Price range: £18,149-£21,849
All models in Swift Group’s new Challenger SE 2013 range weigh up to 125kg lighter than last season, and have Alde central heating.
In 2011 Swift Group re-launched its Swift Challenger range with a dramatic new design inside and out. The trend-setting front sunroof, set in a distinctive black panel, was a £500 cost option but was selected by over 90% of buyers. The more substantial, winterised body shell added weight but this did not seem to deter buyers. They saw a convincing case for upgrading to a new caravan after several years of little fundamental design change and sales blossomed.
A year later Swift replaced its long-running Swift Charisma with the new Swift Challenger Sport range. Inspired by the more expensive ranges, these also have a front sun-roof and contemporary interiors, but smaller body shells and lighter furniture give them a massive weight advantage of around 170kg over the standard Challenger. The new Sports offered just the right package and were destined to succeed. Indeed, our 2012 Tourer of the Year was the Eccles Sport 514 model, the sister model of the Challenger Sport 514.
New Challenger SE based on Sport design
According to Swift, sales of the Swift Challenger Sport (and badge-engineered Eccles Sterling Sport) are running 36% ahead of the old Charisma (and Europa), but the heavier Challenger range and has lost out. Swift’s response for the 2013 season is to launch new Challenger and Eccles SE ranges. Broadly based on the 2.25m wide Sport design, but with more luxurious interiors, new furniture styling and lots more equipment, the seven-model SE range looks destined to lead Swift’s sales charge.
Standard equipment includes the front sunroof and Al-Ko ATC trailer control, and all Swifts get a factory-backed 10 year body integrity warranty. But the big customer draw at this price level will be Alde dual fuel radiator central heating with new user-friendly touch-screen controls, a choice of 1kw, 2kw or 3kw mains power and a heated towel rail.
The SEs also benefit from Swift’s decision to fit to all tourers with a Tracker ‘Retrieve’ Thatcham approved tracking system, which will attract a discount from most insurance companies. They also come with Swift’s factory-backed 10-year body integrity warranty.
Substantial equipment upgrade
Other equipment enhancements over the 2012 models are: a 20 watt solar panel, LED feature lighting in the kitchen, awning light with key-fob control, wardrobe light, a second cutlery drawer, kitchen worktop extension and the latest Omnivent three-speed, two-way roof fan. The 110-litre Dometic 8-Series fridge has a removable freezer compartment and an internal light.
Carried forward from 2012 Challenger models are: easy-to-operate pleated blinds on all windows and roof-lights, six 230v sockets, fully lined shower cubicles, heavy duty corner steadies and a gas barbecue point.
2013 Swift Challenger SE Range
Swift Challenger 480SE
The 480SE is a conventional end washroom two-berth with parallel front seats. Clever packaging makes it quite short compared to rivals and therefore lighter than most. The washroom is stylish and functional.
Swift Challenger 530SE
The 530SE has the classic four-berth end washroom layout, with a small centre dinette, that works so well as a spacious two-berth and a grandparents van. It has the same stylish washroom as the 480.
Swift Challenger 570SE
The 570SE is a four-berth fixed bed layout with very the popular transverse end washroom that seems to be most manufacturers’ best seller.
Swift Challenger 574SE
The 574SE is identical to the 570 apart from the wrap-around dinette that replaces the fixed double bed. The dinette converts to a double bed, so this layout is more flexible and would suit family use.
Swift Challenger 565SE
The 565SE four-berth has the same parallel front seats and end washroom as the 570, but the double bed is replaced by two singles; a layout which is growing in popularity.
Swift Challenger 580SE
The 580SE four-berth is a third variant of the end washroom genre, but is slightly longer and has a transverse ‘island’ double bed which successfully combines the easy access of twin beds with the intimacy of double.
Swift Challenger 625SE
The 625SE is a six-berth twin-axle with a fixed double bed and adjacent washroom at the rear. A side dinette with bunk over and a front double dinette provide the other four berths. This is an open-plan layout with a spacious kitchen.