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Motorhome review: Swift Kon-Tiki Grand Prix 794

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Key Features

  • Model Year : 2022
  • Class : Low Profile
  • Base Vehicle : Fiat Ducato
  • Engine Size : 2.2TD
  • Maximum Weight (Kg) : 4500
  • Berths : 4
  • Layout : Island Bed

AT A GLANCE

Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £90,290 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.84m Width: 2.38m Height: 2.89m Gross weight: 4,500kg Payload: 1,023kg

Pros
  • Very high-spec Fiat cab
  • Alde heating
Cons
  • Gaps at each side of the island bed
  • Intrusive wall between the washroom and bedroom

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Model Year
2022
Manufacturer
Swift Motorhomes
Class
Low Profile
Range
Lowdhams Kon-Tiki Grand Prix
Base Vehicle
Fiat Ducato
Engine Size
2.2TD
Payload (kg)
1005
Belted Seats
4
Maximum weight (kg)
4500
Price from (£)
88385
Length (m)
7.84
Width (m)
2.38
Height (m)
2.89
Berths
4
Main Layout
Island Bed
Price from (€)
Campervan Test Date

DETAILED REVIEW

Words and photos: Peter Vaughan

The Swift Kon-Tiki Grand Prix 794

The Kon-Tiki was the very first motorhome from Swift, back in 1985, when it (and rival, Elddis) was making its first tentative steps from touring caravan manufacturer into the world of motorcaravans (as we then called them).

Ever since, the motorhome named after a raft (in turn taking its title from an Inca god), has sat at the very top of the company’s coachbuilt range (apart from when Swift briefly and unsuccessfully dabbled in A-class motorhomes, with the Bel-Air). Since then, Kon-Tiki has become something of a watchword for big British motorhomes with all the toys.

Now, there’s a new Kon-Tiki and it comes in a selection of seven layouts and three lengths, from 7.84m to 8.96m (with a tag-axle). It looks lower and sleeker than its forebear and the Stargazer roof window at the rear is no more. In its smaller iterations, like this single-rear-axle 794 model, some might see it more as a successor to the recently departed Bessacarr brand.

However, what you see here is not a standard 2022 Kon-Tiki but rather the unique Grand Prix version, which is exclusive to Lowdhams. The Nottinghamshire dealer is offering all but one of the new range as its own special edition, complete with over £7k of additional kit included in the price.          

 

The cab

The first difference you’ll notice is its Lanzarote Grey cab, rather than the usual black, but it’s the spec that’s more important. Based on a 4.5-tonne Al-Ko chassis, the GP comes not only with the 160bhp engine as standard but also the excellent nine-speed automatic gearbox (the manual example photographed is a one-off). It has alloy wheels, front fog lights and full LED headlamps, too.

The policy of fitting all the Fiat factory features continues inside the cab, where you’ll not just discover the usual touches like a leather steering wheel, Traction Plus and Bluetooth, but also stop/start, heated cab seats, a heated windscreen and automatic air-conditioning with a digital display.

Above that you can’t miss Fiat’s own 10in touchscreen, which covers sat-nav, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and vehicle functions, but it’s not the display for the twin-lens reversing camera (that will be a separate screen, replacing the internal centre mirror).

Then there’s the 7in fully digital instrument cluster, which gives a much more modern vibe to the otherwise largely unchanged Fiat fascia. Much of the rest will be familiar to countless motorhomers but, while the cab seats are attractively retrimmed in ‘Ultra Leather’ (no ultra cows harmed?), the armrests retain their plain plastic finish.              

 

The interior

Above the cab is one of the largest sunroofs in the motorhome world and it opens – very slowly – at the press of a button. More importantly, it bathes the interior in light even on a day greyer than the Ducato cab. There’s no second sunroof over the lounge (just a small rooflight back towards the kitchen), which seems odd as there’s also no drop-down bed (even as an option) in this model. Instead, you benefit from the sort of headroom you need if you’re inclined to wear a top hat – up to 2.23m!

That super-generous interior height, combined with lots of artificial lighting, a wider-than-average body and an open lounge with side settees, makes for a very spacious feeling up front in the 794. Importantly, the table also folds in half, so as not to get in the way – and can be lowered electrically to coffee table level. And I was thrilled to see reading lights not just in all four corners of the lounge, but also above the cab seats.

In keeping with its prestige image, the Kon-Tiki also has Alde heating, running from gas or 230V and using radiators rather than blown-air for a more natural-feeling warmth. Of course, the vehicle meets the Grade III standard, but it was disappointing to find a thin, poorly insulated trapdoor (for water tank servicing) in the lounge floor, which is sure to result in a cold spot.

With an armrest on the nearside sofa and scatter cushions, as well as nicely raked backrests, the 794’s lounge is a very comfortable place to unwind. If you want to watch TV, there are power and aerial sockets near the door, but no telly bracket is supplied and your screen will have to be rather high up. On the subject of height, you’ll also see that the cab seats (and the cab floor) are above the lounge levels; fortunately, flicking the switch for the table can set it to the right height for either.                

 

Travel seats

Like many other recent designs, the new Kon-Tiki can adapt its lounge into a pair of rear travel seats. This involves removing the settee cushions, unfolding the steel-framed Aguti seat bases (with Isofix) below and then replacing the bits of upholstery required. Of course, you’re left with a selection of bulky cushions, but there’s plenty of room to place these onto the bed while you’re motoring and the passenger seats themselves are quite comfortable with decent legroom and view out.

However, because the settee bases have to accommodate the framework for the travel seats, even if you’re not using them, there’s very limited storage in this area. Fortunately, this fairly substantial motorhome makes amends in other areas…          

 

 

Storage

Of course, the key to storage in the 794 is the rear garage, which is served by large loading doors on either side. With a width of 1.13m at floor level, this is a large space and height is variable as you can raise the bed above while travelling, if you want to get bikes on board. With the mattress lowered for sleeping, there’s still 700mm headroom in the locker, which can be increased to just over a metre.

What is a surprise, bearing in mind the Kon-Tiki’s price tag, is that you need to perform this change manually with a winding handle. The garage also comes with 12V, 230V and USB sockets, a small LED strip light at either end and fixed tie-downs on the floor.

More storage can be found beneath the garage, care of lidded drawers that slide out from the skirts on either side.

These are ideal for your mains lead, levelling wedges, etc, but you’ll need to ensure that their runners don’t get clogged with mud, due to their location behind the rear wheels.

Would it have been better to step the floor down at the rear and offer increased garage headroom instead?

There’s no double floor in this motorhome, but you do benefit from extra-large top lockers in the lounge (much bigger than in rivals with a drop-down bed), and the tall interior allows for extra cupboards, such as the one above the fridge.      

 

The kitchen

The kitchen feels like part of the same ‘room’ as the lounge and cab, while the en suite and bedroom feel like an entirely separate space, up a step and hidden behind a door. Of course, it’s a well-appointed galley, as you’d expect in a luxury British motorhome.

Everything you’d hope for is here – a tall fridge with automatic energy selection, a fitted microwave (one of the new type without a revolving plate to remove when travelling), and a full cooker with mains hotplate, three gas rings and a separate oven and grill – as well as the anti-rattle cast-iron pan stands.

You get a chopping board cover for the sink, a removable draining board and plate and cup racks in the top cupboards, too. In typical Swift style, the only cutlery drawer is in the cupboard under the sink and it’s too small to hold anything but basic cutlery.

This galley could do with more drawers, although there is a large one under the fridge (ideal for pots and pans), but the lack of a soft-closing mechanism mars the impression of this being a premium product.

Much better is the worktop provision, thanks to a folding panel that overhangs the offside settee. With this in place, there’s masses of room to prepare and serve meals, while a pair of three-pin sockets at the back of the counter are perfectly placed for a kettle or toaster.     

 

The bedroom

While a hinged door gives this Kon-Tiki’s layout a definite ‘two-room’ feel, there are also sliding doors to give privacy between the en suite and the rear bedroom. Unfortunately, on the nearside, even with the door fully slid back, this wall feels like it is in the way, restricting access to the bedroom and limiting space around the foot of the bed on this side.

The bedroom itself looks very attractive, with its padded headboard, his and hers wardrobes, TV station (again, there’s no bracket), large rooflight and even a floor-to-ceiling mirror in one corner.

The Duvalay Gravity Luxe mattress is also thick and sumptuous, promising an excellent night’s sleep. It’s a pity that the bed isn’t a little bigger. Surprisingly, even in the centre, it isn’t quite 6ft long, while there is space for the mattress to have been almost 15cm wider. That, in turn, means that you can see down the sides of the bed into the garage – and you’re sure to drop stuff down these gaps…   

 

The washroom

If you’re left wondering why the bedroom isn’t a little more generous in a motorhome that’s around 35cm longer than the norm for a single-rear-axle island bd layout, then perhaps the answer lies in the washroom area, which is a definite Kon-Tiki strongpoint.

On the nearside, the swivel cassette toilet has legroom for the very longest of limbs, while behind that there is a useful amount of worktop alongside the basin. There’s a large mirror, a towel ring and a decent amount of cupboard space, too, while a central roof vent with fan can extract whiffs or steam, as required.

Opposite the loo, the shower cubicle – with its posh marble-effect walls – has 1.99m headroom and its own roof vent and, although a wheelarch intrudes into the shower tray, its position shouldn’t interfere with where one stands.

There’s an Ecocamel Jetstorm water-saving showerhead, a small shelf for shampoo and a clothes drying rail, too, but just one corner drain in the shower tray.                   

 

What’s included

The options list for the Kon-Tiki Grand Prix is better than short – it’s non- existent. You’ll have to pay extra for a TV (and a satellite dish, if you want one – an aerial is included) and, perhaps, a bike rack (mountings are already in situ), but pretty much everything else is included.

The Ducato base vehicle spec is particularly impressive, especially as you don’t need to add the usual £3,000 for the automatic transmission, and the central touchscreen is the Fiat one, not an aftermarket accessory.

Also included as standard are a Thatcham category S7 tracking system, a new 5G/4G/3G WiFi system with Smarty SIM, a 100W solar panel and external shower, barbecue and 230V points.

The Alde heating itself is a big plus and – better still – it can be used while you drive thanks to the Truma Duo regulator.

Finally, there’s the convenience of central locking on the (wide) habitation door and, as an extra perk, the awning light comes on when you unlock the motorhome.

 

Motorhome supplied by Lowdhams
Tel: 01159 663838
lowdhams.com


Insurance: £716
Tel: 0800 975 1307
shieldtotalinsurance.co.uk
For quote details: motorhome.ma/QuoteInfo

 

 

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