Co Durham manufacturer Elddis is now part of the mighty Erwin Hymer Group, although it has been in business building Brit-friendly caravans and motorhomes for more than half a century.
It responded to the changing profile of motorhome purchasers in three significant ways. First, by limiting weights to a licence-friendly 3500kg. Second, by offering unbeatable value for money, and third, by making sure that there is a travel seat for every sleeping berth.
Masters at lightweight construction, Elddis had been working flat-out building value-for-money Autoquests – many of which were offered as dealer specials – when it realised that it needed to broaden the offer, by building some luxurious flagships; hence the Aspire, which was replaced by the classily contemporary Encore in 2015.
Spectacularly well-equipped the range certainly is, but significantly – and despite their palatial interiors – all can be driven on a normal Category B car licence.
It was a controversial, but smart, move to make the entire range the same length, with an identical, sleek, low-profile overcab body shape.
Throughout its production run, the Encore offer has consisted of an identically priced four-model line-up. Numerically, the range kicked off with the four-berth 254, which features a permanent transverse island double bed at the far rear.
The forward lounge converts into another transverse double (singles are possible if the cab seat squabs are used), which is ahead of a centrally located nearside kitchen, plus an offside washroom and wardrobe.
The four-berth 255 and 285 models have a similar lounge to that in the 254, but differ at the rear. The 255 features a rear-corner European-style low-level double bed, with the washroom and walk-in shower adjacent. The 285 boasts a full-width ‘across the rear’ changing room with walk-in shower, toilet, handbasin and wardrobe.
Ahead of the comfort station are two permanent easy-access low-level single beds, placed longitudinally either side of the central aisle.
The sole two-berth offering is the wonderfully spacious 275, which Elddis aficionados will recognise as a top-tackle version of the Autoquest 175. It has a large ‘across the rear’ changing/washroom, a long linear kitchen, featuring acres of worktop, and a palatial forward lounge.
The standard specification would be considered high at any price, but particularly so at this price point.
Water and space heating are courtesy of an Alde 24hr multiprogrammable domestic-style wet central heating system. All beds are generously sized and permanent beds are equipped with Ozio Coolsoft luxury mattresses.
A dual-fuel hob, microwave and mine’s-bigger-than-yours fridge-freezer add to the galley’s appeal. Traditionally built (dovetailed) drawers and 24mm locker cabinetwork ups the ante, as does the Aquaclean pet-friendly snag-resisant upholstery.
The 2019 season heralded the change from silver-grey GRP sides to the new champagne-coloured aluminium StrongLite cladding.
All layouts continued until this year, when the 254 was replaced by the 250. This is essentially the same ‘van, but with the permanent rear transverse island double bed rotated, so it is now longitudinal, with the head end along the rear wall.
Also for 2020, there’s a significant change in underpinnings. Swapping to the Ducato enables extra-cost options of engine upgrades, a torque-converter automatic transmission, and 16″ alloy wheels, to become available.
That’s it. “More, more!” you might cry, but all I can give you in response is a well-received Encore…
- 2015-2019 Elddis Encore on Peugeot Boxer 335 LWB chassis-cab
- 2020 onwards on Fiat Ducato LWB chassis-cab
- Built 2015 to present in Consett, Co Durham, UK
- Low-profile overcab coachbuilt
- Overall length 7.41m (24′ 4″)
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Should handle well on the road, with no creaks or groans from coachwork or furniture, because Elddis specified the Tempo Libero variant of the Peugeot chassis-cab, which has very strong closed box-section extensions.
Early models were powered by 2.2-litre Euro 5 130bhp engines, later ones by (more economical) 2.0-litre Euro 6 130bhp units. Aim for Euro 6 if you live in an inner urban area.
Check for a full service history and note that drive belt change interval is determined by age, as well as mileage.
Everyone wants a solid coachbuilt and these are built using a fully bonded SoLiD (Strong, Light and Dry) construction system.
However, the valuable 10-year water ingress warranty will only apply if the coachwork has been inspected annually by an approved engineer. Check for the correct stamps in the owner handbook. Generally, these motorhomes are not known for any regularly recurring faults, although the antifreeze in the central heating system should be changed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Bear in mind that the long rear overhang and shallow departure angle might not be suitable for purchasers with very steep driveways.
- Luxury at an approachable price point
- All weight 3500kg or less
- Practical layouts
- Long water ingress warranty
- Alde heating
- No option for automatic transmission until 2020 models
- Interior wallboard and tape look a little dated
There isn’t a lemon among the layouts, so there’s nothing to avoid. Solo motorcaravanners and couples are likely to favour the 275, provided they don’t want a permanent bed.
WHAT TO PAY
All including private sales are likely to be north of £40,000. We found a low-mileage 2016 275 advertised by Becks at £41,995, while Motorhome Depot (Midlands) has a new – unregistered but built in 2019 – 254 advertised on Autotrader for £49,850 OTR.
OR YOU COULD TRY
Post-2016 Bessacarrs, but not all are 3500kg or less. Dealer specials of sub-3500kg Elddis Autoquests have most of the goodies, but not Alde heating.
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Spectacularly well-equipped the range certainly is, but significantly - and despite their palatial interiors - all can be driven on a normal Category B car licence