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Swift Accord 530

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Dealer special caravans are built to a specific dealer's design. These caravans, although based on the standard ranges of the manufacturer, have special names, usually exclusive to that particular dealer.

How the dealer packages that caravan varies. Some leave off various pieces of equipment, like alloy wheels, and sell at a bargain basement price. Most add extra bits of equipment and sell at a premium, although how much that premium is and what equipment is included also varies from dealer to dealer. Hants and Dorset Outdoor Leisure, based in Portsmouth, belongs to the latter. The Accord, built by Swift, is based upon the Charisma range of caravans.

There are eight models available from the two-berth Accord 480 to the six-berth Accord 590. Being based upon the Charisma, there are a whole host of similar features including that excellent spaceframe seatbase and locker technology. This feature, introduced two years ago, involves plastic frames for both seat bases and overhead lockers, allowing greater access and deeper storage spaces. Alloy wheels, thick worktops curved lockers, large 107-litre fridges and separate shower cubicles or shower areas in all models make the Charisma an excellent range, and all these aspects feature in the Accords.

So what exactly is the difference between a Charisma and an Accord? The main thing is all that extra equipment, some of which can't even be fitted to a new Charisma.

Inside, the muted creamy brown fabrics could be accused of being bland, but they offer a warm and cosy scheme which will suit summer caravanning as much as winter. The matching brown carpet is ideal for hiding dirty feet marks - this stops you from sweeping the caravan every time you step in from the outside. Or, as they are removable, just take them out entirely in the winter so that Scamp the dog won't walk all over them with muddy pawprints after walking through every brown puddle he can find.

Although no stereo is included, all the pre-wiring and installation of speakers has been fitted. You can therefore choose which one will suit you depending on budgets.

The kitchen benefits too with an Omnivent roof fan - it has three speeds and means the cooking smells can be rapidly ejected from the kitchen. All caravans get an extra 240-volt mains plug socket; in this 530, there is a TV point in the lounge and one in the kitchen with two plug sockets and the TV aerial socket. This allows a separate DVD or video player to be plugged into the same place. Neat. In most of the caravans this extra television point plus mains socket is usually found in the front corner underneath the seats.

Outdoor living is made easier - an external gas point for barbecues has been installed on the awning side, along with a fitted wet locker, which has a mains plug socket for powering lights, music or other electrical items.
To round off the whole package, heavy duty corner steadies, part of the standard package if you buy Swift's more upmarket Challenger, are included in the price.

Which Caravan Verdict

8 out of 10

So you get all these minor, but useful, pieces of extra equipment for less than £500 above the price of a standard Swift Charisma, which the Accord is based on. Factor into this the fact that delivery is included in the price and you get an extremely good value caravan at an extremely good price.

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