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Motorhome review - Devon Sunrise v Hillside Ellastone

Posted on 21 May 2012

MMM Road Test

Key Features

  • Devon Conversions New Sunrise 2
  • 2012 model
  • High top
  • 4 berth
  • 2.0TD engine
  • Renault Trafic base
  • Max weight 2770kg
  • Campervan layout
  • From £30,987 new
  • Hillside Leisure Ellastone
  • 2012 model
  • Rising Roof
  • 4 berth
  • 2.0TD engine
  • Renault Trafic base
  • Max weight 2770kg
  • Campervan layout
  • From £31,995 new
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Tech Spec

Technical Specifications

New Sunrise 2 Ellastone
Model Year 2012 2012
Manufacturer Devon Conversions Hillside Leisure
Class High top Rising Roof
Range No Range No Range
Base Vehicle Renault Trafic Renault Trafic
Engine Size2.0TD2.0TD
Maximum weight (kg)27702770
Payload (kg)630750
Length (m)4.784.78
Width (m)1.901.90
Height (m)2.032.03
Belted Seats44
Main LayoutCampervanCampervan
Price from (£)3098731995
Price from (€)--
Campervan Test Date--
Full Buyers Guide EntryRead now...Read now...

Detailed Review

This motorhome review comparing the Devon Sunrise and the Hillside Ellastone was published in the May 2012 issue of MMM. You can download the full magazine by clicking HERE

Devon Conversions has been making classic-layout VW-based Moonrakers for many years, but also offered the similarly configured Sunrise on Toyota’s Hiace. With Hiace production ceasing, the company is now using Renault’s short wheelbase Trafic as an alternative base for its New Sunrise model.

Hillside Leisure decided to explore the Trafic for the same reason and like all Hillside products, the Ellastone is named after a Derbyshire village. Be aware that these two are slightly over the standard two-metre limit.

From: £30,987
As tested: £33,578 Both prices OTR
Renault Trafic SWB window van
2.0-litre Euro 5 turbo-diesel (115bhp)
Berths: 4
Travel seats 4
L 4.78m W1.90m
Height: 2.03m
MTPLM 2,770kg
Payload 630kg
Extras on test vehicle: 115bhp engine (£600), cab air-con (£900), metallic paint (£456), reversing sensors (£240),
roof bed (£395)
Also available: Quickshift (£960)


From: £31,995
As tested: £32,535 Both prices OTR
Renault Trafic SWB panel van
2.0-litre Euro 5 turbo-diesel (115bhp)
Berths 4
Travel seats 4
L 4.78m W 1.90m
Height 2.03m
MTPLM 2,770kg
Payload 750kg
Extras fitted: 115bhp engine (£540)
Available: Quickshift automatic gearbox (£900)
Fiamma F45 (£495)
Renault Sport Pack (£2000)


The Sunrise prototype was finished in (optional) silver, with practical black bumpers and side rubbing strips. If you specify a Sunrise Designer Sport, you get body-coloured bumpers, alloys, front fog lights, an upgrade to 115bhp (90bhp standard), plus a host of other goodies.

Ellastone’s white body had colour-matched bumpers. The slightly shallower roof, also rear-hinged, is by SGA. Windows here, double-glazed acrylic, are smaller than the Sunrise’s, though this is cunningly concealed by large, black window surrounds. The livery was completed by non-standard side-bars and alloy wheels.
Both will convert second-hand vehicles to order.

Both vehicles tested lacked trip computers and neither had a passenger airbag, but both will in production. The Sunrise’s newer base vehicle scored with its dashboard-mounted Tom-Tom satnav, but this will be included in production Ellastones. Cab air-conditioning is an extra on both, or included with electric windows and mirrors on Renault’s Sport version.

 DEVON SUNRISE                                                        HILLSIDE ELLASTONE

Both ’vans had the optional 115bhp engine – powerful enough for a small motorhome and I’d expect early to mid-30s mpg, driven sensibly. Transmission is very smooth, though sixth gear is high and only happy above 60mph. Both produced some wind noise from door mirrors, with the Sunrise also suffering noise from the rising roof’s fairing. There were also some creaks from the roof, quietened by re-tightening the straps. No such problems with the Ellastone, while the internal fittings of both conversions were admirably quiet.

 DEVON SUNRISE                                                        HILLSIDE ELLASTONE

Both lounges are very similar, but as previously mentioned, only the Ellastone’s cab passenger seat swivels, whereas in the Sunrise, both cab seats turn. The passenger seat revolves fully, but the driver’s is partially blocked by the kitchen unit. However, the handbrake must be released before operating the swivel, and can’t be fully engaged after. So, you must ensure you’re on the level and leave the engine in gear.
Both rear bench seats are comfortable, with slightly more headroom in the Ellastone. The Ellastone’s seat back is lower, because RIB seats have built-in, retractable head restraints, usefully allowing you to reach over to the rear luggage compartment.

For evening reading in either ’van, you’ll almost certainly need a head torch. The Sunrise has large windows that make the interior feel light and bright, however, being single-glazed, these might suffer from condensation. The Ellastone’s smaller double-glazed windows, surprisingly, didn’t make the lounge unduly dark. The enormous headroom in both ’vans, with roofs and roof beds raised (and flaps open), gives a lovely airy feel – which should be wonderful in summer conditions.

 DEVON SUNRISE                                                        HILLSIDE ELLASTONE

Both companies opt for Smev combined sink/hob units with electronic ignition. Rona preferred the Ellastone’s arrangement, with the rectangular sink to the left and more widely-spaced two-burner hob to the right. Hillside’s standard-fit (mains electric-powered only) water heater may please some (we use a kettle) and Devon can supply a similar unit as an option if required.

The Sunrise has a cutlery tray, pulling out from behind a drop-down flap; lacking a stay to keep it horizontal, the flap drops onto the cupboard door below. Below this cupboard is the gas locker, which has capacity for two 2.75kg Campingaz cylinders.
The Ellastone has two shelves and a mains socket at the front end of the unit, but moving the driver’s seat forward would make space for a drop-down surface too. There’s no cutlery drawer, but plenty of space for one’s own tray in the higher of two cupboards below the sink. Again, the drop-down flap is un-stayed, so it fouls the cupboard door below.

 DEVON SUNRISE                                                        HILLSIDE ELLASTONE

Off-site, washing is done at the kitchen sink, although Hillside, having fitted a boiler, also provides a Bullfinch ‘activity shower’, fitted to the rear of the wardrobe. With rear doors open, one can shower ‘en plein air’, or just wash your feet.

Toilet facilities are basic: pull the Porta Potti 335 out into the centre of the lounge, from its billet in the kitchen unit (Sunrise) or under the bench seat (Ellastone), while everyone else amuses themselves outside.
This is where curtains are vital. The Ellastone’s quickly drawn cab curtain makes all the difference and negates having to store bulky (sometimes wet) screens when not in use.

Both of these campers are very well equipped, bed-wise. A roof bed is standard on the Ellastone, but a (reasonably-priced) extra on the Sunrise. All beds are six feet long or thereabouts and four feet wide (the roof beds are slightly larger). You might think this short, but there’s no problem as the beds are unconfined by walls at the foot, so feet can stretch out beyond the mattress.
 DEVON SUNRISE                                                                                             HILLSIDE ELLASTONE

The Ellastone’s RIB seat mechanism is quite simply, superb. Three easily-operated handles allow the seat base to flip over and the seatback to drop forward into the gap. We reckon it’s the easiest bed to make, in any ’van, anywhere! You sleep on the flat back of the cushions and the bed has soft foam topping.
Both ’vans have good roof beds and the Sunrise has an excellent main double bed, but the Ellastone’s is exceptional.

Hillside fits its custom-made water heater and Eberspächer diesel-fired space heater as standard. Devon’s Webasto diesel-fired space heater is a cost-option or part of its Designer Sport Pack.
Whilst the Devon’s leisure battery was adequate enough (110 amp hr) to cope with the compressor fridge’s demands, the Hillside’s, at 86 amp hr, seemed decidedly lightweight and only one small gas cylinder is carried. Waste water tanks are optional, but both have standard-fit spare wheels.

This motorhome review comparing the Devon Sunrise and the Hillside Ellastone was published in the May 2012 issue of MMM. You can download the full magazine by clicking HERE

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