Knowing where to start when you’re thinking of buying a caravan isn’t always the easiest prospect. After all, there are a wide range of options on the market, and a number of different caravan layouts to choose from. To help you find the one for you, we’re taking a look at models from two of the most popular caravan makes – the Adria Altea Dart and the Swift Challenger Grande 560L.
These are two four berths that were highly rated when we reviewed them, with both offering comfortable sleeping and lounge arrangements, as well as good storage options.
So how do they compare? We find out…
- Price: £27,970
- Berth: 4
- MTPLM: 1650kg
- MiRO: 1393kg
- Payload: 196kg
- Length: 8.26m
- Width: 2.29m
- Price: £32,995
- Berth: 4
- MTPLM: 1665kg
- MiRO: 1509kg
- Payload: 156kg
- Length: 7.50m
- Width: 2.45m
Adria Altea Dart vs Swift Challenger Grande 560L: Pitch and set-up
One thing is instantly apparent when you see the Swift Challenger Grande 560L and the Adria Altea Dart – these are two stylish tourers.
The 560L sits on an Al-Ko chassis, and comes with corner steadies fitted. The new graphics that adorn it look great, and we think the front panel and rear unit, both made by Swift, are nice additions too. A large front gas locker and an LED awning light, as well as an external mains socket and a gas barbecue point, are more useful features to be found externally.
The Dart has an elegant all-silver exterior, with the GRP sides complemented by alloy wheels. Like the 560L, the Dart includes a large front gas locker, and we particularly like the rear panel – it’s tastefully shaped and comes with slimline Hella LED light cluster.
There is a difference in the dimensions of the two tourers, with the Dart having a length of 8.26m and width of 2.29m, while the 560L has a length of 7.50m and a width of 2.45m.
Adria Altea Dart vs Swift Challenger Grande 560L: Lounge
Both tourers have sunroofs that create a nicely lit lounge area, but the seating arrangements differ in each van.
The 560L comes with an L-shaped lounge, and we think it works well. Despite the absence of a window on the nearside, it’s a bright space.
We thought the seating was comfortable when we tested the van too, and liked the inclusion of the directional LED spots, which offer good lighting for reading.
Unlike the 560L, the Dart has a U-shaped lounge. We think the pastel shades and the upholstery that extends to the floor create a real homely vibe.
The interior walls are made of Symalite – this is a thermoplastic composite, made from recycled materials which should provide better insulation. This looks like felt in its raw state, further enhancing that warm feeling.
We like that the middle of the ‘U’ includes a fold-out shelf too – this makes up for the foldaway table being stored in the bedroom, which could otherwise have been a snag.
If you’re looking for a tourer that will let you watch your favourite shows on tour, you’ll be pleased to hear that both vans have a cabinet which would be well suited for a caravan TV.
Adria Altea Dart vs Swift Challenger Grande 560L: Kitchen
An offside kitchen is provided in the 560L, and it’s well-equipped, coming with a roof vent, a Thetford full oven, a dual-fuel hob, and a plateless microwave. A decent sink and a slimline Dometic fridge are both included too, while we think the generous work surface and an extension flap should provide plenty of space for food prep.
The Dart’s kitchen is standard Adria – a three-burner hob, a Duplex oven, a slimline fridge and a microwave. We do like the patterned worktop and the inclusion of the baskets by the sink, which are ideal for storing sponges or similar.
Adria Altea Dart vs Swift Challenger Grande 560L: Beds
Both vans have a comfortable rear double bed, with the remaining two berths to be found in the lounge.
The 560L gives you the option of using the front settee as a single if you’re touring as a three, but we think making it into a double will be a much more comfortable option. Then, there’s the fixed double at the rear – it provides a pleasant sleeping space, and the mattress from Duvalay has been designed specifically for Swift.
The rear bed in the Dart is also sure to provide you with a good night’s sleep – after all, this is a tourer that featured in our best island bed caravan guide. It’s comfortable, with a large Heki and windows ensuring there’s plenty of light. You even have the option of setting up a second TV in here, thanks to the TV sockets.
The front double is made up via two metal rails – these go into the settees’ front panel to support the slats, but we did notice these required careful positioning to work properly.
Adria Altea Dart vs Swift Challenger Grande 560L: Washroom
The 560L comes with a central washroom and we think it works well; easy to partition off, you’ll find a smart handbasin with a mirror above, while a Thetford toilet with electric-flush is located on the offside. The absence of a window is offset by a roof vent too. A circular shower cubicle is also provided, which we considered to be “more than adequate” when we reviewed it.
In comparison, we thought the nearside shower cubicle in the Dart was “rather basic” – it only includes a single plughole and a wheel arch intrudes on the tray. A roof vent is good to see though, and it’s nicely lit. The offside washroom is better, coming with a towel rail, a well-lit mirror and an opaque window.
Adria Altea Dart vs Swift Challenger Grande 560L: Storage
Storage will be an important consideration when you’re thinking about kitting out your caravan – after all, you’ll want to make sure there’s room for all of the caravan essentials you want to take with you.
The 560L provides good options, with lots of space to be found beneath the seating and fixed bed. The rear bedroom wardrobes are ideal for clothes, while the overhead lockers are a generous size too.
The Dart’s storage is also decent – the overhead lockers provide good space, and you get two narrow wardrobes in the bedroom, where the bed base opens vertically. One thing we would point out is that while the underseat storage is decent, you need to remove the one-piece cushions for access.
These are two very good tourers to think about, providing decent storage and comfortable rear bedrooms.
The Dart is a budget friendly model, and we think it offers an excellent spec for its price, which helped it win the best 4 berth caravan category at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023. It also comes with a higher payload – if this is something you want your tourer to have, the Dart could be for you.
However, one thing we did notice is the shower – if you want one that is more than “basic”, the 560L is likely to appeal. The spacious work surface the Swift model comes with could be another deciding factor for you, particularly if you’re a keen cook.
Another consideration will be what type of lounge set up would you prefer? The Dart’s U-shaped arrangement or the 560L’s L-shaped option?
One thing’s for certain – whether you go for the Swift or the Adria tourer, we’re certain you’ll have picked a van that will provide you with a great base for making some amazing memories.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Caravan magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things caravan related.