Andrew McPhee

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Read the Practical Motorhome Swift Sundance 630L review

Overview

Swift’s Sundance range is a popular entry to the motorhome market, being a big-selling range from the UK’s largest motorhome manufacturer.

The 7.5m 630L is the biggest ’van in the range, along with the 630G garage model. For our low-season outing, the large rear-lounge of the 630L was the more suitable of the two. At £37,020 it’s comparable with Auto-Trail’s £40,000 Apache 700SE.

Design

The Sundance range sports new decals for 2006, in silver and burgundy, reminiscent of Swift’s Kon-Tiki range.
Glossy GRP sidewalls make for a surface resistant to light bumps and knocks, while the aluminium side skirts look smart and hardwearing. The mouldings on the prow of the overcab and across the roofline at the rear of the ’van provide a home for the sidelights, and minimise the visual impact of the vehicle’s considerable size.
External storage is limited to the small locker under the rear seat bench, on the nearside. It’s adequate for storing ramps, mains cables and hosepipes but the narrow opening puts your knuckles at risk while packing and unpacking.
Access to services is pretty good, but while on the move the waste tap gets caked in gunk. Also, having the mains cable next to the living-area entry door means you need to ensure that it’s tucked out of the way of people’s feet.

On the road

It’s easy for us to get blasé about the Fiat Ducato base vehicle as we see so many of them, but despite it being a little long in the tooth, it still does a good job on tour. With the 2.8-litre option, it pulls strongly and we were pleased at how composed the 630L remained during crosswinds and while jockeying for position in the slow lane. The addition of ABS to the standard specification for Swift’s 2006 models is welcome, and we felt it kicking in on one or two occasions, on the slippery moorland roads. Added to that, the standard fittings of electric windows, mirrors and central locking meant we had little to complain about.
The only things that still frustrate us are the limited rake adjustment of the steering wheel, the high driving position and draughts around the cab doors. However, these are Fiat, rather than Swift, issues.

Lounging & dining

Being a rear-lounge motorhome the wraparound seating is a great spot to spend the evening and the U-shaped arrangement is brilliantly sociable. There is no means of securing a television but an aftermarket TV stand would do the trick. A bonus, however, is the dedicated space for a DVD player.
When dining, the front dinette has space for four to eat in comfort. The spacious rear seats are more comfortable for this number, although the table is a touch small and makes access awkward while it is in place. Spotlights illuminate both seating areas and there are plenty of rooflights.
The Truma mains electric/gas blown-air space heating was effective at maintaining warmth during cold weather.

Kitchen

For such a large vehicle, kitchen space is a little tight. The Stoves floor-to-counter cooker has three gas burners and a single electric hotplate, along with a separate oven and grill. The glass top covering the hob is noisy on the road however, as are the various shelves, so a clutch of tea-towels are still needed to maintain on-road silence.
There is a dedicated locker for a microwave oven, with the heavy-duty mains wiring already in place.
Food storage space is limited to the tall locker cupboard between the fridge and cooker, but the racked roof lockers (for cups and plates) could hold lightweight food items, too.
A worksurface is provided to the right of the sink, but we would prefer one of the two spotlights under the cupboards to illuminate the area.

Sleeping

The 630L is a six-berth ’van, but the berths are three double beds so it’s not ideal for a family if the youngsters won’t ‘top and tail’.
The overcab bed is a good size for adults as well as kids, and has a one-piece foam mattress, sitting on slats.
The rear-lounge makes for the best bed, though: oriented across the ’van, it provides a large, flat, bed with a privacy curtain to partition the front lounge; and the TV shelf (next to the lounge) makes a great bedside table.
A handful of fillet cushions along with wooden extensions mean that the dinette bed is fiddly to make up – the finished berth, however, is commendably flat and supportive. The seat-belt mountings at either end of the bed make it tricky for taller users to get comfortable, though.

Washroom

The washroom is large, and has a storage cupboard at roof level, which we liked. It also has a Thetford swivel-bowl toilet but we were disappointed to find it mounted very low down at the leading edge of the washroom, which makes access a little tricky for the less limber among us.
There is a separate shower area provided, thanks to a swing-wall arrangement. This is latched against the wall and swings across the washroom to keep the toilet dry as you wash. It works fine, and also provides a greater washroom area whenever the shower unit is in use. Due to this, the wash-hand basin lacks conventional taps: instead, the showerhead performs double duty by dropping into the sink. For normal face washing and tooth cleaning, it is not a very user-friendly arrangement.

Storage

Storage spaces under the dinette bench seats are tricky to access due to the substantial seat-belt mountings and, in the case of the front locker, the fresh-water tank means there’s no reason to try.
There are lockers under the rear bench seats. The nearside unit allows external access in addition to doors along the toe-boards inside.
The wardrobe offers a wealth of half-height hanging space, and the shelf unit (suitable for a TV) has a deep-shelved cupboard in which heavy items may be stored. There is a clear-fronted cabinet above with wine bottle and glass storage, along with plenty of roof lockers.

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats5
MTPLM3850kg
Payload437kg
Length7.5m24′7″
Width2.22m7′3″
Height3m9′10″
Waste water80L
External Options
GRP sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas with electric hot plate
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

A comfortable, sociable lounge and winter-friendly specification make this a great low-season tourer. The big engine makes molehills out of mountains and it’s good to drive. For six, payload would be limited but we think the 630L is more likely to be used by a couple with a small family, in which case, loading capacity would be adequate.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Rear lounge; price

Cons

  • Low payload for four; low water capacity; six berths but only five belted seats
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