Rory WhiteSee other caravan reviews written by Rory White
Swift hasn't been in the compact market for some time, so the introduction of the Charisma heralds a crucial time for the company. Can it compete effectively with the existing players?
Pitching and setting up
The drains are sensibly located on the offside, which makes for a tidy set-up and appearance on site.
Owners can position their television above the fridge or the centre chest. The Charisma also has spotlights in all four corners of the lounge, automatic ignition for the heater, smart corner mouldings with integrated lighting and a clock.
The dining arrangements are good too, but there's one niggle that blots this Swift's copybook. The centre chest has a flip-top table rather than a slide-out extension, so you have to remove everything from the top of the chest before you can extend it. Still, nobody's perfect, apparently.
Otherwise, the cooker's central position on the back wall next to the washroom is sensible, although the washroom door is left-hinged, so anyone slaving away at the hob will have to move to allow access to the washroom.
Work space is plentiful, thanks in part to the removable drainer which adds flexibility, and we like the fact that the hob includes an electric hotplate.
Our only criticism would be that the Charisma doesn't use its storage space as well as some rivals. The big under-sink locker has a wire tray that occupies loads of space but is of little practical benefit. Still, the provision of two mains sockets is some compensation.
Cleverly, the Swift has a cut out in the side of the fridge pedestal. This provides vital extra length to the bed if used as a single, or becomes a very handy bedside shelf if you are sleeping across the van. It also has separate spotlamps for each side of the bed, while rivals often make do with just one at the head of the bed. If one of you wants to read in bed and the other doesn’t, separate lights will give appropriate illumination.
A nice, big double then, and a well-lit one at that.
One nice touch; the spacious gas-bottle locker has a clever single strut that allows the locker door to lift well out of the way without obstruction.
Storage options in the kitchen and washroom have their limitations as we've seen but, those aside, the Charisma has no obvious failings in the storage department.
Despite its weight, this is a very impressive two-berth tourer. It signals a commendable return by Swift to compact touring, and is sure to unsettle the more established players in the two-berth market.
- Genuinely competent in every area, and well made with it
- Impressive specification for such a small caravan.
- This is a heavy van, and one in which the washroom and kitchen could do with more storage space.