Bang on trend with 2017's hottest layout and with an eye-catching look, here is Practical Caravan's review of the brand-new, top-of-the-range Compass Camino 660 - winner of not only their 'Best Luxury Tourer' award, but also the overall title of 2017 Tourer of the Year.
Here's the full review from Practical Caravan, November 2017:
It’s four years since the Explorer Group reintroduced the Compass brand and, while its ranges have their followers, it has struggled to establish the mass-market appeal of its Elddis-badged stablemates. That’s in part because the waters surrounding the sibling brands were a little muddied, with the Compass lines perhaps lacking the clear identities of the Elddis Avanté, Affinity and Crusader.
For 2017 Explorer has pulled off a neat trick, giving the brand an injection of character, while simultaneously aligning its ranges more closely – in spec terms – with sister Elddis caravans. That means three ranges rather than two, with the Compass Corona and Rallye replaced by the entry-level Casita, mid-market Capiro and this, the Camino, a four-strong Compass incarnation of the luxurious Elddis Crusader.
As well as a new name and a new look – most notable on the Camino with its aluminium sidewalls in a stylish metallic blue – there are new layouts, too, the most exciting of which is undoubtedly the twin-axle 660. It features a central washroom and a rear transverse island bed.
Pitching and setting up
The gas locker lid gets a refresh, too, part of an all-new ABS front panel shared with the Elddis Crusader. It all makes for a very sharp-looking van, with the blue sides complemented by heavily tinted, flush-fitting windows. Practical details abound, such as a neat gas locker light on the A-frame, which is also home to an AKS hitch stabiliser and the indicator light for the standard ATC anti-snaking device.
There are shock absorbers and Secure wheel lock receivers, too, along with heavy-duty steadies and external lights on the sides and rear of the van. Unlike the Lunar Delta RI, which provided clear inspiration for this new model, the main services are positioned on the offside – good news if you plan on using an awning, which will be disturbed only by your fridge vents.
On the nearside you’ll find a gas barbecue point and two external locker hatches, with further evidence of thoughtful design in the front one: there’s a small cutout in the corner of the door for leads, with a 230V socket and aerial point inside.
"It’s immediately noticeable how much lounging space there is – the long sofas will seat six."
There’s another change compared to the Delta RI when you step aboard, because it’s immediately noticeable how much more lounging space there is in the Compass Camino 660. The long sofas will seat six, and you could squeeze in a seventh should you pay the additional £210 for wraparound seating – though Compass will let you keep the four-drawer chest in case you later change your mind. The seating is comfortable, with corner bolsters and plump scatter cushions, and upholstered in Explorer’s ‘Aquaclean’ stain-resistant fabric, with a neutral blue-and-oatmeal theme.
The lighting options, both day and night, are particularly impressive. A panoramic front window and long ‘Stargazer’ rooflight add plentiful daylight, while at night you can choose between subtle ambient lighting or targeted spots, depending on what you are doing.
Tech fiends will appreciate the two USB charging points in addition to a 230V socket. There are two more 230Vs plus a 12V charging point and a TV aerial socket on the sideboard beside the entrance door, with a glitzy cocktail cabinet above.
The generous galley area is given obvious separation from the main living space of this Compass caravan by its white-painted overhead lockers. And there are plenty of them, along with several big drawers and a large unit below the worktop that also houses the freestanding lounge table.
The granite-effect sink looks a little dated, but it’s domestic in feel and sits in a huge expanse of worktop – sufficient that a lift-up flap isn’t deemed necessary. It’s all lit by a quartet of LED downlights.
You’ll find another pair of 230V sockets here, along with an Omnivent extractor fan, while the huge fridge is on the other side of the caravan, with a microwave at an accessible height above it.
The Explorer Group uses the split washroom to great effect in its single-axle 550 models, and it returns here in the 2017 Compass Camino 660. It’s a neat idea, giving the option of a genuine en-suite, or if you have guests it can be separated from the bedroom by a screen.
Instead of the compromised circular unit found in some rivals, there’s a large, square, fully lined shower cubicle on the nearside. It has a backlit riser bar with an adjustable soap dish and an EcoCamel Orbit water-saving showerhead, though there is some wheelarch intrusion in the tray at the base.
On the opposite side there’s a WC with a classy integrated cistern, and alongside it a bowl sink with pop-up plug, sitting on a plinth. Two cabinets, a towel rail warmed by the standard Alde wet central heating and a backlit mirror complete this well-equipped room.
It’s a shame that there’s no window, and the slightly cramped feel with both screens across means that you don’t get the sense of space that you do in the Lunar Delta RI, but it also results in a roomier lounge and bedroom.
Although the washroom is a split affair rather than running right across the van, there is still the same sense of separation from the living area in this Compass caravan as you get in the Delta RI. Like the lounge, the bedroom boasts some attractive lighting above the lockers and along the offside wall, while the two large windows give a pleasingly domestic feel with their proper curtain poles and thickly lined curtains.
All Explorer Group island beds now retract a full 400mm, which means plenty of space to walk around the foot of the bed in daytime, and a backrest should you want to sit and read. At night, it extends to a generous 6ft 3in with an infill cushion, and an impressive 4ft 5in wide.
“This really is a very special, tranquil space to be in.”
There are bedside shelves with drawers beneath, reading lights and a thickly padded headboard, and in the nearside rear corner an attractive vanity unit with a cupboard, TV point, plus 12V, 230V and two USB sockets; there’s another 230V socket in the bed base.
The options for guests or kids/grandkids are good, too. At 5ft 11in long, the lounge sofas make decent single beds; but to really stretch out you can pull a set of slats from beneath the front chest to make a huge 6ft 8in x 4ft 8in double, with reading lights at each corner.
Bearing in mind that the 2017 Compass Camino 660 is most likely to be bought by couples, there is masses of storage. In the lounge, four overhead lockers – with slick positive catches – are joined by a front chest and bed boxes beneath the sofas, the nearside one with an external hatch and both with internal access flaps.
The bedroom boasts another pair of overhead lockers, like those in the lounge featuring ‘quiet-close’ hinges, plus a slimline wardrobe on either side to give plenty of hanging space. There’s the usual under-bed storage, albeit partially taken up by an on-board water tank.
While the Compass Camino 660 might not have the same washroom wow factor as the first van we saw with the layout, this interpretation should work well in practice. It offers a generous amount of living and entertaining space, a strong sense of privacy to the luxurious rear bedroom, and similar levels of flexibility.
The revamp of the flagship range of Compass caravans also gives it a unique identity and an attractive new style – it should really stand out on site!
“The Compass Camino delivers on all counts and, what’s more, it does it with style and good cheer.”
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