Price range: £15,495-£18,799
Swift Group’s Sterling Eccles Sport range gets extra equipment and a revised layout for 2013.
For 2012 the mid-market Sterling Europa range was replaced by the Sterling Eccles Sport. Dropping the well-established name was a brave move, but one that we felt was justified on first viewing the new models a year ago. The combination of radically different design, lower weights and modified layouts justified the flag-waving of new names.
According to Swift Group, sales of the new ranges (Sterling Eccles Sport and sister brand, Swift Challenger Sport) are running 36% ahead of the old ones, giving competing brands like Elddis’ Avante, Bailey’s Olympus and even Pegasus and a hard time, but the heavier and more expensive Challenger and Eccles ranges have also lost out.
Sunroofs now fitted as standard
A big feature of the 2012 Sport range was the optional front sunroof, now a hallmark of most Sterling tourers. Swift Group report that about 90% of 2012 sales included the £305 sunroof option; so it’s good to see that it will be standard equipment for 2013.
In common with all 2013 Swift Group tourers, Sport models get a Tracker ‘Retrieve’ Thatcham approved tracking system, which will attract a discount from most insurance companies, and they come with Swift Group’s factory-backed 10-year body integrity warranty.
Heater and fridge upgrades
2013 Sports also get a Truma dual fuel Combi-Boiler, with programmable timing, which delivers hot water and blown-air central heating. It replaces the traditional space heater and separate water heater but fits in the water heater space, freeing up the heater area for convenient extra storage and saving weight. Fridges are upgraded to the latest Thetford 113 litre models with a smart gloss black finish. They have LED touch control of energy source and temperature.
Other notable features of the range are 2.25m overall width for all models and 1.95m headroom. Europa fixed bed models used to be 2.30m wide but the 50mm difference in the bedroom is not a problem. Al-Ko’s ATC trailer control system is standard. There are four 230v sockets, including two in a ‘pod’ on the front shelf, and lighting is mainly low-energy LED. Al-Ko’s ‘Secure’ wheel-lock and an intruder alarm remain as options.
The eight-model 2012 line-up grew to 11 with the mid-season launches of the twin-bed 564, island double bed 584 and six-berth 585. For 2013 the small end-kitchen two-berth 382 is dropped, as is the double dinette, end washroom 544, leaving a line-up of nine.
The only layout to be modified is the six-berth twin-axle 636. It has lost its triple bunk arrangement in favour of a more conventional double bunk to give growing children more space. The sixth berth now fits over the side dinette.
2013 Sterling Eccles Sport range
Sterling Eccles Sport 442
This is a conventional end washroom two-berth with parallel front seats. Clever packaging makes it quite short compared to rivals and therefore lighter than most. The washroom is stylish and functional.
Sterling Eccles Sport 442
The 514 won our coveted 2012 Tourer of the Year Award. It’s a conventional four-berth fixed bed layout with a rear corner washroom, but compact to match smaller towcars. The feeling of space is a testament to thoughtful design. The only direct competitor is the Lunar Quasar 534, but it’s only 2.16m wide and headroom’s just 1.91m.
Sterling Eccles Sport 524
The 524 has the classic four-berth end washroom layout, with a small centre dinette, that works so well as a spacious two-berth and a grandparents van. It has the same stylish washroom as the 442.
Sterling Eccles Sport 554
The 554 is a four-berth fixed bed layout with very the popular transverse end washroom that’s found in every manufacturer’s portfolio.
Sterling Eccles Sport 564
Launched mid-2012, the 564 has the same parallel front seats and end washroom as the 554, but the double bed is replaced by two singles; a layout which is growing in popularity.
Sterling Eccles Sport 584
Also launched mid-2012 following success in the more expensive Challenger and Eccles ranges, the 584 is a third variant of the end washroom genre, but has a transverse ‘island’ double bed which successfully combines the easy access of twin beds with the intimacy of a double bed.
Sterling Eccles Sport 585
The 585 is a six-berth layout pioneered by Bailey as the Pegasus Ancona. In a single-axle body it combines a good-sized end washroom with fixed bunks for two children and a centrally located small dinette which can convert to two bunks.
Sterling Eccles Sport 586
This is a classic six-berth which separates the adult’s and children’s accommodation with a centre washroom and kitchen. Ideal for younger children, it gives them a room of their own but lacks the open-plan feel of the 585.
Sterling Eccles Sport 636
The 636 is the only twin-axle model in the range. The six-berth accommodation is similar to the 585, but the extra space is used for a huge kitchen, a larger central dinette and a useful extra wardrobe.