Nick Harding

See other motorhome reviews written by Nick Harding

If you're new to touring and looking to buy your first motorhome, it's time to get closer to the Edge. Nick Harding takes a look at the six-berth 476.

Overview

If 2020 turns out to be the Year of the Budget Motorhome, here's the range that could spearhead it all. Swift, the UK's most prolific 'van manufacturer, has launched a new line-up where low price is everything.

The Edge, designed for families, offers five models, and we took an early look at the six-berth 476, one of three overcabs.

On the road for £50,125 might not strike you as 'budget'. But unless you're keen and can grab an early Edge with Euro 6b engine - in which case, the 476 would come in at £48,255 - your vehicle will have one of Fiat's latest Euro 6d engines, which adds vehicle excise duty of £2315.

At the time of writing, and despite intense lobbying by the NCC, these charges will apply to almost every new motorhome purchased with a Euro 6d engine.

Design

The 476 has high-level single beds over a rear garage, with a central kitchen and washroom, a double dinette behind the driver and a double bed in the overcab that hinges up when not in use. Cramming all this into a chassis that's still a licence-friendly 3500kg is no mean feat.

From the outside, there's no denying the overcab pod is bulky. And the graphics, windowless habitation door and small wheels indicate a lower-price vehicle.

On the road

All based on Fiat's Ducato, those few early models have the Euro 6b 2.3-litre engine, with the 120bhp unit as standard and options to trade up to 140bhp, or the 140 with all-new automatic transmission - at £1295 and £3495 respectively.

More essential, I'd argue, would be the £1195 Drivers Pack and £595 Living Pack.

Lounging & dining

The 476 has the format to cope with six - passengers and sleepers. The double dinette offers belted seating for four, with a short settee nearside. There's a rather narrow side-fixing table, but there is an extension to slot in and clip on. There's one small window in the lounge.

Kitchen

If I have one niggle, it's that Swift isn't the sole firm to call a budget model family-friendly, only to cut back on a critical area: the kitchen. For many reasons, touring with children means relying more on on-board food preparation and storage - requiring large-capacity fridges and full cookers.

This Edge makes do with a Thetford Triplex cooker (three gas rings, combined oven/grill) and a small Dometic fridge (albeit with removable freezer section). But I appreciate that a lot of cost has been saved here.

Sleeping

The overcab bed is an impressive size, with plenty of headroom. There's only one window here and the single reading lamp in on the opposite side, though.

The main sleeping area is at the back, on high-level fixed single beds. Again, there's one side window, plus a standard rooflight; but this is what helps keep the price so low. But, because there's no overhead lockers (see Storage below), on the plus side, there's less feeling of being hemmed in. Better still (for many), you can sit fully upright in bed.

Washroom

The washroom facilities include a tap that extends for showering in an area that's part-lined. There's also a swivel-bowl toilet, a high-level shelf and a locker under the basin.

Storage

Cupboards/wardrobes at the foot of each rear bed include hanging rails and two-way access. No high-level lockers here is another cost-saver.

Equipment

On the standard inventory are Swift Command Tracker (Thatcham Cat 7), VIN CHIP theft deterrent and identification system, and Connect Direct (Swift's online portal for constant access to all information about your vehicle).

Look out, too, for special editions promising more equipment, although these will be at higher prices.

Technical specs

LayoutRear single beds
Sleeps6
Travel seats6
MTPLM3500kg
Payload509kg
Length7.32m24′
Width2.39m7′10″
Height2.88m9′5″
Engine (capacity)2300
Fresh/waste water100L / 68L
Leisure battery80 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-200 toilet
Security
VHF tracking system

Verdict

There's a new contender in the budget class for coachbuilt motorhomes. Swift has the Edge. The firm hasn't just kept the price down (all other factors considered), but the weights, too. It has also fully managed expectations. Searingly good value, the Edge is definitely one to watch.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Feeling of space in rear bed area
  • Low purchase cost

Cons

  • Limited kitchen facilities
  • Limited windows