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Sterling Eccles SE Solitaire – caravan review

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Key Features

  • Model Year : 2013
  • Class : Single Axle
  • Max Width (m) : 2.25
  • Shipping Length (m) : 7.25
  • Berths : 4
  • MRO (kg) : 1400
  • MTPLM (kg) : 1553
  • Internal Length (m) : 5.60
  • External Height (m) : 2.65

The Verdict

Assuming you’ve already narrowed your choice down to a twin-bed layout, this is one to put on your shortlist if you need one of the beds to be 6ft 4 in length and you value the evenly distributed warmth of Alde central heating.


Swift Sterling View more details about the manufacturer of this vehicle over in our manufacturers section.

AT A GLANCE

The Sterling Eccles SE Solitaire is just another twin-bed caravan, you might say. But the Solitaire has a character all of its own. And it's tailor-made for tall caravanners

Pros
  • Beds of different lengths
  • The lighting design
  • The extractor fan
Cons
  • The table storage arrangement that’s fiddly; if the table were to be mounted here upside down, its legs wouldn’t drop down!

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Model Year
2013
Manufacturer
Swift Sterling
Class
Single Axle
Range
Eccles SE
Max Width (m)
2.25
Price From (£)
20080
Side Dinette
No
Caravan Buyer Test Date
01/01/2013
Back & Front Dinette
No
Triple Bunks
No
End Washroom
Yes
Fixed Singles/Bunks
Yes
Shipping Length (m)
7.25
Island Double
No
Berths
4
MRO (kg)
1400
MTPLM (kg)
1553
Caravan Test Date
End Kitchen
No
External Height (m)
2.65

DETAILED REVIEW

Twin bed caravans are now so numerous that they have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. Some achieve this on light weight, others on top spec. But the SE Solitaire’s distinguishing features are somewhere in the middle.  At 1553kg (MTPLM) it’s neither a super-lightweight nor firmly in the Land Rover Discovery class. It’s towable by a wide selection of cars. And its spec is high, with Alde heating, a 20-watt solar panel on the roof, ATC stability control, an extractor fan and Tracker Retrieve security system.
 

Showering

The shower room stretches the full width at the rear. But with one side is more spacious than the other. That’s because the offside bed is longer than the nearside one.
Heat rises from Alde radiators running through wooden ducting with mesh inserts at the rear of the shower room. A heated towel rail not only dries your towels but adds to the heat here too. There’s a rail across the shower at roof level, for two more towels, plus a loop high up on the wall alongside the mirror.
Lighting runs down each side of the mirror – a nice stylish touch that’s an element of the rather special lighting design we see elsewhere in the Solitaire, too.
 

Sleeping

Comfort for two in single beds and two more in a double when you need it in the lounge – or two short single beds for children - this bed arrangement is adaptable to a lot of needs, although the SE Solitaire’s primary appeal will always be to couples.
Tall caravanners will love the SE Solitaire; importantly, the twin beds are of different lengths. One is 1.9m (6ft 4 in); the nearside bed is 9cm shorter.
The mattresses feel very firm; when you lie down on them, though, you quickly feel the comfort; they may be firm but they are are not unyielding.
There are a couple of niceties that help create a lovely bedroom atmosphere. One is a light, at floor level; that’s the last one you’ll switch out at night – and you can even leave it on all night if you prefer a small amount of subtle illumination. The other good feature is a mirror on wall at the foot of the nearside bed, with a power point nearby – and a television bracket.
 

Storage

Both beds have wood-sized doors through which you can get at the space underneath for instances where you want to extract small items and don’t need to raise the whole bed base. The bases are supported on gas-filled struts when they're raised – but on our test caravan they were quite hard to push up. There’s exterior access to the nearside under-bed space.
Settee lockers have full-length front access hatches. There are three top lockers above each bed and two more over the lounge. Each of these two has an extended area reaching to the front bodyline of the caravan, alongside the sunroof.
The wardrobe forms a natural divider between the lounge and the bedroom. It’s slightly angled towards the lounge. This has the effect of minimising the blocky effect of the cabinet. Beneath is a drawer and capacious cupboard. Overall, storage has to be rated a good for a caravan of this size.
 

Dining

Small table pulling out from the top of the front central chest of drawers or large table when four are dining – the choice is yours, but there’s a problem. The large table is stored in a cradle under the nearside bed. And it's a bit of a fiddle to get in and out. The table legs are held together with a Velcro-secured circle of fabric (rather like a curtain tie), to prevent the legs from opening out and jamming when you open the bed. But the weight of the table leg unfastens the Velcro and the leg lowers – and jams. We think if we nought tis caravan wed have to store the table on the floor under the bed – and that would mean moving anything on top of it every time it’s used.
 

Lounging

Two bolsters at the front end of the settee give you corner comfort. The sunroof ensures the lounge is bright and airy. Two power points and TV aerial connections make sure you can use your TV here – and charge your phone at the same time. A practical and appealing lounge, then, with fabrics in soft fawns, using white and pale grey in cushions to add interest.
One of the Solitaire’s distinguishing features is lighting. In the lounge, illumination from four bright spotlights is augmented by light streaming across the ceiling from above the top lockers, and more from five LDS set into a white plastic shade just to the rear of the sunroof.
The sunroof has the same fawn and white mottled pattern pleated blinds as the windows; at night, the scene is well illuminated in a subtle sort of way and without the need for harsher ceiling lighting.
 

Kitchen

A mains hotplate, three gas burners, full oven and grill plus programmable microwave give you lots of cooking options. There’s limited storage space in a small cupboard alongside the fridge but that is more than compensated for by the large cabinet under the wardrobe opposite, together with a drawer that’s big enough for your cutlery, leaving the smaller one in the kitchen for cooking utensils.
The sink is large and circular, with a small drainer area close to the tap. Surface space is limited but, when you need more, you can hinge up an extension, over the settee. And there’s a plus-point in the spec – this kitchen has an extractor fan.
Lighting is a feature of the Solitaire’s kitchen. The kitchen wall is clad in grey plastic – and backlit by LED lights. A strip of light under the top lockers gives you light where you need it, and there’s more coming from the ceiling, where there are two LED clusters.
 

Towing

The AL-KO ATC stability system is standard equipment, enhancing the Solitaire’s appeal, especially to caravanners planning to use it all year; winter towing gives a higher susceptibility to high winds, when ATC is especially valued. The electronic device detects the first signs of a sway and applies the caravan’s brakes to correct it. Clever stuff!

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