Design of the times
It’s all very well calling a caravan range Elegance, but how do you live up to such a name? Well, Swift’s seven-model line-up is topped off by this twin-axle, a new model for the 2017 season.
Although billed as a four-berth, you can’t help feeling at least half of its appeal will be to couples who are perfectly happy to mix substance and style. You’ll no doubt already own a hefty towcar, but Elegances are aimed squarely at experienced caravanners who like – nay, demand – the latest luxury!
This new 650 caravan (it replaces the French bed 630 model of previous seasons) recognises the demands for a couple wanting a permanent bed with best possible access. It’s certainly not a rare layout, but it is Swift’s attempts to turn on the style that will surely attract you (do check out the sister model Sterling Continental 650 at the same time).
Bodywork uses Swift’s very latest Smart HT timber-free construction, with GRP cladding, and includes a five-layer floor as well as curves and radiused edges, plus flush-fitting windows. It all adds up to a more streamlined look from the front faring with integrated steps, to the back panel, with fixings already in place for a bike rack, plus a rear-view camera as standard.
The 650 has the usual twin-axle tributes of being that bit more secure out on the open road, but at the same time trickier to reverse into tighter areas. On an Al-Ko chassis with Euro axle, it also comes with Al-Ko’s ATC anti-snaking control system.
The caravan’s entrance door is set forward, meaning the lounge settees are of differing lengths. Furniture is from Italy’s Tecnoform. Fallisole is the name of the interior colour scheme that comes in all 2017 Elegances.
Almost directly opposite the entrance, the kitchen isn’t the largest, but it immediately sets itself apart thanks to the white locker door finish and the “acrylic stone” worktop, the latter also including a rather clever double flip-up worktop extending into the lounge. Dometic fittings, include the 190-litre fridge/freezer and cooker with dual-fuel hob (the latter currently exclusive to Swift).
Between the kitchen and the end bedroom, the toilet and showering facilities are across the width of the caravan. The shower has Ecocamel’s Orbit showerhead – its water-saving capabilities means, in milder conditions, if you keep the water flow down, you could just about manage a continuous hot water supply from the Alde system.
Comfort is king at the back, where the star turn is the island bed with a Duvalay Duvalite mattress. There’s good access to the storage underneath here, too.
But, it’s the almost infinite level of detail that are key for Elegance. Swift Command is more than just a gizmo. It keeps a watch on power usage, the state of the battery power, as well as temperatures inside and out – even humidity levels in the caravan. And there’s a handy 230V load limiter which you can set between five and 16 amps, so you won’t trip your mains supply. It’s complemented by an app allowing key functions to be operated remotely (as long as you have an internet connection).
Plus this Swift Elegance caravan is packed with safety and security features, giving you some healthy discounts on your caravan insurance premium. With AL-Ko secure wheel locks, a Thatcham Cat 6 Tracker, infra-red alarm, Al-Ko ATC, and rear view camera as standard, these will attract up to 40% in savings with Caravan Guard.
LED lighting abounds, whether direct or ambient, with details in the kitchen splashback and washroom mirror. There’s plenty of natural lighting, too, thanks to the Heki 2 rooflight over the lounge, also providing ventilation.
Styling is all down to personal choice, of course. But there can surely only be few who will begrudge Swift’s designers really have worked to make it work here. The caravan instantly feels comfortable, and certainly looks the part as a modern touring apartment. Mind you, there’s a correspondingly hefty price tag.
Do note, also, that the prices quoted here were before Swift announced a price hike across its portfolio. The good news is, there might well be some pre-increase Elegances at the dealers. In other words, act sharp and you’ll make a bit of a saving…
Verdict: Easily lives up to its Elegance name
Plus: High on specification, style, comfort and practicality
Minus: It was never going to be light
In-a-nutshell: Premium, packaged
There’s more information on the Elegance caravan range on the Swift Group website, www.swiftgroup.co.uk. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page
Alternatives: Bailey Unicorn Pamplona, Coachman Laser 650, Sterling Continental 650, Vanmaster V640 IB
Swift Elegance 650 factfile
|Model||Swift Elegance 650|
|Dimensions||7.94m L, 2.26m W, 2.61m H|
|RRP||from £30,340 on the road|
|Safety & security||Thatcham Cat 6 tracker (subscription to pay), Al-Ko ATC, infra-red alarm system, Al-Ko Secure wheel locks, rear view camera, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, CRiS identity numbering and concealed data chip|
|Key options||Alternative upholsteries (£195), SwiftShield upholstery finish (£395), wraparound cushion and backrest (£175), cycle rack (£215), Oyster satellite TV system (from £2,141), Cytrack system (from £1,815), Swift Command Tracker annual subscription (95)|