The Swift Conqueror range now shares many features with the Swift Group's higher-priced Elegance and Continental ranges. Its upmarket move and its timberless floor are sure to enhance the appeal of this established favourite. If your current caravan is a Conqueror, the 2016 models give you a list of reasons to upgrade to a new one. The most impressive feature? We’d have to say the ability to control your heating and lighting from your phone.
Swift Conquerors go into 2016 with completely timberless construction, Alde heating you can control from your phone and new slim-line fridges.
A raft of new features take the Swift Conqueror range into a new era for 2016. You can control the caravan’s Alde heating and lighting system from your phone or tablet. The same system allows you to monitor the caravan’s battery charge state and also see how much water is in the inboard tank.
The system, called Command by Swift, is unique to this manufacturer.
The Conqueror range expands from three models to nine for 2016; Caravan magazine was at the factory when the first of the twin-bed 565 models rolled out from the production line.
Exterior features caught our eyes first. LED front lights and rear clusters are new for 2016; these are among a number of items which arrive on Conqueror models from the more expensive Elegance range for 2016.
There are minor features such as the key-fob awning light incorporating a red LED indicator. Among more major features is a wider sunroof; that’s your first clue to the fact that Conqueror bodies now share the Smart HT construction method with Elegance and Continental ranges. Wood has been eliminated from Conqueror construction, and that includes the floor, which is a five-layered sandwich with insulating Styrofoam at the core, clad with rigid honeycomb matrix, then covered with GRP which has a woven glass structure to create a tough, impervious finish.
In essence, Conqueror now offers Smart HT construction at a cheaper price; it was introduced for 2015 in the flagship Elegance and Continental ranges.
And there’s more. We start our detailed analysis for the 565 in the shower room…
The EcoCamel Orbit showerhead arrives in Conquerors for 2016, complete with an on-off switch so that, once the temperature is set to your liking, you simply switch the flow on or off, enabling you to use less water.
The bi-fold shower door runs in a track so it’s very solid in use, with no flexing. A towel rail hinges down from the shower ceiling, and then clips back up again when it’s not in use (a brilliant feature). In addition there are two double hooks plus a loop, giving the 565 excellent towel hanging provision.
The wide, deep basin has a swivel tap; that’s another new feature for 2016.
The 565’s washroom contains the wardrobe, with 74cm of hanging width, six shelf spaces below and a light that comes on automatically when you open the door. So, generous towel and wardrobe accommodation… How does the sleeping department measure up?
The twin beds have foam Duvalay mattresses, each of different lengths, 1.75cm and 1.92cm. The longer mattress is marginally wider (72cm) than the shorter one (68cm).
The beds are slightly offset, with the nearside one reaching further back into the wall of the shower room and the offside bed reaching about 18cm further forward than the other bed. We initially thought this arrangement looks slightly odd, until we got used to the idea.
Neat glass-look corner shelves give you somewhere to put phones. Moulded matt cream panels run alongside the beds to allow apertures for the warmth generated from the Alde radiators to rise.
If you turn the lounge into a second bedroom, the base of the double bed rolls out from under the two drawers in the centre.
Both beds have 60cm-wide drop-down access doors to the space beneath; there’s an exterior hatch on the nearside. For getting larger items in and out, you’d prefer to raise the whole bed base on its self-supporting struts, although what you store where will be influenced by the fact that the offside bed rises a lot easier than the nearside one, because the table is stored on runners on the underside of the nearside bed’s frame.
Three top lockers on each side of the bedroom give more than ample space for small clothing items, and there are four more top lockers in the lounge.
Full-length front hatches run along the lounge and there’s additional lower storage space in a cabinet below the drawers.
Considering the 565’s primary appeal is to couples, storage has to be rated as generous for a caravan of mid-length; if you’re using it as a four-berth you’d also find there’s enough storage space.
Extending the chest-of-drawers top creates a level surface that’s 72cm deep and 64cm wide; fine for breakfasts and snacks.
Tables stored under bed frames always present challenges of some sort but the design of the 565’s table storage system gives less of a challenge than others we’ve seen. That’s because the metal channels into which you slide the table are quite large, so locating the table in them isn’t difficult, so long as you flip up the duvet or sleeping bag to prevent it from obscuring your view of the runners. Even though we have to say we prefer vertically-stored tables, because they’re easier to get in and out, the 565’s system would not deter us from picking this model for our own.
New style points to notice for 2016 are best appreciated when you’re sitting back comfortably in the lounge. The top lockers have a gloss finish; that includes a contrasting dark wood panel running along the base of each locker. Concealed lighting runs above the lockers.
The Conqueror fabrics are another link to the Elegance range. This brown and cream scheme was used in Elegance models for 2015; its popularity led to its introduction to the new Conquerors.
There’s a look and texture option for 2016; a new fabric called Swift Shield, which is Swift’s own brand of easy-clean material. Like the Impala fabric that it replaces, this is a suede-feel material formulated to resist staining; you remove spillages with just a damp cloth.
The part of the lounge that you can’t see is the construction. It’s called Cast Foam, and, on first acquaintance, seemed to us to be almost as comfortable as sprung seating. The big advantage is that it’s a lot lighter to pick up and manoeuvre when you want to raise the sections to get into the spaces below via the tops.
A miniscule but immensely practical new item for 2016 is a small circular spirit level, mounted in the lounge windowsill so that you can see it from the outside when you’re levelling your 565.
It’s in the kitchen that the Conqueror 565 gets the biggest change, apart from the change to Smart HT timberless floor construction.
The fridge is the new, tall Dometic model which gives 149 litres of capacity and a removable freezer compartment. (The freezer is 19.5cm high and 28cm wide, so that’s the amount of extra fridge space you get when you remove it.)
And the kitchen surface, a smart matt dark brown, is quite the thinnest we’ve ever seen, at just one centimentre.
You get plenty surface; a depth of 76cm in sink area, and a width of 61 cm, extendable by 36 cm when you raise the additional section on the fore end of the kitchen. That’s ample surface for making meals for two, we’d say. And the circular sink is a good size, at 36cm in diameter.
The kitchen design is interesting, with the surface and cabinet unit jutting 18cm forward of the cooker. That doesn’t just give you 18cm of extra surface, it gives you 18cm of extra cabinet depth, too.
The cabinet and cutlery drawer above it are 58cm wide, the cabinet contains two shelf spaces plus a slide-out metal two-shelf unit, with space beneath it, and a housing for the sink cover and drainer to pack neatly away.
Our tow test was a brief one as this was a pre-launch review opportunity and Swift understandably didn’t want us to take it away from the factory environs before its official unveiling. The ATC electronic stability control system is present, as we’d expect of a caravan of this calibre. But, at the factory-land speeds of our tow test we could do little more than assess the 565’s inherent stability, which felt fine.