Our Tourer of the Year awards are designed to celebrate the very best in caravan design and manufacturing. Only new or substantially overhauled caravans are eligible to be included in the judging. This means we look for tourers that are tightly focused, beautifully executed and have a great story behind them. Our winner for 2014 has all this and more. A new approach to tackling leaks, a significant investment in the manufacturing process, and crowd-sourced styling make it stand out against strong opposition.

Tourer of the year: The Sterling Eccles Sport 442

A new construction method, an intriguing new approach to design and a radical delivery on styling inside and out won our judges over. 

In an effort to revitalise flagging sales of Sterling vans, Swift Group decided all group dealers should be able to sell both Swift and Sterling brands. But first it had to differentiate the brands better, with more adventurous Sterling design.

Swift Group took a ‘Colour Concept’ model to the Spring Caravan and Camping Show at Birmingham’s NEC in February 2013, to test showgoers’ response to a more futuristic caravan. It gathered more than 700 feedback questionnaires, and over 80% of respondents ‘liked’ or ‘liked a lot’ the van. Crucially, 71% said they’d be ‘very likely or ‘likely’ to buy a tourer like this if it was available.

Swift Group quickly put the concept into full production with six layouts for the Eccles Sport range compared with 10 Challenger Sport layouts. The Eccles Sport 442 is a classic end washroom two-berth with parallel front seats. Clever packaging makes it shorter and lighter than most rivals.