Rob Ganley
Group editor

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Get the full story on the Elddis Aspire 240 with the Practical Motorhome review

Overview

Until October last year, Elddis was primarily known as a motorhome manufacturer of solid-but-basic overcab coachbuilts aimed at the budget market.

During 2010, however, the British company expanded its remit with the introduction of an all-new three-model range named Aspire at the NEC show. It faces tough rivals, though, with the continued success of the Swift Group’s luxury Bolero range, Auto-Trail’s Apache range (particularly now that they’re available with a super-low-line mould) and Auto-Sleepers’ Mercedes-based County line-up. Here we test the 240 – an end-lounge, well-specified two-berth, and a pre-production prototype, so not quite the finished model, to find out if it can take on the stalwarts.

Design

The exterior of the Aspire is striking, thanks to those silver sidewalls and black window surrounds, and the habitation door feels sturdy. The step into the living quarters is electrically operated. Both waste- (70-litre) and fresh-water (90-litre) tanks are underslung; the drain taps for each are located on the near- and off-side respectively. Neither is insulated, but you can opt for a Winter Pack to stop them freezing (£249).
The fresh-water fill point comprises Whale’s 12-volt automatic system. A reversing camera is fitted to the rear of the ’van, and the gas locker is low-slung on the nearside. The 240 has a substantial overhang, so we were pleased to see heavy-duty chassis extensions to the rear.
In the cab, we were impressed with the pull-up, full-length blind across the windscreen; easier to use than the more-common magnetic concertina blinds. We were disappointed, though, that an awning wasn’t a standard item at this price.

On the road

Settle into the double-armrest seats and you’ll see that the cab is well specified and is well lit, thanks to the panoramic (opening) skylight. Standard features include cab air-con, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, dual airbags and the large screen for that reversing camera.
On the road, the 130bhp Peugeot 2.2-litre MultiJet engine (with six-speed gearbox) performs well; it’s responsive and gives a smooth ride.”
There were some rattles from the accommodation area units during transit, but Elddis assures us that these will be addressed on production models. For example, bump stops will be fitted to all lockers.
Finally, we were impressed with the side cushions for the sofas, which have covered boards attached – this allows you to slot them down the ends of the cushions, preventing them from falling onto the floor when you’re driving.

Lounging & dining

The Aspire 240 offers a UK-friendly layout of a rear lounge with twin good-sized facing sofas. At the end is a touring-caravan-style chest of drawers. From this, a pull-out unit provides a small dining surface. The four-person (84cm x 56cm/2ft 9in x 1’ 10”), heavy freestanding table is stored in a locker in the kitchen. A full U-shaped lounge – with the drawer unit replaced by seating – is a £150 cost option, and should seat five in comfort.
Attractive upholstery and concealed lighting above and below the cream overhead lockers create a very pleasant area. At 1.88m (6’2”), the sofas are long enough to stretch out on, and have back boards to prevent condensation. There’s a Freeview TV with DVD capability located at the foot of the offside sofa.
Lighting consists of four LED spotlights and strips, and these can be dimmed, too. Natural light floods in through both the three windows – fitted with both concertina blinds, and smart and functional curtains on a stylish chrome rail – and the large Heki rooflight above.
In our test prototype the sophisticated LCD control panel was located above the TV; but in production models it will be fitted beside the entrance door. Rear speakers will be fitted above the lounge. Production models will get six mains sockets: two in the TV area, three in the kitchen, and one in the external battery locker. Sadly, there will be no mains socket near the rear chest of drawers.
Heating is provided by an Alde hydronic radiator central heating system: rare in a ’van at this price. It has a 24-hour, seven-day timer, and provides en-route heating, too. We found it very efficient in heating the water and keeping the van warm.

Kitchen

Those who enjoy cooking in their ’van will have their needs well met – the 240’s kitchen unit is 2.18m (7’2”) in length and has a great amount of storage. There’s a 175-litre fridge with separate freezer across the corridor.
The worksurface and appliances are domestic in style, with a huge dark sink, and lights on the kickboards. Up above you’ll find three lockers, a lit drinks locker, and a crockery cupboard. To the far right is a small microwave. Other cooking facilities include a Thetford three-burner hob with electric hotplate, small oven/grill and an extractor fan.
Storage is plentiful: there’s a large cutlery drawer, a spice rack, and a set of wire baskets in one of the floorstanding lockers. A chopping board and drainer are stored here, too.
The lighting here is excellent, with downlighters over the kitchen. Elbow-room is good, too – at 85cm (2’9”) in width, there’s plenty of room between the kitchen and opposite units.

Sleeping

You have a choice of two arrangements in the Aspire, both of which are made up from the sofas. The side cushions can be removed to form two fixed single beds (1.88m x 75cm/6’2” x 2’6”); or simply pull the two slatted sofa bases together (which lift on gas struts) to create a double of 2.15m x 1.45m (7’6” x 4’9”).
The drawer unit at the rear of the ’van acts as a bedside cabinet. A trio of windows that surround the lounge does mean that there’s no headboard to lean on while reading in bed, however.

Washroom

We think a luxury motorhome should have a well-equipped washroom, and the Aspire 240 certainly does. There’s a full-sized shower cubicle, 83cm x 63cm (2’9” x2’1”), but we were disappointed to see just one plughole, which could mean standing water. A useful seat is located on the offside.
Elsewhere, the washroom is smart and bright, with mirrors above the Thetford ceramic swivel toilet, a large opaque window and trio of LED down-lighters. The small rectangular basin and dark granite-look surfaces may divide opinion, as may the towel rail – an Alde radiator – alongside the toilet. Its position, almost touching the toilet, isn’t ideal, however.
Storage here is excellent: multiple cupboards, a toilet-roll holder, small cubbyholes, a soap dish and glass-holder. Removable carpets line the floor.
Finally, we think that many motorcaravanners will choose to keep their Aquaroll – supplied by Elddis as standard – in the washroom. Bear this in mind if you often use the washroom when out and about, as there’s no other obvious place to store it.

Storage

Storage is one of the Aspire 240’s strongest cards. We love the full-length locker doors under the sofas, and clothing can be stored in the chest at the rear of the ’van, or in the full-length wardrobe in front of the offside sofa. This has two hanging rails – at the top and halfway up.
However, what is noticeable by its absence is external storage space – there’s nowhere to stow chocks and cables, which means they’ll have to be kept inside the ’van.
Our other concern is the low payload. The Aspire 240 has an MTPLM of 3500kg, and a MIRO of 3240kg (including driver, fuel, 90% water and gas), leaving a payload of 260kg. Upgrading to the 4000kg chassis, thus increasing the payload to 760kg, costs £1140.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload260kg
Length7.37m24′2″
Width2.3m7′7″
Height2.81m9′3″
Waste water90L
External Options
Awning light, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill, Microwave, Extractor fan
Washroom
Dometic toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Alde wet central heating
Security
Immobiliser

Verdict

As Elddis' first foray into the luxury market, the Aspire is impressive. We like the spacious, well-designed accommodation and quality fixtures and fittings, and it’s extremely comfortable to live in and to drive. The payload is poor, though, without the £1140, 4000kg chassis upgrade. With it, the 240 becomes truly tempting for two to tour in luxury.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Fantastic kitchen; wide passage between washroom and kitchen; washroom styling; wet central heating system

Cons

  • Proximity of towel rail to toilet; low payload
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