Jayco Sterling

By: Steve Vermeulen, Photography by: Steve Vermeulen


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Australians can be very proud of the home-grown Jayco brand of quality motorhomes and caravans

Jayco Sterling
Jayco Sterling
  • Slide-out extension on the bedroom (or lounge option)
  • Layout is spacious and comfortable
  • Full-width bathroom is among the best in class
  • Modern and contemporary
  • Jayco build quality
  • Easy to tow

Regular readers will know Jayco has grown to be a major player in New Zealand, though the current exchange rate will be making the local operations wince a little. Sales are consistent across the broad mix of product says my local agent, Glen O’Donnell of South Auckland Caravans, with buyers appreciating the affordable pricing Jayco’s economy of scale can offer and the obvious quality in the construction.

I’m here to sample the latest in Jayco’s Sterling range of vans. A 2011 makeover has brought new interior surfaces and upholstery. The Sterling range is all luxury, with warm bamboo floor covering, attractive timber and well-made contemporary fabrics everywhere, but what I really like is the layout on this particular floor plan (24.75-2 in the 2011 Jayco brochure).

It’s geared more toward couples – though it’ll cope fine with the occasional grandkid duties too – with the 24.5-foot van split into three distinct areas. At one end is the full-width and beautifully appointed bathroom, at the other is a very open and spacious living and cooking area, and in the centre sits the sleeping quarters with – in this case – a space-expanding pop-out.

"I always opt for the pop-outs on the Jayco models," says Glenn. "That extra room makes a lot of difference and most customers were ticking that option box anyway."

I think he’s right in purchasing his stock with the extendable bedroom. The horizontal island bed is generously-sized, and it would seem a shame to spoil the ambiance with a narrow path around it. And besides, as far as pop outs go it’s not a big jump in price, adding only about $3500 to the bottom line – far below what other brands charge for the option. This way you have plenty of space to walk through and open the lower shoe cubbies and cupboards more easily and it’s all seamlessly operated by a switch hidden in one of the many overhead cupboards that surround the bedroom. Spare bedding is stowed in a large area under the bed, which lifts up with gas-strut assistance.

Beyond the bedroom the en suite is on par with the best we’ve reviewed in a van; the shower presents almost no compromise over a modern apartment-style unit and the smartly designed circular enclosure complements the modern washroom and loo facilities well. As an added bonus, there’s plenty of storage in the bathroom and an expansive vanity top. You never feel cramped.

At the other end, the new-for-2011 kitchen is modern and durable with stone-look bench tops and attractive splash backs. The microwave and Dometic RM2553 fridge, boasting 135 litres of fridge capacity and 15 litres for frozen items, sit opposite the bench and Smev four-burner hob/oven combo. The bench area itself is good, but I’d rather the large sink/drying try was flipped around so you had more usable space beside the cooker to save crossing the sink with ingredients or hot trays from the oven.

The area is, however, well lit and open to move around in. The 24.75-2 Sterling’s C-shaped lounge accommodates four around the table easily so you can sit, entertain or watch the 22" LCD television. Naturally, the seating area converts simply to a double bed also.

A unique feature I liked about the Sterling is the main front window, which incorporates a hard external cover to protect the window from stones. As a side effect it also provides complete privacy and eliminates any light when you’re trying to sleep.

As with all Jayco products, the tough galvanised frame is well insulated with a multi- layer sandwich of ABS plastic, 3mm ply, foam insulation and dent-resistant fibreglass. Made for the harsh Australian outback conditions, Jayco invests heavily in final product validation so sealing from dust and a reliance over harsh country roads are priorities. You definitely get a sense of that build quality from the Sterling.

On the topic of road-going characteristics, I found the Jayco a very easy tow. Partially thanks to the SsangYong Rexton, which coped with the 2300kg weight easily, but it wasn’t until I read the specifications that I realised this is the largest van I’ve been in control of. I’m very far from being a confident tower, but even with my limited abilities I managed a three-point turn in a small country lane.

Maybe that’s why the brand has seen some success here, too. At $86,000 it competes at the top end of the market and faces very strong competition in the modern and beautifully-built Trail-Lite and Southern Star products, with added value of the pop-out, not to mention genuine durability and practicality throughout.

See a range of Jayco caravans for sale, including the Sterling model.

Specifications

2011 Jayco Sterling 24.75-2
Price $86,000 (With pop-out option)
Length 7453mm
Interior length 6787mm
Height 2910mm
Interior height 1978mm
Width 2470mm
Tare weight 2.295kg
Ball weight 197kg
Fridge Three-way, 150 litres
Cooker Three-gas burner, 1 electric. Oven + grill
Power supply 12V /240 Setec self-sensing switch over
Fresh water 180 litre

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