An interesting option for 2016 Challengers from Swift is the facility to order a full “wet” central heating system from Alde, or stick with the standard Truma Combi 4. Most would agree, it’s the Alde that’s the more attractive heating and hot water option, although it adds weight to your vehicle – a potentially critical 44kg in this instance – at the same time taking some £740 out of your wallet.
Still, it’s your choice. The example reviewed here has Alde, but we’ve included Truma figures in the data below, to help with your final comparisons.
What you also get with the 530 model in the latest, eight-strong Challenger line-up, is a floorplan that hasn’t just stood the test of time, it can class itself up there at legendary status.
It’s a layout that has spanned decades, yet continues to triumph because its front lounge, offside dinette, nearside kitchen, full-width end washroom configuration makes such good use of the space available. You can put its popularity down to its flexibility – appealing to couples (who are happy to use the dinette for mealtimes) as well as families with one or two (grand)children who like the bunk beds that can be created – in time-honoured fashion – from that dinette seating.
Maybe it’s not quite a full four-berth, then, more of a two-plus-two. But, with the seating and sleeping catered for – although the latest AirWave foam deserves more than just a passing mention – you might be surprised, also, to know that the kitchen and washroom are both more than generous, especially considering this is a 7m ‘van.
Whilst the kitchen doesn’t dominate the interior, it certainly does offer plenty for the caravan chef to get his/her teeth into. Thetford’s Aspire 2 cooker is set left, with a circular (granite-style) sink to the right of the dual-fuel hob. That still leaves oodles of worktop space, whilst under the counter there’s a 106-litre Dometic fridge (an 8-series model, with removable freezer if you want to use it all as a larder) surrounded by storage – with a drawer and locker to its left, two larger drawers and locker to the right; not forgetting, also, the three large overhead lockers and flush-fitted microwave oven.
Lighting is restricted to a short strip over the sink, and there’s just the one mains socket to hand, but it’s only the minuscule cutlery drawer just over the fridge that disappoints here.
Despite the presence of a generous wardrobe, it’s a spacious washroom, with its swivel-bowl toilet, fixed (but somewhat flimsy) basin in the centre and a shower cubicle – which includes an upmarket Ecocamel Orbit showerhead, pull-down hanging rail and twin plugholes – taking all of the nearside corner. That still leaves just about enough dressing room space to be decent.
Swift has left plenty of pleasant surprises for the exterior of its 2016 Challengers, too. They use the latest SMART+ body construction, which uses polyurethane rather than timber framing. The side walls still have an aluminium exterior, but the front, rear, underfloor and roof are GRP-clad. Flush-fitting windows help keep things looking sleek, while aspects such as the wider gas locker door with three-point locking, rear fixing points for a bike rack, LED side-marker running lights, alloy wheels, fixed sunroof and more, are as practical as they are contemporary.
Check out the specification for yourself, suffice to say it’s hardly lacking. Even a solar panel is standard these days. It’s hard to believe this counts as a mid-market tourer. More upper-mid, maybe. It’s a class thing.
Verdict: Popular layout of the past brought bang up to date
Plus: Choice of heating systems, contemporary styling, spacious floorplan
Minus: Small cutlery drawer.
In-a-nutshell: Family values, for two upwards
There’s more information on the X range on the Swift Group website (www.swiftgroup.co.uk). To find out more about our discounted premiums visit the caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Coachman Pastiche 520, Compass Rallye 530, Elddis Affinity 530, Sterling Eccles 530
Swift Challenger 530 factfile
|Model||Swift Challenger 530|
|Dimensions||7.00m L, 2.23m W, 2.61m H|
|MTPLM||1,448kg (Truma)/1,474kg (Alde)|
|MIRO||1,279kg (Truma)/1,323kg (Alde)|
|Safety & security||Tracker Retrieve, receiver for Al-Ko Secure wheel lock, AKS 3004 stabiliser, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, internal deadlock for habitation door, shock absorbers|
|Key options||Alde heating (£749), Loretta upholstery (£195), Swiftshield fabric (£295), Winchester Stone/leather (£745), Al-Ko ATC (£315)|
Note: All details correct at time of publication but may be subject to change.
*Caravan insurance cost based on Swift Challenger caravan retailing at £19140 fitted with Tracker Retrieve tracking system, hitchlock, Al-KO secure wheel lock. Kept on drive at HX4 0BE. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for 3 years and a member of a caravanning club. £100 excess. 180 days European cover and up to £75 per day for up to 15 days emergency accommodation cover included. Legal expenses cover, extended European cover and other emergency accommodation expenses cover options are available at extra cost. Quote includes 10% online discount and 9.5% Insurance Premium Tax and is correct as of 17.12.15.
**On-the-road, including VAT at 20%