As Swift expands its Eccles range to incorporate several eight-foot wide models, We find out whether the additional width works within the buyer's favour.
There's something special about Eccles getting eight-foot-wide models Eight-foot-wide caravans are unveiled so regularly recently that one is apt to become a touch blasé about them. But there's something Very special about the Eccles range - which celebrated its centenary last year - being graced with its own versions of them. The 850 we test here is one among four eight-foot-wide models that Swift is bringing out this year as an Eccles X sub-range.
Pitching and fixing
On the road with an eight-foot-wide caravan, you're attending to be even as concerned about stability as you're about the Eccles' timber-free construction. So it's good to understand that the Eccles comes with an AKS stabiliser. the quality Eccles doesn't, however, include Al-Ko's ATC trailer system, and Swift hasn't decided to create it standard even on this wider model. that might likely make an enormous difference to towing comfort.
When the Eccles range was given its complete redesign last year, one thing many of us remarked on was its daring - perhaps too daring - dark interior. Well, that dark woodgrain effect on the lockers continues to be there, as well as the black splashback with the diamond pattern within the kitchen, together with the black-with-gold-accent scatter cushions. But within the wider confines of the X 850, such a scheme doesn't seem so oppressive. this might be because light streams in through the sunroof and two rooflights over the lounge and therefore the kitchen. But the other reason for this sense of room is undoubtedly the layout, as this front lounge adopts a layout that features an L-shaped settee. There's no window on the front nearside corner, because Swift has left an area here to fix a TV. Rather nicely, it's even positioned the sockets for such a set within the little cupboard that forms a part of the shelf running along the bottom of this panel. So you do not need to have plugs showing. If you're the type of person that likes to access your connections easily, there's another clearly visible here, together with two USBs. On the opposite side of the doorway door there's a little sideboard, a coat hook, and a handy shelf where you'll be able to leave fobs and keys.
There is a pull-up extension to what's already quite a large surface within the side kitchen. But you may need to be judicious about once you use it, because within the up position it only really leaves room for one person to take a seat on the a part of the settee that will face the TV directly. A very large, round stainless-steel sink is made into the surface, but there's still space to store a kettle at least, and there are two mains sockets accessible. A dual-fuel four-burner hob is on the right. Underneath, you'll find a large cupboard with a pull-out shelf inside, while up above there are two overhead lockers either side of a microwave. The one on the left features a mug rack and there is a crockery rack within the one on the right. The opposite side of the aisle is home to Dometic's new two-way-opening fridge/freezer with removable freezer - although we found removing it a touch tricky given the position the fridge is in. there's a little locker above the fridge, and an even smaller one below it. A slim storage cupboard for the table sits between the fridge and also the washroom door and, as a result, the 2 shelves above it are restrictively narrow.
Unusually for a central washroom like this, there is no central washbasin. The salad-bowl-style basin is over on the offside near the circular loo, with a double cupboard above it and an opaque window. The central pillar instead features a large mirror lit by one LED light with a cabinet underneath it. you may use this for hair drying, only there's not any mains socket nearby. The circular shower on the nearside doesn't have its own vent, but it does have an LED light and an Ecocamel showerhead. Outside it you'll find many places to leave a lounging robe, and a towel near the Alde radiator.
The inline island bed within the rear bedroom butts up right against the central pillar, so wouldn't be great for anyone on the particularly tall side. But there are touches in here that you simply don't always find in rear bedrooms like this, like the material panelling round the windows, and also the drawer within the little cupboards underneath the 2 wardrobes either side of the bed. There's good headroom too, and a TV bracket along side the required sockets on the central pillar. The other double is formed up from a platform that comes out of the L-shaped settee at the front. Such settees rarely make the foremost comfortable solution for couples, because one partner has got to put up with an odd assortment of cushions. But the bed in here isn't as complex as some arrangements we've seen, and therefore the extra width of the caravan means it's lovely and long, too. And with this arrangement an early riser still gets somewhere to take a seat and have a cuppa.
The platform for the bed within the L-shaped settee makes reaching the area under here tricky, although there's some space for storage if you'll be able to make it. there's a lot of space under the rear bed, which you'll access from either side of the pillar. The overhead lockers here are a decent combination of shelved and unshelved.
The extra width in this model should blow away any concerns about today's Eccles range being a touch dark. The 850 may be a stylish van to travel touring in; but it does have a couple of niggles, and at this width we might favor to see ATC fitted as standard.