With an exclusive package of additional equipment, and place names that give a distinctive identity with far more character than numbers and a couple of letters, 2015 Swift Archways make a bold statement in the dealer special market. Their White Arches home is right in the centre of England, but there’s a hint of long-range touring appeal in the subtle tartan pattern in the décor.
Archway is Britain’s longest-established dealer special caravan, with a pedigree stretching back 32 years. These caravans are made by Swift for White Arches Caravans in Northamptonshire. For 2015, the range gets £1900-worth of extra equipment.
Swift has been producing special edition caravans in conjunction with White Arches Caravans for 22 years.
Special editions, though, began much earlier at White Arches. This caravan retailer in fact invented the dealer special concept, with the launch in 1983 of the Archway Piper, made by Cosalt, which became Abbey, later taken over by Swift.
There are seven models in the 2015 Archway range, from the two-berth Woodford, at £14,650 (plus the delivery charge of £545), to the twin-axle six-berth Caldecott and Sudborough at £17,850 (plus delivery fee).
All are named after villages in Northamptonshire. Of the three fixed-bed models, the Rockingham, with a classic side bed layout, is the most popular, which is why we chose it to review as an example of the range.
The Rockingham is based on the Sprite Major 4 FB, at £14,895. When you add in the Diamond Pack (£475) and sunroof (£335) plus the normal retailer delivery charge (£545) the Major 4 FB becomes £16,250. The upgrades amount in value to £1900. So, for just £545 more than the price of the standard Sprite on which it’s based, buyers of the Rockingham get £1355-worth of upgrade equipment free of charge.
Impala seating fabric is a feature of the upgrade and accounts for £295 of the exclusive added-value package. The fabric looks very much like fine suede and is designed to be stain resistant and extremely durable. The plain fawn Impala seat bases are teamed with subtle tartan-pattern fabric for the seat backs and armrests. Rockinghams have four scatter cushions (whereas Sprites have two) to enhance cosiness.
The cushions have tartan pattern on one side and plain brown, matching the curtain tie-backs, on the other; we think the plain brown side sharpens the lounge look, keying the whole scheme together perfectly.
The curtains (attractively plain brown) are double the width of those in the standard Sprite range, enhancing the cosy, homely look that defines the tartan-and-suede-look Archway caravans. The total fabric scheme has been designed to convey a feeling of luxury and it surely succeeds.
The PIR alarm system, with key-fob control that also operates the awning light switch, accounts for £260 of the upgrade total. It’s a peace-of-mind addition that can also save you money; many caravan-specialist insurance companies offer a discount if an alarm system is installed.
The Omnivent extractor fan is worth £145. Year-round caravavanners, especially, will appreciate this addition. When it’s cold you may not want to open the kitchen window when you’re cooking; the three-speed fan that’s positioned conveniently close to the hob will keep the caravan free of steam and aromas generated by cooking.
And for when you want to be independent of mains power, there’s a 40-watt solar panel, worth £239.
The Rockingham is one of three single-axle fixed-bed caravans in the Archway range. The smallest is the Hartwell, with a corner shower-toilet room. The other is the Tywell, based on the Sprite Major 4 SB, with a transverse island bed. Both the six-berth twin-axle Archways have double beds, too; these are the Caldecott (with a parallel lounge and corner shower-toilet room) and the Sudborough (with an L-shaped lounge and full-width rear shower room). There’s a third six-berth, the Cottingham, this time on a single axle, with bunk beds and a dining area in a rear family room.
All Archway models have the same upgrades; in addition, the two twin-axle six-berths get second television points, in the bedroom, and heavy duty corner steadies.
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