Claudia Dowell
Features Editor

See other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell

Practical Caravan’s experts review the Sterckeman Alizé 370CE, a compact, sturdy, yet light four-berth for just £11,995, that is undeniably cool

Overview

This special Animation edition of the Sterckeman Alizé 370CE was one of the highlights of 2013’s Spring NEC show, alongside other affordable offerings from this most German-sounding of French brands. 

Imported by Freedom Caravans in Stafford, a dealership specialising in small tourers with low weights, Sterckeman is a brand with a loyal following among those in the know. This includes older caravanners who want something easy to tow and store, as well as families with small children looking to keep their touring compact and simple. With an MTPLM of just 1050kg, a wide range of small cars, from a Kia Rio to a Volkswagen Golf, could safely tow the Alizé 370CE. 

We’re big fans of small tourers on Practical Caravan, and applaud vans that offer families an affordable route into our pastime – especially ones that can be towed by holders of driving licences without B+E entitlements. So we were delighted to be able to collect an Alizé 370CE from Freedom Caravans and give it an in-depth look at Capesthorne Hall at Siddington Cheshire. 

Pitching and setting up

If reversing onto a pitch isn't your strong point then you'll appreciate the van's low weight of 1050kg MTPLM – just unhitch the van and with a bit of help manoeuvre it into position.

The Alizé 370CE has a GRP roof and side panels and sits on an Al-Ko chassis with AKS 1300 stabiliser and shock absorbers.

Its running gear is made from galvanised steel, and the Al-Ko chassis comes with shock absorbers and an AKS 1300 hitch stabiliser to make the van more stable when towing.

The front of the van has a spacious front locker, which can comfortably accommodate the spare wheel, the waste container and two gas bottles.

Its rear panel houses an imposing pair of light clusters, which combine with a bold silver skirt to give the 370CE a distinctive look from behind.

What's really impressive is the 240V mains powered air conditioner, which can be controlled remotely.

Lounge

The orange interior finish combines well with the light cabinet work, while the large windows let plenty of light flood in. Despite a 4.29m body length and 2.1m width, it doesn’t feel particularly claustrophobic inside.

During the day, a family of four will have no difficulty fitting around the lounge table.

Swan-neck lights and large windows all round take care of illumination duties.

Other convenient items include an onboard water tank, so you don’t have to risk an external container freezing if you’re touring in winter. And if you find yourself at the opposite end of the weather scale, then the roof-mounted air conditioning unit can be deployed.

Kitchen

The kitchen, although very compact, has three gas rings, a sink, a dual-fuel fridge with freezer and three large drawers. The left-hand overhead locker isn’t shelved, so you’ll be able to fit in a microwave oven. Preparation space is tight, but is increased when the glass lids over the hob and sink are lowered.

Washroom

The washroom features a cream-and-beige colour scheme. It’s cosy, but a half-length mirror makes it feel larger than it really is. A pull-out showerhead extends from the mixer tap.

There’s a towel ring, and a generous amount of storage space in the moulded vanity units.

Beds

A fixed double bunk runs across the rear of the caravan, while the lounge seats and table easily rearrange into a 1.9m-long double bed.

Each bunk gets its own window, light and storage pocket and access to the top bunk is via a sturdy wooden ladder.

Storage

Storage-wise, there’s more room than you think. The front locker houses two gas bottles and a spare wheel, and there’s space under the lower rear bunk. There are three overhead lockers in the lounge, and a half-length wardrobe sits above the Truma space heater.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO927kg
Payload150kg
MTPLM1050kg
Shipping length5.36m
Width2.1m
Height2.58m

Verdict

This really is a cool van with built-in air conditioning. With a shipping length of just 5.36m it should be easy to store on a driveway. Sterckeman manages to squeeze in fixed bunks, a washroom and a kitchen, albeit small, and good-sized living space into a 4.29m x  2.1m body – that's impressive. With an MTPLM of 1050kg it should sit nicely behind a wide range of family cars.n It's a neat little model that will make a great starter van for a small family. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • It's lightweight, so can be towed by a wide range of cars
  • Has an air conditioning unit that can be remotely controlled
  • Good basic kit
  • Compact but useable washroom

Cons

  • There is no oven/grill
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