The 2016 Sprite Quattro EW moves upmarket, with a host of changes to make it a mid-ranking tourer, says Practical Caravan's expert reviewer

Overview

Times they are a-changing at Swift at the moment. And we’re not just talking about minor tweaks, nips and tucks, here either – new upholstery, perhaps, or maybe a whizzy new set of graphics – but full-on seismic shifts.

We’ve already reported on how the mid-range big-sellers have been re-positioned, with Conqueror and Elite now closer than ever to Elegance and Continental, and Challenger and Eccles consolidated and massively overhauled. But Sprite has also had to move up in the rankings, making it the go-to model for those who can’t quite afford a Swift Challenger or Challenger SE, but who don’t want to feel short-changed in the luxury caravan stakes.

Swift hasn’t thrown the Sprite baby out with the bathwater, mind – the changes that have come the new models’ way for the new seasons aren’t always immediately obvious.

When you consider that most new caravans will also be sold with one of the options packs fitted, it’s clear that Sprite is no longer the super-lightweight bargain-priced first-timers' caravan it once was, but rather a strong and well-established lower-middle foot soldier.

The question is: is it good enough to stand up to the new caravan models for 2016 its increasingly talented rivals? And to see other Sprite caravans for sale, click here.

Pitching and setting up

Compare a Sprite from, say, the 1990s with this very latest model, and it’s hard to see much in common between the two, apart from the name. Sprite may still be a budget brand, but the 2016 iteration has taken a marked step upwards in terms of its external styling.

The most obvious change is to the front end, where Swift has binned the old and much-loved single front window in favour of a more upmarket three-window set-up, complete with LED marker lights.

The screen-printed grey tinted side windows are new, too, as are the ‘Champagne’ graphics. Less obvious is the new 44mm sandwich floor, complete with tough GRP outer skin, and fully-bonded hail-resistant GRP roof. Sprite, it’s fair to say, has grown up.

It hasn’t lost its common sense touch, though. The battery-box and mains inlet may be on the nearside wall, but its position close to the nose means that any trailing cables are going to be kept to a minimum. And the locker towards the rear affords access to the void under the French bed.

Fresh and grey water is confined to the offside, along with the boiler exhaust and toilet hatch. You can’t expect heavy-duty corner steadies at this price point, but the winding bolts are easily reached, fore and aft.

Lounge

There are many caravan owners who still mourn the rather sudden passing of the L-shaped lounge that was still a fairly common sight as recently as the early 2000s. Granted, this layout compromised how many people you could invite to sit down to dinner, and it meant that the double bed was usually a bit smaller than it would have been with parallel settees. But the lounge was always that much more pleasant a place to be in, positively encouraging lounging about and taking it easy.

The Sprite Quattro EW is an excellent case in point. You can still have a fixed-bed Quattro with parallel settees (the FB), but we’d take the EW every time, especially with our test model’s optional panoramic rooflight. Like its more expensive Swift Group siblings, the EW’s L-shaped lounge feels more like a luxurious glassy atrium than a mere caravan lounge as a result, especially when you take into account the slightly deeper offside window (and attendant perch seat) and large opening rooflight slightly further back.

The longitudinal nearside settee is the longest of the three available seats in here – it’s just about long enough to serve as a single bed, in fact – and can easily seat up to three adults. The transverse settee up front is smaller, but still big enough for two people, while the jump seat alongside is okay for children to perch on at mealtimes. With this in mind, you could feasibly sit three adults and a child down to dinner in here with ease.

The offside low unit is served by power and aerial sockets, making it the obvious place to site your TV, and the pull-out wire baskets beneath would be ideal for storing DVDs. There’s more dining space further back in the side dinette, too – we suspect this is where couples will choose to dine when they’re alone, but it’s also a good place for a couple of children to play.

Kitchen

The EW’s resident chef should have no complaints to air – for its size, it has a pretty impressive kitchen, which actually betters some of its more expensive siblings in one or two areas.

Fitted equipment in the 2016 Sprite Quattro EW's kitchen is well up to scratch, with a proper cooker (with separate oven and grill areas), three-burner spark-ignition hob and Thetford’s latest 113-litre fridge. If you opt for the Diamond Pack (and frankly we can conceive of no reason why you wouldn’t), you also get our test model’s high-level microwave oven.

High and low level storage is good, too, with the microwave flanked by dedicated crockery storage on one side and a large cereal box-friendly cupboard on the other. There’s no illuminated splashback panel in here, of course, but there is a downlighter plus a trio of pinlights set into a ceiling pelmet.

Where the Sprite really shines, though, is in its worktop provision. The standard space is already impressive, but folding down the flap to the left effectively doubles it.

Washroom

Thankfully, the days of French bed caravans routinely being saddled with a compromised all-in-one shower slung alongside seem to be long gone; most, these days, have a proper full-width end washroom, and the Quattro EW (the clue’s in the name, we suppose) is no exception.

We’ve no real complaints in here, in truth, but it is arguably one of the few areas where the caravan’s budget origins are most evident. Part of this stems from the rather basic lighting – a two-level roof dome in the main body of the room and a very simple light in the shower – and part from the rather bare walls.

However, there’s plenty of dressing space in here and high and low storage is very good. There’s plenty of room around the Thetford swivel toilet, too, and the attendant window is opaque, as it should be.

Impressively, the separate shower cubicle is fully lined with new glossy panels and comes with a new EcoCamel Orbit shower head. The properly tracked bi-fold door is new for 2016, too.

Beds

Not for the first time, we find ourselves looking at a caravan that’s billed – rightly so – as a six-berther, but which will most likely be bought either by couples or small families.

As a couples caravan, the Quattro EW really shines. The French bed out back is a sensible shape, with the Duvalay mattress bowing sensibly out in the middle the better to accommodate its two occupants. Each also gets a share of the large padded headboard, together with a dedicated reading light, small shelf and closed and open roof locker stowage. The rear double bed is 1.94m x 1.32m (6ft 4in x 4ft 4in).

Up front, the nearside settee can probably be used as an occasional single bed, but the double is probably preferable. It is smaller than it would be in a parallel lounge caravan, but still plenty big enough for two and extremely easy to make up. This front double bed is 2.06m x 1.34m (6ft 9in x 4ft 5in). We do think, however, that this is the bed that’s least likely to be used on a regular basis.

The fifth and sixth berths live within the side dinette; simply fold out the cantilever bunk mechanism to reveal a pair of small beds that look perfect for children. The offside single bed is 1.80m x 0.62m (5ft 11in x 2ft 0in) and the offside bunk bed is 1.76m x 0.59m (5ft 9in x 1ft 11in). As a prospect for young families of three or four, then, the EW works just as well.

Storage

This is a big, twin-axle caravan, so storage space should be impressive. And it is, with the huge, largely uncluttered void beneath the French bed of particular note. The spare wheel lives in here, but other than that, there’s a serious amount of space in here to fill – once you’re pitched up on-site, of course – and you can access it from outside.

The wardrobe alongside is not four-square in shape and there is a degree of intrusion from blown air ducting leading into the washroom, but there’s plenty of hanging space nonetheless. There are two roof lockers in here, too, one of which is shelved – plus an open two-shelf area in the corner.

Further forward, there’s additional space under both of the side dinette seats, but the forward seating area – specifically that beneath the nearside settee – is broadly taken up by the battery box.

Technical specs

Berth6
MiRO1359kg
Payload225kg
MTPLM1584kg
Interior length6.27m
Shipping length7.92m
Width2.23m
Height2.65m
Awning size1066cm

Verdict

It’s hard not to like the 2016 Sprite Quattro EW. The sentimental part of us misses the single front window in the 2015 Sprite Quattro EW, but elsewhere the improvements are largely sensible, with intelligent options there for those who need them (though we’d say that the panoramic rooflight and Diamond Pack are essentials) and broad appeal for couples and families alike.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Spacious kitchen
  • Roomy end washroom
  • Flexible sleeping options
  • Superb lounge
  • Fully lined separate shower

Cons

  • You'll need a large tow car
  • Soft furnishings are a little dark for our tastes
  • L-shaped lounge compromises dining and sleeping
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