Swift, Bailey or Coachman?

calico6 replied on 11/02/2020 12:26

Posted on 11/02/2020 12:26

I have heard varying reports about these caravans. Which is the best in terms of build quality and reliability?
Many thanks

moulesy replied on 12/02/2020 17:01

Posted on 12/02/2020 17:01

In fairness to Bailey,  our last van, which we sold at the end of last year had been bought from new 10 years ago and, apart from a faulty toilet flush, replaced quickly under warranty, we never had a single problem with it - no damp, no badly fitted lockers, no malfunctioning fittings. It would have done us for another few years if we'd decided to continue caravanning and, hopefully, will the new owners! smile

AnotherDavid replied on 12/02/2020 17:59

Posted on 12/02/2020 16:51 by Dave Nicholson

I go with Another David. Having had numerous new UK built ‘vans over the years and endured so many serious faults we opted for a new Fendt for our last acquisition and 10 years later we’ve had no problems with the build. The proprietary fitting are starting to fail eg plastic parts of the Thetford loo, the 12 volt power supply etc but the ‘van its self is still in excellent condition. We based our decision on the number of Fendt caravans we see on the more upmarket sites in Europe. Unfortunately the smaller Fendt  models are not often for sale in the UK but they’re worth looking for.

Posted on 12/02/2020 17:59

Our experience of Fendt was much the same although shorter. The only issue was with the Dometic fridge and that was replaced under warranty by Dometic  carrying out the work at my home. My wife hadn't liked the washroom layout and we traded it in when the only UK dealer dropped out , it was a serious mistake.The replacement Lunar had a perfectly good and comfortable layout but was trouble almost from the start and 6 years of warranty repairs followed. I have no doubt at all that we could still be using the Fendt or indeed its Hymer  predecessor circa 2002 .

Boff replied on 12/02/2020 19:19

Posted on 11/02/2020 15:07 by calico6

Thanks, that's all helpful information. If I could find a two berth German built caravan with a cooker I would jump at it, but I don't think there is one. (?)

Posted on 12/02/2020 19:19

Hymer Nova 470 has a Thetford aspire complete with oven a useless ( just my option) Electric hotplate 2 berth. 

Moonstone replied on 12/02/2020 23:17

Posted on 11/02/2020 12:38 by Jazzybaby

There is no one size fits all when it comes to caravans.  We are awaiting our 9th one at the moment. Had  an Abi, Avondale, Compass, Swift x 3, Elddis and a Fleetwood.  Each one has been better than the last one imo. Have never owned a Bailey as I dont like the look of them so cant comment on them.  Our next one is going to be a Coachman they only produce about 40 a week as opposed to Swift and Bailey who churn them out in the 100's a week.  If its your first purchase than my advice is visit as many different dealers as you can and weigh up the pros and cons for each one. 

Posted on 12/02/2020 23:17

Us too - over the years we’ve had 2 Avondales, Fleetwood, Sterling and now a Swift.  Our favourite was the Fleetwood unfortunately lost in the floods of 2007.  Not a fan of Bailey as we too don’t like the look of them.  

For our last purchase we were after a Coachman but couldn’t find a decent deal so opted for the Swift.  Next time - it will be a Coachman 😉. 

One person’s experience on a brand may not be comparable with another; there will be good and bad points in all, however I do believe that you get a feeling when the van is right for you.   Good luck with your search. 

DavidKlyne replied on 13/02/2020 09:55

Posted on 11/02/2020 12:26 by calico6

I have heard varying reports about these caravans. Which is the best in terms of build quality and reliability?
Many thanks

Posted on 13/02/2020 09:55

Is that not an almost impossible question to answer? When we caravanned we had six caravans over a thirty year period none of them gave us reason to doubt their quality. The last four were purchased new and came from the Swift stable although undergoing several name changes along the route. If I were to be looking for a new caravan (unlikely) I would look at the layout that I wanted, whether it had the equipment I wanted, whether it was the right weight for any car I would tow it with. I would look at all brands that matched what I wanted and then make a decision.


Phishing replied on 14/02/2020 23:05

Posted on 14/02/2020 23:05

According to the owner satisfaction survey, based on actual owners experience then 1,2,3, is Adria, Coachman, Bailey. All scored very well.

Had a Bailey from new, no significant issues. Had two Coachman, both had no issues. 

Caravans are better now than they have ever been, not that there is still room for improvement, but generally with the brands you are looking at (apart from not putting Adria on your list) then I think your list is fairly safe.

Dont think about it to hard, I know people who choose a van based on the interior colour scheme. Just have a good look at them all, you will know the one that suits!

DSB replied on 15/02/2020 00:23

Posted on 15/02/2020 00:23

Our last three vans have been from the Bailey stable.  They have been far from perfect but any faults have been fixed.  We do like the alutech vans though, and would be happy enough to buy another.

I think the two biggest single issues facing anyone who is seriously thinking of purching a caravan are:

1. Sufficient user payload

2. Having a car that is completely suitable for towing the caravan.


Sumitra replied on 15/02/2020 09:09

Posted on 15/02/2020 09:09

We have had several makes and the only one that was poor was a Lunar.Our next one will be a Coachman VIP.The build quality looks good, we have upgraded the payload so we get a decent one and we like the layout.

Cornersteady replied on 15/02/2020 09:21

Posted on 15/02/2020 09:21

Had three caravans, first was a Crown (made by Elldis) which gave no trouble, the second an Avondale which had three rear panels crack (I think that was a common fault) all replaced by warranty and many intermittent electrical faults. It had damp from its second year and once out of warranty it would have cost too much so we sold it. Our third and present is a Swift and it is now coming up to being 7 seven years old and has had no damp what so ever and no faults at all. Based on that I would probably go for another but layout and payload will be just as important.

Wherenext replied on 15/02/2020 11:23

Posted on 15/02/2020 11:23

We were searching for a "new" caravan about 6 months ago. Looked at lots of different 2 berth options including Knaus Starclass. We didn't like the Knaus, which was a shame as I do think that the German made caravans tend to have a better reputation for build quality. We ended up with a Coachman VIP, our second Coachman, and touch wood, apart from minor niggles that have been put right under warranty seems ok. The other Coachman was great but unfortunately it was at the time when the windows made by Polyplastics were delaminating and we had to get rid when that company refused to indemnify British caravans yet replaced many a window on German makes. 

We've had 3 Swifts, 1 Great, 1 OK, 1 Awful. and 2 Lunars, 1 Great and the other a disaster.