Claudia DowellSee other caravan reviews written by Claudia Dowell
Practical Caravan’s experts review the 2013 Swift Challenger Sport 442 – its sunroof gives this caravan plenty of showroom appeal
The two-berth end-washroom layout has enjoyed huge success since it first appeared in mainstream brands in the late 1980s and Swift was one of the manufacturers at the forefront of the ’90s development of the layout. The end washroom was particularly popular with empty nesters who appreciated the luxury of a spacious area in which to shower and dress.
The layout’s popularity waned when fixed beds were introduced and space was stolen from washrooms and kitchens to accommodate them, but new designs and lower weights have returned it to the best-seller lists.
Swift dropped its Charisma range for 2012 and replaced it with a radically different design that carried the Challenger Sport name. Design is unchanged for 2013 but juicy items of kit have been added.
Pitching and setting up
The gas locker door is wide and lifts up to 1.45m, making it easy to swap cylinders. The mains unit, unusually, faces upwards from under the offside seat. This prevents access when the bed is made and takes up a lot of space.
The 12V and Truma Combi controls are over the main door. The heater warms the caravan rapidly, using gas and electric power together.
There’s plenty of lounging room and a wide front shelf offers space in the front corners to put things. Two mains sockets next to the central chest’s top are ideal for charging phones or PCs, but the only TV point is by the midships dresser. It’s good to see reading lights in all four corners.
The 113-litre fridge is the latest electronic model from Thetford, as is the dual-fuel hob. The microwave is positioned a little too high and there’s also only one mains socket.
The Truma Combi heater fits under a seat, so the dresser no longer loses useful storage space to it, as in earlier models. A two-door unit would have made better use of the new space than the single door fitted.
The room accommodates the wardrobe, where the hanging and shelf space are readily accessible. The shower is
a good size, while the rooflight and window provide daylight and ventilation.
The Challenger’s wardrobe lacks a large base area and some roof locker space is lost to that sunroof, but storage is sufficient for most couples. Only two shelves are provided, though, and they have open ends, so the contents are likely to slide off while in transit.
The two-berth end-washroom is the biggest sector of the market and such vans are the basis for a number of big-selling dealer specials.
The Challenger Sport's shower and wardrobe work well, as does the lounge seating, which can be used as two singles or a double bed at night.
The Challenger’s sunroof, standard-fit ATC system and Tracker give it showroom appeal.
- The sunroof and refined profile pile on showroom appeal
- The washroom, kitchen and wardrobe all work well
- The microwave is fitted higher than convenient
- The heater, water system and consumer unit take up storage space in the offside seat box
- Only one mains socket in the kitchen