Review: 2018 Elddis Encore 254

By: Karl Nebbeling, Photography by: Karl Nebbeling


Motorhome reviewer Karl Nebbeling takes a look through the well-spec’ed 2018 Elddis Encore 254

Based in sunny Nelson (although on this particular visit, sunshine gave way to torrential rain and flash flooding), RV Leisure has been supplying motorhomes and caravans to Kiwi travellers since 1978. The family-owned business has a solid reputation among the motorhoming community, not only for their honesty and integrity but for also for providing friendly, unfailing back-up service.

Motorhome

After many years selling locally made product, owners Barry Avery and Mike Irvine recently added the European-made Elddis motorhome range to their stable. Having distributed Elddis-manufactured caravans for many years, and having done extensive research, they were confident of the brand’s strong reputation for comfort and durability.

And their decision already is proving its worth with the range finding a niche among those looking for that ‘Cinderella’ RV that combines luxury and affordability. In this review, we take a closer look at the 2018 Elddis Encore 254.

Purpose-built by Peugeot 

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The Elddis range is built on an unmodified Peugeot chassis, something unique to the New Zealand motorhome market. Backed by a three-year/100,000km factory warranty, the Peugeot Boxer-based 254 features a Euro 6 emissions-compliant HDi Blue 130hp turbo diesel engine as standard. The result is a smooth drive with plenty of torque.

Space aplenty 

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The brochure for the Encore 254 describes it as ‘spacious and streamlined’, and it’s not wrong. First impressions are of sleek lines, sophisticated style, and comfort without compromising on space. Well-appointed LED lighting, windows, and four skylights throughout the vehicle add to the sense of openness and brightness. 

Lounging around

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Up front, the lounge includes twin face-to-face settees (which convert to a double bed) finished in sumptuous ‘Arran’ Aquaclean® with Safefront® and Pet Friendly® upholstery which has been designed with a very tight weave to prevent claws from making holes (which means, yes, the dog can come!).

Cleverly hiding beneath each is a single, belted passenger seat ready and waiting to be popped out for extra passengers. The fact that the belted seats are stored away is a reflection perhaps that this particular motorhome is designed for more for couples who might occasionally have extras on-board than for families regularly travelling with three or more. 

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The removable dining table is tidily tucked away in a slim cupboard beneath the kitchen sink, freeing up space after meals to relax with a good book or catch up on TV. The 2018 model features a 20-inch TV/DVD with Freeview as standard—a must-have for the modern motorhomer.

Prepare to be floored

The removable carpet is fixed to the floor (bamboo-effect easy-clean heavy-duty vinyl) with dome buttons, which means if that bottle of red goes south, cleaning the carpet becomes a bit easier. And if you prefer a cooler feel underfoot, or you expect to be travelling with sandy-footed kiddies or a shedding dog, remove the carpet altogether and do a quick sweep to keep things tidy. 

Cooking and cabinetry

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In the kitchen, a SmartEnergy 95-litre fridge-freezer offers plenty of room to store everything you need for a long trip away. Also standard is a Thetford Aspire 2 four-burner hob and an 800-watt microwave. 

There’s a decent amount of storage, and what’s more, the cabinetry—not only in the kitchen but throughout—is constructed using Ladinia craftsman-built ‘no rattle’ technology with 24mm class-leading locker construction, removable shelves, and positive locking with new-style handles, plus soft-close drawers, and soft-close hinges of all side-hung doors. And they look the part too with chrome trim and canvas contrast detailing. 

Cab comforts

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In the cab, fully adjustable and co-ordinated swivel captains’ seats create extra seating in the lounge area, and with armrests, they’re extra comfy for both driving and lounging.

Other features upfront include air-conditioning with internal and external temperature display, Alde fan-assisted heating to the cab, cruise control, ABS brakes with emergency braking assistance, central locking, a DAB radio with steering mounted controls, 12-volt power supply, Bluetooth and USB, daytime running headlights, and electrically heated adjustable wing mirrors with external temperature display. All in all, a fairly decent list of creature comforts that add to the Encore 254’s driving pleasure.

Bed, bath and beyond

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To the rear of the vehicle is the bedroom featuring a generously-sized 6’6" east-west queen bed that includes a lightweight but super-supportive OZIO core and new soft-touch Argentum+ anti-bacterial and anti-allergy technology.

His and hers wardrobes provide enough space to hang a few items, and I particularly like the clever bedside pull-out mini ‘bedside tables’ that provide space for parking your coffee while you read in bed. Two overhead cabins plus a corner cabinet (with mirror) offer extra storage, and a pop-up wall-mounted bench at the end of the bed is a useful addition.

Amidships, the bathroom (wetroom) includes an Ecocamel Orbit water-saving halo showerhead with built-in Aircore technology designed to save water while providing extra pressure.

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The boutique washbowl basin is not the biggest but it does the job and the resulting extra bathroom space is worth the compromise. And with Alde 24-hour programmable central heating for hot water on-demand, morning showers will rival those of home.

Strong and handsome

Outside, the extra-wide rear track combined with single-piece high-strength aluminium sides in ‘Champagne Gold’ and bronze badging gives a sleek, sporty look, not to mention being stronger and lighter than earlier models. 

Speaking of strength, at this point it’s worth touching on Elddis’ high-tech manufacturing process. Known as SoLID, this clever construction technology is unique to Elddis and is all about stopping water from getting in.

In an industry-first for caravans and motorhomes, Elddis uses a chemical bonding substance (also used by Boeing in its Dreamliner aircraft, as well as in Formula One race car engineering) to create a super strong structure that requires around 95 percent fewer exterior screws, creating an impervious barrier to water ingress.

Extras as standard

In addition to the long list of creature comforts listed above, the 2018 Encore 254 boasts some pretty enticing standard features. These include a reversing camera, 160-watt solar panel, automatic satellite dish, tow bar, and bike rack. 

Verdict

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The Elddis 254 is an ideal motorhome for those looking to buy well first time. With a long list of extras as standard, the owners will be travelling in comfort for years to come. Solid construction, quality materials, a great layout, and plenty of creature comforts to ensure happy travels.

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2018 Elddis Encore 254 Specifications

Vehicle make/model: Elddis Encore 254
Engine: Peugeot Boxer 2.0 130 bhp HDi Turbo Diesel
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Berths: Four
Approx. overall length: 7.41m
Approx. overall width: 2.75m
Approx. overall height: 2.82m
Tanks: 100L fresh, 100L grey
Gas: 2 x 9kg
GVM: 3500kg

Price (as reviewed) $154,995

Pluses

  • Well-constructed using modern technology and excellent materials
  • Great layout—spacious and practical
  • Loads of ‘extras’ as standard

Minuses

  • Manual transmission won’t be for everyone 

For more information, visit rvleisurecentre.co.nz.

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