Sterling Eccles has a bright, almost stark modern look for 2017, with the use of white and grey and fawn blending to create a distinctive, fresh, contemporary and airy look. The bedroom is a real star, with the absence of wardrobes increasing the look of space. Go for the Alde option, plus the Lux pack that gives you illumination within the kitchen wall and other niceties, and you have a really super, intensely modern-look caravan.
A tourer for buyers looking for a bijou bedroom, this new arrival has a transverse bed and sliding door leading forward, to the shower room
One of seven new twin axle caravans launched by the Swift Group for 2017, the Sterling Eccles 635 is among a new trend-setting breed of tourer with bedrooms at the rear and washrooms spread across the centre of the caravan amidships. Suddenly, this central washroom idea that’s been around for a few years, albeit in just a few models, has sprung into prominence, with beds aligned longitudinally and, a few, cross-ways. The 635 is one of these.
Its bed head is against the offside wall. A sliding door partitions the bedroom from the washing area. And a hinged door segments the whole area from the kitchen-lounge functions of the caravan.
The Eccles 635 has a twin sister; the same layout appears in the Swift Challenger range, with different interior looks. The Eccles version has matt white cabinet doors, fawn walls and furniture, hessian-look seating and pattern interest in the curtains, of which later.
Swift equipped both 635 models with their 'Command system'; you can download an app which enables you to control the caravan’s heating from your smartphone or tablet (providing you have signal in the area, of course!). And, new for the 2017 model year, buyers can purchase a subscription to a Thatcham Level 6 tracker system.
There’s another option for both Challengers and Eccles, too. A Lux pack (£595) includes an illuminated kitchen splash-back, a key-fob operated alarm system, an external locker hatch, a barbeque point and an external mains socket. And there’s something else. As standard, Eccles and Challenger models come with Truma heating; you can opt for Alde, though. The option adds £995 to the cost and 20kg to the weight. Our review model has this upgrade and also has the Lux pack.
So, a fully-loaded Sterling Eccles 635 is ours for a day of evaluation. We’ll start in the centre of the caravan, with the design of the showering-washing room.
Watch Val Chapman's review below:
The shower is almost circular and on the nearside. Alongside it is an Alde panel radiator, with a towel loop above it, and a double hook close by, perfectly positioned to ensure towels hanging here will dry. The basin is in the centre, facing the front of the caravan. Swift has inset white lights along each side of the mirror. And if you step back into the kitchen you can almost inspect your attire from head to toe; an unusual (and very nice) feature in a caravan.
The toilet and the wardrobe are on the offside. The washroom has three cabinets, one on the offside wall, one beneath the basin and a third alongside the loo.
Moving around in the washing department, we can’t help comparing it to a full-width shower room, and it stands up well, with a depth of 1.24m at its deepest point, so ample floor space for towelling, dressing and grooming. The one downside is an absence of shelves for shampoos in the shower.
The 635’s bedroom is a delight; a cosy yet spacious feel room. One contributor to this feel is the absence of wardrobes flanking the bed, which are usually present in island-bed layouts. Instead, three top lockers occupy the whole offside wall length, and triple-drawer units are on each side of the bed. These are big, at 62cm deep and 20cm wide. And there’s a nice triangular dressing table in the nearside corner, with a two-shelf cabinet beneath it and two more shelves in a mirrored cabinet. This spot is also the TV area, with a bracket on the wall and all necessary connections above the mirror. A second mains socket is under the mirror; that’s the one for your hairdryer and straighteners.
So, all preening and entertainment functions amply catered for; how about ambience? Alde piping runs along the rear and nearside walls; a metal casement allows warmed air to rise through its slatted top.
The bedroom has two windows, so it’s appealingly light and bright. Each window has upholstered panels on both sides. There are no curtains. It’s a plainly modern, uncluttered look.
The mattress is Duvalay, high-quality foam. It’s rather firm; some may say too firm if you like your bed with sink-into character. We measured the bed at 1.81m long at full-stretch; you can retract it by24cm to provide extra corridor space along its foot.
The 635’s greatest storage asset is in the bedroom; the bed rises smoothly to reveal a storage space the same size as the bed in retracted mode and with an offside hatch. The cross-shaped framework which allows for the retraction system impedes access a bit from the bedroom, and the spare wheel is here. So the easiest way to use this big storage area is from the outside hatch.
The wardrobe gives you 63cm of hanging width plus two small shelves on one side and two shelf areas for shoes beneath.
In the front, there’s the regular under-settee space plus two big side lockers. These reach the whole length of the lounge, right to the front of the caravan, although we think items put here might be quite difficult to get in and out.
To create the centre-front breakfast table you raise the top of the chest of drawers and pull out its lower section. This section gives you a table measuring 72 x 60cm, which is a nice size. The only slight negative here is that you have to remove anything that might be on the table before you extend it.
The freestanding table has a cabinet, with two shelves above it, to the rear of the fridge-freezer on the nearside.
Time to take in 2017 Eccles lounge looks. Four cushions grab your attention first. Two are bolster shaped, in pale gold shiny fabrics, and two are square, in almost white, suede-effect material. Split-level armrests allow you to remove the angled top sector, though quite why anyone would do this baffles us, it’s a beautiful style, though!
The seating fabric is on a hessian weave theme, with slightly shiny threads contrasting with darkish brown ones. It feels as if it would be exceptionally durable, and looks lovely.
We love the matt white cabinets with darkest brown glossy, chrome-bordered handle sectors, and the use of matt fawn where in most caravans you’d find woodwork. We also love the presence of two mains sockets on the console that’s perfectly shaped for charging phones, below the centre window.
This a lounge for four, rather than six, with a settee length of 1.56m.
With the extension hinged into place, there’s just over a metre of the surface, and plenty of storage in two lower cabinets, both 37cm wide. The forward one is split into two shelf area, and the aft one contains two 12cm-wide, pull-out metal shelves. An additional shelf below these drawers would have vastly increased the capacity of this cabinet, though, particularly since the base contains plumbing and heating pipework. We love the presence of two drawers, both fitted with cutlery dividers; one for table cutlery, the other for kitchen utensils, perhaps. So, plenty of space here, and that’s before we’ve investigated the offside sector of this kitchen.
The tall, slim-line Dometic fridge with removable freezer compartment is opposite the kitchen. With the freezer in place, you have almost 90cm of chill depth; this increases by 25cm when you remove the freezer compartment. The width is 33cm., with four shelves and a chiller box in the base. There are lockers above and below the fridge, plus a small locker alongside the door. So, in total, this kitchen is well endowed with storage opportunities.
Styling is awesome, with matt grey for the lower cabinet doors and white for all the other cabinets.
Twin-axle tourers are always an easy pleasure to tow. They are so predictable and inherently stable. The new 635 proved to be a prime example of this trait, on its short (and, yes, sweet) tow test. Even so, if we were buying one we’d be opting for the addition of the automatic stability control system (ATC) at £325, for belt-and-braces security in high winds.
The identical Challenger, with different styling
The Lux pack and ATC