Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £59.790 Berths: 6 Travel seats: 6 Length: 7.32m Width: 2.39m Height: 2.98m Gross weight: 3,650kg Payload: 634kg
Words & photos: Peter Vaughan
Since the summer of 2019, Swift’s Edge has usurped the Escape as the most affordable way into a coachbuilt motorhome from the UK’s largest manufacturer. The Escape has been totally redesigned – and massively improved – for 2022 but the Edge gets just detail changes, having seen a big jump in standard spec a year ago, along with the arrival of this 466 layout.
Arguably, this is the most relevant of all floorplans for a budget motorhome, featuring a family-friendly design with rear bunk beds. First-time buyers (often with kids) are flooding into the market right now but most rival six-berth layouts hail from the Continent, so is Swift onto a winner here?
The biggest change to the Edge for 2022 is the adoption of the Series 8 Fiat cab with its new 5in DAB radio touchscreen display, new instrumentation, a redesigned steering wheel with audio controls, and revised door pockets.
Cab air-conditioning, cruise control and twin airbags remain standard but it’s only the 120bhp engine included here, which might struggle with six bodies and all their gear on board. Upgrading to the 140bhp for just £1,195 sounds like a no-brainer, especially as this option also includes the alloy wheels, but if you want the automatic gearbox, too, the cost rises substantially, to £3,695. Whichever engine/gearbox combo you go for, the gross weight is 3,650kg, so you’ll need a C1 licence to drive this motorhome, although the positive news is a payload of over 600kg – you’ll need that if you’re planning to use all six berths.
You’ve got room on board for all your family’s outdoor gear, thanks to an external loading door on the nearside, which provides access to the rear bunk area. In its normal mode, with the lower bed in situ, there’s a locker here that’s 740mm wide and 370mm high, running right across the motorhome. If you want more capacity, remove the lower mattress and hinge the base against the back wall, where it locks into position. Now you have a proper garage with 1.20m headroom – just note that the base of the outside loading door is over a metre off the ground, which might mean some heavy lifting.
The bunks themselves are, of course, the main reason to buy the Edge 466.
They’ll suit even the lankiest teenagers, or adults, with each one measuring a generous 2.02m long by 0.85m wide. The bottom bed has slightly more headroom (780mm versus 560mm) but both beds have their own opening window and a reading light.
So, the kids are well catered for, but what about mum and dad? Well, perhaps, the easiest solution is for parents to occupy the luton. After all, surely that’s the point of an overcab coachbuilt – a big bed (1.90m by 1.33m) that doesn’t stop you using the lounge below? The bed is also ultra-easy to deploy as you just hinge it down into place (and push it back up with the aid of gas struts), with no motors or mechanism to fail. But do try it for size – headroom is 540mm at most, reducing to around 350mm at the front.
The overcab’s only ventilation is provided by the nearside opening window, a factor that needs to be considered if you’re heading off to Spain, while the mattress sits on a solid plywood base, rather than the usual slats.
If you don’t fancy going up a ladder to bed, the alternative is to make the lounge into a transverse double, although this bed prevents the luton’s ladder being used, so think about who is sleeping where if you need all six berths – it won’t be easy to get down in the night without a ladder (creeks and paddles spring to mind)! That said, the lounge bed is simple enough to make and very long, at 2.14m.
As important as providing space for six to sleep is having seatbelts for all the family and the 466 does so by adopting a pullman dinette with a pair of three-point belts on both the forward and rearward-facing benches. That’s a big plus over some models that only have lap belts for those facing aft. Then, on site, you also have a side-facing sofa on the nearside, while the wall-mounted table can be extended with a simple slot-in panel. Even with a full complement of kids inside, this motorhome should feel open and spacious, aided by the 2.39m overall width. At the same time, the lounge feels quite cosy (because the windows aren’t large) and the seats (with high-performance Swift AirWave foam) are more comfortable than in many entry-level models.
What you might miss is a large rooflight (there’s no vent at all over the lounge). More important in a family motorhome is cupboard space and here the 466 impresses with large eye-level lockers above the seats (not possible in drop-down bed low-profiles) and a generous locker under the side sofa. There are two wardrobes, too – one on each side.
You can rustle up instant grub for hungry little people in this Edge, thanks to the standard microwave, while more serious cooking can be carried out on the new cooker for 2022, with three gas rings, a combined oven and grill and the addition of a mains hotplate.
Storage is, once again, pretty good in the 466’s galley, although neither of the drawers (one in the central cupboard, the other below the oven) has a holder for cutlery. What you do get is lots of practical worktop space and, although the fridge still seems rather small for family catering at 83 litres, it does now have the convenience of automatic energy selection.
Opposite the kitchen is the washroom and, as soon as you twist the domestic-style handle (with lock!) and open the door, you’ll spot a key difference compared with most European motorhomes of this size – there’s no separate shower, nor even folding doors to create a wet zone. Instead, you’ll have to pull a curtain around, which is sure to be a clingy experience. That said, there’s a decent amount of room to wash at the corner basin or use the cassette loo. The tiny 60-litre waste water tank is another downside, requiring frequent emptying.
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