Read Practical Caravan's review of Lowdhams’ Freestyle SE S6 TD caravan, based on the Sprite Major 6TD, which offers more than £2500-worth of extra kit
Dealer special edition caravans allow buyers to access some of the specification and features seen in higher ranges without having to jump up from one market segment to another, for example from entry level to mid-market. Dealerships and manufacturers work closely together to come up with a compelling package of extras, and use their buying power to make these affordable to customers.
The van we’re looking at here is a collaboration between two of the biggest players in the industry – the mighty Swift Group and Lowdham Leisureworld, a Midlands dealership with sites in Gunthorpe and Huddersfield.
The seven-strong Freestyle SE line-up is based on the Swift Sprite, a range that received major changes for the 2018 season. It’s an award-winning range, too, as the Sprite Major 6 garnered Best Tourer for Small Families and Tourer of the Year in our 2018 caravan awards. Like the Major 6, the S6 TD is a six-berth designed for large families. It’s 7.54m long and runs on a single axle.
Pitching and setting up
At 24ft 9in from hitch head to rear bumper, this is a reasonably long caravan, and its 1550kg MTPLM is an 85% match for a car with a kerbweight of 1825kg. Al-Ko’s AKS hitch stabiliser and ATC anti-snaking system, fitted as part of the Freestyle SE suite of extras, will keep towing well-mannered, though, and arriving on site, the large grab handles and easily accessed corner steadies will allow one to get pitched up quickly.
The cassette toilet hatch, water connections and battery box are located on the offside; the external gas and 230V connections, more added Freestyle SE extras, are on the nearside.
The S6 TD follows the standard configuration of parallel front sofas and central chest of drawers. Six people can easily be accommodated in the lounge, on sofas that measure 1.9m (nearside) and 1.8m (offside).
Seven windows (three at the front, two at the side, a sunroof and large rooflight) will keep this area positively flooded with light. Pleated window blinds, as part of the Freestyle SE spec, add practicality and refinement, and LED lighting is at hand for the evenings. The lounge also boasts a radio/CD/MP3 stereo unit.
With the cooker lid lowered and the sink infill deployed, there’s enough food preparation and serving space for families of four or more. Work surface can be increased by means of a flap that tips up over the nearside sofa. A 100-litre fridge with removable freezer compartment completes the galley spec.
A swivelling cassette toilet is on the right as you enter; a fully lined separate shower cubicle is to the left, with a water-efficient EcoCamel Orbit showerhead fitted.
At the rear, the fixed bunks are 6ft long and each has its own window and reading light. The upper bunk has a deeper side panel to prevent occupants rolling out during night-time. Both sets of occupants can enjoy privacy at night-time thanks to a partition just to the rear of the entrance door that pulls across from the nearside.
The nearside dinette offers two additional berths, made up by lowering the lounge table and rearranging the cushions. The top bunk is 5ft 9in long, and the lower single bed is 5ft 11in.
In total, nine overhead lockers are fitted throughout the S6 TD, or ten if you include the one without a door in the rear dinette. Additional storage space includes a kitchen cupboard, the small chest in the rear dinette, the front centre chest, and space under the dinette seats and fixed bunks. It all means there are plenty of places in which to load the van up to its 176kg user payload.
First things first: the price. The Swift Freestyle SE S6 TD costs £2395 more than the Sprite Major 6 TD on which it is based. Given that the Freestyle SE package of added extras is worth over £2500 and includes the range of items that most buyers purchase as part of Sprite’s Diamond Pack of optional extras (£495), the price difference narrows to £1900.
The various design and comfort enhancements and safety equipment upgrades (including the reassurance of Al-Ko ATC) meet much of this head-on. Into the bargain, buyers of the Freestyle SE S6 TD also get access to a well-equipped family tourer for a whisker under £20,000 that will also stand out on the road and when pitched up. With discrete areas for parents and children, plus a kitchen and washroom that are large enough to meet the needs of families, the Major 6 TD is a capable and affordable van; the Freestyle SE version gives buyers that little bit extra.
- Sharp looks thanks to 2018 makeover
- Augmented kit list features many desirable extras
- Al-Ko hitch stabiliser and ATC anti-snaking system included
- Separate areas for parents and children
- Upholstery upgrade makes for pleasing interior ambience
- Price difference over Sprite Major 6 TD may seem steep to some buyers
- At 7.54m (24ft 9in), this is quite a long caravan