Choosing the right campervan is never the easiest of prospects – after all, there are a wide range of makes and models on the market from the leading van converters and motorhome manufacturers. To help you find the right option for you, we’re taking a look at two rear lounge models – the Swift Carrera 122 and the S&L Apollo.
These are two options that really impressed us when we saw them, with innovative touches and plenty of attention to detail on offer in both of the two-berth ‘vans. They both feature in our best campervan guide too – so how do they compare? We take a look…
A basic overview
- Price: £71,495
- Berths: 2
- MTPLM: 3500kg
- MiRO: 2929kg
- Payload: 571kg
- Length: 6.00m
- Width: 2.26m
- Price: £73,950
- Berths: 2
- MTPLM: 3500kg
- MiRO: 3050kg
- Payload: 450kg
- Length: 6.36m
- Width: 2.26m
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: exteriors
The Carrera 122 has a stylish Lanzarote Grey exterior, a look that is perfectly complemented by those 16-inch alloy wheels and a black cab trim. There are some useful features here for fans of outdoor eating – for instance, if you like having a motorhome barbecue when you’re pitched up, the gas barbecue point will be a welcome sight. Something else we like is the tabletop that can be clipped to the kitchen peninsula’s outer edge.
The Apollo’s exterior, on the other hand, looks “fairly standard”, as our reviewer put it, even if the black alloys do provide an injection of colour.
Both options have the same 2.26m width, but if the length of the ‘van is a factor for you, the Carrera 122 is the smaller of the two, coming in at 6.00m, in contrast to the Apollo’s 6.36m length.
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: cabs and front dinettes
Both come with a Ducato cab, but one thing we found with the Carrera 122 is that legroom could be limited for “very tall people”, as our reviewer put it, when in the driving position. However, we like that the seats are easy to swivel.
There are a couple of differences between the two ‘vans here though. Firstly, the Carrera 122 doesn’t have a small table at the front; instead, you’d have to use the kitchen extension if you want somewhere to rest a drink. This is in contrast to the Apollo, which has an area which can be turned into a desk – to achieve this, simply swivel the seat around and slot in the small circular table. We thought this was a great idea, especially with the lighting and the access to USB, 12V and mains sockets.
Then another difference – after stepping down from the cab, the rest of the Carrera 122 is completely flat. In comparison, you’ll have to step down and up again to access the rear lounge in the Apollo, something which was a tad annoying, especially when you factor in the slightly reduced headroom. This is a compromise caused by the piping of the Truma Combi 4E boiler not being exposed.
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: rear lounge
Both of these ‘vans have a rear lounge layout. In the case of the Carrera 122, this is a space with plenty of room for hosting. A feature we appreciate is the pedestal table’s off centre leg – this means there’s room for stretching out.
It’s a nice area for relaxing in, with light streaming in through the windows, while ambient lighting is provided from behind the lockers. If you like watching some TV on tour, you can find sockets in the front offside corner, while the washroom wall provides a useful spot for a bracket. There are USBs too.
The Apollo’s rear lounge features comfortable upholstery and lets you choose between using the round table or a rectangular option, both of which provide good leg room.
Like the Carrera 122, there’s good lighting, thanks to the large windows, four spotlights and five LEDs. A TV comes fitted behind a tambour door too.
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: kitchens
After using the extension, you’ll find there’s decent workspace in the kitchen of the Carrera 122. This is accompanied by a Dometic combined oven and grill, a two-burner gas hob, a 90-litre fridge, a sink and something we particularly like is the bin that resides at the peninsula’s end.
The S&L model has a three-burner gas hob, a microwave, a combined oven and grill, a 90-litre fridge and two sockets.
As previously mentioned, the Carrera 122 is ideal for an alfresco feast, thanks to the option of clipping on a tabletop to the kitchen peninsula. What the Apollo offers is a huge food assembly area, with two extensions and the option of using the table and desk too, useful if you’re hosting in an awning.
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: washrooms
The Carrera’s nicely lit washroom is definitely stylish, with marble-effect lining on the walls, accompanied by a mint-green splash back. The basin may share space with the shower, but it can be folded away, leaving you with extra room for using the showerhead.
In the washroom of the Apollo, you can find a bench toilet, a fold-up basin and again, no separate shower cubicle. A separate showerhead is also provided, as is a cleverly placed drying rail which sits in the curve of the wall.
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: beds
As both models have rear lounges, you have the option of using the settees as two singles or alternatively making up a double.
The Carrera’s bed really impressed us when we saw it – it’s relatively easy to make up the double, simply requiring you to lift up the single base cushion, before folding out the central slatted platform from beneath the nearside settee and clipping it to the offside base edge. Simple and sturdy! It’s worth noting the bed is most comfortable for people under 6ft 1in though.
Then there’s the Apollo’s “ten second bed” – it’s very easy to put together, with the platform pulled out from beneath the offside settee and then being fitted to the backrests. However, it’s worth noting that the size of the double is a little hampered, due to the space by the kitchen for seating.
Swift Carrera 122 vs S&L Apollo: storage
There’s plenty of storage in the Carrera 122, ideal for any campervan gadgets. This includes two huge drawers and large overhead lockers in the rear lounge, while a half-height wardrobe sits under the fridge.
The Apollo provides good storage too, including an easy-to-load slide-out hanging rail in a wardrobe by the fridge, overhead lockers in the rear lounge, and even a small boot area.
We thought these were two very impressive ‘vans when we saw them, giving each one a score of 4.5/5. So, if you’re stuck between the two, how do you choose the one for you?
A couple of factors are worth considering. Firstly, do you want to have a ‘van which provides a front desk set up, internal pipework and a microwave? If so, the Apollo could be the one for you.
However, if the proposition of a smaller ‘van with a higher payload is more appealing, you could be swayed towards the Carrera 122. There’s also that sturdy double bed to think about. The Carrera is over £2,000 cheaper too, which could be another deciding factor.
One thing is certain though – whichever one you go for, these are two rear lounge two-berths that are sure to offer a fantastic touring base for making some wonderful memories.
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