Caravans that are 8ft wide have been included in British manufacturers’ ranges for some time. Eight-footers on a single axle have been less common, especially with an equally fashionable L-shaped lounge.
Now Swift has introduced a single-axle with L-shaped lounge to its Challenger X range. The 860 takes the same layout as the 850, with a central washroom and an inline island bed at the rear.
With a single axle, it is £2000 cheaper and 135kg lighter unladen – it has a MiRO of 1504kg, and an MTPLM of 1660kg.
Pitch and set-up
It always seems a quirk of the Challenger that, while Alde heating comes as standard, ATC does not, even on this eight-footer – it’s a factory-fit cost option. You do get an AKS 3004 stabiliser, and once on site, setting up should be relatively simple.
The corner steadies are easy to spot and reassuringly heavy duty. There is also an outside BBQ point and mains socket where you need them, on the nearside, while the cassette accessories hatch is on the offside.
The island bed is inline, which limits external lockers. There is one on the front nearside, but it is small. So if you pack bulky items, unless you can fit them in the gas locker, you will be carrying them through the caravan to store them under the bed.
It may be L-shaped, but the 860’s lounge isn’t huge. Four could sit here comfortably; any more and you could feel squeezed.
You might consider bringing along a stool, which would come in handy as an extra place at the table, which you have to fetch from the wardrobe at the rear.
The lounge is comfortable, however. It’s well lit, with large windows, a sunroof and a Heki, plus ambient light, individually switched LEDs in the sunroof housing, and three spotlights, all with USB ports.
The ambient lighting nicely illuminates the panel where the TV would go. Even if you include a TV here, tracing its cable through the hole to the sockets in the cupboard below, there is plenty of shelf space on the sideboard by the door and the sill across the front. There are two more USBs here.
If you need a lot of work surface, you are probably going to have to use the extension, because the large uncovered sink takes up a good part of the worktop. There is enough space to use the two mains sockets though. The area is well lit, but the switch by the sockets only controls the striplights – the LEDs in front of the lockers are controlled by the main switch near the front door.
A microwave sits between the overhead lockers, and you get a dual-fuel hob above a separate oven and grill. The 98-litre Series 10 Dometic fridge might feel a little small for the food of four, but it is two-way opening.
The central washroom has a basin against a pillar and doors either side of the bedroom. Shut all three doors and you can have a dressing room.
The nearside circular shower doesn’t have great headroom and only has one drain hole, but it does get useful shelving and a towel ring directly above the radiator. The toilet is on the offside by an opaque window.
Beds in the Swift Challenger X 860
The drawback with the basin/pillar layout becomes apparent in the bedroom. The bed is only 6ft 2in long and the pillar means there’s no overhang, so this bedroom ins’t overly suitable for very tall people.
Shorter folk, though, will enjoy the Duvalay mattress, plush headboard and spotlights with USBs. That makes a total of seven USB ports throughout the interior.
The lounge can only be made up into a double bed, but this is easy to do: unusually, the slats fold out – you don’t have to lug around a heavy platform that can jam.
Storage in the Swift Challenger X 860
External access is limited, but internal access to the underseat areas is generous, with access flaps and stay-up slats. Along with two overhead lockers and two front corner lockers, there’s a shelf next to the cupboard under the TV area, the sideboard by the door and another small cupboard.
The space under the rear bed is large. The side wardrobes are sizeable, even with the table inside, and below each is a small cupboard. Kitchen storage for larger items is a bit more limited, with two overhead lockers and pull-out baskets between the fridge and the oven, and the pan locker is of average size. Washroom storage includes a cupboard under the handbasin and aisle over the radiator.
The 860 brings the prospect of an 8ft-wide tourer to those with tighter budgets and smaller tow cars. It is comfortable and well kitted out, as long as you’re not an overly adventurous chef. It might work better as a two-berth with occasional visitors, rather than a full-time four-berth. But it offers a great lounge, with plenty of storage, and a really good bedroom.
- After an older model instead? Then see what we think about the Swift Challenger 540 (2007)
- Thumbs up: Well-lit interior with seven USBs, good washroom
- Thumbs down: No ATC as standard, limited external access to storage
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The central washroom has a basin against a pillar and doors either side of the bedroom. Shut all three doors and you can have a dressing room
|Interior Length||5.83 m|
|Shipping Length||7.54 m|
|Spec list||Al-ko chassis, Alloy wheels, 100W solar panel, External BBQ point and socket, Door flyscreen, Dometic Series 10 98-litre fridge, Microwave, Separate oven and grill, Alde heating, Status 570 aerial, AM/FM radio with USB connectivity|