (unfortunately not fitted to our review van), an external shower, and water heater. There’s also a Winegard antenna with a 12V socket at the antenna point – good for running a 12V telly or charging your mobile. The swing-arm TV bracket is good and strong – we applied considerable downforce and nothing creaked or wobbled.
Admittedly, all of these extras add up: the Coronet is about $2500 more expensive than the Goldstream, but we believe it would be money well spent, especially for the HWS and external shower. Never underestimate the ability to have a quick tub and access to hot water when you’re away from civilisation. The water, by the way, takes about 15 minutes to heat up.
The Heron air-con’s lagged copper pipes run from the compressor under the lounge seat and up through the offside diagonal cupboard in the bedroom. The cuts through the cupboard shelves and floor through which the pipes run are neat and the floor hole is well gapped with sealant.
Lighting throughout consists of three dome lights, the aforementioned halogen reading lights at the bed, and a couple of halogens each for the dinette and lounge. As for entertainment, in addition to the telly there’s a Sony stereo/MP3 player with a 3mm iPod socket, connected to two Sony speakers.
The Coronet Prince has clean lines and a terrific shape. It’s not exactly a head-turner – but that’s the point. Rather, it has the quiet confidence of a teenage boy who knows he’ll get the girl.
Up front are two 9kg gas cylinders on the drawbar, ball coupling, a centre-mounted jockey wheel, and mains pressure tap. The powder-coated front boot is home to the standard battery and Projecta charger. The light in the boot is also a welcome touch.
The padded vinyl pebbleguard runs roughly halfway up the front. It doesn’t look as purposeful as the Goldstream’s checkerplate protection, but it should do the job against light road debris.
The 4in A-frame runs back to the leaf-spring suspension, with 4in main rails running the full length. The 80L watertank, mounted behind the axle, is protected by galvanised sheeting; however, the tap juts out and might be vulnerable.
The Coronet was the only van of the four to offer a means of washing yourself. Its external shower is at the rear offside. Sure, some pop-tops have full bathrooms, but they invariably mean increasing the overall size of the rig, or compromising on the living space. The Coronet gets top marks for its elegant solution.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Whether yours is a Highway 1 adventure, or a bitumen-based hinterland journey, this Coronet Prince will keep the smile on your face.
Yes, we did take it off the bitumen here and there, and, towed with care, it was fine. It’s a straightforward van with a heart of gold.
Source: Caravan World May 2011