Turning on the two-berth style
With three slightly differing Sterling ranges this year, it would be easy to get a bit confused. But, in Swift-speak, if you like, 480 is an end washroom two-berth which, like here, kicks off the Sterling Eccles, Elite and Continental line-ups.
It’s definitely the most competitively priced of the three – the Elite 480 is up to £22,995, the Continental version some £2,000 more. Yet the Eccles 480 certainly doesn’t lose out to its stablemates in terms of construction qualities.
All Swift Group tourers come out of the same factory near Hull. Swift’s Smart Plus system gives it a GRP-clad roof, floor and sides body, with Styrofoam insulation for the floor and polyurethane framework in lieu of the timber used in the past.
There’s a new, curved front end for this season, with fixed sunroof and just the three-window face. The black drawbar cover with inset steps, plus black front locker, help make it a bit more individual. There’s an all-white back end, with fixings already in place for the bike rack option.
If the outside is smart (no pun intended) the interior counts as positively chic. There’s a freshness to the extensive use of white, with contrasting details, for the furniture, which comes from Italy’s Tecnoform. It might lack some of the more outrageous décor of previous Sterlings, but there’s nevertheless a very contemporary feel to this tourer. And if you want to add a splash of colour, that’s up to you.
It’s the kind of two-berth layout that’s been with us since the Year Dot. But, the latest Eccles treatment, complete with curves, really does bring it all bang up to date.
Facing you as you enter is the kitchen. It comes with what these days counts as the expected Thetford Aspire 2 cooker – dual-fuel hob, separate oven and grill, with a particularly neat way the protector glides out when the grill door is open – along with circular sink immediately alongside.
This allows plenty of worktop to the left, supplemented by a flip-up extension. The microwave is housed over the sink, flanked by lockers. There’s also a Dometic 8-series fridge, with removable freezer box.
It’s easy enough to convert the front end from seating to bedding. Whilst the double is a positively generous 2.02m x 1.76m. If you want to keep the sleeping arrangement as singles, they’re a rather more compromising 1.86m (nearside) and 1.76m (offside), both 0.72m wide.
Across the back, there’s an angled door to the washroom. In here, you’ll find a neatly moulded sink with large mirror, monoblock Swift-branded lever tap and double doored locker below.
On the offside is the swivel-bowl toilet with window beyond and wardrobe adjacent, complete with shelved sections. The nearside corner is taken by the shower. It’s a lined cubicle with Ecocamel’s “open” Orbit showerhead – and there’s a single light, single plughole, and bi-folding doors.
The Alde heating option (as fitted here) threatens to move the Eccles 480 up a league – but, you’ll also need a chassis upgrade. As it is, the standard Truma system, with its digital control panel, is more than up to the task of keeping things cosy and supplying plenty of hot water, as required.
New for this season are such luxuries as LED lighting, 80Watt solar panel, Airwave seats/beds, and even the matt finish to the locker doors. Practicality is more important, of course.
You’ll appreciate details such as the double hooks just inside the door, the low-level unit to the left here, and the way the upper locker doors open parallel to the ceiling. Towel and toilet roll holders, plus a double hook for clothes, again demonstrate good attention to detail.
Compact size, lower weight and sheer manageability count in the 480’s favour. It’s a popular, nay classic, layout that continues to be a big favourite – which explains the many rivals. Go ahead, check ‘em all out, including its more upmarket sisters!
Verdict: Aimed firmly at the style-conscious couple
Plus: Fresh looks, promising 2016 upgrades, light weight
Minus: Short single beds
In-a-nutshell: Contemporary treatment for a classic two-berth layout
There’s more information on the Eccles 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: Adria Adora 432DT Loire, Coachman Vision 450, Compass Corona 462, Elddis Avante 462, Bailey Pegasus Genoa, Lunar Quasar 462, Swift Challenger 480
Sterling Eccles 480 factfile
|Model||Sterling Eccles 480|
|Dimensions||6.11m L, 2.23m W, 2.61m H|
|RRP||from £17,920 on the road|
|Safety & security||Tracker Retrieve, receiver for Al-Ko Secure wheel lock, AKS 3004 stabiliser, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, interior deadlock facility, VIN Chip.|
|Key options||Alternative upholsteries (from £195), Al-Ko ATC £315), Alde heating (£749), wraparound lounge (from £175), Thule cycle rack (£215), alarm (£260)|
Note: All details correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.
*Caravan insurance cost based on Sterling Eccles 480 caravan retailing at £17,920 fitted with hitchlock, Al-Ko secure wheel lock and Tracker Retrieve. Kept on drive at HX4 0BE. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for 3 years and a member of a cara-vanning 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 22.4.16.