Best as a caravan for couples, the 2010 Swift Challenger 480 impressed Practical Caravan's expert reviewers with its elegant and practical design

Overview

Stylish, spacious and practical, the Swift Challenger 480 is ideal for couples. Its main selling points are the fantastic wardrobe and lounge seating that makes a very comfortable double bed or two long singles. 

Pitching and setting up

The Challenger’s running gear consists of an Al-Ko chassis, Al-Ko stabiliser, buttonless handbrake and 13-pin electrics. The steadies are easy to access and the waste water pipes are located on the side of the van.

Other external equipment includes a barbecue point and wet locker with a mains socket.

The control switches are all grouped together on a panel above the door. At the door there are also two coat hooks and a narrow, but full-length, mirror.

Lounge

The styling in the Challenger is modern and attractive. Both the upholstery and the clean styling of the woodwork have been influenced by home furnishings. And the medium wood tones make the van feel upmarket for its price.

As well as looking good, the lounge is comfortable. The deep sofas have knee rolls, bolster cushions and throw cushions. The large rooflight keeps the area bright and airy during the day.

At night there's a range of lighting options: there are four spotlights for reading and another two directly above the chest to illuminate the work surface. There are also two corner lights for softer lighting.

The Challenger is also equipped with a radio/CD player and two speakers as well as two TV points – one at the base of the chest and another above the sideboard opposite the kitchen. The only niggle is that the chest extension table folds over, which is a hassle if you are using this space for your TV.

Kitchen

The Challenger has been equipped with a 107-litre fridge, separate oven and grill, three-burner hob and electric hotplate and a microwave. It also has a detachable drainer, which frees up work surface space and there are two power points.

There is another worktop on the sideboard opposite, though it is too low for meal preparation. There are two power points here as well, so it is a handy place to keep the kettle.

Washroom

The washroom in the Challenger is very well equipped. The large shower has shelves, a light and two towel hooks. The toilet, a Thetford C250, has plenty of legroom. Small details, such as a loo-roll holder, hand-towel rail, toothbrush holder and soap dish, are all provided. There is also a large mirror above the basin.

Storage space in the washroom is excellent. It has a large cupboard below the basin as well as a shelved overhead locker. There is also a shelf above the window.

The wardrobe, also in the washroom, is excellent. There are shelves for jeans and T-shirts on one side, and yet there's still good hanging space as well. There is also a shelf on the bottom, perfect for shoes. Below it are two drawers for smalls.

Beds

Converting the lounge into a double bed is just a matter of pulling the slats out and putting the cushions in place. The cushions are a firm fit and make a large, comfortable bed.

The sofas are also longer than those in the Elddis Odyssey 462, meaning that even six-footers will be comfortable if the lounge sofas are used as single beds. Whichever way the beds are set up, the four spotlights ensure both people can read in bed.

Storage

The Challenger has very practical storage throughout. The under-seat boxes in the lounge, both of which are mainly free, have front access and supported, slatted lids, making it easy to access items in the space.

There are six overhead lockers and the space in all of them is free, because the radio/CD player is positioned above the sideboard. Two shelves are provided to make the lockers even more practical.

The main kitchen area doesn’t have a lot of storage. The single overhead locker has plate and cup racks. The cupboard below houses the cutlery drawer, two wire racks and the storage for the drainer. However, the sideboard opposite makes amends. It has two more drawers, a shelved cupboard and two large overhead lockers, one of which is a drinks cabinet.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO1203kg
Payload184kg
MTPLM1387kg
Interior length4.74m
Shipping length6.42m
Width2.29m
Height2.61m
Awning size911cm

Verdict

This van strikes a great balance between being attractive and practical. It is full of essential equipment and provides a dizzying range of storage options, but still feels spacious. Attention to the small things means it feels like good value for money.

The one place in the Challenger 480 that the darker woodwork does not suit is the washroom. All that wood makes such a small space feel a bit crowded and stuffy. The Swift is also slightly larger and heavier than rival models.

Overall, it's an attractive, practical van that fits home comforts on your driveway. At launch we rated it 9/10.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Attractive and practical
  • Full of essential equipment
  • Excellent storage options
  • Feels spacious
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Dark wood makes washroom feel smaller
  • The Swift is slightly larger and heavier than rivals
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