Andy Jenkinson

See other motorhome reviews written by Andy Jenkinson

How do you improve a motorhome range that's been popular for 10 years? The new twin-lounge 2016 Swift Bolero 744 PR shows how it's done

Overview

Motorhomes with end lounges are popular for all sorts of reasons, such as their spaciousness and the oceans of daylight that flood in. Another benefit is their flexibility, and Swift adds to this by offering a choice of two seating arrangements in its new Bolero 744 PR. 

This is the 10th year for the Bolero, a popular range in Swift's 2016 motorhome line-up. And what this model has in common with the three others in the range is the new-design GRP walls inside and outside, which clad Swift’s timber-free and water-resistant SMART Plus construction. 

The Bolero is built on a Fiat Ducato base vehicle. What distinguishes it most is the end lounge, where you can specify either parallel or wraparound seat benches when you order. 

Design

Although it boasts four berths – in two double beds that are assembled using the seats – the 744 PR will appeal to couples because of its spaciousness and year-round usability.

A roll-out sun canopy and exterior gas and mains points enhance outdoor living. A 100W solar panel can supplement the mains power supply, whose inlet is on the offside.

The control panel is above the habitation door. The power and lights can also be controlled remotely, as is the case with the Alde central heating system. It’s clever stuff but it may be too complicated for some users.

LEDs are used for the running and rear road lights. The GRP end panel has fitting points for a bicycle rack, while alloy wheels add to the Bolero’s snappy looks.

On the road

Drivers won’t believe the Swift is as large as it is, given how easy it is to pilot along narrow back roads. The 2.3-litre turbodiesel Fiat Ducato's 150bhp engine proved its worth on our test route, never falling short on power even over hilly sections.

Lounging & dining

The interior is as plush as the exterior is smart, and its parade of features is led from the rear. Our test ’van had a wraparound lounge, in Nirvana upholstery, part of which is SwiftShield – the manufacturer’s velvet-feel, stain-resistant fabric. Despite having only two loose cushions – four cushions would be better – it is comfortable for four.

Large side windows contribute plenty of natural light, while the LED units provide superb illumination at night. Ample overhead lockers and corner shelves are finished in oyster and Aralie Sen gloss, which gives the Bolero an upmarket feel. Mains and USB sockets round out the features.

The front lounge is just as inviting; the cab seats swivel to face rearwards, and the dining table pivots for use by those in the cab or parallel seats – all with excellent night-time lighting. If you’re touring as a family, this layout gives parents and children their own living spaces.

Kitchen

Swift’s nearside kitchen excels as well, led by its illuminated splashback and grey, scratch-resistant worktops, which are in generous supply. Also plentiful are the storage options, comprising overhead lockers, drawers and a cupboard.

The high-level of specification includes a microwave oven and a Dometic oven that is designed not to rattle while in transit. We felt the lid was quite stiff in use if you want to cook on the dual-fuel hob. The 190-litre fridge/freezer is big enough to take all the perishables you need for weekend breaks. The stainless-steel sink comes with a clip-on drainer.

Sleeping

The main rear lounge area is easily converted into a 2.01 x 1.85m (6'7" x 6'1") double bed using frames that are slid out from the parallel seat benches into the aisle. Alternatively, the seats can be used as 1.85 x 0.68m twin single beds.

The front lounge seats are made up into a double bed measuring 2.01 x 1.51m (6'7" x 4'11") using slide-out bases like those at the rear. Both lounges have TV brackets.

Washroom

Opposite the kitchen is a washroom comprising a good shower cubicle with an Ecocamel showerhead, an electric-flush toilet and a cupboard under the corner basin. Shelves bolster the storage provided, while well-planned night-time illumination and a radiator are fitted. The roof vent is the only source of daylight and ventilation, though; a window would have been a worthwhile addition.

Storage

Overhead lockers and shelves line almost every inch of ceiling, while the bed boxes at both ends have room for bedding and more. The wardrobe is the only real storage compromise; its hanging space is limited for two and stingy for four.

Equipment

The optional Vogue Pack (£1295) includes a bike rack, an aerial, cab air-con and a twin-view (two-lens) colour reversing camera.

Technical specs

LayoutRear lounge
Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM4250kg
Payload875kg
Length8.07m26′6″
Width2.38m7′10″
Height2.79m9′2″
Engine (capacity)2300
Engine (power)150
Fresh/waste water100L / 100L
Leisure battery100 Ah
Gas bottle size13kg
Number of gas bottles2
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Integral awning, Awning light
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 4-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill, Microwave
Washroom
Thetford C-200 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

The SMART Plus construction in the Bolero should give years of trouble-free service, while the gloss finish adds to its appeal. The enormous end lounge can easily handle four – or even six! And don’t forget the attractive interior, or the high spec throughout. The 2016 Swift Bolero 744 PR is a winner. And to see other Swift motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Rear lounge seats six
  • Twin lounges are ideal for families
  • Full oven, grill and four-burner hob
  • Microwave
  • Easy to drive
  • Swift's SMART construction means it's built to last
  • High spec, including Alde heating
  • Two big double beds
  • Sun canopy
  • Solar panel to boost your mains power

Cons

  • Wardrobe hanging space is limited
  • No window (just a rooflight) in the washroom
Share with friends

Follow us on

Recently added motorhomes for sale

Most recent motorhome reviews

The Practical Motorhome Marquis Majestic 196 review – 1 - Fitting six berths and six travel seats into a 3500kg motorhome is no mean feat – does it work? (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Swift Bessacarr 597 review – 1 - The ’van tested has an MTPLM of 3850kg, but there is a version with a 3500kg MTPLM (and a lower payload) – read more in our Swift Bessacarr 597 review (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)

Rapido 8094dF

£70,600OTR

The Practical Motorhome Rapido 8094dF review – 1 - You get a lot in this 3500kg MTPLM motorhome, but 3700kg and 4.4-tonne chassis upgrades are available (© Sarah Wakely/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome 2018 Auto-Trail Tracker LB Lo-Line review – 1 - The Auto-Trail Tracker LB is available in Lo-Line (as pictured) or Hi-Line form (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome 2018 Elddis Accordo 105 review – 1 - The Elddis Accordo 105's Azure Blue aluminium sidewalls are new for the 2018 touring season (© Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Chausson Flash 716 review – 1 - Priced from £49,500, this new five-berth low-profile from Chausson has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg (© Practical Motorhome)