Coronet ST3 pop-top Review
With no bathroom but extra living space, Coronet’s ST3 pop-top is likely to divide opinion.
Coronet RV’s ST3-5050-5-S single-axle pop-top is sure to divide opinion. Designed without a bathroom – but with the extra living space that allows – the ST3-5050-5-S from a renowned pop-top builder Coronet which has proved, time and time again, it knows pop-tops and what works.
But, ironically, the differing attitudes around caravan bathrooms may indeed result in a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality whereby the ST3-5050-5-S manages to conquer a niche market.
The 5.3m (17ft 5in) ST3 model is purpose-built for the myriad of couples that still prefer the sanctuary of a caravan or holiday park and utilise their bathroom facilities.
In my case, I’m in my element free camping in faraway bush environments, but I suspect there are more than a few people that prefer the lap of luxury (i.e. shower, toilet, hot water, TV etc.) within the confines of their home-away-from-home.
CW tested the lightweight version of the ST3, which tips the scales at 1475kg unladen, and was suitably impressed with both its exterior and capacious interior.
DESIGN & CONSRUCTION
Internally, the Coronet is refreshingly contemporary and, sans the ensuite, it’s really roomy for such a compact package.
An onboard bathroom can account for 30 per cent volume and 25 per cent or more towing weight, so it’s little wonder why this design still has a place in the urban carport. Coronet RV also offers a fold-up A-frame and detachable rear bumper for those with storage length issues plus lower height and width profiles.
The ST3 also can be towed by many medium to large-sized four cylinder vehicles. Needless to say, our Toyota Fortuner towed it easier than a Siberian Husky pulls a sled.
I was impressed by the Coronet’s two-tone (silver/white) ribbed aluminium cladding, which presents a classy, warm look. It’s a sleek, albeit traditional exterior, but that’s what Coronet does best. And, under tow and with a closed pop-top roof, the ST3 looks longer than it actually is due to the lower profile and its extended A-frame.
The ST3 rides on a 4in G&S SupaGal (with Hammertone coating) chassis and G&S leaf spring suspension, along with Primal 15in alloys, 195R x 15C tyres, 10in Al-Ko electric drum brakes and Al-Ko Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
The entry door to the Coronet is rear of the axle and opens into a large lounge located across the rear wall and then returning along the off-side wall. In fact, this lounge is larger than most tandem-axle vans I’ve seen and allows for substantial storage underneath. Four-plus adults could easily entertain and socialise in comfort and, at a pinch, the rear wall lounge seat could even double as a children’s bed, if required.
The large table complements the area without interference or the necessity to alter its position. A corner table and cupboard below is placed just right or rearward of the entry door connecting the lounge seat.
Meanwhile, the 93L single-door Thetford three-way fridge (with in-built freezer) is an ideal size for such a compact pop-top and provides for usable bench space above and a large cupboard adjacent.
Up front, the RV queen-size lift-up bed, with innerspring mattress, allows plenty of room to move about, with robes each side, overhead cupboards above and dressing tables below providing ample storage for any expedition.
I’m a big wrap for the Coronet’s open plan living, which ensures the van’s interior remains spacious and airy throughout.
The L-shaped kitchen, comprising a Swift four-burner combo and grill, is equipped to prepare a small banquet. A large sink and drainer contains top-end Phoenix tapware that exudes elegance, and the cupboard drawers provide adequate storage. This 90° angled kitchen is practical while adding more usable post-form radius benchtop space that may otherwise be lost in a side wall only kitchen design. Overhead cupboards and a Daewoo auto cook microwave complete the finishing touches.
Inside, however, it was still difficult to get my head around the noticeably absent air-conditioner, shower, toilet and TV – standard inclusions in almost every modern caravan. But that is the ST3’s point of difference!
The ST3 pop-top also includes a 105Ah Century AGM battery, solar wiring to the roof, Fusion radio/CD with USB, TV antenna point, 12V water pump and gauge, 12V LED interior lighting incorporating various styles, and a Carefree rollout awning.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you don’t want to tough it out away from the bitumen and off-grid camping isn’t your calling, then the ST3 single-axle (non-bathroom) pop-top could be for you. And don’t forget, you can always upgrade with a portable shower and toilet if you feel the need to momentarily stray from the caravan park set.
Obviously you get more space and an open feel with this ST3 setup, but the trade-off is a significant mod-con reduction. And being consistently restricted to a caravan park will add a fistful of dollars to your travel costs.
But you get what you pay for within the context of this van, and I think the price is right at just a ‘grey nurse’ under $40K.
- Internal space
- Towable by mid-sized cars
- Urban carport friendly
- Minimal mod-cons
- Niche market appeal
- Increased travel costs due to not having a bathroom