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 

Overview

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

All the Quattro's services are sited sensibly. The drainpipe outlets are on the offside, just to the rear of the axles. Also on the offside are the toilet holding tank locker towards the rear, and the water inlet is towards the front.

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.

Lounge

A sunroof (£335) is available as an option, and we reckon most people will plump for one. Together with the standard-fit rooflight, it floods the interior with daylight.

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.

Kitchen

Cream veneers feature on the overhead lockers’ doors, to differentiate the nearside kitchen from the rest of the van. A hinged extension folds down over the fixed bed to increase the amount of workspace and provides a serving hatch to occupants of the rear bedroom.

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.

Washroom

In the washroom, the swivel-head toilet has plenty of legroom around it. Throughout the space, there is chrome-effect detailing: a towel ring, and holders for the toilet roll and toothbrush mug.

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.

Beds

The lounge can be converted quickly and easily into a double bed across the front of the van, although the premium bed is the fixed one on the nearside. Close the concertina partition across the entrance for privacy from the rest of the van.

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.

Storage

The largest storage space is beneath the fixed double bed.
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.

Technical specs

Berth6
MiRO1361kg
Payload239kg
MTPLM1600kg
Interior length6.27m
Shipping length7.92m
Width2.23m
Height2.62m
Awning size1066cm

Verdict

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.

Conclusion

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • The halogen reading lights get very hot
  • There's nowhere to store the bunks' partition curtain
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