Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review

By: Bill Savidan


Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review
Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review
Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review
Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review
Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review
Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan review

Bill Savidan finds happiness in an unexpected place when he reviews Euro’s Sterckeman Alize Concept 475CP caravan.

Caravan manufacturers build caravans. Caravan salesmen sell dreams. Dreams of idyllic times spent beside a river, mountain or the sea that buyers seek to fulfil when they make their caravan purchase.

So when I saw Sterckeman describe its product as "a few square metres of happiness you can take anywhere", I was delighted.

What is Sterckeman?

Sterckeman is part of the Trigano group that manufactures a host of brands: Caravelair, Colorado, CI, and Roller, just to name a few. Trigano’s 600 employees build around 7000 units annually in its 200,000-square-metre factory in the Rhone Valley of France.

Sterckeman, as a caravan brand, has been around for over 60 years. For 2015, it has three model ranges: the entry level Starlett, the mid-range Starlett Comfort, and the Alize at the top of the range.

But can it build a caravan that appeals to Kiwi buyers? That is what I am here to find out when I review the Alize 475CP.

Alize Concept 475CP

My first impression of the Alize, both inside and out, is of a design philosophy that is crisp, coherent, subdued, and trendy – with a hint of quirky.

The Alize is an ‘all Alko rig’ – chassis, running gear and anti-sway hitch. It looks a wee bit naked at the front, as there is no cover over the hitch frame, but one can be ordered as an optional extra. The door is on the Kiwi driver’s side, but most buyers today accept that.

Vertical front handles blend into the caravan’s sleekly curved front panel and look both smart and robust. Beneath the front window, a nearly full-width hatch lid covers the front boot, home for the spare wheel, a 30-litre grey water roll away tank and 9kg LPG bottle(s).

There is an impressive stop, turn and tail light display that includes a pair of reversing lights installed into the rear panel. Foam sandwich panels form the roof, floor and side panels with the roof and side panels clad externally with a hail-resistant GRP sheet. The structure is sufficiently robust for Sterkeman to provide a five-year water tightness warranty.

Kerbside, there is a ‘luggage door’ to access the cavernous space beneath the double bed – ideal for outdoor furniture, a BBQ and other outdoor gear.

Alize 475_2

Inside

Inside, three features immediately caught my attention: the U shaped lounge; the kitchen; and the bathroom.

The first, a four-seat (six at a pinch) U-shaped lounge has always been a feature sought after by Kiwi buyers. This one is well executed with side settees long enough to put your feet up, and well-padded cushions.

The free standing dining table has a compressible pedestal that, when compressed, allows the table top to form the bed base, if you choose to convert the lounge into a second double bed. The overhead lockers above the lounge are twice as deep as normal.

The second ‘attention getter’ is the kitchen. One thing European RVs tend to have in common is a small kitchen. The one in the Alize is an exception to this rule. It still isn’t large, but it is about right for a two-person caravan of this length. And it has a nice surprise in one of the under-bench drawers: the second drawer is a fridge – all 151 litres of it!

A small pantry and two overhead cupboards make up the rest of the storage. An optional microwave can be fitted into one of the overhead cupboards. The three-hob cooker sits beside the sink in the bench top, leaving half-a-metre or more of clear bench space to the left.

Thirdly, I was impressed with the ablution arrangements. The toilet/shower compartment is separate from a handbasin, vanity and mirror – a workable arrangement that allows two people to use two of the ablution facilities at the same time.

Meanwhile, the queen-sized bed is tucked into the rear corner alongside the bathroom. It looks very cosy even if it is a little awkward to make. With a quality foam mattress and an Oeko-tex anti-dustmite mattress cover over a slat base, it promises many nights of blissful sleep. The slat base lifts providing access to the cavern below.

The verdict

Overall, I think this is a very good caravan. It is lightweight and can be towed by many medium-sized family saloons. I used a two-litre VW Passat and it coped effortlessly. The layout makes it feel spacious – the lounge and kitchen area lends itself to both entertaining and just mooching about on your own – and it is tidy, sturdy and durable.

For more information, call (09) 832 0064.

Pros

  • The U-shaped lounge
  • The kitchen
  • The shower/toilet compartment

Cons

  • None

Read the full review in issue #130 of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations magazine. Subscribe here.

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