Layout: End Washroom 2 berth
Dimensions: 6.49mx2.31mx2.60m (LxWxH)
Configuration: Large Rear washroom.
Sterling Eccles Topaz 2011
The Sterling Eccles has offered slick, cutting-edge style to Swift Group’s mid-range line up. With the 2011 update, however, Eccles gets a razor-sharp exterior appearance to go with the cool interior. New front and rear panels, thicker sidewalls and a bonded roof mean this is more than a simple makeover.
Pitching and setting up
For all the glamour of the new models, Sterling has put a lot of effort into minimising the risk of black streaks ruining the look of its handsome mid-range tourer. The black name badge above the front windows is designed to channel rainwater either side of the windows and the raised sections on the outside edges of the roof stop water dripping down the sidewalls.
The gas locker door is enormous and lifts high, giving excellent access to the front locker, although the temptation to overload it means owners must load with care.
All aspects of hitching up and setting up on site are easy to use and access. Once on site, the majority of electrical controls are uniquely gathered in a roof locker, rather than buried under a seat. This makes turning the mains appliances on and off, and checking fuses, a very simple, eye-level operation.
The standard upholstery is quite lively but isn’t too offensive. Regardless of appearance, it is comfortable. Headroom is very good, even in the corner seats, and the curved corner cushions look attractive and provide plenty of support.
There are four LED spotlights in the lounge and a single central light in place of two corner ones. Concealed lighting at roof level adds a degree of subtlety to the interior finish. A trinket tray on the front shelf, with easily accessible mains sockets and TV points, saves scrabbling around on the floor when charging mobile phones or plugging in the television
The side kitchen in the Topaz has plenty of worktop space. The unusual sink has a tiny integrated drainer built into the back edge but for bigger washing-up tasks, there is a clip-on plastic one.
The microwave is lower than in previous Swift models, which is a definite improvement, but it will still be a stretch for shorter caravanners. Lockers either side of the microwave provide good storage although roof lockers on the opposite side of the van will most likely end up being used for kitchen kit, too. Lighting over the working area is good and a pair of mains sockets mean your kettle or toaster have an obvious home
The huge washroom area lacks a little sparkle, but there is no arguing with the available space. Two wardrobes ensure owners won’t be hard up for hanging space, while drawer and undersink storage means there’s a variety of places to stow things. The granite-effect sink dominates the view and may prove divisive. It’s certainly big, however.
Lighting is pretty good in the washroom. There’s a dedicated light for the shower and natural light comes courtesy of an obscured window above the toilet and a standard pop-top rooflight.
The shower cubicle is fairly compact to make space for all the storage, but will prove adequate for most needs. The Thetford C-250 electric flush toilet is standard.
On first inspection, it doesn’t look like there is much to talk about with the front lounge bed, but you need to look closer. The bed makes up in the normal way, with slats that pull out from under the centre chest, but Swift has developed a set of runners which stop the slats popping out and dropping into the gap. This simplifies the bed make-up.
The seat cushions are fairly flat, without the pronounced knee rolls of many rival products, and this makes it easy to get comfortable. The beds are long and wide enough to see service as twin single beds if required
It’s rare for end-washroom two-berth caravans to be short of storage and that convention is in evidence here. The high, flat roof of the caravan means that the front roof lockers are cavernous. Putting the electrical controls in a roof locker gives more space under the seats for bulky stuff, too.
Washroom storage is massive and kitchen storage is fine. The huge front and side-accessed wet lockers mean there is good external provision too.
Interior length 4.74m
Shipping length 6.46m
Awning size 912cm
The Topaz combines cutting edge style with a traditional layout. Impressive.