The experts at Practical Caravan review the luxurious, family friendly Sterling Eccles SE Amethyst
A much anticipated model with more kit than ever but also lighter than before, the Amethyst promised a lot on paper. With enough beds to sleep four youngsters and a fixed-bed for parents, could this layout be perfect for families, or could it be a couples’ luxury apartment on wheels?
Pitching and setting up
The front locker’s lid is supported by a central gas strut and the heavy-duty corner steadies are easily accessible – the rear ones have extended guide tubes. On the nearside, there’s an external gas point, a mains socket and a pair of under-bed hatches while to the offside, two water inlets (one for the on-board tank) are positioned at the front of the van, near the battery/mains inlet. The waste-water outlets are behind the wheels.
Viewing the TV may be a little problematic, though, especially if everyone wants to watch, as the two connection points are almost at opposite ends of the caravan. The front one requires the TV to sit on the front chest, while the second is a swivelling bracket mounted high up at the base of the fixed-bed.
At mealtimes, six people can dine together at the front, using the pull-out occasional table in conjunction with the main table. Two can make use of the side dinette.
The sink, with its removable drainer, is at the front, and the cooker is next to it. At the rear, there’s a small amount of worktop, but it would have been much better placed between the sink and the cooker. The side dinette’s table provides an extra work surface.
Yet work surfaces aside, the kitchen is very well equipped and includes a dual-fuel cooker with separate oven and grill (with spark ignition), a 110-litre fridge/freezer, and a digitally controlled microwave fitted 1.45m from the floor. An Omnivent, a pair of mains sockets, good lighting and storage leave the kitchen wanting for little.
The combined toilet/shower wet room is in the rear offside corner and is fully lined. There’s a bi-fold door separating the two to help keep the toilet dry but, realistically, this caravan would be better suited to full-facility sites.
A single light and a rooflight are adequate rather than good. The basin and vanity dresser unit are between the wardrobe and shower/toilet. They feature a small cupboard underneath, a back-lit mirror above, a couple of shelves to the right and a heated towel rail.
The side dinette provides a pair of bunk beds (1.73m x 0.59m top and 1.8m x 0.7m bottom), but while the upper bed has a light, the lower one doesn’t. A detachable ladder gives access to the top bunk.
In the rear nearside corner you’ll find the comfortable fixed bed, measuring 1.88m x 1.3m, tapering to 1.02m at its foot. A small shelf for the morning cuppa is provided for each occupant.
All the seat bases are empty, with the exception of the one at the front offside which houses the on-board water tank and electrical units. Each has easy access from either above or from the front. Excluding the ones in the kitchen, there are 11 overhead lockers, many of which have shelves.
As a family tourer, the Amethyst works very well indeed, the only negatives being the shortage of kitchen worktop space and the small wet room. If you’ve got the vehicle to tow one, then there can’t be many better six-berth caravans out there. A caravanning couple who use full-facility sites will find the Amethyst opulent.