An L-shaped front lounge and island bed at the back are the instant reckoners for the Challenger X 850 from Swift. That “X” denotes it’s a wide-bodied caravan, and the 850 is also a twin axle model, running on Al-Ko’s Euro axle chassis with shock absorbers for a superior ride.
Challengers have long been a popular mainstay of the Swift portfolio, so it’s no surprise to see the range being extended to cater for the recent desire for 8ft wide caravan models.
Island beds are also the preferred sleeping arrangement these days, and the Challenger X 850 caravan boasts a particularly comfortable mattress – it’s a Gravity Luxe from specialist producer, Duvalay (a company with which Swift has, again, enjoyed a long relationship).
It’s a conventional enough lengthways island bed flanked by wardrobe units, either side of a big padded headboard. Those wardrobe units encompass low-level cupboards as well as mattress-level ledges. Sockets are nearby, too.
Forward of this main sleeping area, sliding doors make it a full-width washroom, also giving complete privacy to the rest of the living quarters.
A toilet and fixed basin are on the offside, where there’s also a handy window, while the nearside homes a generous part-circular, one-piece shower compartment, complete with water-efficient Ecocamel showerhead. Also in here is a hanger for wet gear.
The Swift Challenger X 850 also boasts a particularly generous central kitchen, with full Thetford cooker – three gas rings, electric hotplate, separate oven and grill. Overhead, a microwave oven is flanked by lockers (mug storage on the left, racking for plates on the right).
Swift is often criticised for its small cutlery drawers (sure enough, there’s one here). But there is a second drawer in the double cupboard under the sink. Also here is handy slide-out chrome racking, plus there’s a dedicated slot for the chopping board/sink cover. It’s a large shelved area, too.
Directly across the corridor, the slimline Dometic fridge has a 133-litre capacity and the freezer compartment is removable, while the whole unit is set off the floor, with locker storage above and below. The narrow cupboard to the left of the fridge is where you’ll find the free-standing dining table.
There’s no doubting the feeling of space in this tourer. Upfront, the L-shaped lounge really enhances that sensation.
The blank wall on the nearside is, of course, where you’re going to put your large-screen TV, and there are plenty of opportunities for daylight to flood in – a traditional enough three-window front, and a large window on the offside, plus a fixed sunroof and opening rooflight (and a further rooflight over the kitchen).
This Challenger X 850 doesn’t want for kit, either. Alde central heating is now the standard offering across the line-up, and the list of standard equipment includes items such as 100Watt solar panel, concertina blinds and flyscreens to all windows, right through to aspects like the timber-free bodywork construction with GRP sides, roof and front and rear panels (all backed by a 10-year warranty).
Without wishing to sound patronising, the Swift Challenger X 850 is a thoroughly nice ‘van to live and relax in. It doesn’t lack for rivals, but as a blend of specification/price and overall aesthetics its certainly sets a benchmark.
Verdict: Swift style
Plus: Keen price/specification mix, excellent end bedroom, spacious living throughout
Minus: Small cutlery drawer, Al-Ko ATC only an option
In-a-nutshell: A Challenger to meet expectations
There’s more information on the Challenger X range on the Swift website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance page
Alternatives: Adria Adora 623 DT Isonzo, Bailey Pegasus Grande SE Brindisi, Coachman Acadia 675 Xtra
Swift Challenger X 850 factfile
|Model||Swift Challenger X 850|
|Dimensions||7.98m L, 2.45m W, 2.59m H|
|RRP||from £32,995 on-the-road|
|Safety & security||Al-Ko AKS 3004 stabiliser, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, CRiS VIN CHIP, entrance door deadlock, infra-red alarm system with tilt sensor, receivers for Al-Ko Secure wheel locks|
|Key options||Zinc upholstery (£195), Al-Ko ATC (£375), Thule bike rack (£315), Yuasa leisure battery (from £175), Al-Ko Secure lock (£265)|