Difficult as it may be to believe now, there was a time when fixed-bed caravans were the sole preserve of Continental manufacturers; the prevailing opinion here in the UK being that such layouts were, quite literally, a waste of space.

How times have changed. From the earliest days of the first trickle of UK fixed-bed vans, we now have a host of options: rear island bed; transverse rear island; twin singles; and bunks. There’s now even one with a transverse double slung across the front, where the lounge should be.

But the original design – that of the French (or corner) bed – hasn’t gone away yet. Granted, most such models now sport a full-width end washroom, but there are still a couple of tourers that stick with the original notion of locating the washroom alongside the bed in one dedicated room. Showering in the tighter space is a bit more of a chore, but there’s no arguing with the shorter, lighter body that this old-school layout allows.

Swift’s Sprite-based Lifestyle 4 is just such a model and one we had on long-term test – this review’s accompanying photographs were taken at our 2015 Reader Rally.

The Lifestyle 4 might be called a Swift, but it starts life at the Cottingham factory as a Sprite Alpine 4. It then goes through its transformation into a special-edition caravan exclusive to the Marquis dealer network; hence the alloy wheels and panoramic sunroof the standard Sprite does without. It’s a good-looking van.

It really does belie its budget background, too. Marquis’s policy with its special editions is to take cheap and cheerful vehicles and lavish them with kit, and the result is a caravan that only those in the know would ever suspect was anything other than a premium model.

Happily, the Lifestyle doesn’t stray too far from its budget roots, so the original’s simple, glossy white body, windowless door and huge single front window remain.

Sticklers for laden 85% matches will need to budget for a tow car weighing no less than 1471kg. However, the Lifestyle’s occupant for the rally was going to be flying solo on this occasion, so a minimal load meant the fact that our long-term Suzuki S-Cross’s 100kg shortfall in this specific respect wasn’t a problem.

Certainly the long, 200-mile haul from Middlesex to Combe Martin in Devon would have cast a spotlight on any chinks in the outfit’s armour, but none came to the fore. The standard-fit Al-Ko AKS hitch stabiliser no doubt helped, but Swift has been building caravans for too long for it to produce a duffer in outright towing stability. And to see other Swift caravans for sale, click here.