The entry-level model in Swift's new compact range is a neat-looking motorhome. Plus points include a cosy rear lounge and extra travel seats, though there's no separate shower in the washroom.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £47,350 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Length: 5.99m Width: 2.26m Height: 2.78m Gross weight: 3,300kg Payload: 603kg
Escape Compact is the new entry-level, err, compact range from Swift. It takes design cues from the best-selling Escape and applies them to six-metre bodywork and slightly slimmer overall width. The layouts are inherited from the more expensive (now defunct) Rio, but without the big opening tailgate that was a trademark of that model.
With reduced spec, the Escape Compacts slide below the £50k mark and offer an alternative to van conversions. Three models are offered – one with a garage (C205 – see December/January issue) and two with a rear lounge. The only difference between this C402 and the C404 is that the latter has a manual drop-down bed over the rear seats, but cupboards restrict how far down that bed will lower, so we’d recommend the £1,400 cheaper C402 instead.
That decision becomes even easier when you discover how simple it is to convert the parallel rear benches into a 1.92m by 1.28m double bed. The seat bases just pull together – no flimsy caravan-style bed slats here! And trim panels at the side walls mean that your pillows don’t touch the walls.
As a lounge this is a cosy space for two or four, with triple aspect glazing and a small rooflight above. There are good-sized top lockers here, too, and good bedding storage that’s easy to reach under the nearside sofa. Recessed lighting is fitted under the upper cupboards but is not directionally adjustable.
Up front, the half-dinette not only adds the versatility of a second seating area on site but also a pair of extra travel seats. The upholstered window surround looks more modern than fitted curtains and the table here mounts on a central pole, rather than the usual wall rail. There’s no window in the habitation door, though (which could hamper the driver’s visibility as well as making the living area darker), and you’ll need to fork out for the Comfort Pack (£1,740) to get the overcab sunroof. That pack also includes essentials such as cab air-con and passenger airbag.
The galley is in the centre of the ’van, along the nearside, and here you immediately notice an advantage over a (narrower) van conversion with a similar layout. The aisle between the washroom and kitchen is not as restricted.
Spec includes a Triplex cooker with oven/grill, plus a sink with removable drainer and a high-level microwave. There’s plenty of worktop, even before you use the folding flap by the door. Only the smallish (85-litre) fridge disappoints.
The washroom cannot compete with the best small coachbuilts (there’s no separate shower – you have to use a curtain), but it does offer more space than in most van conversion washrooms. It looks attractively finished, too, with pale blue highlights.
The Escape Compact is a neat-looking motorhome with a fully moulded rear panel. However, the lack of any externally accessed storage will mean lugging all your outdoor gear through the interior.