Elegance 570: Review

Elegance, Ice and Fire

(A month towing the Swift Elegance 570 around Iceland and the Faroe Islands with our VW Touareg)

This might well be the ultimate ‘live-in’ test of a new caravan. Could the Elegance 570 be our home for a month and also stand up to what promised to be a pretty arduous trip through the land of ice and fire, some of it on unmade roads…and what would we think of it at the end?

Our 2000 mile trip around most of the perimeter of Iceland and to the Faroe Islands was as a participant on a guided tour by the Camping and Caravanning Club; this meant that we were free to choose our own routes in order to take in the sights so long as we ended up at the pre-booked campsite, with the (excellent) tour guides having secured pitches for us. Our plan was to visit as many places as possible on route and, where we were staying at a site for more than one night, to use the Touareg (a 4x4 of course) to explore the more challenging locations. There were fourteen other units on the trip, mostly in motorhomes, so, if the Elegance could cope with the terrain and I could manage to slot it into the car parks en route, we reckoned the ability to roam off in the Touareg would give us a bit of an advantage.

A couple of additions

In the pictures, you might notice two additions for this trip that spoil the beautifully clean lines of the Elegance: our faithful Fiamma Caravanstore awning and a wired rear-view camera. The camera allows me to reverse into all kinds of places without Sue having to leap out and wave her hands about. I fix it with strong velcro under the rear and it’s not let me down so far.  The Caravanstore awning has to be mounted on the awning rail and stays there. Of course, the awning rail is part of the structure on this van, so it’s strong but it’s good to know that, after cleaning it up and with the usual squirt of lubricating polish, the awning slid on without problems. We also replaced the supplied gas connector so we could use Gaslight propane. Apart from these add-ons, and a Powrtouch motor mover for emergencies, the Elegance was exactly as it comes from Swift Group.

First impressions

After picking up the van from Cottingham, we had two days to sort and load it before we departed for the ferry from Harwich but that didn’t stop us from having a good look around. The interior is simply stunning, not only beautiful but exuding an air of solidity. Pulling back the fixed front cushions reveals the GRPS and Styrofoam panels being very firmly screwed into the embedded polyurethane blocks (‘PURe’) and the synthetic furniture construction with robust corner mouldings looks to be more than up to the job. The lift-up extension to the kitchen work surface is as solid as a rock. Opening the left hand cupboard in the bathroom reveals the ‘SRIM’ corner jointing structure that enables the curved, aerodynamic shape. The GRP sides look great, too – in fact, she’s, well, elegant from any angle.


On this trip we towed in many different situations, many of them ‘challenging’. Although much of the main Road 1 around Iceland is surfaced, occasionally we experienced sudden and unexpected ripples in the road of exactly the wrong frequency for a caravan being towed at around 80km/h. We also, of course, travelled on a number of unsurfaced roads and, on one occasion in particular, in high winds with severe gusting. We also hauled it out of a very, very muddy field with the Touareg. This caravan has had a rough ride!

We're used to towing a large twin axle and we expected the single axle Elegance 570 to produce a much more unsettled ride but we were very pleasantly surprised in this respect. The real forte of this van is its stability, however. In severe winds, we can say, unequivocally, that this is by far and away the most stable van we have towed in our 30 years of caravanning. To be fair, the Touareg is a big beast and this gave a towing ratio not far above 70%. Even so, the results were quite remarkable. Road 1 is almost all single track and quite narrow, so that approaching lorries travelling at above 80km/h pass very close indeed but failed to produce any reaction at all in the outfit. By the end of the trip we were quite happy to continue without reducing speed in these situations.

Being Iceland, there were some pretty heavy rainstorms and it was instructive to look at the spray in the rear view mirrors. It tended to flow much lower along the sides of the van than normal so that they tended to stay clean. Despite travelling through the blackfly ridden area of Myvatn, there were no fly-marks on the van above head height and the wide front ‘sun-window’ stayed clean. Computational fluid dynamics works in practice – at least for this particular outfit.

At this point, it’s worth mentioning my possible conversion from being an ardent twin axle fan.  From the outset we had resolved to be adventurous on the journey between campsites and not miss out on the sights, almost as if we were motor-homers and we more-or-less managed to achieve this. On many occasions we drove into small car parks and were easily able to manoeuvre the van where we would have been in trouble with the twin. Of course, this wouldn't work quite as well at the local supermarket back home.

Living in it

This was quite unlike any other extended trip we have undertaken; we normally cook and eat outside when the weather is nice and warm but, although it doesn't get dark in Iceland in June, it’s not too warm usually and so we almost always, like everyone else, cooked and ate in the van when we weren't eating out at a restaurant. On top of that, there were usually few showers at the camp sites and we ended up showering in the van each morning. The pattern of our day became get up, shower, then either off to the next camp site or off with the Touareg, returning early or late evening then usually cooking a meal after a chat with fellow adventurers.  In these circumstances, the Elegance really became our home and had very heavy use, occasionally serving as a place for entertaining with drinks and nibbles as well.
The 30 litre on-board tank was excellent. I was initially worried about its location in the nose of the van but this didn't prove to be a problem in practice as, with a little under a quarter of a tank the nose-weight sat at 85kg (or 833N strictly). In practice, this allows the nose-weight to be adjusted assuming you have enough load margin. It also provides 70 litres of water with a 40 litre container attached. We left a small amount in the tank when running.

We shouldn't forget the sleeping arrangements either; the bed is brilliant. We’re used to this arrangement, if not the comfort, and it suits us well; as I often sit up and complete a travel blog, Sue can nod off without my disturbing her and, with the blinds drawn (it’s still light remember) I got to appreciate the mood lighting.  In the morning, though, Sue would insist on my turning on the music and we both became addicted to musical showers from the speakers in the bathroom……it’s the little things in life….

The Alde heating worked perfectly, with uniform heating throughout the van while the new control panel is big improvement on the earlier model. We would leave it on while we were out for the day so that the towel rail dried the towels as we couldn't rely on the weather to do so. The hanging rail in the shower was put into use on numerous occasions to dry our outdoor gear, too. We were worried that we would miss our large floor to ceiling refrigerator but the 110 litre Dometic device met all our needs and, of course, used less gas. The ‘acrylic stone’ kitchen surface seemed to provide more working space than expected, increased by the solid fold-up flap and it really looked good, too.


This van has been on a tough, taxing adventure and it’s come through brilliantly. Nothing fell off, nothing broke, and the joints are as firm now as when we started out, despite the pounding. In fact the only thing that went wrong was that one of the cupboard catches became slightly sticky – really, that’s all! We are convinced about the toughness of this design – enough said.

Living in the van is another matter - how we feel about our caravans and motorhomes is influenced by so many factors; it's such a personal thing. I can only say that we really bonded with the Elegance; it became our home for a while. We loved living in it, we were proud to have it and we were delighted by the interest shown in it by other caravanners and motorhomers, a number of them Icelanders. Well done, Swift Group.


  1. Brilliant adventure with fantastic scenery and the comfort of the Swift Elegance 570. Well done - where to next?

    1. Well Angie, we're having a short rest from caravanning for the moment - we're thinking of touring Scandinavia next year...
      ...but we've found something to do in the meantime...there's a link in our last post on this blog.