Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

See other News articles filed in ‘Caravans’ written by Peter Baber
   
A revised Challenger range and new 8ft-wide Elegance models lead the new-season changes for Britain's biggest caravan manufacturer

Swift’s theme last year was consolidation, with the Sterling brand disappearing and its four other ranges coming under the one Swift brand. 

That trend continues into 2019, with the loss of the Conqueror. That leaves the Sprite, Sprite Super, Challenger, Eccles – celebrating its centenary in 2019 – and Elegance. 

The full picture is a little more complicated, however, because the Elegance, Swift’s top-notch range launched three years ago, now gets its own sub-range in the form of the 8ft-wide Elegance Grande – just as Sprite was augmented with Sprite Super earlier this year.

The Elegance Grande range is initially made up of three models, although one of them, the 655, is not due to make its debut until this October’s NEC show. It features a unique layout for Swift, involving an L-shaped front lounge, a second central dinette with a drop-down bed, fixed bunks further back and an end washroom.

The other two layouts are a little more conventional. The 645 has a transverse rear island bed running from nearside to offside and an end washroom, while the 635 has a similar bed running in the opposite direction behind a central washroom spread across the caravan.

The entire range – the three Grandes and the standard Elegance range, which has had two new models added to make it an eight-model line-up, now benefits from SMART 3, the third generation of Swift’s timberless construction system.

Even more Elegance 

Swift is so confident of this system, which involves a new floor with an engineered structural foam core, it is offering a lifetime water ingress warranty on all models made this way. It claims this is an industry first. The new standard-width Elegance models are the 560, with a transverse washroom and a rear in-line island bed, and a twin-axle that offers the same layout as the Elegance Grande 635, but in a standard width.

New features in the Elegance interior include ‘Darwin’ soft furnishings with a tactile weave (leather is a cost option). 

New curved locker doors in high-gloss ‘Aralie Sen’ woodgrain come with a gloss ‘Smoked Oak’ effect inlay. Front chests have been redesigned to hold just one drawer with a concealed drawer inside it and an extending top. 

There are illuminated pelmets on the side windows. Kitchens benefit from Fenix worktops and some washrooms have shaving mirrors and speakers. 

To mark the centenary of the Eccles brand, all new models in this Alde-heated range, which now includes three new layouts, bringing the total up to eight, feature a commemorative badge on the sidewalls. 

Interior improvements include a dramatic ‘Saturn’ furnishing scheme in warm gold and black, with honey-toned ‘Zebrano’ woodgrain for overhead lockers and shimmery black ‘Mars’ scatter cushions. There’s also a highly decorative kitchen splashback, and you get a DAB radio and auxiliary audio port included as standard.

The Challenger range, which shares a similar spec level to the Eccles, is extended by one new layout this season to become a nine-model range. The new layout is the 650, a twin-axle with a rear in-line island bed and a central washroom. 

New developments for 2019 in this range include a more aerodynamic profile with a GRP front panel, and a new-design sunroof in the hail-resistant GRP roof that flows into a full-length GRP rear panel. 

Interiors include ‘Glacier’ soft furnishings with purple accents, geometric curtain patterns and stripes in the bedding – all designed to offer a sporty look. A front lounge overhead corner locker is also included.

Tweak for Sprite   

After last year’s major revamp and the extension of the range with 8ft-wide models in February, the Sprite and Sprite Super ranges stay relatively unchanged for 2019, except for the addition of a new slate-grey worktop in the kitchen, in lieu of white. 

For 2019, the Swift Command system, which controls heating, lighting and water, has been redesigned to incorporate a new touchscreen control. It’s in colour and feels more user-friendly than last year’s panel. 

The associated app has also been upgraded with the same design, to let you control on-board services remotely.

Basecamp and Basecamp sports-related models also continue for 2019. Basecamp now has its own thriving supporters’ club, although, according to Swift commercial director Nick Page, many of its members do not see themselves as caravanners.

Presenting the new models, Mr Page did pay heed to what he sees as a weakening caravan market, with NCC figures showing UK tourer sales down 12% on last year (although only 8% down at Swift).

But he said Swift would not necessarily be scaling back too dramatically on production for 2019, because it expects to see greatly increased overseas sales, particularly in Sweden. 

For a full review of the Swift Elegance Grande 650, see the September 2018 issue of Practical Caravan, on sale now