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Swift's Sterling Eccles SE range has been developed for the 2014 season and the expert testers at Practical Caravan have reviewed and rated every model

Sterling is part of the Swift Group, and its caravans for the 2014 season have benefited from more development work than any other brand within the group.

Sterling's three ranges match those of sister-brand Swift in terms of construction, price and specification and price, but they’re differentiated by colours and finishes. As a result, the Eccles SE range now looks radically different, and these caravans are set to provide stern competition to rivals such as the Bailey Unicorn II and Elddis Affinity. The range offers eight different Eccles SE models, including a new six-berth twin-axle version with an ‘L’ lounge.

The Eccles SE range has graphite decals that compliment a graphite A-frame cover, front door, wheelarches and skirts. Highlights are in red, which complements a red interior accent colour. The furniture is finished in white and hessian with chrome details and a plain tweed-look, giving it a contemporary domestic feel. We reckon it’ll prove popular. Flooring is a dark French oak-effect, which looks good with the carpets removed. And, for cosiness in the seating area, there’s even a long pile rug.

Swift Group has also announced a significant change in construction with the acronym ‘SMART’ for all 2014 models. Body panels will have PURe (a polyurethane material) framing in place of timber. It’s a closed cell material which is impervious to water, accepts screw fixings and resists compression loads. The material has been used for several years by some German manufacturers and Swift has carried out its own extensive testing to prove the new construction.

An added bonus is a claimed weight saving of between 10kg and 14kg, depending on model size. In Swift’s words, SMART stands for ‘Strong timber-less body frame with Modern desirable looks and a leading Aerodynamic shape that is Resilient to moisture, all wrapped up in a caravan that has undergone the most comprehensive Testing’.

All Sterling caravans get a package of improvements for 2014. The entrance door high-security lock uses the same key as other exterior doors, the Truma Combi dual fuel heating is programmable and is upgraded to a minimum of 4kw (6kw in larger models), a new ‘EcoCamel’ showerhead mixes air to give a good spray pattern and it saves water, and carpets are split into more sections for greater flexibility. In addition, the tyres are now the ‘DMACK EcoXtra’ brand which has an energy-saving tread pattern and the standard, 20-watt solar panel is uprated to 40 watts. Tracker and ATC trailer control, both high spec items for this price range, are retained for 2014.

The Eccles SE also benefits from ‘Duvalite’ fixed bed mattresses – Duvalite is a hypoallergenic memory fibre, which combines comfort with light weight.

On the outside, the SE models are differentiated from the Eccles Sport caravans on the nearside with service doors, BBQ points and 230-volt sockets, but heavy-duty corner steadies have gone, except on twin-axle models. Other key specification differences from the Sports are: Alde radiator heating, a larger entrance door, pleated cassette blinds, more comprehensive LED lighting, six 230-volt sockets and an alarm system.

From the 2014 season, all Swift Group dealers will be able to sell both brands, which allowed the group to be more adventurous with Sterling design and to move it apart from the Swift brand.

The 2014 Sterling Eccles SE range

Eccles SE Topaz

A two-berth model with a stylish end washroom and separate shower. Its 4.4m internal length is shorter than most, affecting the central kitchen and dresser unit. Seats convert to a decent sized double bed or two singles, one 1.9m long. MTPLM is 1282kg.

Eccles SE Moonstone

A four-berth end washroom model with a separate shower. The front seats make two single beds (one is 1.9m) or a good double. The kitchen is very spacious and opposite there is a side dinette that converts to bunks. Internal length is 5.29m and MTPLM 1474kg.

Challenger SE Solitaire

A four-berth with fixed twin beds and an end washroom with separate shower. The wardrobe is next to the entrance door. Front seats convert to a double bed. Internal length is 5.60m and MTPLM 1553kg.

Eccles SE Ruby

A fixed bed layout with an end washroom and separate shower. The front lounge converts to a double bed, making it a four-berth, but is not long enough to make singles. Internal length is 5.60m and MTPLM is 1495kg.

Eccles SE Quartz

A four-berth with a transverse island double bed and an end washroom with separate shower. The wardrobe with TV unit is next to the entrance door. Front seats convert to a double bed. Internal length is 5.83m and MTPLM 1566kg.

Eccles SE Amethyst

An open plan, twin-axle six-berth with a fixed double bed and rear corner washroom. A small dinette, opposite the central kitchen, converts to two bunks and the front seating makes a double or two singles. Internal length is 6.27m and MTPLM 1775kg.

Eccles SE Coral

A new six-berth twin-axle model with L-shaped front seating, a rear fixed bed and a full width end washroom with separate shower. A side dinette converts to bunks.

Eccles SE Wayfarer

A four-berth twin-axle with a transverse island double bed and an end washroom with separate shower. A TV unit and tall fridge/freezer are next to the entrance door. Front seats convert to a double bed. Internal length is 6.27m and the MTPLM is 1775kg.

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Rob Ganley
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