Rob Ganley
Group editor

See other News articles filed in ‘Caravans’ written by Rob Ganley
   
Practical Caravan gets under the skin of Sprite's latest models in its range review, as parent company Swift introduces a raft of upgrades for 2014

Sprite is the Swift Group’s ‘entry-level’ brand, and it reported strong sales throughout the 2013 season, so on the surface, changes for 2014 are limited to cosmetics and a package of group-wide specification enhancements, plus an interesting new layout.

Under the skin

Swift Group has also announced a significant change in construction with the acronym ‘SMART’ for all 2014 models. Body panels now have PURe (a polyurethane material) framing in place of timber.

It’s a closed cell material that is impervious to water, accepts screw fixings and resists compression loads. The material has been used for several years by some German manufacturers and Swift has carried out its own extensive testing to prove the new construction.

An added bonus is a claimed weight saving of between 10kg and 14kg, depending on model size.

In Swift’s words, SMART stands for ‘Strong timber-less body frame with Modern desirable looks and a leading Aerodynamic shape that is Resilient to moisture, all wrapped up in a caravan that has undergone the most comprehensive Testing.’

New equipment levels

There’s a single key for the entrance door high-security lock and the other exterior doors. The Truma Combi dual-fuel heating is programmable and upgraded to a minimum of 4kW (6kW in larger models). It’s also controlled via a new, user-friendly control panel with a rotary knob.

In the washroom, there’s a new ‘EcoCamel’ shower head, which mixes air in to give a good spray pattern and save water, and tyres are now ‘DMACK EcoXtra’, giving them an energy-saving tread pattern.

In addition, Sprite now shares a full-height moulded rear panel with Swift and Sterling models, and for the 2014 season gets new ‘champagne and graphite’ graphics, which we think are well detailed but rather insipid.

Good kit and options

There’s the option of a front sunroof (£335) which is sure to be popular. The ribbed, chocolate-coloured seat fabric, quieter than the outgoing version, is teamed with fresh off-white curtains and scatter cushions that have a geometric motif.

It’s good to see valued features like a kitchen worktop extension, positive locker catches, sectioned carpets, a shower riser bar, plenty of 230V sockets and a Tracker as standard in an entry level van.

Thanks to its keen price, the add-on Diamond Pack gets fitted to all Sprites. It includes alloy wheels and a steel spare, an Al-Ko AKS 3004 stabiliser, a door flyscreen, a radio/CD player, two scatter cushions and, for 2014, a microwave oven.

The range now comprises eight models: the Musketeer TD, with a rear nearside dinette that used to convert to bunks, has been deleted, but there’s a new addition – the Quattro EW. It features a fixed rear bed, full-width end washroom and – a blast from the past – an L-lounge with picture window!

Practical Caravan says…

Subtle enhancements mean Sprite remains one of the best-looking, best-value entry-level ranges on the market today. It's well positioned to compete against rivals such as the Xplore brand from Elddis, and Bailey's new Pursuit range. For many buyers, there will be no need to look at pricier alternatives than the Sprite.

The new Sprite range in full 

Alpine 2

£13,065*

A two-berth with an end washroom and separate shower. It has a trim internal length of 4.34m and a maximum technically permissible laden mass (MTPLM) of just 1164kg. Its single beds are 1.9m and 1.8m long, or you can make them into a double across the width of the van.

Alpine 4

£13,225*

A fixed double bed van that’s ideal for smaller tow cars. The MTPLM is 1222kg and the internal length is 4.74m. The compromise is quite short front seats, but they seat four comfortably and make up into another double bed.

Major 4

£14,285*

An open plan four-berth with an end washroom and separate shower. It has two seating/dining areas, which convert to good-sized double beds. See the Major 4FB if you want a fixed bed. Its internal length is 5.29m and MTPLM is 1327kg.

Major 4FB

£14,285*

An open plan four-berth with an end washroom and separate shower. It has one fixed bed and a front dinette that converts to a double bed. See the Major 4 if you want two seating areas. Its internal length is 5.29m and its MTPLM is 1327kg.

Major 6

£14,720*

A single-axle family van that will sleep up to six. It has two dinettes, fixed bunks and a rear corner washroom with a separate shower. Its internal length is 5.60m, with an MTPLM of 1437kg.

Major 6TD

£14,945*

A new, single-axle family van that will sleep up to six. A large centre washroom with separate shower dominates the central area but the rear room, with two fixed bunks, is ideal for up to four children. Internal length is 5.83m and MTPLM 1480kg.

Quattro FB

£15,925*

An open plan, twin-axle six-berth with a fixed double bed and rear corner washroom. A small dinette, opposite the central kitchen, converts to two bunks and the front seating makes a double or two singles. Internal length is 6.27m and MTPLM 1571kg.

Quattro EW

£15,925*

A new six-berth twin-axle model with L-shaped front seating, a rear fixed bed and a full-width end washroom with separate shower. A side dinette converts to bunks. The internal length is 6.27m and its MTPLM is 1600kg.

* All prices exclude a recommended dealer delivery charge of £545 (including VAT).

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