With a fixed bed and an unusual washroom layout with separate shower, the Ace Adventurer 685FB works well and is good value.
Ace Adventurer 685FB 2007
THE Adventurer matches the spec of its Swift and Bessacarr cousins almost exactly. And that spec includes pretty much everything you could want for the on-the-road price of £42,615.
It even comes on the 4-tonne Fiat Maxi chassis to ensure adequate payload, while onboard features include swivel cab seats with armrests, pleated blinds, remote central locking of all the doors, tip-up overcab bed, 175-litre fridge/freezer and a new Ultra Comfort mattress for the fixed bed.
Add the Diamond Pack and the spec goes from comfortable to comprehensive. For your extra £995 you get a recessed awning, colour reversing camera, sat nav and a flatscreen TV – no one will ever order an Adventurer without this bundle of goodies!
After all, the Adventurer inherits its good looks – care of the stylish overcab and fully moulded rear panel – from big brother Kon-Tiki, with the grey side skirts being the key differentiation of the Ace brand.
With its distinctive rear light clusters, integral roof rails, 16-inch wheels and shaped side windows it is certainly a handsome beast.
Of course, the big wheels indicate the Maxi chassis to those in the know, while it’s worth also noting that the Adventurer is based on the standard-height chassis, rather than the lowered version of the Swift Group low-profiles.
That means a taller stance and a higher floor level inside, but the bonus is a flat floor right through from the cab to the rear bedroom and bathroom.
On the downside, the handling feels a touch more top-heavy but this is still a good vehicle to drive and the 2.3-litre 130 Multijet engine provides sufficient performance for a vehicle of this size.
The lack of standard air-conditioning is a disappointment – the rest of the cab spec is impressive.
With a half-dinette and side settee up front, L-shaped central galley (with large fridge/freezer opposite) and rear lengthways ‘French’ bed and washroom alongside, the recipe is repeated in literally hundreds of European motorhomes.
Here, though, is the traditionally English addition of a full domestic-style cooker (complete with mains hotplate, grill and oven), as well as a removable table with its own storage cupboard.
The table cupboard, however, looks like space that could have been put to better use. With this layout – and with a table of this size – I’d never really be tempted to move it, as it just doesn’t get in the way. It’s also quite heavy.
The seating area works better for lounging, with really comfy seat cushions and a couple of pillow-like bolsters too.
With a fitted headboard and no rear window to get in the way it also has the thickest and most luxurious mattresses we’ve ever come across in a motorhome.
The spaceframe construction with inner and outer one-piece mouldings is taken unchanged from the Swift Kon-Tiki – after all, why mess about with something that’s this good?
And the Adventurer is designed for family adventures. The rear seat is as good as they come for passenger carrying and even has height-adjustable upper seatbelt mountings.
And in winter you can run the Combi heating on gas while you drive – if that worries you from a safety point of view, it shouldn’t.
In summer you may appreciate the extra under-seat storage, which is more easily accessible than in just about any rival, thanks to tip-up seat bases on gas struts.
But won’t the adventurous family be thinking about a skiing trip, too? It’s not as if storage is in short supply.
The wardrobe is quite narrow (but has useful shelves below), while the under-bed area (which on production vehicles will properly segregate the new, more compact Truma Combi boiler) offers plenty of space, complete with an exterior hatch.
The bathroom can be en-suite when you close off the rear with the concertina screen. Inside the little room, the layout is not what you expect – unless you own a Swift vehicle.
The loo is at the back (where you anticipate the separate shower should be) and the showering area is in the middle, with folding doors to close it off front and rear.
The bonus is really generous space to sit on the throne. The downside is that after showering you have to go through a ‘wet zone’ to spend a penny.
A full version of this review appeared in the October 2007 issue of Which Motorcaravan. To order a road test reprint ring 01778 391187. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.