Benjamin Davies

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Read the Practical Motorhome Swift Sundance 630L review to find out if this family 'van is worth the increased price over its predecessor

Design

On first, external impressions the new Sundance looks a good deal more upmarket than the outgoing model. A large part of that is to do with the stunning new rear panel, which always seems to be an indicator of a motorhome’s status: flat rear panel equals budget ’van; scoops and swoops worthy of a supercar equal upmarket ’van. The latest panel is full-GRP and has new road light clusters. The sidewall graphics are a burgundy and silver swoosh.

Up front, the overcab mould remains the same as that of last season, only carrying bigger and bolder manufacturer graphics and getting windows either side, instead of just one.

Under the skin, stronger body panels and an improved jointing system are new to both ranges, and there’s a stepwell at the lowered entrance door now, rather than a double electric step. New, smooth and colour-coded GRP sills complete the seamless floor-to-roof look.

Onboard, lots of small standard-fit extras add up to a decent specification: new additions include a passenger airbag, slide-out storage and adjustable bracket for a 15” flatscreen TV, LED lighting throughout, and a microwave oven that’s built into a kitchen locker. There are also concertina cab blinds, a new door and flyscreen, remote central locking, plus en route and on-site heating. All habitation windows get flyscreens and blinds, but not of the pleated variety.

On the road

The 630L is one of two family-orientated models in the Sundance family based on the long-wheelbase Ducato, powered by the 130 Multijet as standard (the other is the 630G) and with an MTPLM of 4005kg, that may require the drivers in some young families to retest and gain the extra C1 category on their licence. On an epic trip to Slovenia, our tester found it cruised happily at motorway speeds, and the engine had more than enough overtaking ability. In the mountains, it felt nimble and footsure through tight hairpins.

Lounging & dining

Inside, Sundance models have Tanganica walnut furniture with attractive matt nickel inserts. Overhead lockers have push-button catches, while lighting throughout is the same LED system we’ve already seen in Swift’s more expensive ranges. The rear lounge is excellent. As well as a free standing table, it comes with a dresser that extends as a place to put your coffee mug. Drop in carpets, and wallboards to back the cushions, are nice touches. The twin dinette upfront is fitted with four three point belts, and is rather upright and not especially comfortable for longer journeys or longer spells of lounging, but a clip-on table makes it fine for four dining, and a separate, 'break-out' lounge is always welcome in a family 'van.

Kitchen

One of the more interesting design details is the decision to give the kitchen its own distinctive colour treatment. That is, rather than the wooden furniture throughout the rest of the ’van, the kitchen gets cream locker doors and new work surfaces, with an attractive granite-look sink. There is a full oven, grill, dual-fuel hob, large stainless steel-look smart energy selector fridge, and a built-in microwave as standard. A hinged worktop extension extends the otherwise compact workspace.

Sleeping

The one piece mattress for the overcab bed is supremely comfortable. An aluminium ladder stashes neatly beneath the bed base when not in use, which itself raises on gas struts. The twin dinette makes quickly and easily into a double bed measuring 1.82m x 1.23m, thanks to solid extensions, but this poses problems of using the ladder to the overcab bed, plus there's nowhere dedicated to stash the clip on table. In the rear lounge, a slatted base pulls out from beneath the dresser. The bed measures 2.04m x 1.34m, and is partitioned off from the rest of the 'van with a privacy curtain. Alternatively, it can be used as single beds of 1.87m x 0.66m.

Washroom

The washroom has a folding partition door to keep the wood panelling separate and dry from the lined shower. The latest Thetford electric cassette toilet with electric flush and wheel holding tank is fitted, along with a thick, locking washroom door. The shower tray has two drain plugs, which is ideal for those sites where levelling the van is difficult on uneven pitches. There's a large, circular washbasin, and the tap doubles as the shower head on a nylon extension cord.

Storage

There's some external access to the nearside rear sofa, and plenty of seat box storage, including sunken trays for leisure batteries. Overhead lockers are generously proportioned too. Our family testers said that, during their three week trip to Slovenia, they found storage generous, and packed away considerable quantitates of clothes, wetsuits, and outdoor gas stove, a barbecue, footballs, cricket set, and more, with capacity to spare. They did, though, struggle for cupboard space with the many toiletries of an active family.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3300kg
Payload422kg
Length5.9m19′4″
Width2.24m7′4″
Height2.9m9′6″

Verdict

The mid-season launch of the Swift Sundance, in February 2010, was the latest in a long line of evolutionary tweaks. New detailing and improved kit levels saw it move slightly upmarket. Available with either low-profile or overcab roof lines, the 630L tested here is the latter, making it a genuine family six-berth. Loads of wow factor, and a much improved specification, justifies the increased price tag.

Conclusion

Pros

  • A stylish new rear panel, and the re-styled kitchen with its own cream locker veeners, give it tonnes of showroom appeal.

Cons

  • The twin dinette up front is rather upright both for passengers on the road and for evening lounging.
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