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Sterling Eccles SE Voyager – caravan review

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Key Features

  • Model Year : 2013
  • Class : Twin Axle
  • MTPLM (kg) : 1745
  • External Height (m) : 2.62
  • Internal Length (m) : 6.27
  • MRO (kg) : 1585
  • Berths : 4
  • Shipping Length (m) : 7.93
  • Max Width (m) : 2.25

The Verdict

Big on space and style and storage and stability, the Sterling Eccles SE Voyager is a caravan with both family and couple appeal. The more time we spent in the Voyager the more we admired its excellent use of space, especially in terms of storage capability. Small things like two floor-level LED clusters, more lighting hidden within the kitchen wall and above the lockers, and major things like Alde heating and the internal water tank, all add up to a very appealing caravan.


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

AT A GLANCE

Twin beds are in fashion – but in-board water tanks are not. The Sterling Eccles SE Voyager a rare caravan that combines both features

Pros
  • The inboard water tank
  • The Alde heating
  • The 1.92m-long bed
  • The capacious kitchen
Cons
  • Kitchen surface relies on the hinge-up section to give you a total area that matches its storage capability in terms of practicality

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Model Year
2013
Manufacturer
Swift Sterling
Class
Twin Axle
Range
Eccles SE
Caravan Test Date
MTPLM (kg)
1745
End Kitchen
No
External Height (m)
2.62
MRO (kg)
1585
Berths
4
Island Double
No
Back & Front Dinette
No
End Washroom
Yes
Fixed Singles/Bunks
Yes
Triple Bunks
No
Shipping Length (m)
7.93
Caravan Buyer Test Date
Side Dinette
No
Price From (£)
21849
Max Width (m)
2.25

DETAILED REVIEW

There are now more than 18 caravans with twin beds. And six of them are in Swift’s ranges alone. So the choice is vast if this is your chosen layout.
Few of them, though, also have twin axles. And even fewer have in-board water tanks. The Voyager, thus, is a rare breed of caravan.
It’s only one down from Swift’s top-spec Elite range, so its equipment level is high. Chassis-maker AL-KO’s electronic anti-snake device is part of the kit, as is an extractor fan. And heating is the hot-water-based Alde system. The Voyager’s layout gives you an offside kitchen with wardrobe opposite, and a rear shower room…
 

Showering

Probably the first thing you’d notice in the Voyager‘s shower room is actually the least important in practical terms – but it’s ever so attractive. It's a roller blind, made from double-sided fabric, so that it completely excludes daylight. Its brown and cream pattern shimmers as it catches light – and it makes a quality statement. (There’s also a mesh fly-blind casement on the window.)
A heated towel rail (part of the Alde system) is alongside the washbasin – and a towel loop and hook above it, in exactly the right place for optimum towel-drying. An additional hook is opposite, alongside the shower room door. Towels are amply catered for in the Voyager; there’s a rail across the shower room ceiling. It has a fabric-coated elastic line attached to it, so that you can secure towels between the elastic and the rail; they’ll continue drying while you’re towing and won’t fall off.
The shower itself is rectangular and plenty large enough, at around 80 x 60cm but the shower room isn’t the largest you’ll find in terms of floor space; it's 90cm deep at its deepest point and is much smaller in the area around the toilet, on the offside.
The mirror, above the basin, is large, and contains one of Swift’s feature styles of this year’s ranges; lighting is set within the glass, along each side, giving a quite stunning visual effect, as well as good illumination.
 

Sleeping

Caravan Buyer frequently gets questions from readers seeking our guidance on finding the caravan that’s perfect for their needs, and by far the most common question is about bed lengths for tall people. The Voyager is among just a few caravans that offer night-time comfort for above-average height buyers. The offside single bed is 1.92m long (that’s six feet four inches). The nearside bed is shorter, though, at 1.83m. But, bizarrely, the longer bed is 5cm narrower than the shorter one! (They measure 68cm and 73cm.) To allow for the extra length on the offside bed, the shower room wall has been recessed, which means the area around the toilet will be regarded by some potential buyers as a bit confined.
The Voyager is full of little refinements. There’s a television bracket on the rear wall of the wardrobe, so that you can watch TV in bed. And built into the bracket is a tiny spirit level, useful when you’re siting your caravan. It only shows the longitudinal plane, though – but it’s a nice touch anyway. More important is the mirror at the foot of the offside bed, with a power point nearby for hairdryer use.
Each bed has a triangular shelf that’s ideal for phones or wristwatches.
So often in caravans with twin or double beds, the lounge seating isn’t long enough to make single beds. This is where the Voyager scores over a lot of its potential rivals. The offside settee is 1.86m long (that’s six feet one inch) and the nearside settee is 1.76m long (five feet nine inches) – and that means that two average-height people can sleep here. Suddenly, the Voyager isn’t merely a caravan for couples (at which it is ideal, of course); it's a family caravan, with singles for four, or a double in the lounge for parents plus singles for teenage offspring.  Whichever way you look at the sleeping options, the Voyager has wide appeal.
 

Storage

The space under the offside settee is entirely occupied by water tank, and electricity distribution box. But that doesn’t matter, for you have so much storage potential elsewhere. The nearside settee space is devoid of interruption and there is a full-length front hatch to make access easy. There’s also a small locker area under the front central chest of two drawers.
Under the twin beds, the space is predictably huge but you’d usually want to raise the bed base to reach inside, because the hinge-down doors are only 60cm wide, which would make pulling and pushing duvets and sleeping bags through here a bit of a struggle. Each bed is supported on two gas-filled struts so no effort is required to raise them. The nearside bed has an exterior hatch. Five top lockers line the bedroom walls and there are four more above the lounge.
Wardrobe accommodation is brilliant; the rail is 78cm wide and with two shelf areas beneath, with a depth of 40cm and 30cm respectively.
 

Dining

The dining table slides into brackets mounted to the nearside single bed. You take hold of its legs to slide it out. We found the task of extracting and replacing it wasn’t arduous but anyone with any sort of back problem would disagree.
For two-person dining, the pull-out section above the front drawers is more than adequate, making a level surface of 71cm deep and 60cm wide.
 

Lounging

This is where caravans with twin beds give you options. The Voyager’s lounge seating is long enough for feet-up relaxing. And the beds are longer – and you can watch television from either the bedroom or from the lounge; there are TV points (including a satellite socket) by the small dresser between the door and the wardrobe.
Regarding the bedroom as an auxiliary lounge means that you can make daytime use of the whole of the caravan; caravanners who say that fixed beds are a waste of space because they demean your living area will find a positive answer here in the Voyager.
 

Kitchen

The Voyager’s fridge is on the forward end of the kitchen, with a small cabinet between it and the oven, and a second, wider cabinet to the right of the oven.
Buyers for whom kitchen accommodation is a priority will need more detail and here it is: The smaller cabinet contains two wire-basket-style shelves which pull out on a runner.  Each gives you a 12cm-wide space. Under the shelves the space is compromised by gas taps and the sink’s exit pipes. This cabinet contains a slot for the drainer and sink cover. The larger cabinet, at 26cm wide, plus two shelf areas, gives you change to get organised.
There are two cutlery drawers. The smaller one is ideal for cooking utensils and the wider one has plenty of space for cutlery.
But that’s not where this kitchen’s storage capability ends. It continues on the opposite side of the caravan, with two cabinets in the dresser. Both are 49cm wide and 30cm deep; each has two shelf areas.
Above the kitchen, three lockers give more excellent storage possibilities. Taken as a whole, the Voyager’s kitchen is brilliant in terms of storage.
Surface is on the right of the (dual fuel) hob; here you have a 39cm-wide area. To the left of the sink the surface tapers, following the shape of the sink’s surround, which incorporates a draining board by the tap. A hinge-up section gives you an additional 36cm of space.

 
Towing

Out on the road the Voyager felt like the perfect partner for our Kia Sorento. At 1745kg fully laden it’s far from a challenge for the Sorento that's capable of pulling much heftier caravans than this.
The Voyager’s road manners are brilliant, as you’d expect from a twin-axle unit. It has the sort of stability that creates towing at its best; one to pick if you are choosing a caravan for long continental journeys. At the risk of going on about the stability advantage of two axles, and fully in the knowledge that they don’t appeal to everyone in car-weight terms, the Voyager’s test tow underlined, yet again, that they win hands-down on ease of towing. If your car’s weight allows you to look in the twin-axle sector, don’t be daunted by four-wheel geometry or caravan length. Go for it; two extra wheels massively increase your safety margin and your towing enjoyment.

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