One of two new Rios added to a range that itself is only now celebrating the second year of its existence. But that probably tells you something about the success. Somewhat ironically, though, neither of the new models have what until now has been the Rio’s defining feature – the massive rear tailgate.
Instead, both newcomers are a smidge under 6m long and both feature more traditional – but still handily narrow, at 2.26m – coachbuilt bodies with just the usual habitation door on the side.
Inside the 325 here, you get Swift’s take on what has been a popular rear transverse double bed layout across mainland Europe. It’s the electric rising function, though, that really gives some flexibility here.
Put it to its highest point and you have garage storage that’s really worth of the name. There’s just the one exterior hatch, its shaped designed to optimise access, but arguably still could do with being bigger for the bikes that will find a secure home in here. Alternatively, fixing rails are already in place at the back of the vehicle for the fitting of an optional bike rack.
The key-operated bed can also be lowered to a height where access is made all the easier, thanks also to a slide-out step. There’s a distinct cut-away to the bed’s shape, but that allows space for a handy ledge that’s designed to accept a TV. It’s also a one-piece, supremely comfortable Duvalay Duvalite mattress, which is exclusive to Swift.
As you’d expect in a vehicle so short that also purports to accommodate up to four folk, things are pretty compact. But, it’s all clever, too. At the front, you get a typically continental lounge, where both seats swivel to complement the forward-facing rear double seat. The only criticism here is the side-fixing table really is too small, even for two sitting down to dine. An extension would solve the problem.
A fold-up worktop flap certainly meets the challenge of proving essential worktop in the well-equipped kitchen, along the nearside mid-‘van. Items like the full Thetford Aspire 2 cooker as well as a microwave oven – all designed to be here from the start – mean this is where the Rio will score over its continental rivals.
A Dometic 8 series fridge (the model with the removable freezer box if you want it all-larder) sits directly under sink, while the sink itself has a monoblock mixer tap, plus there’s a plastic drainer to add when it comes to washing-up time.
Across the corridor is the washroom. Again compact, it nevertheless has a smart feel to it. There’s a slim sink, with a mixer tap that pulls out to be used as a shower, with water-saving trigger action. Arguably, showering will be in emergencies only, but the swivel-bowl cassette toilet is always a useful feature.
As with all Rios (indeed, all of Swift’s coachbuilt motorhomes), Fiat’s Ducato provides the running gear and you can expect a handy turn of performance from the standard 130bhp engine, while handling can only be helped by a design that almost puts the 16in wheels at all four corners. In the cab, you get proper captain’s style seats and a DAB radio as standard, but the somewhat flimsy nature of the added lights on stems will soon annoy you.
Beyond the cab, bodywork is Swift’s SMART Plus construction with features including GRP cladding for the roof, cab pod and back panels, plus a new floor construction (also with GRP exterior protection).
That £45,244 start price certainly looks attractive, too, but it’s hard to believe any Swift Rio will go out without the addition of the £995 Lux Pack that brings you cab air conditioning, cruise control and a Status TV aerial – especially as features like a 100W solar panel, programmable dual-fuel Truma Combi 4 heating and hot water system (with the chance to upgrade to iNet remote control), extensive dimmable LED interior lighting and more are all standard.
Plus: Compact dimensions and all-round driver-friendliness, electric bed and large garage
Minus: Small lounge (and table)
In-a-nutshell: An expansive compact
There’s more information on the Rio range on the Swift website (www.swiftgroup.co.uk). To find out more about our low-cost premiums visit the motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Burstner Brevio T600, Elddis Accordo 125, Chausson Flash 514
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