Best Aussie Vans Finalist 2014 Coronet FS2 Test Review
Last year’s category winner, the Coronet FS2, is back for another tilt at the title.
It wowed the judges at last year’s inaugural Best Aussie Vans event with its brave and innovation design, so it was only natural that the Coronet FS2 5950 4-T returned to defend its title at this year’s showdown.
Largely unchanged from the tandem-axle design with the full-width rear bathroom still so uncommon in pop-tops that won it the crown in the Pop-Tops category in 2014, the FS2 did come with a few new features this year. But it still relied heavily on the innovation of the large bathroom with solid, hinged internal walls which saw it take the win last year.
Design and Construction
At 6.25m (20ft 6in) external body length (5.95m internal), the FS2 is long for a pop-top, hence the tandem axles. Nearly as long at the van itself is its moniker – FS2 5950 4-T. FS2 is for ‘Fashion Statement’ range, ‘5950’ for its internal length, ‘4’ is Coronet’s internal design code, and ‘T’ is to indicate its tandem axle.
While the FS2 does have the requisite pop-top roof, some would argue it has more in common with a full-height caravan than other pop-tops in the category. But although it sits at the higher end of the price range of the tested pop-tops at $49,990, there’s no doubting its value for money.
This is an on-road van through and through, for couples who like to tour in comfort, with a touch of luxury, as evidenced by its extensive list of options, including leather recliners, leather upholstery, solar provision and a washing machine.
Chassis and Suspension
The van’s A-frame, while looking relatively sparse, actually has a decent amount going on. What stands out, on first impresChassis andsion, is the black galvanised finish instead of the bog-standard silver colour. This extends all the way under the 4in G&S chassis and gives the van a clean, modern look from the get-go.
Further to that, there’s the standard 3.5t Al-Ko coupling (others are optional), Al-Ko’s Electronic Stability Control – which is a pleasing standard addition – centre-mounted jockey wheel, two 4.5kg gas cylinders well-protected by a vinyl cover, and a mesh storage rack for hoses, firewood and whatever other goodies you decide to install there.
The load-sharing leaf-spring suspension is adequate for its on-road touring purposes, but you also have the option of upgrading to independent suspension.
The FS2 feels far more spacious than a pop-top should, which is a real complement to its designers. With a front island bed, nearside L-shaped dinette, large offside kitchen and that private, full-width bathroom, the layout will definitely please the masses.
Highlights include the ample storage, homely (in a good way) two-tone fabric upholstery, user-friendly height of microwave (something we don’t see enough of) and the length of the kitchen bench.
Up front, the double bed measures 1.88x1.52m (6ft 2in x 5ft) but a queen-sized bed is optional, if you need the extra space. Underneath, the Truma Saphir ducted air-conditioning unit is enclosed under the bedhead, while the pipes run through the storage space to the end of the bed, where the ducts are. Also housed in this area is the single 100Ah battery. Bedroom storage consists of two overhead cabinets, deep side wardrobes, and bedside cabinets.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying the Coronet FS2 5950 4-T is a great deal for buyers.
If you want the lower profile and towing convenience of a pop-top, the space of a tandem-axle van and the comfort of a full-size, completely private, on-board bathroom, Coronet is probably the only place you’re going to get it. And the fact that it all comes for under $50K is just another tick in its favour.
But while it does represent very good value, the van, in its current iteration, didn’t quite make the same impression on the judges as when it was unveiled last year.
I would like to have seen the same level of innovation applied and the van taken to another level this time around. Coronet certainly has an eye for innovation, there’s no doubt about that, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the team comes up with next.
But while the FS2 achieved similar scores to 2014, it was outmanoeuvred this time by a pop-top with something different to offer.
- Amount of storage
- New high gloss cabinet doors
- Bench space
I would have liked...
- The bathroom’s roof panels to be better aligned, though in other FS2s we’ve seen they were fine
The full test appeared in Caravan World #533, January 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!