New and used
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Rob McCabe looks at a trio of second-hand tourers, all priced under £10,000
In the year that this little Abbey rolled fresh-faced off the production line, an equally fresh-faced 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo made his Manchester United debut.
Well, after 20 years, it has to be said that Ronaldo is still looking good on it – and so too is this lightweight two-berth. It’s a recent arrival on the forecourt, having been in the careful hands of its previous owner for many, many years. And whereas it’s not uncommon for caravans of this age to be offered ‘sold as seen’, this one benefits from the same six-month warranty as our other two featured vehicles.
It’s obviously been a cherished caravan and has survived two decades with barely a blemish anywhere – a loose bit of plastic edging around the top of a cupboard door was all that was obvious to me – and the hob, grill and oven in the dapper end kitchen all passed the cleanliness test easily. The fridge looks a little out of place, and there’s a good reason for that – it’s a 2023 model that was fitted just a few months ago. That’s a nice surprise, as is the presence of a mover.
No doubt some forecourt browsers will open the door and go straight back out again when they take in the dated décor. The country-cottage ambience grew on me – it’s all very well co-ordinated, and the materials are of remarkably good quality.
It’s sumptuously comfortable in the lounge too – I’d have no problem spending time relaxing here. The big, wide-opening sunroof floods the area with daylight.
TV socketry lives above a pop-up shelf at the rear of the offside sofa, and there’s a fitted Panasonic stereo too. Yes, it has a cassette player!
Speaking of throwbacks, the washroom is as stripped back as it gets, although, to be fair, the pale yellow wall covering does provide a soupçon of élan. The space-saving, tip-up basin lives above the fixed loo, and both it and the shower are served by separate hot and cold taps.
A neat, robust little tourer that you can hook up to your hatchback and enjoy cassette-listening holidays in for many years to come.
My trade contacts report that there are lots of fairly low-cost two-berth caravans on the market at the moment. This smart Swift is one of those vying for buyers’ attention – and it puts up a good account of itself.
In 2009, just as now, the Swift Challenger gave you all the creature comforts – so you’ve got a fitted microwave, dual-fuel hob, stereo, big Heki sunroof, two TV viewing points and posh-looking pleated blinds. A motorised mover comes as part of the deal, and the previous owner has fitted a motorhome-style roll-out canopy.
All the kitchen appliances are immaculate, and most of the loose-lay carpet sections are rolled up in the wardrobe. Only the lounge piece is in place. Talking of the lounge – what a peach! With four good corners to lean into and the big sunroof letting in masses of daylight, it’s a great place to be. The backrests are lovely and supportive, although the squabs are a little bit on the squishy side.
In a two-berth such as this, the lounge is your bedroom, and you can choose between two good single beds and pulling out some slats to make a big double. Unfortunately, the slats in this one didn’t want to budge – this’ll be sorted in the workshop before the next owner takes it away.
The nicely turned-out end washroom is impressive. It’s big enough to serve as a dressing room, with a walk-in shower cubicle that wouldn’t look out of place in an en-suite facility back at home.
Still has that ‘nice place to be’ aura that the Swift Challenger does so well.
Although this is the biggest and youngest caravan of the three, it’s the only one that doesn’t come with a mover fitted – the exception rather than the rule with used caravans now. On the plus side – and it’s a big plus – it features Al-Ko’s ATC anti-snaking system. It’s a good thing to have on any caravan, and especially reassuring on a lengthy one.
Walk inside, and the first thing that strikes you is how spacious it feels. Instead of a front chest, there’s a wraparound sofa that helps extend the useable floorspace, and the lounge will easily accommodate four during extended Monopoly sessions. The upholstery feels plump and supportive.
Sturdy base sections slide out from under the sofas to make up an enormous double bed – or you could just use the lengthy sofas as singles. The side dinette single seats convert quickly into a good bed, and a pull-out cantilever bunk gives you berth number four if you need it.
Mains sockets are plentiful: there’s one outside (plus a gas barbecue point), and one in the lounge even has a couple of USB connections built-in. A later addition, obviously.
All the kitchen appliances are spotless. The Panasonic microwave looks like a newer replacement, and the Thetford hob definitely is – the original would have been a Spinflo fitment, matching the separate oven and grill. There’s no compromise on space in the end washroom – it has a big, walk-in shower bearing little sign of use.
A nicely presented, practical family tourer. Get a mover negotiated into the deal, and you’re all set.
With thanks to:
Featured caravans were on sale at John Wicks Caravans, Lynn Rd, Grimston, Norfolk PE32 1AG (johnwicks caravans.co.uk, 01485 601212)