You get a lot of caravan and a lot of accommodation for your money. And that iconic Sprite family holiday image is surely encapsulated here, in the newest Sprite. The Major 6 TD is undoubtedly one of Britain’s best family caravans in terms of value and layout
Ideal for budget family caravan buyers looking for light weight
Sprite has for generations been the iconic family caravan brand, representing affordable, lightweight holiday accommodation. The latest addition to the Sprite range epitomises those values perhaps more than any other so far. That’s because it has beds for up to six in a weight that’s well within range of most mid-sized tow vehicles. It’s also because this new Sprite has a specific and well-defined family room both for night and daytime use.
This type of rear compartment is a layout that’s not new. Several manufacturers have adopted it over the last few years; some have put three bunks in a stack on the offside, some two. But this layout is new to the Sprite range – and with a shower room (on the offside, opposite the kitchen) containing a separate shower.
It’s perhaps at ablution time that a caravan gets its sternest family testing – whether that’s about showering off the sand after a day on the beach, or the usual morning routine of applying shampoo and water to little caravanners who would rather be out playing than getting clean. Is there enough space for a parent to carry out, or supervise, the showering routine? And how can you control the amount of water used in the process? Is there enough space to get towelled and get dressed? Well, this is how the new Major 6 TD measures up…
Space: the shower is amply sized. And because the wheel arch intrudes into the shower area, this creates a ledge – so little ones can sit here while mum applies the sponge and water. The shower room is large enough (just) for mum (or dad) to stand outside the shower tray and supervise activities.
Water: the shower rose has a lever; once you have set the temperature, you simply push the lever to get water, and release it when you want the flow to stop. Each time you turn it back on you’ll get the temperature you’ve already set, so you don’t waste water while you are waiting for the right temperature to arrive.
Towelling and dressing: this is where the Major 6 TD has a neat trick up its sleeve – and it’s not obvious until you start to use the caravan. When you open the shower room door it forms a barrier across the caravan, almost meeting up with the kitchen. This effectively creates a privacy barrier, meaning that the shower room and the rear bedroom can be treated as one big showering-dressing area come shower time.
There’s a fixed ladder to the top bunk and a 9cm-high wooden barrier to prevent unscheduled departures from the bunk; it runs the whole length of the bunk to the point at which the ladder is attached. Headroom is 67cm. The lower bunk has greater headroom, at 74cm, so is suitable for an adult-sized occupant. Two more bunks make up from the dining area opposite. A pleated partition tracks across the entrance to the rear bedroom. A really important feature of the Major 6 TD’s sleeping arrangements is that the front lounge is long enough to create single beds as an alternative to a double.
One settee is slightly longer than the other, at 1.9m; the other is 1.8m. The double bed makes up in the usual roll-out-slat-base manner.
Where there are seats there is huge storage opportunity – and the TD’s seating capacity (three in the rear and six more in the lounge) gives you a vast lower storage capability. Add in the area under the lower bunk and you have more storage space than you’d ever need for six sleeping bags and pillows, plus other stuff.
There’s so much space, in fact, that there’s a risk that you could reach your maximum payload (206kg) without realising it. Front locker access is by full-length hinge-down doors. The under-bunk and rear seating spaces are accessed by hinging up the top. Above, all lockers have positive catches, so they won’t spring open when you tow over harsh caravansite speed humps, for example. The rear area has two lockers, each 90cm wide. In the front, four lockers give you good capacity.
Three can dine in the rear area and four more can sit to the freestanding table (stored in the wardrobe) in the lounge. The important feature that makes this a great family layout is not just the capability of seating seven to dine; it’s the fact that three can have their own space – and even their own mealtimes – in the rear area.
Kids get their own play space, as well as dining space, which will keep both generations happy. Their area contains a cabinet, between the forward facing dining seat and the bunk. Inside is a mains socket and TV aerial point – and, in the top, there is an aperture with a black plastic blanking plate. When you remove it, you can run cables through, to your TV or laptop, just as you can on many office desks. It’s a practical point which families with young children will appreciate. Parents get plenty of kick-back length in the lounge and, if you spend an extra £325, you get the optional sunroof, with which our test TD was equipped.
It’s worth the extra money, we’d say, because it makes the lounge – and indeed most of the caravan – a much lighter, more spacious-looking environment. Heating is the Truma Combi water and space heating system; during our test it had the Major 6 TD toasty in just a few minutes in single-figure exterior temperatures.
Putting food onto six plates in a caravan is seldom a breeze. Some caravans make the cook’s life easier than others, and some others are so tight on surface space that plating food is a bit of a juggling act. The TD is somewhere in the middle of those extremes, with a 93cm width of surface (admittedly a chunk of it is taken up by the usefully large sink). When the fan-shaped drainer (that’s stored in a slot in the central cupboard) is in place, surface space is limited – so you’d keep it out of the way until it’s needed. But when it is out of your way, we think this is kitchen is truly large enough to be a practical feeding station for six.
If you read the Swift website and literature, you’ll see that two vital pieces of the towing equipment are listed as part of optional Diamond Pack. These are a hitch-head stabiliser and a spare wheel. The Diamond Pack adds £410 to the cost of a Major 6 TD. In practice, all Sprites are equipped with the pack before they leave the factory. Which is just as well, as everyone needs a spare wheel, and a hitch-head stabiliser is a crucial piece of safety equipment. Just budget for an extra £410 when you look at the base price of a TD and you know where you stand…
So how do Major 6s tow? The answer, as our test tow demonstrated, is reliably stably. Our Sorento was barely aware of its presence during our test tow, but that’s no surprise. Even though you don’t need a car of this weight or power to mate to the 1480kg 6 TD, our test tow did show the TD to handle predictably on corners and stably on straights. We were towing almost unladen and there was a discernible bounce movement. We think the reason we noticed this is because, as towers of many different caravans, we can’t help comparing this caravan to those which have shock absorbers. But that’s nothing to put you off.