The Quartz manages to shoehorn the luxury of a fixed bed and full end shower room into just 5.83m of body length. Spec is high, and includes ATC and an extractor fan. When Swift in traduced the SE range for 2013 they built it on the slightly narrower (2.25m rather than 2.31m) Sport body shell, with resultant reduction in weight. In the Quartz layout you don’t seem to notice the narrower width; overall this caravan is a good choice for a couple seeking relatively high spec in a mid-weight range.
The Sterling Eccles SE Quartz has a transverse bed, in a caravan that’s of a compact length and a light weight
The arrival of the transversely-aligned island bed concept brought a big layout advantage. The bed takes up less of the caravan’s length. In some caravans, that advantage means you get a large living area. In other models, it enables you to have a fixed bed in a shorter body length. The Sterling Eccles Quartz is one of these.
This model is one of a number of fixed-bed caravans that really are strictly for couples; it may be a four-berth in theory but in practice there’s really not enough space for four. That’s not a criticism – for the Quartz was made for two…
The Quartz doesn’t have the biggest shower room around but it is adequate in terms of floor space and the rectangular shower is plenty large enough.
Heating is the Alde system, and there’s a heated towel rail on the rear wall of the shower room. But the designers have missed a trick, here, we think. You could just about fold a towel onto the heated structure but there’s not a lot of space between it and the wall; had there been a towel rail above the heater here, drying efficiency would have been increased. On the forward wall there’s a towel loop and two hooks, though.
Storage is ample; there are two sizeable cabinets and two shelf units. And style is here in the form of strips of bright white light set into each side of the mirror above the washbasin.
The idea of an island bed is that you can walk around three sides of it. It's therefore easier to put on, and take off, sheets and the duvet. And you can get in and out of it on two sides.
The Quartz’s bed retracts slightly for daytime mode, to increase the corridor space to the end shower room; a bolster section of mattress drops down level with the mattress for night and sits on top, under the pillows, for day.
On each side of the bed are wardrobes, one half the width of the other. Quite how a couple would sort out whose clothes go where beats us; men’s clothes tend to be bulker, therefore he should get the larger wardrobe. Yet women tend to take more clothes on holiday. We think the unequally-sized his-and-hers wardrobe idea is fundamentally flawed – but then in a caravan where there’s only one wardrobe everyone’s clothes are in together anyway…
Under the narrower wardrobe there’s a two-shelf cabinet ideal for shoes. The wider wardrobe has two good-sized drawers and a drop-down-door cabinet for shoes.
We love the neat corner dressing table, with a cabinet below and a mirrored three-shelf cabinet above. There’s a TV aerial point here and two power sockets, to take care of both TV and hairdryer needs.
We also love the upholstered sections that border the (offside) window and increase the cosy look of the bedroom.
A sliding door separates the shower room from the bedroom and a pleated partition enables you to divide the whole bed-shower area from the living space – which you would probably want to do, because, although this is a superbly cosy bedroom, there is one aspect that is less attractive – and it’s very visible from the lounge. That’s the bed base, which is made of brown plastic and looks out of kilter with the quality look everywhere else in the Quartz. We debated the idea of a large throw, to reach floor level and cover the bed base completely. It may get in the way as you walk around the bed, but it would transform the look by hiding the plastic base.
The bed set you see in the pictures on these pages is Swift’s optional extra; you get a duvet, pillows and fitted base sheet in cream, and a sash and two cushions that match the bold floral design used on the upholstered panels alongside the window.
Getting into the storage area under the bed is brilliant – because you can walk around three sides of the bed. The base rises smoothly and easily. And there’s an exterior hatch, through which you could slide in folding chairs and an awning table, perhaps.
Two wide lockers are above the bed, and both have shelves, which doubles their capacity.
Forward lower storage is accessed by drop-down doors that extend the whole settee length. Top storage is two wide lockers, each of which extends forward to the front line of the caravan. Two drawers and a cabinet are at the front, under an extending table top that creates dining space for two…
We’d guess that couples would rarely need the freestanding table that’s stored in clips on the wall of the larger wardrobe; it’s more likely to take its place in an awning than in the caravan, because dining space for two is adequate on the small pull-out table.
The settees aren’t stretch-out full length but you can sit here with your feet up and your back against the squashy, comfortable bolsters, to watch your television perched in its place on a slim cabinet alongside the door. Two power points, an aerial and satellite socket are here together with a 12-volt socket.
Two more mains sockets are in a console on the windowsill, shaped to hold your phones while they’re charging.
Eccles lounges are light and bright environments thanks to the sunroofs; there’s a pleated blind here for times when bright sunlight interferes with television watching.
Five LEDs set behind a frosted shade sit just forward of the sunroof, giving a bright, white light. White light streams across the ceiling, too, from lighting concealed above the side lockers. Add in the four very bright (and neat and tiny) spotlights and the whole lounge lighting effect is impressive.
Just about every caravan for 2013 is clothed in fawn shades – and the Quartz is no exception. But this time any risk of boring looks are alleviated by a white-fleck stripe dividing fawn from dark brown on the backrests, and by a big, bold floral design on the scatter cushions and forward bolster-style armrests.
We love this floral interlude so much that we wish Swift had given the Quartz two extra scatter cushions, to further enliven the lounge look. If we bought this model we think we’d steal the cushions from the optional bed set (detailed earlier) for the lounge!
Lighting is a feature of the kitchen, too. A strip of LEDs run under the front edge of the work surface, sending light cascading down the cabinetry. And the delightfully practical plastic splash-back bas lighting concealed within it. More lighting comes from a slim strip set flush with the bases of the top lockers, plus two spotlights set into the ceiling.
Kitchen spec extends to an extractor fan and a mains hotplate. The sink is large and circular, and has a semi-circular drainer section close to the tap. And there’s a small but very important feature here. The sink plug is designed to catch bits of food so that they can be removed before they descend into the pipework en route to the waste receptacle outside. Result? Not only a cleaner plug hole – but also less mess to rinse out of your waste water container.
Storage in the kitchen itself is limited to a narrow drawer (fine for cooking utensils) and an equally narrow cabinet below, containing two pull-out basket-style shelves. But opposite, under the television position, you have a much larger drawer (for cutlery) and a two-shelf cabinet beneath; that will take are of kitchen storage needs. Deep top cabinets flank the microwave; one is fitted for mugs, the other for plates.
The microwave is a high-end combination oven unit, with browning facility; an element is in the top of the unit and a metal stand is provided so that you can place food in the centre of the oven for cooking/browning. That’s in addition to a full oven and grill, of course.
Surface space isn’t generous but there is a hinged extension section which you can raise into place when you need it.
The Quartz’s test tow can best be described as ordinary. That’s ordinary in a good way; a way that showed us the stability and handling of this model was up with the best in its mid-weight, single-axle class. It felt stable and actually nimble, behind our Kia Sorento, and swished into pitch position easily. At 1566kg all-up, it’s well within range of much less beefy vehicles than our all-fours Sorento, and its shortish length means manoeuvring into pitches is relatively easy.