Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer

By: Bill Savidan


Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer
Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer Caravan review: Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer

Last year we loved the Sterling Eccles Quartz. Unsurprisingly, the new Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer caravan also appeals.

From the front, the Wayfarer presents a distinctively styled front panel. The graphite colour of the boot lid and the panels either side of the sunroof draw the eye away from the dark acrylic windows, allowing the viewer to better appreciate the aerodynamically shaped nose cone.

Below floor level, Swift uses AL-KO products almost exclusively. The corner steadies are the heavy-duty AL-KO as is the twin-axle chassis. AL-KO has developed a number of safety systems that make towing a caravan safer and two of these systems are fitted to the Wayfarer. First is the AL-KO 3004 anti-sway hitch and second is AL-KO's computer-based ATC stability system that is designed to stifle errant trailer behaviour like swaying and skidding.

The ATC system has proved to be an exceptionally valuable safety tool. Rounding out the sub-floor package, the four 185/70 R14 88T tyres are eco-friendly fuel efficient tyres from D Mack, Swift's exclusive supplier. A softer ride is one of the benefits of twin axles because of the lower tyre pressure the four tyres are run at compared with two on single-axle trailers – in this case 32psi compared with up to 60psi on some single-axle rigs.

Features that should be standard on all caravans…

Like most caravanners, I love it when I see features included that I think should be standard on all caravans, so I was delighted to find the Wayfarer ticked a lot of these boxes for me before I had even stepped inside.

These features are relatively simple and economical to install during manufacture but seem to cost an arm and a leg to have retro-fitted: an external LPG connection for a BBQ; a 230volt outlet plug; external hatches, in this case two, providing access to two separate storage space beneath the beds; and a front frame cover robust enough to stand on when cleaning the front of the 'van.

Two more, equally useful but less often found features were a mains pressure fresh water inlet and a separate filler point under a hatch for the toilet flush water. Personally, I think this is a good feature, separating the caravan fresh water supply from the toilet flushing system.

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Inside the Wayfarer

The Wayfarer has twin settees at the front, kitchen and entry door amidships, with an east/west queen-sized bed and ablutions across the rear of the 'van. This has proved to be a popular layout for most manufacturers, so I was interested to see how Swift had executed the arrangement to make it more desirable than its competitors.

Textured contrasts and colours replace wood-grain as the interior decor theme with milk chocolate coloured cabinetry, white doors and drawer fronts with accents of dark chocolate stripes and shiny silver hardware contrasting with brightly coloured cushions and curtains.

The lounge seating is cosy with room for four, but no more. The two seat settees are not long enough for an adult to sleep on but together they turn into a good-sized double bed on demand. Like many other caravans you pull a set of slats out from under the front cabinet to create the bed base for the gap between the settees.

In keeping with the latest trends, the Wayfarer has a sunroof over the lounge. It is a separate fitting from the front windows and not as large as some sunroofs I have seen fitted to other caravans. We get a lot more hot sun here compared with the UK, so the blind will probably be used to close it off during the hot summer months.

The kitchen

I liked the kitchen's attractive, crisply styled business-like package. There is plenty of bench space when the fold-down bench extension is raised, and the inset simulated granite sink is different. The large cupboard doors provide good access, making it is easy to see what's inside.

Those who travel off the grid may want to adjust the space utilisation within, however. The wire dish rack in the overhead cupboard and the wire baskets below the bench are not the most efficient storage options. Instead of a range hood, a ceiling vent with a three-speed fan provides satisfactory ventilation when cooking.

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Bathroom

If it’s true that bathrooms sell caravans then the Wayfarer will be a winner. No extroverted statements here, just a well-thought-out space.

The folding shower door now runs more smoothly on a rail, and the clothes hanger rail in the shower has one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-it-features: a piece of elastic shock cord twisted the length of the rail in such a way as to restrain the hangers while the caravan is in motion.

The heated towel rail will be a blessing especially during cold winter months and is one of the benefits of the Alde heating system installed in the Wayfarer. It heats the hot water as well as the heating fluid that is pumped throughout the Wayfarer to strategically placed wall heaters and to the towel rail. It is very efficient and easy to control using a touch screen.

The verdict

I would give Swift a score of 8.5 out of 10 for its Wayfarer – an easy-to-tow package with a maximum GVW of 1800kgs. When reviewed it was nearer its tare weight of 1580kgs and handled beautifully behind importer Nathan Butler's Mitsubishi Challenger. Vehicles with a 2000kg or more tow rating should handle the Wayfarer with ease.

Call (06) 769 5541 for more information about the Sterling Eccles SE Wayfarer reviewed.

To read the full review, check out issue #127 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine. Subscribe here.

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