Swift has added to its 8ft-wide line-up with the Challenger X range, which features a transverse fixed bed. Andrew Jenkinson finds out more.

Overview

In September 1984, Swift launched a range of tourers that were not only aerodynamic on the outside and very stylish on the inside, but also light in weight and well specified.  

This new line-up was the Challenger, and 2020 sees this popular range celebrating its 35th year, making it one of the longest-running, alongside Lunar’s Clubman. 

The Challenger has been very successful in both new and pre-owned markets. 

Now, for the 2020 season, the Challenger is joining the 8ft-wide club, with the new X range. 

A key selling point in this line-up will no doubt be its well-finished GRP sidewalls and the latest in caravan construction. With a good selection of layouts, it also offers lots of additional space.

Pitching and setting up

The Challenger X can be ordered with a Lux pack; this adds to the cost, but includes a barbecue point, exterior mains socket, alternative upholstery, ATC and alarm.

Those GRP sides add to the Swift’s toughness – the roof also has a GRP finish. There’s an 80W solar panel fitted up there, too, and the latest Status TV aerial. The AKS hitch adds to towing stability.

The Challenger X has a super-smart profile, but is still eminently practical. The large front gas locker is ideal for storing other caravanning kit, and you also get a sunroof and a front side locker.

Rather surprisingly, however, ATC isn’t standard fit in the Challenger X. Nor will you find heavy-duty corner steadies offered as standard, which again seems a little surprising on a tourer in this price band.

Lounge

As you would expect, the front lounge in the Challenger X is large, there is plenty of space and the seating is comfortable, too. The sunroof is perhaps not the biggest, but with the Heki roof vent, there is a reasonable amount of natural light to flood the interior. Overhead lockers add storage space, along with the central chest of drawers, which also has a very useful pull-out extending top.

LED spotlights, plus ceiling lights and overhead locker lighting, mean the lounge is brightly illuminated at night.

There is a mains socket and a USB point on the windowsill, but we reckon another mains socket here would not go amiss. You do get a DAB radio, and Swift’s Command system, plus a Thatcham tracker.

Access flaps are fitted in the lounge seat bases and there are comfortable bolster cushions and four smart scatter cushions. A spacious area, this will appeal to buyers who like to stretch out and relax.

Kitchen

The side kitchen offers a great spec, including an illuminated splashback with the Lux pack.

Other kit here includes an integral microwave above the kitchen area. This is placed centrally, allowing space for overhead lockers on either side.

You’ll also find a 113-litre Series 10 Dometic fridge, and the latest Thetford oven, complete with dual-fuel hob.

The kitchen has a useful twin mains socket, placed on the lounge side for easy access. The large stainless-steel sink comes with a clip-on drainer, and while there isn’t a huge amount of work surface, it is boosted by a folding flap extension, which will prove handy when preparing meals.

Storage is a little restricted, with one narrow cupboard, plus another cupboard below the oven. However, we think that a cupboard by the entrance door would also help out with extra kitchen storage.

But overall, this kitchen is well planned, combining practical design with attractive good looks. For night-time lighting, three integral LED lights are fitted above, providing plenty of illumination when needed.

Washroom

The 880’s end-washroom is approached through a sliding door. It is provided with a side frosted window and roof vent (although there’s no vent in the shower cubicle) and a Thetford electric-flush toilet.

Although it’s full-width, the washroom doesn’t have much depth, and does have a slight corridor effect. But there is a radiator, and the deep basin has a cupboard underneath.

A large mirror is fitted above the handbasin and there is LED lighting to keep the washroom well illuminated. More storage comes with a wall-mounted cupboard, plus useful shelving. The large shower cubicle is a fully moulded unit.

Beds

The front lounge doesn’t offer the option of two single beds – the seating is too short – but it does make up into a massive 2.25 x 1.59m double, using the slatted system, which pulls out from the central chest. The capacious bed makes up easily, but because this van is likely to be used by couples, the main attraction is that all-important fixed transverse bed.

As you might expect, it’s a good size, and fitted with the super-comfortable Duvalay foam mattress, guaranteeing a great night’s sleep.

Storage

The Challenger X really excels in storage, with plenty of overhead locker space in the lounge, more in the bedroom, and potentially three wardrobes with more cupboard space below them.

The bedroom corner unit also has a cupboard, with a wall-mounted cabinet above. And there’s plentiful space under the double bed.

Already an excellent offering, the Challenger X scores some bonus points with its generous provision of storage, especially if you are two on tour.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1481kg
Payload161kg
MTPLM1642kg
Interior length5.83m
Shipping length7.54m
Width2.45m

Verdict

The 880 is probably one of the best-looking tourers on the market – they really do cut a dash. The Lux pack adds to the upmarket air. But ATC could be standard and perhaps a 100W solar panel, too. The Challenger X 880 is roomy for four, so for two, it should feel palatial.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great storage and large lounge
  • Well planned-kitchen

Cons

  • ATC and BBQ are not standard fit