Practical Caravan's experts review the twin-axle, six-berth Sprite Quattro EW, which adds luxury with an L-shaped lounge and a full-width end washroom
Sprite, which is Swift Group’s ‘entry-level’ brand, was founded by Sam Alper in 1949, making 2014 its 65th anniversary. It has gone from strength to strength, and its single range has been one of Swift Group’s strongest sellers in recent years.
The Quattro EW is a new, six-berth, twin-axle van. It features a rear fixed bed and a full-width end washroom with separate shower cubicle. However, it is up front where it really turns heads: it features an L-shaped lounge, which is a blast from the past. In the middle, the offside dinette converts to bunks.
For 2014, Swift Group changed the way it builds its caravans, with a new system called ‘SMART’. It replaced the timber framing battens in the bodyshell with a new polyurethane material that’s impervious to water and accepts screw fixings.
New features include a full-height moulded rear panel, and graphics in ‘champagne’ and ‘graphite’ – you could call the colours buff and dark grey. There’s a single key for the high-security lock on the main door and to the exterior locker lids.
Thanks to its keen price, the add-on Diamond Pack gets fitted to all Sprites by default. It includes alloy wheels and a steel spare (which is housed in the storage space beneath the fixed double bed), an Al-Ko AKS 3004 stabiliser, door flyscreen, radio/CD player, two scatter cushions and, for 2014, a microwave oven.
Pitching and setting up
On the nearside are the battery box towards the front of the van, and an access hatch to storage space beneath the rear double bed. The steadies, which are not heavy-duty, are easy enough to access.
The ribbed, chocolate-coloured seat fabric should hide most marks inflicted by a full tribe on holiday. It is teamed with beige carpets and curtains, and scatter cushions with a fan motif.
The L-shaped front seats are great for lounging. A shallow seat bench on the offside, without a backrest, is ideal for young children, but it prevents you from getting the kind of vertical picture window common in older vans with L-shaped lounges. The free-standing dining table stands on a pedestal leg that is fixed to the floor.
The offside dinette offers a separate dining and break-out area for younger children. The table clips to a rail on the wall.
The flat-faced lockers have positive locks, with chrome-effect push-button handles. Rollerball-style lighting at the front of the lounge and above the side dinette is directional but can get rather hot in usage.
The 6kW Truma Combi dual-fuel heating has a push-button, LCD control panel, not the latest CP Plus panel with a rotary knob.
The circular, granite-effect sink comes with a clip-on drainer and chopping board, and the long-neck tap allows plenty of room to get a full-size kettle beneath it. The kitchen has a three-burner gas hob, and a separate oven and grill; the Diamond Pack of options includes a microwave oven.
The 113-litre Thetford fridge-freezer has a black front to match the oven and grill. For non-perishable food and all kitchen gear, the galley is strong on storage space.
There’s good storage for toiletries, a decent-size basin at the right height and a generous shower cubicle, although this isn’t fully lined. It does have a riser bar fitted with an EcoCamel showerhead, which is designed to provide a good spray pattern while conserving water.
The fixed bed has a simple headboard strip, shelves on either side for knick-knacks and a pair of directional reading lights.
The side dinette converts into bunks, which can also be partitioned – this time with a full-length curtain. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated storage for when it is not in use, so it just hangs behind the seat cushion.
A neat cutaway section in the bed box allows you to reach under the mattress to raise the bed base without scraping your knuckles. It is supported on gas struts, which make it easier for you to step inside the space to lift out heavy items when necessary.
The seat boxes in the front lounge also offer storage, but cannot be accessed from outside. The wardrobe is a good size for
a family, and the Sprite is very generous with overhead locker space throughout the interior.
It’s good to see positive locker catches, a removable carpet in sections, plenty of 230V sockets and the Tracker retrieval system as standard in an entry-level van. Sprite remains one of the best-value entry-level ranges on the market today, and we welcome the return of the L-lounge layout. For many buyers, there will be no need to look at pricier alternatives than the Sprite.
- Kit is generous for a caravan at this price
- The caravan looks good outside and its interior is especially impressive
- Return of the L-shaped lounge is a welcome feature
- The halogen reading lights get very hot
- There's nowhere to store the bunks' partition curtain