Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
The new dealer special edition from Broad Lane Leisure is based on Swift's popular Challenger range. We take a look at the four-berth twin-axle 635.
Any dealer special worth considering has to offer more than just new upholstery.
It should also include lots of extra spec - that makes the van extraordinary, but not at an extraordinary price.
So dealers offering special editions often base them on entry-level ranges - there's not much chance of improving on a Buccaneer or an Alaria, for example.
Occasionally, a gap opens in the market where other arrangements are possible. This season's Swift line-up is a case in point. With the demise of the Conqueror, there is now some difference between the Challengers, with their optional Alde heating but still fairly mid--market look, and the next-rung-up Elegances - not to mention the Grandes.
Broad Lane Leisure is now hoping to exploit that gap with its 2019 range of Fairway Platinum caravans, based on the Challenger.
To continue our look at dealer specials on offer this year, we went to Kenilworth to see how the dealer, which has offered Swift-based specials for more than 25 years, believes it can improve on the best-selling Challenger 635.
Pitching and setting up
To start with a handle on the A-frame makes this twin-axle easier to move. This model's rear heavy-duty corner steadies have a steel tube attached, down which you slide your steady to reach the bolt. Just as importantly, they have special sections where you can fit a lock and keep the steadies down.
On the side of the van is an external barbecue connection, a fairly conventional dealer special addition. This and the external access to the nearside front underseat locker are included in the Lux Pack on standard Challengers. But Broad Lane has added another locker here, with a TV bracket and sockets, so you can watch TV outside or in the awning.
Next to this is a Truma Aqua Source mains-water connection, while the 100W solar panel on the roof is 20W more powerful than you get with standard Swifts. The ATC is an option with Swift, as is the Al-Ko secure wheel lock.
But Broad Lane has done well with the furnishings. Standard Challengers for 2019 have Glacier soft furnishings, with purple crushed velvet scatter cushions and purple and white curtains.
That might be a little colourful for some, and Broad Lane has toned this down in more neutral cushions and base cushions, with a sued-effect stripe on the backrest and scatter cushions in warm yellow or grey check. You still get Aralie Sen doors to the two overhead lockers.
This can't disguise the fact that the front lounge is on the small side, due to the central washroom and island bed.
Apart from this, the kitchen here is similar to that of the standard Challenger, with a dual-fuel four-burner hob, a microwave with an overhead locker on either side, and a Thetford K 1520 oven with a separate grill and glass lid with safety cut-out, as well as a slimline 134-litre fridge.
Workspace is good, with an extension, and underneath you get a large cupboard that is divided into shelves and baskets. There are also pan lockers below the oven and above the fridge.
But it includes a sizeable dressing area with rooflight and an opaque window, and a large wardrobe and drawers. The roomy shower has no roof vent, but there is a towel ring above the Alde radiator.
Anyone using the settees as single beds would need to be under 5ft 1in, but it is easy to turn them into a double.
As this is a 2019 Swift, the front chest has a large drawer with a smaller drawer inside. Alongside three wardrobes, there is plenty of space in five overhead lockers.
Broad Lane has put considerable thought into deciding which extras to include in the Fairway Platinum. As with most dealer specials, you might get the same spec for less if you bought a basic 635 and added the extras. But you would have to hunt them down, and haggle hard.
- Warmer colour scheme
- Excellent added security
- There might be a bit too much Fairway branding