Since unveiling its ultra lightweight Sprite Lite spin-off range, the original Sprite family has come of age.
Traditionally associated with family caravanners, Sprite’s new line-up still features family-friendly layouts, but they are more luxurious and feature Swift’s new bodyshell complete with nicely curvy full-height front panel.
The higher spec Sprites command correspondingly higher price tags than their predecessors but, given that the new Musketeer TD shares an identical layout with the significantly cheaper Sprite Lite 5, does all the extra spec really justify a £1700 price premium?
The shower room is surprisingly spacious, but the generous shower tray is separated from the Thetford C-250 swivel loo only by a curtain. There’s a plastic corner sink unit with storage below and a large vertical mirror above. Unlike the more basic Sprite Lite 5 of the same layout, hot air is ducted in here which will keep it warmer early and late season and help dry damp towels or clothing hung in here.
Natural light is provided by an opening roof light. There’s a ceiling light over the basin and a shelf for oddments storage over the loo.
It’s a more practical little room than the shower-less and spartan Sprite Lite can offer and the Musketeer feels a more complete family tourer because of it. Plus, having a shower means you can use sites with limited facilities.
Parents will most likely make use of the transverse front double which is easily made up, with children in the rear dining area which converts into a reasonably proportioned double with a bunk above. But the beauty of this layout is that there are options; parents can take the rear double, with children at the front.
With a realistic payload of 185kg, the Musketeer should accommodate most of the clutter that comes with modern family life. There are 10 eye-level lockers located around the caravan. There’s a large locker over the dresser and some oddments storage over the heater, but kitchen storage under the worktop is restricted to a narrow cutlery drawer and cupboard, plus pan storage under the oven.
There’s abundant under-seat storage in both the rear and front areas, plus a double doored wardrobe between the kitchen and shower room but, unusually, no front central chest of drawers.
Such a flexible layout offers multiple dining options, meaning parents and children can dine together or separately and at different times. The lounge will seat four around the large standalone table, making family meals easy, but there’s only a lightweight, flip-up occasional table rather than the traditional central chest of drawers and it doesn’t look particularly child proof. Up to three children can dine at the rear table. This flexibility really comes into its own in the morning, where early rising kids can have their breakfast at the back while at least one parent can still enjoy a well-deserved lie-in up front.
Separate areas for parents and kids is highly prized in family caravans and the Musketeer delivers this within a very compact package.
The TD’s open-plan layout makes it feel much roomier than many of its rivals, which extends the period of grace before the onset of cabin fever, and the central position of the TV table means it can be viewed from either the lounge or dining area.
While mum and dad put their feet up in the front lounge, the children can be playing in the dining area. It doesn’t always work quite like this all the time, but given their own dedicated area, kids are usually happy to occupy it and give mum and dad a bit of breathing space.
The kitchen is pretty standard, with a three-burner hob, 107-litre fridge, separate grill and oven, but no microwave. There is a limited amount of worktop space and the storage is similarly restricted. The three cabinets above the hob offer sufficient space for cereals and kids’ convenience foods and there’s a plate rack in one of them. The fridge has a reasonable 107 litres of space and the freezer compartment is big enough for ice lollies – essential equipment for kids in summer.
With a MTPLM of 1264kg, even using the entire 185kg payload, the Musketeer TD can comfortably be towed by mid-sized cars. Predictably, behind our Kia Sorento the TD behaved impeccably on tis tow test with Val Chapman; it was the easy test tow we had expected. The hitch head stabiliser helps maintain good road manners and stability, particularly in strong crosswinds.