Heard of glamping (glamour plus camping)? Well, this is glamavanning. With a name like Continental, perhaps you’d expect a bit of flair, well this tourer has it by the bucketful.
Things have changed for the Sterling Continental 530. Last season it was a twin axle model, now it’s just a single. In all other respects it’s moved even more inexorably upmarket.
The layout hasn’t changed, though. Here’s a very modish take on a traditionally classic end washroom, side dinette floorplan – an arrangement that appeals to both couples and families with children alike.
First impressions of the interior, however, are more of a trendy apartment than a towed home. There’s a real leather trim to the upholstery. It’s called Winchester Black, combined with a suede-effect stain-resistant SwiftShield. Fluffy scatter cushions seem perfectly at home here, too. For those with pets, soft furnishings like this that won’t collect hairs is good news. Maybe not the shag-pile rug between the settees, though.
Unlike some Sterlings of the past, you could almost say there’s a restrained style to the interior of the current Continentals. Indeed, it doesn’t take much to imagine how your personal belongings will sit in here.
The Continental’s kitchen has the latest Spinflo Aspire cooker, with dual-fuel hob (one electric hotplate, three gas rings), separate grill and oven. And, of course, there’s a microwave oven. The sink is inset into a marble-style worktop with full acrylic splashback. Critically, there’s also a generous amount of worktop – to both the right and the left, bearing in mind there’s a plastic drainer to add to the sink when needed.
Below the worktop, the Dometic fridge has a 110-litre capacity, with a 12-litre removable freezer box. Only the small cutlery drawer lets down this kitchen.
The full-width washroom is a similar model of consistency. A chrome towel rail squeezes between the wardrobe and the swivel-bowl toilet. There’s an opening window beyond the latter and the shower cubicle has an Ecocamel Orbit outlet that manages successfully to combine a forceful spray with actual water saving.
It’s probably no surprise to hear Alde heating tops the list of standard equipment, which also includes everything from an 80Watt solar panel to soft-close drawers. There’s plenty of practicality, too. Lockers are easy to open and close. There’s a dedicated drinks locker… why, there are even stereo speakers in the washroom!
Not forgetting Swift Command, the all-encompassing feature that gives you full control of lighting, heating, hot water and more – all via a downloadable app should you need it.
At bed time, there’s the choice of single beds or a full-scale 1.98m x 1.78m double at the front. Beds three and four come from the dinette. They’re not the longest, but children will like the traditional bunk-style set-up.
It’s all enclosed in Swift’s Smart HT construction process, resulting in curved leading edges, recessed awning rails etc, that all help with the streamlining. There are GRP outer and inner skins, including the roof, and inert polyurethane blocks instead of water-attracting timber to provide the strengthening. The floor is a five-layer composite with Styrofoam at its core. There’s a six-year bodyshell warranty (extendible to 10 years on initial purchase), while general parts and fittings are covered for three years.
Plus there’s plenty of safety and security features fitted as standard, to give you some healthy discounts on your caravan insurance. Amongst others, these include the Tracker Retrieve, Al-Ko ATC trailer stability control, passive infra-red alarm system, and receiver for an Al-Ko Secure wheel lock.
If nothing else, a Sterling Continental is one to wave in front of the face of anyone who dares to say caravans lack sophistication and modernity.
Verdict: A classic floorplan, re-styled and thoroughly modernised
Plus: Modern styling, highly practical layout, high specification
Minus: No lightweight, is it all too much?
In-a-nutshell: Cool to caravan
There’s more information on the Sterling Continental range on the Swift Group website www.swiftgroup.co.uk. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page
Alternatives: Coachman Pastiche 520, Lunar Clubman ES, Swift Elegance 530
Sterling Continental 530 factfile
|Model||Sterling Continental 530|
|Dimensions||7.01m L, 2.26m W, 2.61m H|
|RRP||from £27,540 on the road|
|Safety & security||Tracker Retrieve, Al-Ko Secure wheel lock, Al-Ko ATC trailer stability control, passive infra-red alarm system, AKS 3004 stabiliser, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, interior deadlock facility, CRiS identity labels|
|Key options||Alternative upholsteries (foc), wraparound lounge (from £175), Thule cycle rack (£215)|
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Note: All details correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.
*Caravan insurance cost based on Sterling Continental 530 caravan retailing at £27,540 fitted with hitchlock, Al-Ko Secure wheel lock, Tracker Retrieve, Al-Ko ATC trailer stability control, passive infra-red alarm system and AKS 3004 stabiliser. Kept on drive at HX4 0BE. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for three years and a member of a caravanning club. £100 excess. 180 days European cover and up to £75 per day for up to 15 days emergency accommodation cover included. Legal expenses cover, extended European cover and other emergency accommodation expenses cover options are available at extra cost. Quote includes 10% online discount and 9.5% Insurance Premium Tax and is correct as of 24.5.16