Andrew McPheeSee other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee
Get the full story on the Swift Sundance 590 in the Practical Motorhome review
The quintessentially British end-kitchen overcab coachbuilt has many benefits – first, kitchens can be made big enough for ‘real’ cooking.
Second, kitchens never take up as much space as a fixed bed, so the ’van can remain compact while still having a roomy lounge and washroom. Finally, the mix of overcab and lounge beds means there’s room for five to sleep in comfort.
The Swift is based on the Fiat Ducato MWB, which uses a 2.2-litre Multijet 120 diesel engine with 100bhp and 188 lb ft of torque. It has a good, ergonomic cabin, although its handling tends to be more nose-heavy than, say, an overcab based on a Ford Transit. Swift Group products have been compliant with ECWVTA regulations since 2004.
The Sundance looks modern, thanks to the organic curves of its overcab area and attractive chrome badging. Its facilities are on the offside and it has an insulated underslung fresh water tank, while the gas locker is a lofty 102cm from the ground.
The door opens onto an entrance area, with the kitchen on the right and a TV stand/dresser on the left. From the door, an L-shaped corridor runs through the ’van to the cab. There's a general feeling of solidity to all the furnishings, and the quality of the materials is impressive. The design is understated but attractive. In terms of functionality, we appreciated the use of a two-runged retractable entrance step, which ensures that the Sundance’s interior needs no cutaway step and is at a single level throughout. Dinettes with settees facing them are the order of the day, with comfortable cushions that should provide enough support for lounging, although perhaps not firm enough for travelling. The single-leg table clips to the wall and stows securely in the wardrobe when the lounge double bed is made up. It's large at 1.0m x 0.60m, and sturdy and lightweight.
The windows on either side are large and provide ample natural light, and lounge has a large light and four spotlights. There are three power sockets over the TV stand, which can be used for kitchen equipment or for charging items. However, given that the fuse box is located in the lounge area, it doesn’t seem too much to ask Sundance to include one power socket just for the lounge.
There are two separate beds in the lounge, which are made up using the settee to form a single bed and the dinette to form a double. The single measures 1.89m x 0.66m, which should just about work for six-footers. To erect the lounge double bed you remove the lounge table, extend the sides of the dinette seats, and fill the gap between them by pulling out a slatted base from the wall. You then make up the mattress using the settee’s backrest cushion and various dinette seat cushions. Just one fill-in cushion is required, but the hard back on the settee’s backrest cushion mean there's some heavy lifting involved. However, it's a reasonable-sized double at 1.87 x 1.27m.
The overcab double is 1.88 x 1.35m and has a comfortable, 11cm-thick mattress. Thoughtfully, Swift has provided a fluorescent reading lamp and a window. The bed raises on pneumatic struts, and the aluminium ladder clips securely beneath it.
The Sundance doesn't have much kitchen workspace, partly because of the larger TV stand located across the corridor, and partly because of the large hob, which has an electric hotplate as well as three burners. The Sundance also has the largest oven, with a separate grill unit. Storage space is eaten into by the gas locker (situated in the TV cupboard) and the larger kitchen equipment. To mitigate this, Swift has built a narrow set of slide-out racks in a cupboard beneath the TV stand, but this is compromised because the door opens towards the kitchen, preventing you accessing the racks from there.
In the washroom, the Sundance uses a swing-wall shower design, although because some wood has been used in the washroom, we were concerned that some of it would be exposed to water when the shower is in use. Also, there’s a lot of space on the washroom’s rear wall, which is outside the shower area, that would have been ideal for some towel hooks (although there is one towel ring). Otherwise, though, the Swift washroom is perfectly good, providing plenty of room and storage. In particular, we liked the thick, solid entrance door with its rubber seals to keep damp out of the living area.
Storage-wise, the Sundance has good facilities, with a long locker under the settee that you can also access from outside – ideal for storing cables and so on without getting the interior dirty. In addition to the many overhead lockers and cupboards, the Sundance also has a large wardrobe.
Blown-air heating is standard, as are a remotely locking cab door, dual-fuel heating, and blinds for the windscreen and cab windows.
3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill
Thetford C-250 toilet
Pricey as a new proposition, but an excellent vehicle.
- Style; lounge design; equipment levels; interior and exterior quality
- Price; design of kitchen storage areas