Andrew McPhee

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Get the expert verdict on the Auto-Sleeper Sigma EL in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

Over the past 40 years, the Auto-Sleeper brand has built a loyal following of motorcaravanners. Its largest Peugeot-based ’vans are the Sigma EL and EK: a pair of 6.3m coachbuilts which slot into the range just above the ever-popular Nuevo. Both Sigmas come in at £40,491 each in standard guise and both are available in overcab and low-profile versions: the EK offers an end-kitchen, while the EL has a huge rear lounge. We tested the latter, low-profile version.

The exterior decals are squarely aimed at the British market: traditional brown-on-white graphics appear smart and understated. This is a classy-looking ’van whose smooth, low-profile lines are complemented by the neat paintwork. Rear corner steadies and an awning are standard on all ELs, and the awning light will aid entry to and from the motorhome in the dark.

External storage space is impressive: the gas locker is big enough for two 13kg propane bottles, and also allows room for a water hose. The primary external locker is located on the driver’s side. It’s a long, slim unit with ample space for your hook-up cable and levelling ramps. All-round central locking is standard equipment.

On the road

Our test vehicle was fitted with the standard 120bhp engine – a unit we found more than capable of powering this ’van both on fast motorway stretches and up steep hills. Visibility is excellent, thanks to the double wing mirrors which offer rearwards and ’van-side views of the road. It is also possible to see back through the large rear window, although this view is slightly impeded with the addition of the bike rack (a £250 option).

The cab is a comfortable place to sit during lengthy journeys. There is plenty of room to store maps and the like in the small storage shelf above the cab, although we rued the inclusion of only one cup holder in the cab area. The passenger airbag is a £212 option.

Lounging & dining

Key to this model’s layout is its large rear lounge. The three sofas are comfortable and their base cushions are just the right length for those of average height. Six halogen spotlights and strip lighting above each sofa provide ample ambient lighting for reading.

The dining area is created by the addition of a free-standing table which is stored in the wardrobe. However, this is a little too large: we found that access to the oven was impeded when the table was in place.

There is also a small, one-legged table that can be erected alongside the accommodation door. It is ideal for cups of tea or as an additional dining place.

Kitchen

With the British market in mind, the kitchen comes with 
a three-burner hob (with one electric plate), a full-sized oven and grill and an 86-litre fridge. The sink/drainer combination is large and the amount of worktop space is cleverly extended by the addition of two extendable surfaces: one which folds out alongside the accommodation door, and another that slides out from above the fridge.

A waste bin lives inside the vertical cupboard below the sink but we found it too small. Also, we would have liked the inclusion of an extractor fan above the hob as standard (it is a £136 option).

The water pump is operated via the touch-screen digital control panel positioned alongside the kitchen. It is a clever device that allows you to operate everything from the clock to the levelling monitor – handy for allowing you to see instantly how level your ’van 
is when on uneven ground.

Sleeping

Creating the spacious double bed is simply a process of pulling out the base of the two side sofas before sliding the back cushions down to fill in the gaps. There’s plenty of room for two adults, although you may miss the inclusion of a small table/unit alongside the bed on which to place books and drinks.

We toured during sub-zero temperatures and so were glad of the efficient Trumatic gas/electric heating system. Two blown-air vents (one of which is under the bed) kept us warm during the coldest of nights.

Washroom

The EL’s washroom is very well designed and features a swing-wall arrangement that creates a separate shower cubicle. It is impressively spacious, and the shelf located behind the fake wall is an ideal spot for toiletry bottles and so on.

There are three plugholes in the washroom area, too, so your waste water drains away quickly. Two light units mean that, despite there not being a window, there is still plenty of light by which to wash. Our one criticism would be that there is no extractor fan in this area and it becomes excessively warm when the blown-air heating is operating.

Storage

Storage space abounds in this vehicle. Six lockers are located above the lounge area (one of which houses four crystal glasses and four wine-bottle holders) and there are two cupboards with tambour doors, which are ideal for the storage of books and clothes. A half-length, deep wardrobe is located above the heater, and there is a drawer beneath the wardrobe, too.

There is another large locker positioned above the cab and that will swallow two suitcases. There are also useful coat-hooks positioned alongside the accommodation door – a handy feature which is too often overlooked.

Storage space in the kitchen is less impressive: there is one locker above the sink, which is perfect for storing cans and the like, as well as a cutlery drawer with small cupboard below. We would have appreciated at least one more cupboard for storing other foodstuffs, though.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload408kg
Length6.28m20′7″
Width2.32m7′7″
Height2.97m9′9″
Waste water53L
External Options
Integral awning, Awning light
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Gas water heater

Verdict

The Sigma EL comes extremely close to earning a five-star rating from us. Its layout will work extremely well for two adults who prefer to tour long-term – even during the winter season.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Spacious, well-designed layout; efficient heating system; generous living space and storage.

Cons

  • Waste water tank is relatively small; not a great deal of storage space in bathroom.
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