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Overview

Sterckeman has been around for many years and has a loyal following abroad. For many UK buyers the name won't mean much, although that's not surprising. Although part of France's mighty Trigano Group, the brand has enjoyed hit and miss sales in the UK. The first examples came into Britain in the mid-1980s, imported by Emm Bee Caravans in Bury. Sales were steady but in difficult economic times, imported tourers became too expensive.

Over the next 20 years, Sterckeman came and went in the UK. However, Freedom Caravans in Stafford has been offering the marque for a few years now and these affordable, lightweight tourers have found their niche.

The latest Starlett 330CP Compact two-berth is the lightest couples’ caravan currently on sale in the UK and has a conventional end-kitchen, front-dinette and corner-washroom layout. The tell-tale signs of a Continental tourer are easy to spot, though: the offside caravan door and the stucco aluminium side panels.

Pitching and setting up

The tiny Sterckeman is easy to tow, even for our little Renault Scénic 1.5dci which proved more than man enough. Even up steep inclines the Compact towed true, proving how stable the dinky van was. Riding on an Al-Ko chassis using steel rimmed wheels, the Compact also comes equipped with the older type AKS-1300 S hitch stabiliser. Shock absorbers can be fitted as an option but the van gave a steady ride in standard trim. The profile is very simple in design and comes with the stucco finish side panels insisted upon by Continental manufacturers. The Sterckeman also has a GRP-skinned roof as opposed to the normal aluminium.

The lower front ABS panel is of quality build, generous in size and easy to access. There's also a side front exterior locker – a neat touch in this price bracket. Plastic wheel trims are used, so there are no alloys, and no A-frame cover is included. The rear gets a moulded road light panel and an awning light is fitted, but a TV aerial is optional.

The tiny Compact is so easy to move around by hand, especially with its sturdy grab handles. On balance, pitching up is easy – except for the front corner steadies, which are hard to locate and tricky to operate.

Lounge

The lounge area is located at the front end of the caravan, and features a double dinette that will easily seat up to four or more people – despite the small dimensions of the Sterckeman, it's surprisingly large. There isn't a front chest of drawers, which allows more legroom and generally gives more floor area, too.

For dining the 330CP Compact has a clip-on table that is sturdy and practical to use. Storage is restricted to three front roof lockers, while a narrow shelf is placed above the side windows. All windows here open and come with flyscreens and blinds, with a stylish ceiling light up above for night use. The seat bases are made from plywood and lack access flaps, also a sign of keeping costs low, but the cushions are thick and supportive.

Kitchen

The end kitchen is well designed and comes with a surprising amount of storage. A Dometic fridge is fitted; this holds 70 litres though an 80-litre model can be specified for extra cost. There is no oven or grill – very Continental – and you get just three gas burners plus a small sink with no drainer. There is a roof vent and the kitchen does have a small rear window, so light and ventilation is well taken care of.

Pull-out drawers offer more storage, as do two roof lockers and side corner shelves. The worktop is very limited, though, but is a good attempt for a tourer the size of the Compact. A power point is located just beneath the roof locker.

Washroom

The washroom is fitted in the corner and offers a fixed cassette toilet with electric flush. The washroom is not lined and there is just a shower tray – a shower is optional – but you do get a corner hand basin with storage below, all made from quality ABS mouldings.

A large mirror also is fitted, as is a roof vent, but no washroom window is included. Considering its compact dimensions, the washroom works quite well.

Beds

The Compact comes with two sleeping arrangements: you can choose from two single beds or a large double. The large double uses the table as its base to make it up. You don't have any dedicated spotlights here so you have to rely on the centrally placed ceiling lights instead.

The double measures 1.4m x 1.95m so offers good sleeping arrangements, but some users may actually prefer two decent-sized single beds.

Storage

The little Compact comes with enough storage for two people. Its deep roof lockers will take in bulky items while drawer storage is excellent.

There's enough storage under the seat lockers for bedding and the wardrobe offers good hanging storage even though the Truma gas heater is placed in its base. The washroom has a cupboard but it's big enough for most needs.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO647kg
Payload103kg
MTPLM750kg
Length3.3m
Ship length5m
Width2.1m
Height2.58m

Verdict

The 330CP Compact is an excellent little tourer. It's very affordable but pile on the extras, such as a shower, TV aerial and a larger fridge, and the price will soon creep up. Despite this, we're big fans of this great little tourer.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Super-light and easy to tow and store
  • Good build quality, too

Cons

  • Add some optional extras and the price will soon creep up

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