There’s something singularly British about the Swift Esprit 412. Its end kitchen, corner washroom, front twin settee lounge two-berth formula appeals to us alone – such floorplans simply don’t exist as far as other countries are concerned.
And yet it’s popular enough to feature as the shortest in the eight-model Esprit line-up that was introduced for the 2014 season by Swift as a direct, but thoroughly refreshed, range to replace the successful but ageing Sundances. At the same time, Swift pulled a mini masterstroke in ensuring the Esprit successors started at lower prices than the outgoing models.
And yet little was lost in terms of specification. Indeed, one of the biggest gains was the switch to Swift’s SMART coachbuilt bodywork construction technique, where polyurethane takes over from the more traditional wood framework, and there are GRP rear and overcab pod sections, all based on the latest-generation Fiat Ducato chassis-cab rated at a driving licence-friendly 3,500kg.
Its sub-6m overall length certainly has its attractions in terms of everyday usability or even just venturing down some of the UK’s more challenging routes.
Those settees combine with the swivelled cab seats to offer twin single beds, measuring a decent enough 1.87m x 0.70m each. Or, possibly the preferred option in terms of overall comfort, you can sleep transversely on a 2.11m x 1.30m double, made by pulling together the settee bases.
Meanwhile, at the back, if there’s one thing that attracts a British motorcaravanners to any model it’s a high-spec’, well-thought-through kitchen. Here in this Esprit there’s all the latest gear, for example the Dometic 8-series fridge with automatic energy selection and a removable freezer compartment. Cooking facilities start with the latest Aspire cooker with dual-fuel hob and separate oven and grill. The chef can also call on the services of a built-in microwave oven, set over the fridge/worktop as the kitchen continues on the other side of the habitation door.
The kitchen surroundings are particularly plush, too, with granite-style worktop, Vector chrome mixer tap, practical acrylic splashback and more.
Heating and hot water are courtesy of a Truma Combi 4 gas and electric system that can also be used whilst on the move. And – likes its stablemates – the Esprit 412 easily achieves the highest, Grade Three, rating for its heating and insulation.
Adjacent to the kitchen and occupying the rear offside, the washroom is spacious enough to provide a separate, lined shower cubicle, where the Ecocamel showerhead is a particularly welcome feature – not just because of its efficiency, but the way it delivers water. Also here is a fixed washbasin and a Thetford swivel-bowl toilet.
Interior storage is unlikely to be an issue when there are only going to be two on board. Nevertheless, features such as the easy access to the settee bases and push-button catches for the overhead lockers will always be appreciated.
Neat touches throughout include dimmable LED spotlights in addition to the ambient lighting, chrome plug sockets, flatscreen TV bracket and more.
Plus, it’s all very competitively priced, despite the fact that few (if any) Esprits are likely to go out without the £995 Lux Pack detailed below.
There’s only one other word of warning: Swift’s motorhomes are selling like the proverbial hot cakes this season. Tracking down a new Esprit 412 might prove a bit harder than you think…
Verdict: Short on length but not on comfort
Plus: Keenly priced, generous starting specification
Minus: You still have to make the beds each night!
In-a-nutshell: Compact two-berth with a bit of Swift swagger
Cost to insure: £253.50
- Swift Esprit 412
- Fiat Ducato, 2.3-litre, 130bhp Euro V+
- Dimensions 5.98m L x 2.38m W x 2.82m H
- Maximum weight 3500kg
- Payload 653kg
- Key options: Lux Pack – cab air conditioning, cruise control, Status 550 TV aerial (£995), Comfort-Matic automatic transmission (£1,695), Impala upholstery (£450), towbar and electrics (£595), roof rack and ladder (£630), reversing camera (£599), awning (£530)
- Security and Safety Electronic immobiliser, ABS and EBD, twin airbags, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, Tracker Retrieve, in-cab battery isolator switch, LED day-running lights, remote central locking to all doors
- MPG estimate 28-32
Recommended retail price from £43,515**
There’s more information on the Esprit 412 on the Swift website get a quote on this or any other model, check out our motorhome insurance page.
Alternatives: Auto-Sleeper Nuevo EK, Auto-Trail Imala 615
*Motorhome insurance cost based on Swift Bolero 684FB retailing at £43,515 fitted with manufacturers immobiliser and Tracker Retrieve. UK travel only. Kept in secure storage with a 24hr locked barrier at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims or convictions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less up to 5000 miles annually. £300 excess applies. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 6% and are correct at 24/04/15.
**On-the-road, including VAT at 20%