Andy Jenkinson

See other Advice articles filed in ‘Caravans for sale – buying guides’ written by Andy Jenkinson
   
Want touring comfort on a budget of around £6000? How about a 2003 Swift Challenger? Check out our essential guide to these used caravans for sale

Swift launched its super-successful Challenger range more than 30 years ago. And now, in the used caravans for sale pages, they can make great secondhand buys.

The Challengers broke new ground in terms of caravan aerodynamics, with GRP-moulded front and rear panels topped off with roof-mounted aerofoils. They towed well, breaking several towing records, and the specification wasn’t to be sniffed at, either.

In 2002, the Challenger range was given a makeover with new graphics and alloy wheels. The interiors were updated with new furnishings and new lighting.

A year later they gained external gas barbecue points, AKS hitch stabilisers, plus dual-fuel hobs with electronic ignition.

The range had been through plenty of changes over the years, but the ethos was still that of an affordable quality tourer.

The two-berth Challenger 460 featured here has an end washroom, a central kitchen with a dresser opposite, and a front lounge with L-shaped seating. A large end washroom and a high specification ensured that the Challenger was designed for year-round use, and they remain plentiful on the used forecourts.

Model history

The Challenger was introduced for the 1985 season and the compact 460 appeared two years later, running through the 1990s and right up to 2005.

The range was sold with a wide choice of floorplans and, from 1999, was the first UK-built tourer to have a fixed-bed layout.

Challengers soon gained a loyal following and production ramped up.

Lighting was a strong feature of this model range, with mains units being fitted in addition to 12V lighting from the 1990s.

End washrooms were always done well in Swift caravans, and the 460, as featured here, was no exception. The 2003 model comes with a well-equipped washroom with good storage, too.

The next model up, the 480, used parallel seating in the front lounge area and had a larger side dresser, but was otherwise virtually the same tourer.

The 460 lost out when L-shaped front seating fell out of favour with buyers, but as a used purchase it still proves popular.

Buyer's checklist

  • Check for faded or peeling decals
  • Look for damp in rear washroom corners
  • Check for peeling wallboard trim strips
  • Ensure tyres are good and alloys not scu†ffed
  • Check cooker hob for corrosion
  • Watch for damaged enamel on sink unit
       

What to pay?

If you're checking out used caravans for sale, what should you expect to pay for a model such as this?

The Swift Challenger featured here was new to the market and was already attracting attention. It was in good order and, at a whisker under £6k, it even had a mover.

Prices for an entry-level 400 start from around £3495, while the very best 550 could top £8k.

Alternatives

  • The parallel-lounge 2003 Abbey Aventura 315 isn’t as well equipped, but is good value at around £4995.
  • A 2007 Compass Corona 482 is more cash at £6995, but is more modern and has a larger washroom.
      

Verdict

The ever-popular Challenger makes a cracking used buy. Look out for models such as the 490, whose five-berth double-dinette layout is always a quick seller for family buyers.

Prices for the 2003 range of these Swift caravans have come down over recent years, so they o†ffer even more value, but they still command a loyal following – their strong kit levels and sumptuous upholstery give a real luxury feel.

Factfile

Some details on the featured 2003 Swift Challenger 460SE:

  • Price: £5985
  • Berths: 2
  • MiRO: 1073kg
  • Payload: 103kg
  • MTPLM: 1281kg
  • Internal length: 4.61m
  • Width: 2.16m
  • Seen at: United British Caravans, Sandy Lane, North Gosforth, Newcastle, NE3 5HE (call 0191 236 3156 or go online)
      
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