Alastair ClementsSee other caravan reviews written by Alastair Clements
It's a top spec tourer with twin fixed single beds and an end washroom, but how does the 2015 Swift Elegance 565 fare in the Practical Caravan review?
Here at Practical Caravan, we ran a Swift Elegance 570 – with fixed double bed – for several months earlier this year and found it a joy to live with. Now the Hull manufacturer has plugged a gap in its flagship range with this, the Elegance 565, with fixed twin beds and a rear washroom.
As we have come to expect from the Swift Group, it looks great. Former automotive stylist Chris Milburn – ably supported by aerodynamicist Rob Lewis – have built a reputation for styling some of the best caravans in the business – and this is no exception.
At the front, there are hitch steps to help you clean the front of the van, plus ATC anti-snaking control for the Al-Ko chassis and a large gas locker. This is a top-spec tourer, so there’s a full complement of external sockets – gas, electricity and a shower, not to mention both Aquaroll and mains water inlets.
The Elegance uses Swift’s SMART HT construction, which does without any wood in the sidewalls, roof and floor. Although this results in a heavy caravan, the benefits of entirely timber-free construction are obvious; the flush-fitting panelwork is designed to prevent leaks as far as possible but, even if water does get in, there’s nothing to rot thanks to the use of a bonded GRP, Styrofoam and polyurethane sandwich structure.
Pitching and setting up
If you’re used to entertaining large numbers of people while touring, the Practical Caravan review team feel you may find the lounge a little snug. The sofas are on the small side – at 5ft 4in they aren’t long enough to make usable single beds for anyone except the grandkids – and the front chest intrudes into leg space, but they are very comfortable and airflow behind has been managed to improve the performance of the Alde wet central heating system.
There are no complaints about the atmosphere, either. The fixed sunroof keeps it bright and the trim is tasteful. It feels well put together as well, with positive catches for the solid lockers, and soft-close drawers. And it’ll be just as pleasant at night: Swift is at the forefront of caravan lighting, and the Elegance’s carefully considered LEDs and illuminated splashback give a classy feel.
Usefully, Swift engineers tell us that they can simply be sanded back and refinished if they get scratched or marked – and there’s a decent-sized lift-up flap to extend the preparation area, which will please keen cooks.
Being picky, that shower is a little narrow, but there is a proper domestic-style towel rail rather than a half-hearted tube, and even a couple of speakers beside the backlit mirror so that you can listen to the radio as you shave on your caravan holidays.
Like all Swift models for 2015, the fixed berths feature Duvalay Duvalite mattresses – it’s a lightweight memory foam that’s firm yet comfortable, and very supportive.
The front double is easy to make up with the central slats pulling out from beneath the front chest, and if you decide to use the fixed twins for your kids or guests, there’s a fabric screen that’ll give you privacy for the two areas.
On the nearside beside the door there’s a wardrobe and chest of drawers – though fans of Swift's Elegance 570 may lament the loss of that model’s rather glitzy drinks cabinet!
This is a top-spec tourer – and the Practical Caravan review team thinks it feels like one. It falls into a highly competitive marketplace with an expected price-tag that puts it up against some quality caravans, many in roomy twin-axle form, but it’s easy to see why these Elegance models are gaining a following – and the addition of the increasingly popular fixed-twin layout serves only to broaden the range’s appeal.
To get a full rundown of all the 2015 Swift caravans, please click here.
- It is a stylish, high quality van
- The food preparation space in the kitchen is good
- There are speakers in the washroom
- In general, storage space is good, particularly in the washroom
- There's class leading internal lighting
- The caravan has a lot of sockets
- The single beds will feel snug for many
- There's not a lot of kitchen storage space
- You’ll need a decent-sized tow car to pull it with ease