The new Swift Challenger 580 reviewed
Swift Challenger 580 exterior
Compare Swift’s new island bed Challenger 580 with the 560 model and you’ll see it’s longer and instead of a small table unit in the centre-front position between the parallel settees, the 580 has a chest of drawers (with hinged extension tabletop).
Its extra length means you get longer settees, giving you a wider double bed. Alternatively, the single beds are adequate to sleep younger members of the family.
The kitchen area boasts a beautiful granite-effect sink. It’s made of tough resin that will resist scratches better than the matt metal sort. Swift’s kitchen sinks are always big and circular and you’ll never struggle to wash up even large plates and pans.
There’s a chopping board cover which has a cut-out section so that you can use the tap at the same time as having most of the sink covered.
The kitchen inside the Swift Challenger
There’s a plastic clip-on drainer – but that will take away most of your work surface so it’s best to keep it housed in its cupboard slot when it’s not in use.
Fridge and cooker are both from Thetford. The hob is complete with mains hotplate as well as three gas burners, as is the Swift style.
In the bedroom, the bedside shelves recessed into the wardrobes are larger (both deeper and taller) than in the previous model.
The 580 gets some minor refreshing changes compared with the 560 – and a lot of difference in terms of lounge practicality and comfort.
If you’re considering a fixed bed model as your next move, it’s worth remembering that an island bed layout often gives you a more cohesive bedroom than side fixed beds – and the 580 is a good example of this.
Inside the Challenger
You get wardrobes on each side of the bed with full-length hanging depth, plus shoe cupboards beneath. There’s a corner dressing table unit with two sockets and television point.
Although this layout doesn’t get you a true en suite shower and washroom, you get the advantage that the little room is just as accessible to members of the family sleeping in the front area.
And you do get a separate shower, with semi-circular smart dark frosted plastic screen. You’ll notice the domestic-style door, with chunky steel handle and firm-click mechanism.
There’s a slim mirror, mounted onto a metal-effect strip on the outside of the washroom, with feature spotlight set into the roof just above it.
The Challenger’s lounge area
Upholstery is unchanged from the 560; suede-effect edges and rich creams and fawns in a design that would suit most tastes.
The Challenger range benefits from its width (2.29m). That’s especially obvious in the central area where you get plenty of space – deep television table above the heater, wide corridor, and general look of roominess.
Swift say they listened to caravanners’ comments when they developed the 580. We say it’s an impressive package and they’ve done a good job as four can sleep, eat and lounge in comfort.
Insurance cost: £311*
*Caravan Insurance cost based on 2009 Swift Challenger 580 valued at £14,995, fitted with hitchlock, wheelclamp and alarm (fitted as standard). Kept on drive behind locked gates at HX2 7RZ. Caravanners over 30 years old, claim free for 3 years and a member of a caravanning club. Premium includes insurance premium tax at 5%, 10% online discount and is correct as of 25.02.09.