Swift Challenger 580
Posted on 15 Mar 2012
Sally Pepper/Val Chapman
|Model Year ||2012|
|Class ||Single Axle|
|Base Vehicle ||-|
|Price from (£)||19495|
|Shipping length (m)||7.55|
|Max width (m)||2.31|
|External height (m)||2.62|
|Back & Front Dinette||No|
|Caravan Buyer Test Date||-|
|Caravan Test Date||-|
|View the full Buyers Guide entry|
MTPLM 1610kg •
If you’re in any doubt about sharing your daytime space with your bedroom while caravanning, this Swift may be the caravan to make you change your mind
|Review first appeared in Go Caravan November 2011
Caravan layouts have fashions – and if there is a fashion statement that defines the current era it’s the transverse island bed. The Swift Challenger range’s contribution to this trend is the four-berth 580, a new model for 2012.
The big advantage of a transverse bed layout is that the bed is further to the rear of the caravan, preserving more of the length for living space. And in the 580 the bed area looks and feels more separate from the lounging and eating region because the two areas are segmented by the larger of two wardrobes.
The bedroom design is sheer brilliance; you can create extra floor space by retracting the base during the day; you just raise the frame slightly and push forward. At night a section of mattress drops down under your pillows to make it up to full length.
In common with other transverse island bed caravans, the 580’s two wardrobes are of different sizes. One is twice the size of the other; we can only speculate on the his-and-hers debates that this arrangement will spur!
Amid the brilliance of transverse bed layout in this bedroom is something that detracts from the quality look. It’s three years since Swift replaced the wooden bases of its island beds with chocolate-coloured brown plastic. While we applaud weight-saving tactics, this plastic looks out of kilter with the quality of finish, fabrics and structures you see elsewhere in the Challenger. We’d want to buy a floor-length bed throw if this caravan were our own.
From this gripe our test pendulum swings to the positive when we notice that the 580 has EIGHT mains power sockets. Two are in the bedroom, at the dressing table. Two are in the kitchen. Two more are alongside the television connection points on the dresser that divides the rooms. The seventh and eighth are set into a plastic console that has a recess for phones to sit while they’re being charged.
The sunroofs that were introducted as an option last year on Challengers are now standard. The upswept sunroof frame creates a roofline that’s distinctive on the outside. Inside, a curving shelf runs the width of the caravan and chamfers into the side locker line; this design feature makes a big contribution to the lounge’s lengthy, airy appearance.
In a caravan of 5.83m, you can have a superb bedroom, lounge and spacious end bathroom – but you can’t have all of that and also have a big kitchen. That’s where the designers of the 580 have economised on space when it comes to work surfaces and cabinets. You’d need excellent culinary organisation to ensure this didn’t become too much of a problem.
The shower is rectangular and large. There’s a trigger shower head, which means you only need to set the temperature once. You can turn the flow off when you don’t need it – and when you switch it back on, the temperature will remain constant; no need to adjust and wait for warm water, and this should help cut down the amount you use.
With the inclusion of ATC on the spec list, an alarm and an amazing eight power sockets, Challengers are well equipped. The 580's transverse bed design will, we think, win it many fans because the bedroom and the lounge feel separate but neither feels enclosed.
|There's ample choice when it comes to single axle caravans with fixed beds. The Challenger 580 is up there among the best in terms of its practical features. Make sure you see this one when you're choosing.
|Weight (MTPLM): 1610kg
|To tow this caravan at 85% you need a car kerbweight of 1894kg
|To tow this caravan at 100% you need a car kerbweight of 1610kg
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