First look: Swift Chal­lenger 580

For 2019, Swift’s Chal­lenger line-up gets a stream­lined pro­file and in­te­rior spec bumps. Peter Baber takes a look at these in the metal by climb­ing aboard the is­land-bed 580

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

The is­land-bed 580 gets a stream­lined pro­file and in­te­rior spec up­grades

LAST SEA­SON, WHEN Swift re­vamped the Sprite range, the results were so im­pres­sive, you might have started won­der­ing what the fu­ture was for the next range up, the Chal­lenger. This sea­son such ques­tions have been an­swered. Chal­lenger stays, with a new twin-axle in the line-up, and the more up­mar­ket Con­queror is dis­con­tin­ued. To get a bet­ter idea of why the Chal­lenger is such a sur­vivor, it’s bet­ter to take a look at a model from the mid­dle of the range, say, with a pop­u­lar trans­verse is­land bed and end-wash­room lay­out. Wel­come, then, to the 2019 Swift Chal­lenger 580.

Pitch and set-up

The Chal­lenger pro­file has been stream­lined for 2019, with a GRP front panel and a new panoramic sun­roof in the hail-re­sis­tant GRP roof. It looks im­pres­sive from the front, with two hor­i­zon­tal chrome grab han­dles and a sturdy A-frame. Our test model came with a Lux pack that in­cludes an ex­ter­nal bar­be­cue point and mains socket on the near­side. But even in standard flavour, you get two ex­ter­nal lock­ers here.


As you step in­side, there’s a large mir­ror lit by one LED to the side, with two handy lit­tle shelves for mo­biles or key fobs. If that’s not se­cure enough, there is a pull-out drawer in the cup­board be­low the mir­ror. The cup­board top pro­vides space for a small TV, with mains, 12V and ae­rial sock­ets close by. Above the door is one of the real im­prove­ments for 2019, the colour touch­screen for the Swift Com­mand sys­tem. Among other ser­vices, the screen also con­trols new, dimmable, am­bi­ent light­ing. This only runs be­hind two over­head lock­ers (there are new cor­ner lock­ers, too), but it makes a dif­fer­ence. Our test model had op­tional Alde heat­ing. The lounge prob­a­bly only just seats four, as does the ta­ble that you take out from the wardrobe fur­ther back. The front chest also pro­vides a pull-out shelf. There’s a lux­ury feel­ing to the new ‘Glacier’ soft fur­nish­ings, in deep pur­ple and light grey. This looks fetch­ing with sun­light stream­ing through the sun­roof and the rooflight. Two LED lights are sit­u­ated be­tween these, with their own switch, while be­low the lock­ers are four spot­lights. There is the usual Swift line of sock­ets in the front bin­na­cle, but on this model in standard fit­ting, more than half are ghost sock­ets. There are no USBS here, ei­ther.


The kitchen extension flap makes the lounge even smaller, so you might need to use it ju­di­ciously. There is still a good amount of workspace in here, when you are not us­ing the re­mov­able drainer. The sock­ets are well placed for a ket­tle and toaster, and the large round sink and four-burner du­al­fuel hob are lit by a strip­light and a big win­dow. The two over­head cup­boards are large and dif­fer­en­ti­ated from the lock­ers in the lounge. While the lat­ter are glossy brown, the cup­boards come in a grey tex­tile ef­fect. One houses a crock­ery and mug rack, the other is clear. The mi­crowave

The new Swift Com­mand touch­screen is one of many im­prove­ments for 2019

sits be­tween them. Be­low the work sur­face is a dual-fuel Dometic fridge; it’s 110 litres, so on the small side for four. There is a slim cut­lery drawer, a larger uten­sil drawer, two slide­out bas­kets and a stor­age space for the drainer and sink cover. The Thet­ford cooker in­cludes a sep­a­rate oven and grill, and has a pan locker be­neath it. But this is partly com­pro­mised by the wheel arch and as a re­sult, space for big pans is a bit lim­ited.


The rear bed, with two read­ing spot­lights, is sec­tioned off by a pull-out con­certina di­vider, with wardrobes ei­ther side. The one on the right is larger and in­cludes two shelves. There’s a cup­board be­low this, with two draw­ers and a small shelf in be­tween, and yet an­other mains socket. The wardrobe, shelf (mi­nus socket) and cup­board on the left are much nar­rower, al­though this area is eas­ier to ac­cess than in some car­a­vans with this de­sign. There is a mir­ror on the up­per half of the small dresser lo­cated in the near­side front cor­ner of the bed­room. This in­cludes two tri­an­gu­lar cup­boards and a small shelf, with an­other TV socket. The bed rolls back to al­low more space for you to get to the wash­room, but even when it is in its rolled-out po­si­tion, you can squeeze by quite eas­ily. You make up the front bed from the two set­tees and pull-out slats. It is long, but not very wide.


A var­ied se­lec­tion of shelv­ing and cup­boards sur­rounds the toi­let in the rear wash­room. Light from the opaque win­dow bright­ens the in­te­rior, al­though there are also lights by the mir­ror in front of the square hand­basin, which has its own cup­board and yet more stor­age space for soaps and lo­tions. A towel ring is thought­fully po­si­tioned by the Alde ra­di­a­tor, with a robe hook nearby. The shower cu­bi­cle comes with a very im­pres­sive panel for the Eco­camel shower head. There is no sep­a­rate rooflight, how­ever, just a large LED.


Ex­ter­nal ac­cess to the near­side un­der­seat area is partly blocked by the set­tee frame. But it does have in­ter­nal ac­cess flaps and is clear. Like the off­side area, which is partly taken up with the Swift Com­mand sys­tem, this can be ac­cessed by lift­ing the seat slats. For 2019 Swift has re­designed the front chest to be one large drawer that opens out to re­veal a smaller slide-out tray. Ex­ter­nal ac­cess to the stor­age area be­low the is­land bed is unim­peded and you can lift up the bed to re­veal a huge space, which con­tains a spare wheel.


‘Glacier’ soft fur­nish­ings in deep pur­ple and light grey add to the 580’s lux­u­ri­ous lounge area

The is­land bed can be rolled back if you need more space to get to the wash­room

The long, but not very wide, front dou­ble makes up from the two set­tees and pull-out slats

The Chal­lenger pro­file has been stream­lined for 2019, with a GRP front panel and a new panoramic sun­roof in the hail-re­sis­tant GRP roof

LEFT-RIGHT Kitchen extension flap is use­ful, but might limit lounge space. Well-equipped wash­room in­cludes an Eco­camel shower head

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