Niall Hampton
Editor

See other motorhome reviews written by Niall Hampton

Family fun is on the cards with the twin-lounge Escape 685 that's a compact 7m long and a handy 3500kg, but still has the space to ensure domestic bliss

Overview

Swift Group’s Escape has been a perennial best-seller for seven seasons.

It’s popular with buyers on a budget, is a bedrock of motorhome hire fleets and a trusty base for many dealer special editions.

However, it’s ‘all change’ for 2017, with the biggest revision in Escape’s history.

There are no more overcab sections: all Escape models are now low-profiles. The line-up expands to eight, with six new models, including this, the 685.

With lounges front and back, the Swift Escape 685 packs in five belted travel seats and six berths over a 6.92m body length, riding on a 3500kg chassis with a 605kg user payload.

Design

Exteriors get a cleaner look, with a refreshed logo, simplified sidewall graphics and, in the case of the 685, an all-in-one GRP moulded rear panel.

SMART Plus bodyshell construction features, with hard-wearing GRP sidewalls.

Fiat’s low-frame Ducato chassis is adopted, so there’s no need for an entrance step.

On the road

The Ducato base vehicles now have the latest Fiat 2.3-litre turbodiesel powerplant, which uses EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) to meet the Euro 6 emissions standard.

The low-frame Fiat chassis offers improved roadholding, but there’s another advantage to using the Ducato: buyers can choose the ComfortMatic robotised gearbox as a cost option (it’s only available alongside the optional Comfort Pack).

Lounging & dining

Moving inside, the Swift Escape 685 has a distinctive layout.

There’s a half-dinette at the front, and a U-shaped lounge at the rear.

In addition to the two belts in the cab, three travel seats are located in the front dinette (two front-facing and one rear-facing), making five in total.

The 685 is certainly a bona fide large-families ’van. To the left as you enter, the half-dinette can seat up to five (or seven when the cab seats are rotated) around a central table that can easily be removed for cab access.

Large windows on either side compensate for the lack of a rooflight (thanks to the drop-down bed above); all lighting is low-energy LEDs.

The rear U-shaped lounge, with triple-aspect windows and a large rooflight, should never feel dingy. Just add a single-leg table to convert the space for use at mealtimes.

Kitchen

The nearside L-shaped galley has the sink mounted at a right-angle to the three-burner hob, atop a combination oven and grill.

Above is a microwave oven, while Dometic’s on-trend skinny fridge stands on the other side of the gangway.

It’s a well equipped, compact space, and a tip-up worktop extension to the right of the hob is also available.

Sleeping

The Swift Escape 685 has one permanent fixed bed: it’s a manually operated drop-down double above the lounge, and measures 1.93 x 1.27m (6’4” x 4’2”).

Like all Swift Group fixed beds, the mattress is a Duvalay Duvalite (memory foam).

Underneath it is a make-up double bed, plus there is another large make-up double in the rear lounge.

Washroom

Accepting that users will most likely stay on full-facility sites, the 685’s washroom provides all the essentials, but in the familiar multi-function format where the shower tray doubles as the toilet floor.

To the right as you enter is a corner sink and vanity unit, with a swivelling cassette toilet at the opposite end.

Between the two is the shower attachment, which runs off its own supply rather than sharing the sink’s tap.

A wraparound curtain will prevent spray from reaching the room’s wooden surfaces.

For the 2017 touring season, Escape washrooms have been fitted with new vanity units and improved lighting.

Storage

With 605kg to play with, Swift’s Escape 685 has a respectable user payload – but carrying five people on the road could account for up to 300kg of that.

Drivers with C1 licence entitlement can bump up the payload by 200kg with the 3700kg chassis upgrade (£99).

Choose from 10 overhead lockers, a half-length floating wardrobe, three large cupboards in the kitchen and a vanity unit in the washroom to stow your touring kit in.

Equipment

As standard, Escape cabs feature DAB radio plus Bluetooth and USB connectivity, central cupholders and a tablet stand.

Habitation kit includes Truma Combi 4kW dual-fuel space and water heating, drop-in carpets and LED lighting throughout, plus three 230V sockets.

The Comfort Pack costs £1695 and includes cab air-con, a passenger airbag, cruise control, reversing sensors, an overcab rooflight, pleated windscreen blinds and a Winter Pack (waste-water-tank heaters, underfloor pipe insulation and fridge vent covers).

Further options include Fiat’s ComfortMatic transmission (£1750, and only available in conjunction with the Comfort Pack).

Technical specs

Sleeps6
Travel seats5
MTPLM3500kg
Payload605kg
Length6.92m22′8″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height2.88m9′5″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water100L / 68L
Leisure battery80 Ah
Gas tank size13kg
Number of gas tank compartments1
Gas bottle size7kg
Number of gas bottles1
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Heating
Truma Combi heater

Verdict

Under 7m, with two fine lounges for multi-generational touring, a kit list that covers pretty much everything and priced just below the psychological £50k barrier…

Escape just gets better and better.

And to see other Swift motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • A great and truly usable motorhome for family touring
  • The compact kitchen is well equipped
  • Its sub-7m length and 3500kg MTPLM

Cons

  • The washroom might make full-facility sites a must
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