Practical Caravan's expert reviewers give their verdict on the 2009 Swift Charisma 565, with its child-friendly fixed triple-bunk rear bedroom

Overview

Swift’s first attempt at the increasingly popular triple bunk layout seems to tick all the boxes. It's a layout designed for families, providing a separate rear bedroom for smallish children with the three bunk beds you can leave permanently made up and a dinette that you can convert to a fourth bed if needed. This leaves the front lounge that converts to two singles or a large double bed. Between the two areas there's a central washroom and kitchen. 

The offside fixed bunks each have individual windows and lamps and their length is just as good as rivals of this layout. For play space and meal times the opposite dinette is roomy enough for at least four little ones. Also the mounting shoe for the table leg is a great addition to help stop the curse of the sliding table, especially useful with over excited children. 

The open curved shelves are an attractive feature and great for storing books and toys. For clothes and bedding, there is space under each dinette seat as well as three overhead lockers. The only criticism is the larger locker would benefit from shelves to avoid a messy pile-up of clothes.

Lack of light isn’t an issue thanks to the large rooflight, further two windows, main ceiling light and spotlights over the dinette. A fabric curtain is used to seal off the area rather than a more solid and soundproof wooden door.

Pitching and setting up

Setting up is easy in any fixed-bed caravan. For a family of five, it's ideal to be able to make up three children's beds and pack activities in the rear bedroom lockers before even leaving home. No need to waste precious holiday time. As you'd expect for a six-berth family caravan, it's fairly long (7.19m), but it's on a single axle.

Lounge

Families using this layout often crave a generous front lounge that can accommodate them all and the Swift doesn’t disappoint. Six bottoms can comfortably fit on the long deep seats without a squash.

The decent-sized dining table, which sits perfectly flush with the extended chest, means less of a struggle for elbowroom at meal times.

For entertainment there is a fitted radio/CD player and speakers as standard. There is also a TV point positioned below the centre chest.

As well as being spacious, well placed lighting and large windows make the lounge feel cosy but bright. Daylight floods through the 3-piece front window and rooflight.

Come evening there are four spotlights and two corner lamps to create a cosy atmosphere. Each of the windows are fitted with twin-tracked curtains, flyscreens and blinds.

Both front seats provide plenty of storage and have the convenience of drop down flaps for easy access.

Overhead, there are two shelved lockers either side of the lounge and a further two across the front window. Unfortunately the front two are very narrow so it would be a struggle for them to be much use for clothes. However there is a large offside wardrobe that provides full length hanging.

At lights out time the front bed is easy to jigsaw together and completes to make a comfy and large double bed.

Kitchen

Although not a huge kitchen, it is decent enough to prepare family meals without a struggle. The generous worktop sits to the right of the circular stainless steel sink, which has a cover and removable drainer for added flexibility.

At the far end of the kitchen is the hob. This has the versatility of three gas rings and one electric hotplate. The fitted flame guard is also a clever detail, particularly as the hob sits adjacent to the main door. Below is a separate oven and grill and above is an eye level microwave.

One area where the kitchen lacks is on space. The only locker has fitted plate racks, so doesn’t leave much room for food. Below there is a narrow cupboard between the fridge and oven but again there isn’t much space for more than a few boxes or tins on the small wire rack.

With a family on board it is likely you would need to use one of the lounge lockers to store the bulk of groceries.

Washroom

The offside washroom is compact but well designed to be comfortably used. The space saving bench toilet leaves room to stretch and the curved sink allows for room to wash. Adequate floor space makes it possible to actually shower.

Also, the glass screen provides good splash protection and looks far more appealing than a sticky fabric curtain. The row of moulded shelves offers a clever storage solution and there is plenty of space for everyone’s wash things.

Beds

The offside fixed bunks each have individual windows and lamps and their length is just as good as rivals of this layout. All three side fixed bunks are 183 x 58cm (6'x1'11"). If you make the dinette up as a bed it's 170 x 75cm (5'7" x 2'6").

For play space and meal times the opposite dinette is roomy enough for at least four little ones. Also the mounting shoe for the table leg is a great addition to help stop the curse of the sliding table, especially useful with over excited children.

Lounge seating can convert to a front double 208cm x 180cm (6'10" x 5'11") or two singles: 180 x 72cm (5'11" x 2'4") and 190 x 72cm (6'3" x 2'4").

Storage

The open curved shelves are an attractive feature and great for storing books and toys. For clothes and bedding, there is space under each dinette seat as well as three overhead lockers. The only criticism is the larger locker would benefit from shelves to avoid a messy pile-up of clothes.

Lack of light isn’t an issue thanks to the large rooflight, further two windows, main ceiling light and spotlights over the dinette. A fabric curtain is used to seal off the area rather than a more solid and soundproof wooden door.

Technical specs

Berth6
MiRO1250kg
Payload153kg
MTPLM1320kg
Interior length5.5m
Shipping length7.19m
Width2.23m
Height2.7m
Awning size982cm

Verdict

This is a truly family-friendly caravan, well thought-out and with good levels of equipment. At launch our experts awarded the 2009 Swift Charisma 565 a grand total of 8/10.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Well-equipped triple-bunk contender
  • Good storage

Cons

  • Limited kitchen storage
  • Loose cabinet door
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