THE EXTENSIVE CHANGES made to the Swift Esprit and Bessacarr models will appeal to a wide range of buyers, but the all-new Rio range grabbed the headlines at Swift Group’s launch event.
A two-strong compact coachbuilt line-up, the Rio has been developed to meet the needs of motorcaravanners looking to downsize into smaller motorhomes with lower running costs. A recent, growing, trend has seen owners of larger coachbuilt motorhomes trading down to panel van conversions, which have in turn become more luxurious in the past couple of seasons, which these Swift motorhomes are capitalising on.
The Rio aims to grab some of this market from Swift’s main rivals. Although a coachbuilt motorhome, it is the same width as a panel van, so will appeal to those looking for the benefits of a smaller footprint – easier to park on the front drive, and to pilot along narrow country lanes. The coachbuilt construction also offers some advantages over a panel van – an overcab GRP pod with opening skylight window and a habitation door instead of a sliding door, for example.
But the real stand-out feature of the new Rio is its rear tailgate, which opens to offer panoramic views from the rear of the vehicle. These can be enjoyed al fresco under the tailgate, which can double as a sun shade or rain shelter. Swift admits that the Rio has been inspired by Continental motorhomes – fans of European ’vans will note the similarity of the Bürstner Brevio and Hymer Compact.
Two Rio models debut at launch, both with rear lounges: the two-berth 320 and the four-berth 340. The 340 has the added benefit of a front dinette and an electronically operated drop-down bed in the rear lounge, one of several 2015 Swift motorhomes to feature them.
Both Rio models are based on the facelifted Fiat Ducato with a 2.3-litre 130bhp engine, paired with a special Fiat low-line chassis. A GRP pod above the driver’s cab features an opening panoramic skylight.
As with all Swift Group 2015 coachbuilt motorhomes, the Rio range uses the new timber-free SMART bodyshell construction method. The rear tailgate is built from a fabricated steel frame with GRP skin and has a large window; lights in its inner panel become ceiling lights when the tailgate is raised and so will be handy for night-time loading and unloading, as well as for adding ambience to low-light al fresco situations. In a significant contrast to the German ’vans, Swift has added a retractable rear step to make entering and exiting the vehicle even easier.
Moving inside, the cab features new seats with integrated headrests, a wider backrest and also better side support. Fiat upgrades for the 2015 cab see a gearshift indicator added to the improved instrument panel, and USB and Bluetooth connectivity are fitted as standard. A new bottle holder, mounted on the floor under the dashboard, will keep cups and bottles secure while out on the road.
Swift Group’s new mid-toned Aralie Sen wood finish is paired with grey soft furnishings. A light-blue stripe in the seat trim is picked out in the scatter cushions and window surrounds.
In the Rio 340, the front dinette features two belted travelling seats; it can be made into a sociable lounge by rotating the front seats. With a shorter body length, the 320 has no dinette and only two belted travel seats.
Rio’s overhead kitchen lockers are finished in cream, with locking catches. The under-locker LED spotlights are dimmable in this Swift motorhome. Kitchen equipment includes a new Thetford oven engineered to rattle less when on the road, as well as a fridge with a separate freezer compartment and also a microwave oven. Other kitchen highlights in the Rio include handsome, chrome plug sockets, a granite-effect sink and an illuminated splashback.
The Rio’s rear lounge features parallel seating which converts easily into a double bed, via slats that slide out from the seat box frame. A rooflight and two side windows take care of illumination duties, with backup from LED lights running along the top edges of the overhead lockers.
The Rio 340 offers two extra berths, courtesy of an electrically operated drop-down bed. This can be fully lowered, for easy access, or used in a halfway-down position, so two people can also sleep in the lounge seats beneath. This fixed bed has a Duvalay Duvalite mattress – a Swift exclusive. Both models have a compact washroom, on the offside.
Both Rio models are certified to Grade 3 insulation standard, and carry the Truma Combi 4 heating and water heating system. The Winter Pack is standard-kit (fresh- and waste-water tank heaters, drain insulation and fridge vent covers), while the optional Driver’s Pack adds other goodies including air-conditioning, cruise control, a reversing camera and a roll-out canopy awning. Swift Group’s 10-year bodyshell intregrity warranty adds peace of mind. Prices for the Swift Rio will start between £44-45,000.
2015 Swift Rio range
Swift Rio 320
Two berths, four travel seats – front dinette, nearside midships kitchen, offside washroom, rear lounge and tailgate. Low-line roof profile.
Swift Rio 340
Four berths, four travel seats – front dinette, nearside midships kitchen, offside washroom, rear lounge with electrically operated drop-down bed and tailgate. Low-line roof profile.
For details of the full 2015 Swift motorhomes range, please click here.
For full details of the new 2015 Swift Esprit range, please click here.
For full details of the new 2015 Swift Escape range, please click here.
For full details of the new 2015 Bessacarr range, please click here.
For full details of the new 2015 Swift Bolero range, please click here.
For full details of the new 2015 Swift Kon-tiki range, please click here.
For full details of the new 2015 Autocruise range, please click here.