During 2014, Swift celebrated five decades of manufacturing caravans and began the year in style with the launch of one of its boldest projects yet: the Elegance. The new flagship range consists of four models, one on twin axles, and is more expensive than the Swift Conqueror. 

Practical Caravan’s expert reviewers ran the single-axle Swift Elegance 570 for a long-term test and had three great months with it. The four-berth caravan features a fixed double bed and an end washroom.

The luxurious Elegance range is one of the first caravans to benefit from a major step forward in how caravans are made. Along with all 2014 Swift tourers, the Elegance line-up is constructed using Swift Group’s Smart HT system, which replaced timber in the caravan walls with polyurethane battens.

This closed-cell material  is impervious to water, accepts screw fixings and resists compression when bearing loads. The material had been used by some German brands and Swift conducted its own tests on the new method.

Swift took this development a step further for the Elegance models, by unveiling Smart HT, which stands for ‘high-tech’. The bodyshell is built with absolutely no timber. Instead, the sidewalls, rear and roof panels, and the floor have tough GRP skins inside and out, with styrene insulation in between.

The panels are slotted into a system of aluminium extrusions that appear to have taken their cue from Bailey’s Alu-Tech method, but with significant differences. 

There’s a sole rail, where the floor is sandwiched between two jaws, and the sidewall slides into place. This is bonded using a sealant adhesive rather than bolts, while dedicated cold bridges reduce the build-up of condensation inside during winter.

In the corners where the walls meet the front and rear panels, the joints are made stronger and more rigid using injection-moulding technology. Polyurethane blocks in the floors and walls act as fixing points for the furniture.

Does the Elegance represent value for money? Is it really, as Swift argues, the caravan of the future? Our testers take a look.