The new Sterling Eccles Elite Searcher
The twin axle Searcher is positively bristling with high tech kit designed to make an extended stay on site comfortable and stress-free.
Refinements such as Alde wet central heating (radiators, to you and me), a 40-litre on-board water tank with new ‘Autofill’ system, heavier pile carpets, five 230v sockets and energy efficient LED lighting all offer practical benefits to make the touring experience that bit more enjoyable.
Take the new LED lighting, for example. This should reduce energy consumption needed to power the lights by around 50 per cent – meaning the leisure battery will last significantly longer – especially if its topped up by a solar panel.
The big Sterling incorporates an impressive inventory of desirable equipment traditionally found on the options list – if at all.
The huge fridge in the Sterling Eccles
In spec terms, the Sterling starts to build up to an almost unassailable lead over just about every competitor in the market.
There’s a 175-litre Thetford fridge freezer and if the on-board radio/CD/MP3 entertainment system isn’t quite enough and you’re planning to take a full complement of mains electrical ‘toys’ with you, how do five 230v sockets sound?
The blinds are smooth running concertina versions, while the overhead lockers feature positive locking for more secure stowage of loose items during transit. There are new sliding wire storage baskets underneath the sink and washroom door is a domestic-style affair with a proper handle.
Those striking silver sides which made their debut last season are retained for 2009, complemented by some modern new graphics which celebrate the marque’s 90th anniversary. The windows have also been re-styled to more closely reflect the sweeping lines of the new graphics.
The stark contrast between the ultra pale pine and dark, almost ebony tones of the worktops, table and locker trims will polarise opinion among potential customers.
The soft furnishings attempt to reconcile these two extremes with abstract patterns in cream, grey, beige and black.
The Sterling Eccles’ washroom
As a luxury layout for two, the fixed bed, rear washroom combination is about as good as it gets, offering space aplenty, a comfy bed and the privacy of a large washroom. Factor in a couple of kids however, and that fixed bed and large washroom begin to look space-hungry.
The washroom is spacious and functional and the large ‘double’ shower has additional space for lathering or towelling off without soaking the floor. There’s also plenty of storage space in two separate cabinets plus some shallow shelving.
In isolation, those kitchen worktops look great, but serious chefs will need the additional space afforded by the drop-down flap over the bed. The Thetford hob has three gas burners. A high output electric variant and a separate grill and oven sit below.
Inside the new Elite Searcher
The microwave sits atop the huge fridge-freezer at a height which some may not be comfortable removing hot liquids from.
The 6ft 3in fixed double boasts a 4ft 5in wide sprung mattress which sits over a large storage area compromised only by the central heating boiler and in a neat bit of packaging, the dining table is stowed inside the bed’s head-board.
The Searcher gives the impression of contemporary
class – bursting with a high level of top quality equipment!
Insurance cost: £376*
*Caravan Insurance cost based on 2008 Sterling Eccles Elite Searcher valued at £19,295 on a new for old policy. Kept at home on the driveway behind 24 hour locked gates at HX2 7RZ. Fitted with hitchlock, wheel clamp, alarm and a Caravan Guard approved tracking system. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for the last 3 years with no convictions and members of a caravanning club. Insurance cost includes an online discount of £10 and IPT at 5%. Correct at 10/11/08.