In January 2020 we picked up Buster an Elddis Encore 250 to take on a journey to Azerbaijan and test it to it’s limits. Well we made great progress and were in Antalya, Turkey when there was a a sudden change of plan!
Covid enveloped the world and we had to stop moving, but not living and so ‘Buster’ was now our defence and cocoon from Covid. After three months we were able to leave Turkey in June and continue a journey. We were lucky enough to visit many countries finally returning to the UK in October 2021 having been away 21 months and just short of 20,000 miles.
It must be said re-entering normal life has taken time and was not that easy. We now have had six months back being able to see family and visit friends. Restrictions are lifted and we are able to travel long distances by air again so a visit to South Africa was done and enjoyed.
When we got back to the UK, Elddis wanted to take an in depth look over the van and see what we broke, and what could be improved. While this was ongoing on we had some discussions, and came to an agreement on price and now after what could be considered the ‘Longest Test Drive’ ever ‘Buster’ is now ours.
So there you are, it seems strange having had the van for 21 months through Covid we found that it was a wonderful piece of kit. Sure it is not perfect, but it is brilliant. Well-built and despite living in it continuously for the whole time it never let us down.
But what of ‘Buster’? well what did we think of him was the van any good? What was the build quality like?
We loved the new Fiat chassis they are using in the Encore range and the automatic gearbox is a revelation!
The build quality of the interior was fantastic considering we were not near a dealer to fix any problems we were grateful that it was so well built we did not need one!
We did have some issues while we were away but they were all of our own making, reversing into a tree did not do the decorative corner light cluster any good but it was not an issue to the drivability of the van.
The Alde wet heating system is the best in class and works fantastically both on gas and electric. The Hypnos Mattress is extremely comfortable and is still perfect after 21 months everyday use. Storage was never an issue as there is loads of it and is easily accessible.
The Dometic fridge is a good size and works well on all sources of power, though we would prefer to have the automatic switchover that have to remember to switch every time we set off! The Kitchen is great the full-size oven is good enough to bake bread, the separate grill for toast and grilling is great. The three gas rings plus a electric hob is great to use.
We also liked the separate lounge seating area for those lazy rainy days and relaxing evenings. The solar system was good but we will probably change over to Lithium Ion batteries going forward as EHU is very expensive now and all we need is to charge the laptop and other tech plus lights.
All in all Buster is a home from home and we think it is a great buy and so we bought it.
On our travels we saw many many different vans all offered great things and their owners all loved them but where ever they were built they all has problems of some kind at some point. Our Elddis was admired by all and we had Germans, French, Italians, Turks, and many more wishing they had one.
So what issues have we had to face since we purchased him?
- Storage, this was a real issue for us and we have stored him near Folkestone at a CAMC campsite. Not cheap or close to London where we live but safe and helped us with our next issue.
- Insurance, while on the road the van was insured by Elddis so when we went to get a policy no insurer would take into account that we had over 40,000 miles and 3 years continuous driving experience in a motorhome with no claims. This was very annoying, we feel that Motorhome insurance is a law on to is self, poor cover and high premiums. In the end we went with CAMC as well as they gave a discount for members and soring it on a CAMC site.
- Fuel, what the hell happened! Our last fill in Spain was €0.999 here £1.79 well that is a blow but it is a great life and it has to be lived.
So a last thought ‘Buster’ is well made in Britain and we love him.