Sterling Continental 480 Caravan Review

Published 6 months ago

Andy Jenkinson, AKA the Caravan Industry Expert, reviews the 2016 Sterling Continental 480.

Sterling may be a name now gone, but it was another part of the Swift Group and a popular choice of tourers Sterling made. Yes, they were a variant of Swift's tourers but in a more contemporary style inside and out. The Sterling Continentals were the luxury all singing and dancing range, so the 480 2 berth here I found was at less than £17k a lot of tourer for the money!

Sterling Continental 480






2.26 m


1354 kg


1477 kg

Spec included; Alde heating, fridge, oven/grill, duel fuel hob, spot lamps, alloys, AKS hitch stabiliser, Status TV aerial, Thetford cassette loo, external BBQ point / exterior mains socket / microwave, radio/CD player, alarm, external shower socket, exterior wet locker, ATC, Solar panel.

Sterling Continental Exterior

Sterling Continental Caravan

Using the then-new Smart construction, the Sterling is robust. It used the latest high tech in caravan construction developed by Swift in 2013. The exterior was sleek and modern, still looking good 8 years on too! Large front gas locker and sunroof are good features, and the front and rear GRP panels are smartly styled. The previous owners had also left the Thule bike rack on the rear panel. Smooth aluminium sides are fitted, and the Sterling comes built on an Al-Ko chassis with heavy-duty corner steadies as well as ATC.

Interior Layout

Sterling Continental Caravan

The 480 is a modern-looking tourer inside and out, but the layout sticks to traditional end washroom design for a couple’s tourer. A layout that’s been around since the late 70’s in fact. The 480 comes with front parallel seating that can convert to single beds or a double bed. The kitchen is placed on the offside, while opposite the kitchen there is a large side dresser with a shelf. The end washroom has a shower, plus also the wardrobe is placed here too.

Comfort and Convenience

Checking the exterior of the Sterling and it was in immaculate condition. It features top spec option such as external mains socket and gas BBQ point, and the external shower point plus that large gas locker for external storage. The interior is the well-proven layout and in the 480 it works really well too. The 7ft 6in width allows plenty of interior space helped by the contemporary interior white domineering décor. The seating is supportive and unstained, also under seat access locker flaps add to the ease of putting away bedding without disturbing the cushions. The large sunroof and Heki roof vent allow in plenty of natural light in the lounge area. Good roof locker storage all round, and with LED lighting, night illumination is well taken care off. The end washroom is well-appointed and practical.

Kitchen and Dining

Sterling Continental Caravan

The side kitchen in the Sterling 480 is well equipped with neatly fitted microwave, oven, duel fuel hob and fridge. It also has good storage space as well, with large overhead roof lockers and cupboard storage. The worktop is ample, especially with the end flap extension too. LED ceiling lights and light-up splash back offers excellent night illumination. Several mains sockets are fitted, and overall condition was very good too, especially the large stainless steal sink which looked little used. With a large dresser opposite with more cupboard storage, and even a drinks cabinet is included. Front dinette has a free-standing table and a central chest of drawers, and is well-illuminated for evening use.

The Front Dinette

Sterling Continental Caravan Living

The front dinette offers two settees which can be used as two single beds or made into a large double using slats for the middle to bridge the between the seats. Cushions slide neatly into place to complete bedmaking. Excellent overhead roof lockers are numbering six in all. For two there is more than enough room, and seating six could be accomplished easily.

Bathroom and Sanitation

Sterling Continental Caravan

The Continental 480 comes with the traditional end washroom of course, which means designers have the option to create a five-star washroom area. The Swift designers have scored well here, with a fully lined shower cubicle hand basin centrally placed with storage beneath. A corner wardrobe offers drawers beneath for extra storage. There is a chrome ladder-design radiator heated by the Alde heating system. Thetford electric flush loo and a side window and roof vent. The washroom was in really excellent condition and couldn’t be faulted.

Performance and Towing

With its aerodynamic qualities, the Sterling should tow well, especially with the AKS hitch stabiliser and the Al-Ko ATC stability system fitted too. Heavy-duty corner steadies are fitted so wind down quicker, and the last owner had left a Truma mover fitted. This is a range of tourers stacked to the roof with specification, with the 480 making a great used buy. A typical towcar could be a Mazda CX-5 with a kerb weight of 1746 kgs. With a towing limit of 2,100 kgs, this would make light work of the Swift!

Pros and Cons

Things I like:

  • Modern interior
  • Lots of caravan for the cash
  • Large end washroom
  • Alde heating
  • Spacious and well-equipped for two
  • BBQ point/Exterior mains socket
  • Mover left on

Things I don't like:

  • No stable door 
  • Upholstery may not to be everyone’s taste

User Experience

Looking for a spacious well equipped tourer that’s pre-owned yet well looked after, then the Continental 480 makes a smashing purchase. I love the profile, its distinctive and modern matching recent car designs of today. The kit list makes you want for very little in a caravan, so owners will love all the luxury touches - including that swish drinks cabinet. But do check for any leaking around the sunroof, some have been known to leak.


The Sterling then is a desirable tourer, especially for the cash. Couples will love the fact that at less than 17k, they have a tourer that can be used all year round. So great value and great condition too, this tourer packs a punch. Most would be more than happy to have it behind their tow car

Check Andy's YouTube Channel HERE for more caravan reviews.