Practical Caravan product review - the Swift Elegance 480
Have you tried driving off into the sunset with a caravan for the two of you, and found that in no time, you were beset by water ingress problems? Do you long for the day when such issues are a thing of the past?
If so, Swift is hoping buyers like you might be attracted to its Elegance range. For 2020, all Elegance models are being built using the third generation of Swift’s timber-free SMART construction system.
Swift is so confident, it is offering a lifetime water ingress warranty on these models and aiming to offer one of the best caravans for couples. To find out more, with the help of Dickinson Caravans, Bradford, we’re stepping inside the Elegance 480.
Pitching & Setting-up
All Elegance vans include a reversing camera, which should connect to your tow car through the hitch. This should make towing and pitching that bit easier.
As you’d expect from a top-of-the-range caravan, an AKS 3004 stabiliser and the ATC trailer control system are fitted as standard. So too are heavy-duty corner steadies, even on this, the lightest model in the Elegance range.
Alloy wheels, a mostly black front panel, strong decals and a window on the door should stand out on site.
This caravan also includes a 30-litre on-board water tank.
Rather surprisingly, you don’t get a grab handle by the door, but there is a large lit mirror just inside, along with the controls and a handy shelf.
In the lounge, the faux-fur on the scatter cushions has gone. Instead there is a suitably elegant palette of coffee and dark brown, with a good mix of textures and mid-colour wood.
All this certainly isn’t dark: light streams in through the windows and the large sunroof. This is linked to the equally large rooflight through a plastic moulding in the ceiling, which contains two LEDs. That is by no means all the lighting you get at night, either: there are no fewer than five spotlights in this two-berth – four over the main sitting area, and one above the sideboard opposite the kitchen.
This is one of two locations for a TV, and the appropriate sockets are there. The other option is on the central chest. The ‘binnacle’ – the row of sockets along the back of the chest – has been split into two. But among the six sockets, you will find two USBs and an audio jack that links a stereo to the two speakers above you.
The parallel settees are very comfortable and long enough to sit three people on each. The only minor niggle is the table being stored in the washroom.
The kitchen workspace is large, with a smart slate-effect surface that is easy to clean. You also get a pull-out extension, and if you need more space still, there is always the sideboard.
There are two mains sockets by the worktop, with plenty of room for a kettle or toaster nearby. The whole area is well lit, with LEDs in front of and below the overhead lockers and the microwave.
The dual-fuel four-burner hob is above the separate oven and grill, below the Omnivent.
A large drawer with a cutlery tray sits under the sink, and below this is a double cupboard, with a shelf on one side and two pull-out baskets, cleverly disguising the wheel arch.
The pan locker under the oven is shallow because of that wheel arch, but there is another large locker next to it, below the Dometic Series 10 two-way opening fridge.
There’s a locker on top of this as well, although it is high up and the aerial intrudes.
The sideboard has a full cupboard on the left, and on the right, a drawer above the smaller cupboard that is partly taken up with the wheel arch. There is also a narrow, lipped shelf that you could possibly use as a spice-rack.
An air of luxury has always been key to the Elegance, and it still is in this washroom, because along with a pull-out shaving mirror over the large central basin, there are two speakers above it! And if the mirror steams up, there is always the larger lit mirror behind.
To the left, behind the toilet on the offside, there’s a huge wardrobe with a long hanging rail and shelving. There’s more storage in the double cupboard under the handbasin. The shower on the nearside has an EcoCamel head, a drying rail and two drainage holes.
The settees in the lounge can easily be turned into single beds that will accommodate all but the very tallest people.
Making up the 2m-long double, however, is not quite so straightforward. Even in the Elegance range, you need to pull out slats. The settees are slightly different lengths, too. This difference isn’t enough to leave space for someone to sit down and enjoy a morning cuppa. But it is enough to mean you need to make sure that you have the right cushion on the right side. Split base cushions make this a bit easier, but it is still potentially irritating.
With that huge wardrobe in the washroom for clothes, there is a vast amount of storage in this caravan for everything else.
Unusually, both underseat areas are clear. You’d expect that of the nearside one, with its external access, but it’s true of the offside area, too, thanks to clever design that places the Alde boiler in the corner. Both areas have internal access flaps.
Then you have six overhead lockers: four in the lounge, all shelved, two over the sideboard, one shelved. That leaves the clear front corner lockers.