You can tell when a range is going well for any manufacturer – it adds to the offerings. That’s certainly the case for Rio, introduced two years ago and doubled up to four models for the 2015-16 season.
Foregoing only the innovative tailgate of the two initial Rio models, the compact 310 is an altogether far more straightforward two-berth unit with a full-width rear washroom and a lounge comprising two different length settees immediately behind the cab. It’s a layout that couples who specifically do not want a permanent bed will consider. It’s also the least expensive Rio, by a considerable £2,000-plus margin.
You certainly get plenty for your money. The overall design sees the Rio running on 16in wheels at each corner – so, there’s minimal rear overhang – which, in turn, promises a more surefooted ride. Bodywork is Swift’s Smart Plus timber-free construction, with Styrofoam insulation and aluminium sides, while the roof and underside get GRP protection. Flush-fitting side windows enhance the style – bike rack fittings and a handy exterior-access locker provide the practicality.
Step inside and you’re immediately aware that this Rio has been designed to allow plenty of natural light to come in – thanks in no small part to the wind-up sunroof over the cab and a window in the habitation door.
As well as the latest DAB radio upgrade, the Rio’s cab boasts captain’s style cab seats, with a real quality feel to their upholstery. These help set the tone for a clean-cut interior style that includes high-gloss finish to the overhead lockers.
The lounge – one longer settee, one shorter – makes a transverse double, but there’s a cutback, literally: overall dimensions are 1.91m x 1.47m tapering down to 1.03m.
Lighting is all-LED, of course, but with a practical dimmer function for the reading lamps.
Truma’s Combi 4 unit should be more than adequate for providing the necessary heating and hot water in a compact vehicle like this. It’s also iNet-ready – so you can upgrade to operation of the system remotely via an app.
There’s a small step down from the lounge to the kitchen and washroom areas. You’re somewhat cramped for elbow space in the kitchen, although Swift has opted for a full cooker here – with dual-fuel hob as well as separate oven and grill –as well as a microwave. There’s a flip-up worktop section to the right of the hob, but you can only use the add-on plastic drainer for the sink when the rings have cooled down and you can replace the hob’s glass lid.
Arguably, the piece-de-resistance here is the slimline fridge/freezer with surprisingly generous 138-litre total capacity (the freezer box is removable, should you want to use it all solely for chilling).
That fridge/freezer sits alongside the wardrobe, which is also used for stowing the table and rather bizarrely, the kitchen drainer. Clothes storage is saved by a second wardrobe. It’s in the washroom, where there’s also a swivel-bowl toilet, corner sink and – in the nearside corner – a separate shower cubicle with bi-folding door and Ecocamel Orbit showerhead. A window across the back is a real boon for ventilation in here and, although actual standing and changing space might be a bit limited, storage is very good. For sure, not many coachbuilts of this ilk can offer such a large washroom.
An ideal downsize…or an interesting alternative to a van conversion? Both, we’d argue. Main coachbuilt rivals offer drop-down double beds, but Swift prefers to keep things simpler than that, while at the same time maintaining more than a hint of style and a specification that’s honed to our UK priorities.
Just be prepared to shell out for the Lux Pack if you want cab air conditioning, cruise control and a Status TV aerial.
For more information on the Rio 310 visit www.swiftgroup.co.uk. To find out more about how you can lower the cost of insuring this motorhome visit the motorhome insurance discounts page.
Verdict: Coachbuilt facilities within panel van dimensions
Plus: Blend of style and practicality, spacious washroom
Minus: Kitchen is tight on space
In-a-nutshell: Compact style – it’s all the rage
Alternatives: Elddis Accordo 105, Bailey Autograph 540, Bürstner Ixeo time Sovereign IT 590, Chausson Flash 510
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