A major spruce-up for Swift’s best-selling Escape line-up sees it going into 2017 with a choice of eight models. They all weigh in at a driving licence-friendly 3,500kg and prices start from just over £40,000.
The 664 here is the sole French bed offering, but it’s a full four-berth, complete with the latest low-profile look.
As ever, Fiat’s Ducato provides the base, but with some upgrades in the cab and the latest Euro VI rated engines. But, there’s a more streamlined overall appearance, with bodywork enhancements including GRP outers and inners for the walls. The front and rear are GRP, too, as are the new roof and underfloor, while the internal framework is all-polyurethane rather than the timber of yesteryear. There’s still a solid habitation door to denote this is a “budget” motorhome. To be fair, it now has double locking points.
Step inside and it’s a familiar floorplan, with a good lounge towards the front, kitchen mid-‘van offside leading to the washroom in the corner and a permanent bed taking up the rest of the back end.
The kitchen has a Thetford three-ring hob with combined oven and grill.
Slightly surprisingly, Swift hasn’t sought to redress a criticism of previous Swift Escape kitchens – that tiny cutlery drawer. Similarly, the latest design has proved a missed opportunity to stow the table anywhere other than on the underside of the bed. It’s tricky to retrieve from here. The 664 also misses out on the 138-litre fridge that’s now on sister models – making do with an 80-litre unit instead. A microwave oven is now standard, and there’s a handy worktop extension flap.
Open those overhead lockers and it’s good to see any wiring has been neatly concealed, but the obvious use of staples doesn’t help the luxury cause.
The bed has decent official dimensions of 1.87m x 1.26m maximum and there can’t be many people who will fail to be impressed by the comfort and indeed security afforded by the Duvalay Duvalite mattress.
For guests, or if you’re determined to use the 664 to its full four-berth potential, the lounge converts to another double – some 2.09m x 1.23m/0.92m – sleeping transversely.
Next to the main bed, the re-designed washroom features an Ecocamel Orbit open showerhead that delivers water with added air and also has its own on/off switch – all for more efficient use of water – and you curtain off the central area for showering. There’s just the one plughole but storage is good, with lockers over the toilet and under the sink – the former also has a neat hanging rail. Plus, there’s a window, for best ventilation.
Heating and hot water are courtesy of Truma’s trusty Combi 4, operating from gas and/or mains electricity, with digital programmable timer. It can be used en-route, thanks to the Mono regulator, also from Truma. Also new is the Swift Command package for controlling several of the key fittings, extending to the option to subscribe to a Thatcham 6-rated vehicle tracker, which will gain you a healthy insurance discount with Caravan Guard.
As ever, it’s hard to see anyone wanting to miss out on the Comfort Pack (as in the vehicle reviewed here). Cab air conditioning, sunroof, cruise control, reversing sensors, windscreen blind, TV aerial, winterisation fittings and more – even a passenger airbag – are included in this £1,695 option. If you want extra fittings like bike racks and satellite TV systems speak to your Swift dealer.
Don’t forget, also, leading Swift dealers offer their own special edition versions of the Escapes. Equipment and prices are generally higher, but they carry on where the standard Escapes leave off, representing some of the best bargains on the market!
We’d love to hear what you think about the Swift Escape 664. Please add a comment below.
Verdict: Great name, great price, great improvements for 2017
Plus: Great blend of specification to price
Minus: Table storage location, small cutlery drawer
In-a-nutshell: Popular all-round package just got better
There’s more information on the Escape range on the Swift website www.swiftgroup.co.uk. Find out more insuring this or your motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page
Alternatives: Elddis Autoquest 155, Bailey Approach Advance 640
Swift Escape 664 factfile
|Swift Escape 664
|Fiat Ducato, 2.3-litre, 130bhp Euro VI
|6.72m L x 2.31m W x 2.88m H
|From £43,060 on the road
|Safety & security
|ABS with EBD (electronic brake distribution), engine immobiliser, driver’s and passenger’s airbags, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, vehicle battery isolation switch, spare wheel and tyre
|Comfort Pack (£1,695), Comfort-Matic automatic transmission (£1,750), roof rack and ladder (£550), detachable towbar and electrics (£595), SwiftShield upholstery (£450), Thule awning (£795), Swift Command Tracker subscription (£95), plus various dealer-fit options