Niall Hampton
Editor

See other motorhome reviews written by Niall Hampton

New for 2016, the Swift Rio 325 has an innovative height-adjustable transverse bed over a rear garage and a fab kitchen, all in a sub-six-metre footprint

Overview

Swift’s Rio was one of the most distinctive British-made motorhome launches of 2014 (for the 2015 season). A low-profile coachbuilt sporting a rear tailgate to create an open aspect from the rear lounges, the inaugural 320 and 340 models have now been joined by two siblings.

Both eschew the tailgate, although the 325, which we are reviewing here, retains its innovation credentials with a height-adjustable transverse rear bed over a garage; the 5.99m-long 310 model has a parallel lounge and an end washroom.

Design

The USP of the Rio is its compact dimensions based on the footprint of a panel-van conversion. Sitting close to the ground, it obviates the need for an entrance step.

The overcab moulding sweeps back pleasingly into the habitation area and Swift’s designers have made good use of black accents to offset against the white cab and sidewalls. These feature in the overcab moulding, the headlight surrounds and the black radiator grille, plus the three-quarter length window in the habitation door. Swift’s house-style red bridges the gap between the two tones.

On the road

All Swift Rio motorhomes ride on the standard Fiat Ducato chassis cab. Motive power is provided by a 2.3-litre, 130bhp turbodiesel engine, which is more than up to the task of propelling the 2838kg MiRO ’van. Ride quality is good and, with a wheel at each corner, handling is assured. Power steering, driver and passenger airbags, ABS, daytime running lights and electronic brakeforce distribution all come as standard equipment.

Two belted seats in the dinette bring the total number of travel seats to four. Legroom in this position is agreeable and a large side window allows good sightseeing in transit.

Lounging & dining

The large sunroof over the cab brightens the Rio 325's dinette, already helped by the mid-tone cabinet work. These surfaces combine well with the oatmeal-and-brown upholstery, relieved by a turquoise accent. The light worktops match the unmistakably Swift Group beige mouldings overhead.

Extra guests can easily join you for meals and snacks, courtesy of a clip-on lounge table and swivelling front seats. The choice of seating will also work well for a couple, who can face each other rather than sitting side-by-side on a seat bench.

Kitchen

Equipment in the Rio 325’s kitchen is generous. A dual-fuel cooker, a separate oven and grill, and a fridge with a separate freezer compartment top the list, supported by a microwave oven and a circular sink. There’s style to go with the substance, too, thanks to an illuminated splashback and cream locker facings.

Preparation space is not extensive, but this should not present a hardship for tidy cooks. Close the cooker lids, fit the sink infill cover and extend the tip-up flap to the right of the cooker and there’s some decent work surface to play with. To the left of the worktop is a 230V socket that is ideal for toasters, a sandwich-maker or a coffee machine.

A rooflight above the microwave can rid the motorhome of cooking odours and steam.

Sleeping

When it's time to go to sleep in this two-berth ’van, you'll be accommodated in the transverse bed above the rear garage. It measures a respectable 1.85m x 1.3m (6ft 1in x 4ft 3in).

Washroom

On a body length of 5.99m, the Swift Rio 325's washroom was always going to have to be a multi-function space. Step into the combined shower tray and toilet floor where there’s a swivel, electric-flush Thetford.

Behind this is a moulded unit containing a sink and a mixer tap that doubles as the showerhead. A curtain on a U-shaped track keeps spray from the wooden door, and users also get a half-length mirror.

Storage

A rear garage, accessed only on the nearside, heads up the storage options in the Rio 325. Two lockers are fitted in the lounge, while two in the kitchen boast crockery racks. These are joined by a cutlery drawer, a narrow cabinet and a pan cupboard under the oven.

Three lockers hang on the rear wall above the bed. A wardrobe next to the bed features restrainers to stow the dining table in transit.

Equipment

Standard kit in the 325 includes pleated cassette blinds, flyscreens, roller blinds, removable carpets and LED lights throughout. A spare wheel is in an underslung carrier, the rear panel has fixing rails for a bike rack and a 100W solar panel sits on the roof.

Water and space heating are covered by a dual-fuel Truma Combi 4 with a digital control panel. Winter fridge vent covers, fresh- and waste-water tank heaters and underfloor waste pipe insulation are all included.

Among the cost options is the Lux Pack of cab air-con, cruise control and a Status 570 TV aerial (£995); this enables the upgrade to Fiat’s Comfort-Matic automatic gearbox (£1695). A reversing camera (£599) and detachable towbar (£595) are also available.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload662kg
Length5.99m19′8″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.78m9′1″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water86L / 68L
Leisure battery75 Ah
Gas tank size7kg
Number of gas tank compartments2
Kitchen Equipment
Oven, Separate grill, Microwave
Washroom
Shower curtain

Verdict

With a more conventional design – minus the rear tailgate – this new Swift Rio 325 should prove popular with traditionalists looking for a compact and well-equipped two-berth. In addition to the garage, there are plenty of storage options. And to see other Swift motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It handles well on the road and is very manageably sized
  • The kitchen is well equipped
  • Storage is good

Cons

  • The washroom is a touch compromised
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