Andrew McPhee

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It has a high quality finish, but find out if the Swift Bolero 630 EK really cuts the mustard in the expert Practical Motorhome review

Design

The Bolero looks smart in its white and silver-grey livery. That, and the way in which the cab merged smoothly with the living area, is immediately striking.
A walk around the vehicle reveals other pleasing features: the neat little recess for the awning meaning it doesn’t protrude from the side of the vehicle, the indicators that are incorporated into the wing mirrors and the load-bearing roof bars. Swift has succeeded in creating a ‘van with a pleasingly streamlined shape.

On the road

The specification for the Bolero looks impressive, in particular the new 130 Multi-Jet diesel engine which meets the latest Euro 4 emission standards and is considerably more powerful and economical than its predecessor. It would have been nice to have had the opportunity to drive it and judge the performance and handling for ourselves.
However, by just sitting at the wheel we were able to see that the driving position was more like that of a car than you’d normally expect in a motorhome. This is mainly due to the steering wheel being positioned more vertically. The cab seats are comfortable and both have height and tilt adjustment.
Swift has included other optional Fiat features as standard. The Bolero has a central storage compartment that is large enough to hold a laptop, a cold drink store (chilled by the optional air conditioning) and a pop-up map holder. There are roomy door pockets and a big glove box. For winter driving the in-’van heating ensures that the whole vehicle is kept at a pleasant temperature. The ’van has central locking but a feature of the Bolero is that this also includes the habitation door to provide extra assurance.

Lounging & dining

Inside the ‘van this simple, seamless design continues, achieving a smooth transition from the cab to the living area. The interior is well finished with good attention to detail – there are concertina blinds on the skylights and cab windows, a curved cupboard nestles beside the fridge, the speakers are neatly mounted in the ceiling and lights illuminate either side of the skylight. There is nothing of the chintzy, over-the-top look that some manufacturers seem to favour. Personally though, we would rather do without the net curtains.
The quality of the interior is excellent, too. All the internal doors feel solid and the door into the ‘van itself opens smoothly – it’s also damped to prevent any noisy slamming. However, the step up into the ‘van seems a little high.
Swift has installed a reasonably sized skylight over the lounge. There’s a large sunroof, which sadly doesn’t open, over the cab and together these provide good natural light throughout the whole of the ‘van. The only real downside to this is that you have to live without an overcab storage area, a space that many find perfect for storing bedding.
The lounge area is very comfortable, with two long sofas that could seat at least six people, so it’s ideal for entertaining. Also, by swivelling the two front seats 180˚, the lounge area can be used as two single beds instead. Wall lights positioned in the four corners of the lounge, each with individual switches, are great for bedtime reading.
There is a small coffee table that fixes at the side of the sofas and can be adjusted vertically, as well as angled horizontally. The long sofas also provide two large under-seat storage areas, although we felt that they would benefit from some internal partitions to make packing easier. There are good overhead storage facilities in the lounge area with three lockers along each side, all with adjustable shelves.
The LCD control panel was extremely user-friendly. As well as its basic on/off switches it’s also possible to use it as a timer for the hot water and heating. The ‘van plays DVDs and has Freeview TV, too (Vogue Pack).

Kitchen

We really like the neat, transverse kitchen layout at the rear of the ‘van, with the fridge tucked under the sink and next to the oven. The ’van’s cooker has a hotplate (useful when on hook-up) in addition to three gas burners, a grill and an oven. There is also a microwave (option) above the cooker. The 107-litre fridge is a good size and we appreciated the addition of a large salad drawer. The light under the units above the cooker and fridge is a nice touch.
However, while there is an opening skylight above the kitchen we were surprised that there was not an extractor fan, something that we consider essential. This seems a missed opportunity as many regularly use an extractor fan to remove cooking smells and to keep the ‘van cool at night during warm weather. Of course, it may be possible to fit one at a later date.
There is ample work surface and plenty of cupboard space, although we felt that some additional shelving would be beneficial. On the positive side, the dining table stores neatly in its own compartment within the large kitchen cupboard and the waste bin recessed into the habitation door is an excellent idea. We also liked the opening window in the door.

Sleeping

Using the backrests and cushions, the sofas come together to create large double bed (2.11 x 1.82m). It's fairly straightforward to make up - you just pull the slats under the cushions forward and out into the centre of the floor, before pulling the cushion bases into the middle and dropping the seat backs into the gap at the wall. No filler cushions are required, and the mattress is fairly flat and comfortable.

Washroom

Swift is rightly proud of the bathroom which is spacious and well fitted – attractive wood panelling adds to the feel of quality. Screens pull across the centre of the room, neatly forming a shower cubicle. With the screens open there is plenty of space to move around and a wooden duck board over the shower basin means you stand level with the rest of the ‘van’s floor. We were also pleased to see that apart from the under-sink storage there is a good-sized cupboard above the toilet.
To the left of the bathroom is a wardrobe. We thought it was rather small, though. If you enjoy winter touring, it’s not much use for hanging coats and waterproofs.

Storage

There's little overcab storage, but plenty of room under the two seats. There are no interior floor-level access flaps, but you can get into the nearside locker, which makes it handy for pitching equipment such as hook-up cables and so on. The wardrobe is small and not much use for long, bulky items. Kitchen and washroom storage areas are good for the sizes of the areas.

Technical specs

MTPLM3500kg
Payload565kg
Length6.54m21′5″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height2.77m9′1″
Waste water68L
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle, Bi-fold shower door
Heating
Truma Gas water heater

Verdict

The Bolero generally mixes style and practicality very well, and is well built into the bargain. With plenty of space for lounging and entertaining, it’s a fine place to spend time.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Looks; interior style; quality; kitchen; washroom

Cons

  • No overcab storage; no kitchen extractor fan; small wardrobe
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