Pitching and setting up

As is usually the case with Swift, the Hull-based manufacturer gets the basics right outside.

So, when pitching up a 2006 Challenger, you're blessed with a buttonless handbrake, and steadies that are easy to access thanks to their sensible positioning.

In addition, the front locker is nice and spacious, easily accommodating plenty of touring kit. It also has a centrally located gas strut, which does not get in the way when you're loading.

Inside, the thoughtful design aimed at making your life as easy as possible continues. All of the major switches are located sensibly directly above the entrance door, so you don't have to flap about in the dark when you first get in.

Should there be a problem, the fuses and RCD unit are also easy to reach, inside the wardrobe.

Lounge

The L-shaped front dinette in this Challenger is a favourite with sociable caravanners, because it makes such a great lounging space. However, if you're looking to entertain at mealtimes, it becomes a less practical area.

What will appeal to lounge lovers is the high specification in the lounge, which remains top-notch, if not state-of-the-art. There's a radio/CD/MP3 player, as well as wiring to fit a DVD player. In the corner cabinet you'll find a TV point, so evenings in are looked after.

One drawback to the lounge is cream-coloured drop-in carpets. These are likely to have discoloured over time, as they are susceptible to stains.

However, they're easy enough to replace if you're prepared to cough up a little extra cash. Alternatively (and less expensively), have them professionally cleaned.

Kitchen

Whether cooking for two or four, the ample worksurface in the kitchen is large enough. There's a big section to the right-hand side of the circular sink, which also has an infill for extra chopping room.

Storage has been thought about, with a cutlery drawer and two wire trays for cans and vegetables. Beside these is a big 107-litre Thetford fridge. The circular sink looks classy and is also very practical thanks to the addition of Swift's large detachable drainer.

In terms of specification, the Challenger comes with a microwave oven as standard, which was unusual in competing models of this time.

However, buyers should consider how much use such kit really is before being wowed by kit lists – the same goes for the electric hotplate.

Washroom

When plumping for a side washroom, you shouldn't be under any illusions about its size. They're never big, but with intelligent design they can work well - as proved here.

To save space inside, there's useful storage space, such as two big towel hooks on the back of the washroom door that are ideal for bath towels.

There's also excellent storage space in the form of small shelves and a cupboard. You'll also find a glass soap dish above the sink as well as two hooks in the shower cubicle for hanging shower gel bottles.

Features such as a circular shower cubicle and a frosted one-piece shower door give this washroom an air of sophistication.

Beds

This layout, aimed predominantly at couples, majors on the transverse fixed bed. As well as a comfortable mattress, this fixed bed benefits from having a nearside and end window, which flood the area with light.

Once in bed, storage is handy, so you can reach nick-nacks without having to clamber from under the duvet. There's a shelf that runs across the breadth of the upholstered bedhead, and a wide shelf across the back of the caravan, two book shelves and enough space to fit a flat-screen TV.

At nighttime you have two fully adjustable spotlights, and there are concertina blinds that can be pulled up to provide privacy.

The quality fixed bed is matched by an L-shaped dinette, that makes up easily into a double bed. And despite the padded cushions' prominent knee-rolls, they make up into a comfortably flat mattress.

Storage

While there's good storage throughout, the main space is under the fixed bed. The entire mattress can be lifted up on a gas-assisted strut, which makes it easier to access the rear part of this large storage space.

Elsewhere, you find spacious cupboards. The sofa boxes have doors, which mean that the space is not obstructed in any way and can be accessed easily from foot level as well as above.

The wardrobe offers hanging space only, with no cubbies or shelves, and there are just two lockers in the rear bed area. But overall, there's plenty of clothes storage for two people and enough for four, providing you don't empty the wardrobe at home.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1301kg
Payload205kg
MTPLM1506kg
Interior length5.43m
Shipping length7.11m
Width2.23m
Height2.7m
Awning size963cm

Verdict

A good all-round package offering both value for money and luxury.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Comfy, light and well laid-out fixed bed
  • Masses of kit, too.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Light-coloured removable carpets may look soiled on second-hand vans.
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