Mike Le CaplainSee other motorhome reviews written by Mike Le Caplain
Read the Practical Motorhome review of the 2015 Swift Escape 696, a very practical six-berth 'van with a good sized overcab sleeping area
When it comes to affordable, yet stylish and well-equipped motorhomes for a big brood, Roller Team tended to be the choice of budget-conscious families. Swift clearly decided it wanted a share of this end of the market, and launched its own contender – the Escape – at the NEC show in February 2009. This was a bespoke budget ’van with a singular style inside and out. Those core values haven’t changed, although customer demands have seen spec increase.
On the road
We put 400 miles on our Swift Escape 696 and subjected it to all road types, from motorways to twisty country lanes. With oven and microwave shelving removed, on-road noise was muted.
The 2.3-litre engine feels brisk and willing, while cruising in sixth gear at motorway speeds is quiet and refined. Fuel levels tended to drop alarmingly during our drive, but ‘ours’ was an early example with very few miles on the clock.
Handling is as impressive as ever and while the ride is on the firm side, this bolsters stability. Better yet, there’s little disruptive nocturnal suspension bounce whenever someone turns over in bed or visits the loo.
Lounging & dining
Lighting is ample throughout, with four individually switched halogens and three bigger roof-mounted dome lights, one each over the lounge, kitchen and rear bedroom areas. Each fixed bed has a reading light, though there are only two power sockets.
Storage is good in the Swift Escape 696, with a cutlery drawer and floor space beneath the sink, a drawer and more floor space beneath the hob, and two roof lockers.
The overcab bedroom is surprisingly accommodating, with an opening window positioned at the foot end, and a narrow, but full-width shelf for phones, spectacles and the like. Headroom is reasonable, and, as with the rear bunks, privacy is assured by a pair of curtains.
Similarly, some may think that 60-litre water tanks are on the small side for up to six people on tour, but this is less of an issue if site facilities are being used.
|Fresh/waste water||60L / 60L|
|Leisure battery||75 Ah|
|Gas tank size||7kg|
|Number of gas tank compartments||2|
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
If you’re looking for a practical six-berth 'van, then the Swift Escape 696 should be top of your list – it’s smart, spacious, good to drive and well designed. The optional Comfort Pack should help re-sale values, too.
- Both the fixed bunks are a good size, as is the overcab double
- Swift Group's SMART construction
- Kitchen storage space is good
- The worktop extension obstructs the entrance door
- Access to the overcab might be tricky with the lower bed made up