Based on the Swift Escape, the Swift Lifestyle 664 dealer special from Marquis Motorhomes offers lots of space inside – but what extra kit do you get?
Marquis Motorhomes is the UK’s biggest leisure vehicle dealership, with 11 sites spread across the UK, from Southampton all the way up to Preston and Durham. Its many forecourts are home to some of the UK’s biggest franchises, including Auto-Trail, Elddis and Swift, but the firm, owned by Auto-Sleepers, also sells two ranges of dealer special editions.
For those not familiar with the concept, dealer specials are up-specced versions of popular mainstream motorhomes, which offer buyers enhanced kit lists and appealing extras for only a modest increase in price, facilitated by the buying power of the retailer. Added-value items will typically include upgrades to the base vehicle, dual-fuel cookers, canopy awnings and alternative upholstery designs.
Marquis Motorhomes offers two dealer special editions – the Swift Escape-based Lifestyle, on test here, and the Elddis Autoquest-based Majestic. Most popular layouts are represented in each range but there are subtle differences between them: Majestic is based on the Peugeot Boxer, for example, while Lifestyle rides on the Fiat Ducato.
The four-berth Lifestyle 664 carries a fixed rear bed and corner washroom plus a nearside kitchen and half-dinette. We had the opportunity to run a 664 as a long-term test ’van last year, but to see how it fared in live-in test conditions, we took it to the Walton-on-Thames Camping and Caravanning Club site in Surrey.
The moulded overcab section aesthetically joins the driver’s cab to the habitation, while at the rear, Swift designers have opted for a flat rear wall with high-level brake light and automotive-looking light clusters. Black window surrounds are cut into the sidewalls, with all-white hatches and locker doors. The single-piece habitation door has no window but it does have a substantial lock. Although the ’van sits quite low, an electrically operated step offers easy access to the living quarters.
Moving inside, the mid-toned cabinetwork is retained from the Swift Escape but the soft furnishings design is different. The chocolate-coloured upholstery with biscuit-coloured accents has been reversed, so there’s now a greater expanse of light brown than chocolate. ‘Lifestyle’ replaces ‘Escape’ in the insets under the dinette seat headrests, and light brown curtains with a brown and red flower design feature, in place of Escape’s darker brown ones.
On the road
The Ducato’s cab offers a commanding driving position with a good view to the front, while the large side mirrors give a good picture looking rearwards. The A-pillars are quite wide, though, so care has to be taken when looking out for other vehicles when approaching junctions and roundabouts.
In transit, the 664 drives well – our testers round it quite nippy, in fact, with good fuel economy. The engine can be loud at times, when accelerating up a hill, for example, but rarely overpowering enough to drown out a conversation. When laden with touring kit, road noise from the habitation was not too obtrusive, save for the occasional clatter of a grill pan or oven shelving when tackling a bumpy road.
Thanks to the offside half-dinette seating, travel seats match the number of berths. There’s plenty of available legroom for both adults and children – our testers carried both types of passenger in comfort.
Lounging & dining
With a window mounted in each sidewall, the lounge has a bright and roomy atmosphere, and a spotlight next to each window will provide extra lighting on demand. A rooflight in the middle of the lounge allows even more natural light to enter. Just forward of this, there’s a round light in the ceiling for added illumination.
For mealtimes, a folding dinette table can be deployed. This stores under the fixed bed at the rear and is easy to put up and fold away. In use, it’s sturdy enough and looks suited to the rigours of touring.
A TV point including a plug socket is located on the bulkhead behind the driver’s seat. It takes a feed from the omnidirectional Status aerial which can be raised and lowered from inside the wardrobe on the nearside.
Food preparation space comes courtesy of a hinged glass lid for the cooker and a drop-in cover for the round sink. As the half-dinette backs into the kitchen worktop, no tip-up extension to the work surface is available, but the folding dinette table could be called into use.
A combined extractor grille and rooflight is located in the middle of the gangway to rid the area of any lingering cooking odours. A pair of 230V sockets is located to the left-hand side of the galley – ideal for a kettle or toaster.
Further forwards, there’s the option of a make-up double in the lounge, which measures 2.08m x 1.24m, tapering to 0.93m (6’10” x 4’1”/3’1”). This is created by dropping the lounge table, pulling out a slats frame from the nearside sofa and rearranging the seat cushions – plus a couple of filler cushions – to fill the space. It’s the ideal area for children or teenagers.
Concertina windscreen blinds are provided to darken the lounge for sleeping; silver screens are used for the cab’s side windows – these attach via press studs and effectively block light ingress. For privacy, a brown curtain can be pulled across from the end of the kitchen area to divide both sleeping areas.
The shower compartment is between the vanity unit and the toilet, sited adjacent to the rear wall of the motorhome. The shower itself has a mixer tap mounted at waist height.
Our testers found that the 65-litre internal fresh-water tank could provide a few decent showers without needing to be refilled. Having this ability will be less important if you mostly stay at full facility sites.
Seven overhead lockers are located around the 664, with two in the bedroom and kitchen, plus two in the lounge. The bedroom gets a handy overhead storage cubby, between the overhead lockers. The cab roof pod gets a pair of corner cubbies and further storage is available under the nearside lounge sofa.
A retractable electric step aids access to the vehicle, which received a new exterior graphics scheme for 2014. Other extras include a roll-out awning, pleated windscreen blind and concertina flyscreen for the habitation door.
Communications and entertainment system upgrades include Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones, and a USB socket for hooking up portable media devices. A directional Status TV aerial is mounted on the roof.
Also on the kit list is a Trumastore dual-fuel water heater and Truma 3kW gas space heater with Truma Ultraheat blown-air distribution, a Thetford C260 swivelling toilet, a 65-litre fresh water tank and an underslung 68-litre waste water tank. There are three mains 230V sockets. It also comes with a Thatcham-approved tracker
|Layout||Rear corner bed|
|Fresh/waste water||65L / 55L|
|Leisure battery||80 Ah|
|Gas bottle size||7kg|
|Number of gas bottles||2|
Thetford C-250 toilet
If you’re looking for a motorhome with a popular layout from a leading manufacturer and want to maximise your value for money, then dealer specials make wise buys: a large retailer with real purchasing power makes savings on sourcing optional extras and passes them on to the end user.
In this particular example, the Swift Group's Escape motorhome was used as the starting point for a range of dealer specials made for Marquis Motorhomes. You will find branches of Marquis Motorhomes all over the country. The Swift Lifestyle 664 benefits from a range of tempting extras over and above the motorhome that it’s based on for £4000 (at the time of our live-in test). It’s a great way of getting desirable base-vehicle upgrades, multimedia connectivity and other items including a wind-out awning in one fell swoop – in this case on a sub-3500kg motorhome with a tried and tested, flexible four-berth floor plan.
- It's a very capable four-berth
- Six people can relax in the lounge
- Marquis has included a lot of extras for the money
- Lots of storage
- Good value for money
- Compact wet room does the job
- Good kitchen with a proper oven
- The French bed is bookended by the wardrobe and headboard
- The washroom door steals a corner of the fixed bed