Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
If you can live without a fixed bed, you'll get a fabulous end washroom and a great amount of kit in this Swift Elegance 530 – let's take a closer look!
There’s been a trend among caravan manufacturers to offer extra luxury on top of what was already a fairly luxurious product.
Lunar did it last year in bringing out a new brand, the Alaria, which goes just that little bit further than the top-notch Lunar Delta range. Coachman has its twin-axle Laser, and the Explorer Group its Buccaneer.
Both are built using high-precision Smart HT construction, something that the firm has spent many years developing and that leaves you with a timberless bodyshell and a five-layer composite floor.
It also adds a few extras on top, such as standard Al-Ko Secure wheel locks and uprated trim. Yet you don’t just get the Elegance treatment on larger vans.
There are smaller models in the range, too, such as this four-berth 530 with a parallel front lounge, side dinette and full-width end washroom.
And to see other Swift caravans for sale, click here.
Pitching and setting up
Just above the Swift name is a relatively large panoramic sunroof, too, while along the outside you will find a gas barbecue point, an external shower connection and a 230V socket. The door comes with a window, too.
The Elegance already includes shock absorbers and an Al-Ko ATC stability control system fitted as standard.
One major improvement to the towing experience for all 2017-season Elegance models from Swift caravans has been the inclusion of a neatly built-in rear-view camera as standard. You can just see it in the back panel, beneath the high-level brake light.
This is complemented by long strip lighting in the corners. There is even faux fur on the cushions – something we have rarely seen before in a tourer.
On the inside, between the sunroof and the row of windows, is a prominent section of plastic moulding.
Its effect is repeated on the equally prominent moulded surround to the row of sockets behind the chest at the front.
At least you do get a good supply of these, with two mains sockets, as well as one 12V point, and two USBs.
There’s a further two mains sockets, plus 12V and TV points at the end of the offside sofa. Everyone can have their digital fix in here.
You’re also spoiled with four spotlights, as well as plenty of ambient lighting to keep things warm and bright as the evening draws in.
The two settees can easily seat six. The foldaway table could manage four, although you have to step into the end washroom to fish it out of its narrow storage space.
Although this is primarily a couples’ van, there is a small dinette on the offside opposite the kitchen that makes it ideal for smaller families, too. This area gets two spotlights of its own, and a clip-on table.
In between the two seating areas is a small ledge – directly under the aerial, so a perfect place for a TV.
Opposite this, underneath the kitchen worktop at the end of the other sofa, is a space where you could store books and maps, with a cocktail cabinet up top.
So is the spec: you get a dual-fuel four-burner hob, a 110-litre Dometic fridge with a removable freezer, a Dometic oven and grill, and, beside an overhead locker with a crockery rack, a microwave.
With a pan drawer under the oven, and a tiny cutlery drawer above the fridge, storage in this Swift caravan is good, too.
There’s a small drawer and cupboard underneath the map shelf, although the cupboard is mostly taken up by the fuse box.
There are pull-out wire racks next to the oven, with a small but useful utensil drawer above, plus a matching set under the TV ledge on the other side of the van, where you’ll also find a housing for the chopping board. Could this space have been better used as a cupboard?
The Elegance, as you might expect, comes with Alde central heating, so in here you also get the luxury of a heated, ladder-style towel rail.
It sits by the loo on the offside, next to a large wardrobe with an inner half-shelf and two equally large drawers underneath. A frosted window lets in more light.
Nor is that the only bit of luxury in here. Above the central washbasin with its own large cupboard you’ll find a set of speakers for the standard CD/radio/MP3 player – ideal if you enjoy singing while you shave.
Fitted bathroom stereos are becoming a fad in domestic design at the moment, but they have yet to make much headway into caravans.
The shower cubicle, after all of that, is smaller than usual, with a narrow door aperture. But it does have two drain holes and plenty of shelves.
Or you could just use the Swift Elegance 530’s long settees as singles.
Turning the side dinette seats into two bunk beds (the top one on a platform that swings out) is fiddly, but no more so than other vans that share this layout and bunk-bed system.
It involves the usual jigsaw of cushions, and we also had quite a struggle placing the bunk guards into their fittings.
But the bunk ladder is robust, and at least you end up with two bunks that can house most teenagers as well as small kids.
Plus they are in an area that can be curtained off for privacy and that comes with its own spotlights, a window, and with a mains socket nearby.
But there is still plenty of space to store larger items: both under-seat areas are clear and easy to access, either by their own doors or by lifting the seat bases (which are held up by gas struts).
And, of course, you can also access the nearside bed box from the outside.
The Swift Elegance 530 is a superbly comfortable van with fantastic washroom and enough charging points to take care of the entertainment needs of the most tech-savvy caravanner.
It also has a layout that traditionalists will love, and is not available in the Conqueror range.
But it is significantly more expensive than similar-sized vans with this spec level, so what you are really paying for here is the expertise and reassurance of its Smart HT construction.
- Smart HT construction sets it apart
- The luxurious washroom is its stand-out feature
- The freestanding table is stored, inconveniently, in the washroom
- It is quite pricey and heavy