Practical Caravan reviews the Swift Elegance 630, a top-of-the-range caravan with a French double bed, to see if this 2015 four-berth is best for couples

Overview

The Elegance 630 joins the Swift Group’s range-topping line-up for 2015 as an alternative to the Swift Elegance 645. It takes the 645’s considerable on-road footprint and forward lounge/end washroom layout, but replaces its transverse island double bed with a more traditional longitudinal French double bed.

The upside of this is that there’s better defined through passage to the end washroom, and the single wardrobe is slightly bigger than the 645’s pair. Also, the 6ft 3in-long fixed bed is three inches longer than the 645’s bed and only an inch narrower.

If there is a downside, it’s that in the Elegance 630, one occupant of the fixed bed is always going to be hemmed in against a wall, whereas those in the 645's transverse island bed can each nip to the washroom during the night without disturbing the second sleeper.

Pitching and setting up

First things first: if your outfit reversing skills aren’t up to scratch, then you might want to consider equipping your shiny new Swift Elegance 630 with a motorised mover. This is one seriously big and heavy caravan that’s nigh-on impossible to manoeuvre by hand. Blame either the fabulous Swift Smart HT construction or the twin-axle chassis’s natural resistance to manual twisting, but either way, getting an Elegance 630 onto its pitch is going to involve either a mover or a tow car. And if you’re a stickler for 85% matches, then said tow car will need to weigh a not-inconsiderable 2235kg.

In most other respect, the 630 conforms to the sort of common-sense design you’d expect from Swift. All four heavy duty corner steadies are easily reached, the doorway awning light is positioned in such a way as to ensure you never exit the caravan in your own shadow, and the only services on the nearside wall are a gas barbecue point (positioned well forward, so your BBQ clears the awning) and an external mains socket. The twin locker doors, meanwhile, afford access to one of the forward settees and the large void beneath the bed.

Everything else, including the twin water fill points, external shower socket and combined battery box/mains hook-up, are over on the offside.

Lounge

Having the main entrance door forward of the axle line means you enter the 630 directly into the lounge. And mightily impressive it is, too. Sensibly muted beige and brown upholstery combine with paler, warmer glossy wooden locker doors that are bowed, aircraft style, and fitted with chrome-effect catches to create a whole that feels opulent, but not overwhelmingly so.

As you’d expect at this price point, lighting, both natural and electric, is in abundance, with the now-familiar panoramic front rooflight aided and abetted by an opening Heki 2 further back. By night, there are four adjustable readers and a further light sunk into the rooflight surround to choose from, together with a pair of attractive vertical lights sunk into the corner pods.

You could argue that the prominent plastic surround to the panoramic rooflight looks just a little out of place, adorned as it is with a pair of equally prominent speakers, but the unequal-length settees are king-sized, with the offside one in particular big enough to seat up to four adults.

Kitchen

As is often the case with modern king-sized caravans, the Elegance 630’s kitchen occupies a surprisingly small area of floorspace. That it manages to pack so much in, then, is quite an achievement.

On a purely aesthetic level, we love the way the all-white cabinetry clearly sets this area apart from the rest of the caravan, and the fact that, while of no obvious useful purpose, the backlit splash back looks so cool at night. On a more practical level, it’s good to see such generous worktop provision, and better still to find a good-sized extension flap provided.

Both mains sockets are elevated away from potential sink overspill and the roof locker doors open to reveal a single void behind equipped with fitted crockery racks. There’s a ‘hidden’ cutlery drawer squirrelled away under the worktop too, and four large wire baskets at low level.

In bald kit terms, the 630 has it all, from a domestic-standard cooker, complete with three gas burners and an electric hotplate, to a microwave oven and 190-litre fridge-freezer with removable freezer box.

Washroom

You could live with the Swift Elegance 630’s full-width end washroom for a month and never feel short-changed.

There’s ample floorspace, a large vanity/washbasin unit with huge backlit mirror and even a heated towel rail. The window by the loo is frosted over for modesty and the wholly separate shower is fully lined and equipped with a jumbo-sized shower head, light and towel rail. It’s good to see a pair of shower tray drains, although the pedant in us can’t help thinking they would have been better spread across the caravan rather than fore/aft.

Beds

It’s clear that the 630’s settees are of unequal length, with the offside one by far the longest, and therefore making it the obvious single bed option. At 5ft 4in, the nearside equivalent is probably long enough to accommodate a child. As a result of this mismatch, the double bed looks a bit lopsided once it’s made up, although it measures a healthy 6ft 6in by 5ft 4in.

Out back, the French double bed is shorter by three inches than the one at the front and just 4ft 3in wide. But you’d easily get a couple of six footers on there, and the Duvalite mattress is supremely comfortable.

Storage

You’d be hard-pressed, frankly, to overwhelm the 630’s storage provisions. Both under-settee lockers are large and broadly uncluttered, with the nearside one in particular benefitting from an exterior access door. Likewise, the void beneath the French bed is huge and clutter-free (and again with exterior access), and while we’ve seen bigger wardrobes, available hanging space is more than adequate. There are sundry lockers and cupboards in both the washroom and kitchen, too, with the latter boosted by an additional high-level locker over the fridge-freezer.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1679kg
Payload221kg
MTPLM1900kg
Interior length6.38m
Shipping length7.94m
Width2.26m
Awning size1047cm

Verdict

At a smidgeon under £28,700, the Swift Elegance 630 looks like competitive value when compared to, say, the equivalent Buccaneer Schooner (which starts at just under £29,000OTR) and is arguably the more youthful-feeling of the two. It's built using the Swift SMART HT timberless GRP sandwich bodyshell, designed to resist damp. This is an excellent caravan, but you’ll need a big tow car to pull it.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Looks and feels premium throughout
  • Five-star washroom
  • Spacious lounge
  • Good-sized and well-equipped kitchen

Cons

  • Unequal-length settees make an odd front double bed
  • Requires a monster tow car
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