With fixed twin-single beds back in fashion, read why Practical Caravan's expert reviewers say the four-berth 2011 Swift Challenger 565 is best for couples
The Swift Challenger name has been synonymous with mid-range comfort for years. It’s an important range for Swift and getting Challenger right is often a sign that there is a good season in prospect. As well as benefitting from the same body upgrades as the rest of the Challenger and Conqueror ranges, the 565 is a new layout. It puts twin-single beds with a rear washroom into the line-up. Although Swift has done single bed models before, it’s the first time a rear washroom version has appeared in a single axle.
Pitching and setting up
Swift has taken some of its experience from the motorhome market and has used it to make a warmer, more stylish caravan. Walls and floor thicknesses have been increased to give better insulation and the GRP panels Swift uses to offer an edge to its motorhome products have been used here to integrate the design of the front with the roof panel.
All the main services and corner steadies are very easy to reach and work as you’d hope. The front locker is enormous and cleaning the show-stopping roof window is made easier by the adoption of a step-up A-frame. External gas and mains sockets are fitted on the nearside.
The centre chest pulls out rather than flipping over, so extending the surface for a light lunch is a breeze. The table is easy to extract from its kitchen storage area when more dining space is required.
Swift's decision to put mains sockets on the front shelf rather than at floor level means you haven’t got cables trailing everywhere and is a sensible piece of design. The familiar blown-air Truma heating system is installed in the nearside cabinet.
Equipment levels are good, but one big improvement is the lowering of the microwave. It is no longer right up at roof level, having now been dropped down by a few valuable centimetres.
The kitchen cabinets are finished in a cream-coloured leather-effect finish which distinguishes the cooking space from the rest of the van. This detail improves the feel of the van significantly.
The washroom is quite compact but for a couple, there should be few complaints.
Storage underneath the twin single beds is pretty generous, and seeing as they are fixed beds, bedding will stay in place by day, meaning there really is a wealth of available space.
The front double bed is over 6ft 6in long, although with the drawer chest in place, it is fairly narrow. As an occasional bed, it is fine.
Swift has moved the fuse box and trip switches to an offside roof-level locker at the front, which frees up space in the front bed box.
The review model we tested is fitted with the optional sunroof and this means the front lockers are replaced by ones in the corners. These are pretty big and there are also small storage areas for when you're on site, in front of the sunroof and in the trinket tray on the front shelf.
Fixed single-bed models are back in vogue for 2011 and Swift’s approach has really been thought about. If you can cope with the small wardrobes, everything else works very well.
- Bags of showroom appeal
- Clever new layout
- Limited wardrobe storage is the main gripe