Elsewhere in this issue you can read about the New Zealand-built Leisure Line I reviewed while at Christchurch RV recently. While there I also checked out the Swift – Coastline RV Esprit – 634. Tony Stuart had suggested this as the second vehicle test and it took me a while to understand why.
It can be difficult to go from a luxury vehicle to a less-expensive brand. And yet as I sat there on my own looking at the amenities of this British-made caravan, I began to understand why Tony had chosen it for the same-day review.
Like the Leisure Line, this was a four-berth with full rear bathroom and east–west island bed. It also had numerous skylights, fly-screens on all opening windows, a well-equipped galley, good-sized fridge, two gas bottles, bike racks and a forward lounge next to a full-width panoramic window. However, unlike the Leisure Line Platinum 674 SE, this caravan could be towed by a small-to-medium family car and it could be bought for around $40,000 less than the Kiwi-made luxury vehicle.
Once I began to see the similarities between the two vehicles, I also began to see the differences. It all made perfect sense. Price point and payload apart, those in the market for a good little four-berth would do well to see this vehicle in a very positive light.
Let’s stick with the similarities for a moment. This vehicle also has both 240V and 12V power with a roof-mounted solar panel – 100W in this instance. You’ll enjoy a 22″ LED ‘RV Media’ with Freeview and DVD player The layout is very similar to the Leisure Line and the galley is well equipped with stove, hob and microwave, with good storage throughout the vehicle, including those favoured his ‘n’ hers wardrobes, as well as a bathroom with separate shower, toilet and vanity. The Swift Coastline comes with a good entertainment package, large fridge, and a full-length awning. Windows are double glazed and heating is gas or 230V.
This is a caravan ready to go with all the bells and whistles. Yes there is LED lighting throughout, yes also to a sunroof, Heki roof vents, and external barbecue. A tick also for hot-dipped galvanised chassis and Alko stabiliser, four heavy-duty park legs and alloy wheels.
In short, you get a lot of bang for your lesser buck, but where the British imports frequently differ from the Kiwi-made is in the factory construction. Swift has a great reputation for its Smart construction method with GRP outside panels. It lacks the hand-crafted high-spec appeal of the more expensive vehicle, and the price difference can be seen in the small details. For example the Swift offers a three-burner hob, instead of four, a 110-litre fridge instead of 190 litres, one TV instead of two. Settees are nicely upholstered and rolled; however, the Swift lacks the luxury of leather offered by the Leisure Line. And you will have one gas bottle only – although there is provision for a second gas bottle, if desired. The entrance step is plastic as opposed to steel, and it is these weight savers which mean that the ultimate weight of the British import is around 1279kg.
This is why the Swift can be towed by the average family car. Its strong, lightweight construction means it is easy to tow and manoeuvre, and this will give it broad appeal. Christchurch RV will have this ready for the road with one year’s registration, three year’s WOF and New Zealand gas and electrical certification.
Swift – Coastline RV Esprit – 634 $57,990
Length overall: 6.3m (20’ 8″)
Width overall: 2.23 metres
Height overall: 2.68 metres
Water: 40 litres each, fresh and grey