The 2011 six-berth Charisma 565 ideally suits the needs of taller kids and families for whom a separate shower is important.
The caravan now comes with two fixed bunks, each of which has adult-height headroom.
It still has its keynote large family area at the rear, with dining/playing area that makes two more bunks – one rises from behind the table on the offside wall.
And, importantly, between the rear settee and the fixed bunks, sits a console with TV connection and two sockets, mounted into the top of a cupboard.
There’s plenty of room to store stuff in the Charisma’s family area. Under the bottom bunk is a large storage space, although an exterior hatch to this area would have made loading and unloading easier and would have enabled this area to be used for mucky shoes and boots!
So, the 565 retains its great family appeal that earned it so much praise over the last couple of years for good value, good build and great family layout. And, now that it has a separate shower, the convenience count goes up.
More importantly, as the children grow, the low-headroom triple bunks of former 565s would necessitate a change of caravan; the new 565 would satisfy family needs for a lot longer.
The lounge comfort is lovely, thanks to full-length settees. The option of using them as single beds is a useful one, especially on journey stopovers.
The new-for-2011 cream vinyl floor covering hidden under the carpet is tough – designed not to scratch if small stones are carried in under shoes.
The lounge also boars enormous front corner lights that give good illumination and there are plenty of spotlights too, making the caravan light and bright in dark evenings.
Kitchen storage is small but surface space is fine when the removable drainer is away in its storage slot and the chopping board is in place over the sink. Two power points in the kitchen is a great idea – although take care not to use the toaster and the kettle at the same time as you’re likely to trip-out the site’s mains supply.
It’s the small things that count in caravans: the chopping board that fits over the big circular sink is a brilliantly simple design, with a cut-away section just large enough to enable you to wash your veg while keeping the board in place over the sink.
Plus, we love the trigger control on the shower, which enables you to set the temperature then turn the shower off and on, always to the same temperature. But there’s not a lot of cupboard space in the washroom.
The Swift Charisma range is equipped with the receiver mechanism for the AL-KO Secure so if you’re willing to spend the £220 to get the optional extra lock for this you will qualify for a caravan insurance discount of 10% with Caravan Guard.
The 565 excels in its aims of catering well for six growing occupants. And it’s got that brilliant separate shower.
Lengths: Body 5.83m, overall 7.52m
Weight: 1390kg (MRO) 1576kg (MTPLM)
Cost to insure: £259 *
*Caravan insurance cost based on 2011 Swift Charisma valued at £15,465 (includes optional extra – Al-Ko Secure at £220), fitted with hitchlock, wheelclamp and 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. Premium includes insurance premium tax at 6% and is correct as of 19.01.11.