Sarah Wakely
Editor

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Looking for a true couples 'van that offers a great specification without busting the bank? This new for 2019 Escape model might be the one for you.

Overview

Swift's Escape range is almost 10 years old now, and this budget range of motorhome has proved wildly popular since then. The line-up received a fairly major overhaul in 2017, so changes - the launch of a new Compact sub-brand aside (we tested one model in the December 2018 issue) - remain fairly limited for the 2019 season. 

However, there is a new arrival to the Escape range: the 612, tested here. It's an end-kitchen two-berth that sits at less than six metres in length. So it has a tried-and-tested layout, but how does it fare for two on tour? 

Design

One change to the Escape is visible before you even go inside: the line-up now gets enhanced exterior graphics, which look much smarter.

Step into the Fiat Ducato-based 'van and you will immediately notice the kitchen on your right; the 612 is the only end-kitchen layout in the 10-model regular Escape family.

On the road

The Ducato cab up front is fairly standard stuff, with the usual cupholders and smart, automotive-style dash. Our test 'van was fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox, but Fiat's Comfort-Matic is available for £1750.

With the manual gearbox fitted, the payload of the 612 is a whopping 760kg; if that's not enough, and you have the C1 licence to allow you to drive it, you can upgrade to a 3650kg chassis over the 3500kg version; that's a dealer-fit option, and will cost you just £99.

Lounging & dining

It's the lounge that's the star of this 'van, and very comfortable it is too. The 'Nova' soft-furnishing scheme looks very smart, and the Swift's AirWave foam in the seats and backrests here makes for a really comfortable seating surface.

Both of the cab seats swivel, allowing two additional occupants to be seated in comfort, and everyone can dine at the table. Despite the 'van's short length, the sofas here are a really good size, allowing you to stretch out in comfort.

Kitchen

End kitchens tend to suit British requirements, as they often offer a good amount of working space - and this is no exception. The worktop is now in an attractive 'Fero' dark grey complimenting the 'Aralie Sen' woodgrain.

The level of kit in the kitchen is impressive: it includes a Dometic AES 85-litre fridge, a three-burner gas hob and oven/grill, a microwave, a decent amount of storage space and a rooflight above. If you require more work surface, the unit behind, opposite the washroom, makes the perfect place for dishing up.

Washroom

As for that washroom: it's not the biggest we've seen, and there's no separate shower cubicle, but it is a good size and fully lined. In addition to the swivel-bowl cassette toilet, there's also a deep basin, a large mirror and a cupboard for storing all of your toiletries.

The Ecocamel Orbit shower head will also help the user to use less water, and the Micro-Heki rooflight above keeps things bright.

Storage

A three-quarter-height wardrobe sits just forwards of the washroom. It's a great size considering that you'll only have the clothing of two occupants in this 'van; in here you'll also find dedicated spots for both the freestanding dining table, and the drainer unit that can sit alongside the kitchen sink while you're washing up.

Equipment

The Comfort pack - which our test 'van was fitted with - costs £1740 and, in our opinion, is well worth the additional outlay: it gets you a large opening sunroof, passenger airbag, reversing sensors, cab air-con, concertina door flyscreen, the Winter Pack (which includes a waste-water tank heater and various extra insulation) and more.

Technical specs

LayoutEnd kitchen
Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload760kg
Length5.88m19′3″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height2.93m9′7″
Fresh/waste water90L / 68L
Leisure battery80 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave

Verdict

The Escape range has long been a favourite of the buying public, and this little 'van - which allows you to buy a new Escape with an end kitchen - is likely to prove just as popular. It was shortlisted for our recent Motorhome of the Year awards, and deservedly so: it's a very impressive small coachbuilt. 

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