We had expected the DD to be an exciting caravan and it is. A resurgence of a once-classic layout, maybe, but the DD is a breath of fresh air in today’s family caravan options. We love it for its storage capability, its spaciousness and its twin-axle easy-tow characteristics.
Unveiled this spring: the newest Sprite caravan, with two lounges, beds for six, seating for 12 – and a baby bath!
The Swift Group takes a giant leap into different layout territory this spring with the launch of its latest creation. The Quattro DD is the only twin-lounge, twin-axle, six-berth on the British market.
Twin-lounge tourers were once numerous. They existed all over the price spectrum, in most manufacturers’ ranges, right up to Swift Conqueror echelons.
Over the last decade, they've gradually declined in number – but retailers tell us customers prize them highly on the used market. That’s because they work so well.
The reason why twin-lounge caravans were so popular is that they provided two very separate areas for two generations. That was before the advent of fixed bunks, though, and the dawn of a whole new era of the family layout. The idea of two long lounges remains a brilliantly simple design concept, with immense versatility.
Currently, only one other manufacturer makes a twin-lounge caravan. The Coachman Vision has two lounges; but the big differences are that this is a five-berth, on one axle, The Quattro DD, thus, has the field all to itself.
One of the DD’s attributes is spaciousness; at just under 8m in total length, it’s up among the biggest caravans. With a full-load weight figure of 1642kg, it’s towable by a good variety of cars.
Some may say a leap into layout past is a daring move, and they’d probably be right. It’s also, though, a jump into a tried-and-trusted territory. For all of those reasons, we are very excited about the arrival of the DD. Does the DD herald a new trend: a resurgence of this excellent layout? We hope so.
The layout's simple: with lounges defining each end, the central area is all about cooking and washing.
At just over a metre long and 80cm wide, the floor space in the showering department isn’t generous. But the design of the shower cubicle more than makes up for that. It’s a nicely spacious 70x 79cm and the presence of the wheel arch creates a ledge, useful for shampoo and shower gel, and also for a little caravanner to sit while a parent directs the shower water.
Lots of caravan showers have that feature, which is practical. But there’s something else here to add to the DD’s efficiency for young families. The entrance to the shower cubicle has a 20cm lip, which means that if you use the shower tray’s plug, you can create a little bath. The DD, therefore, is probably the only caravan with a baby bath. We love it!
Towel provision comes in the form of one loop and two hooks; it's a natural step to get more hooks, though, which most families would need.
The layout gives you four single beds (two at each end). Or two double beds, each more than 2m long. Plus two bunk beds to lift into position over the rear single beds. Or you can make a double bed in the back (the backrests complete the mattress).
If your family needs favour bunks, you’ll use these backrests in another mode. Sprite makes the backrests in two sections, so they fold out to make mattresses of half their thickness for the bunks. The Sprite Quattro DD must have one of the most versatile layouts imaginable. It works for six, with four kids in two singles, and two bunks at the rear, and mum and dad creating a double in the lounge.
It works for four, making one bunk bed and leaving the settee on the opposite side as somewhere to eat breakfast. It works for four when the kids emerge into the teen era; they can have the singles at the front and mum and dad can make a double at the rear; their separate area. And it works for two couples, each making double beds.
There’s another aspect of the sleeping credentials of the DD that’s brilliant – literally. Two circles of brilliant LED lights are on the rear walls. They provide exceptionally bright illumination – and they look very cool.
Four long settees, each with full-length, drop-down doors, provide oodles of storage space. There are four top cabinets in the rear and four more in the front. The wardrobe, easily up to its six-person task, has an ingenious design.
Sprite divides the space below the 76cm of hanging width into two equal sectors, one-half providing three deep shelves; the other has a shelf with what at first glance appears to be a 96cm-deep, 37cm-high cavern.
Designed for a folding pushchair, perhaps? So far so excellent. But when you crouch down to take a closer look you discover its real purpose. There's a wardrobe rail at the top of the "Cavern"; this is a wardrobe for the little caravanners; one that they can reach! How good is that! The more time we spent in the DD, the more we found to like.
DD stands for “double dining’. Each end has a pull-out snack or breakfast table. That’s another element of the DD which invites the word versatility – while the occupants of one end are still in bed the others can be tucking into breakfast.
When it comes to lunch or dinner, you can use the freestanding table (stored in the wardrobe) at either end. So this is one caravan which truly has a dining room and also a lounge. The table is long enough, at 97cm, for four to dine comfortably.
If all six occupants are eating together, you pull out the snack table to augment space, giving you a total length of 1.68cm. Dining perfection? Pretty close, but not quite.
If you bought your DD a second table (that’s possible via your caravan dealer), there would be even more flexibility – and there is space to store the second table in the base of the large wardrobe.
With space for four to relax in feet-up mode or 12 to sit, the DD’s lounging efficiency is unparalleled. Enough said!
There are TV points in both lounges. It took us some to find the ones in the rear. They’re inside the cabinet below the chest-of-drawers unit. You can feed the cables upward through the space behind the chest of drawers, to your TV placed on top. It's a bit fiddly, but it does mean no untidy cables. A neat idea!
With 1.38m of worktop length, the DD's kitchen won't present any space challenges. Neither will the amount of storage available. The main cabinet is 52cm wide and 70cm deep and contains two shelf spaces.
A second enclosure, between the oven and the fridge, is 26 cm deep; there’s a metal shelf in here, and although gas and plumbing piping, plus the wheel arch, intrudes a little, there is real usable space.
Top cabinet capacity is good, too; one is 88cm wide, the other, aft of the microwave, is 46cm deep. So, generous on storage and generous on surface space; a super family kitchen!
The Quattro DD is the first of its kind made by Sprite. We reviewed the caravan at the Swift factory before they unveiled it to the public. Understandably Swift didn’t want us to take it out on the road before that.
So our test tow was extremely brief. When we get the chance to take a DD 'on the road' we’re pretty certain to love it for its smooth and predictable twin-axle handling characteristics and enhanced stability. We expect it will handle just like a Quattro EW and a Quattro FB (same dimensions), which we’ve towed several times.
Hence, we feel confident about awarding the DD an A. Had Swift equipped with ATC stability control we’d have given it an A*. If like us, you’d want to have ATC fitted on any caravan you buy (just for belt and braces security), it’s worth remembering that many dealers would be happy to do that (£325).
Thule two-cycle rack £215 (the brackets are in place)