It's always a pleasant - if sadly all-too infrequent - surprise to stumble across a new motorhome that doesn't just confound all your inevitable preconceived ideas, but smash them to smithereens.
Swift Group, the manufacturer responsible for the new four-strong Ace Airstream range, can sit back and bask in the warm glow of satisfaction knowing that it has done just that.
In a market where yet another brassy new continental brand seem to be appearing on a seemingly daily basis, it can be too easy for the cynic to dismiss home-grown products as being staid and out of touch. Not so Swift Group's latest creation, which has managed to conjure the wow factor.
The new Airstream isn't a startling looking thing - inside or out - but it does look inherently right, and its clever interior packaging creates a whole that feels considerably larger within than its compact external dimensions suggest.
As it stands, it's an excellent, if not entirely perfect new motorhome, but if Swift Group can sort out the excessive conversion noise and maybe have a re-think about the washroom's layout, this will be a formidable player in this most hotly-contested of market sectors.
- Make & model: Fiat Ducato X2/50 low-line chassis-cab
- Engine: 2.3-litre Multijet common-rail turbo-diesel producing 130bhp
- Berths: 2
- Travel seats: 2, including driver
- Maximum gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
- Payload: 580kg (standard model). Reduced by 15kg with engine upgrade and a further 40kg with Diamond Pack
- Length: 6.54m (21ft 5in)
- Width: 2.35m (7ft 8in)
- Height: 2.79m (9ft 2in)
Super base vehicle in optional 130 Multijet guise, good looking low-profile body, gigantic double bed or good-sized singles, domestic-style cooker, separate shower, astonishing feeling of sheer space in the living area, extra stereo speakers in the lounge, domestic-standard wardrobe and washroom door handles, panoramic cab sunroof, plentiful lighting throughout, easy-to-use waste water drain, lots of toys with optional Diamond Pack
Excessive conversion noise in prototype tested, illogically laid-out washroom, high-set entrance step, tiny wardrobe, loose-fitting fuel filler flap looks and feels cheap, small waste water tank, external fresh water tank, small table needs to rotate, high-level storage above kitchen poorly thought-out, cab blinds reduce driver visibility
- Auto-Sleeper Windsor TB
- Autocruise Starburst
- Knaus Sun TI 600 LF