With one exception – the vehicle that we review here, which we saw at the Swift factory – Swift’s Select Compact range is not new. It’s been rebadged from last season’s Escape Compact, aimed at buyers looking for a van conversion. At 2.26m wide, the Select Compacts are the same width as Swift’s Select van conversions.

The C500 is similar in layout to the C502, but instead of having two fixed singles at the back, it has a rear lounge. It’s really for those who are happy to deal with putting together a bed at night if it means they can have a larger area of relaxation and socialising.

The ‘van has alloys as standard and a reversing camera, although there’s a clear view through the rear window.

Standard Fiat Ducato cab, with double armrests on seats
Standard Fiat Ducato cab, with double armrests on seats

Two belted seats in the front dinette take this two-berth up to a four-seater for travel. They are very comfortable/ – Swift’s base cushions are largely free of any ridges, so the further seat isn’t a squeeze to get into.

The sunroof brings plenty of daylight in, and two sturdy swan-neck lights make the swivelled cab seats a perfect spot for reading. Those on the bench seats have to make do with one small spotlight embedded under the locker. But there are two USBs under this seat, and nearby are sockets for the TV.

The cab seats swivel to face the table in the front dinette
The cab seats swivel to face the table in the front dinette

The table has no extension, but it should be adequate for four.

Owing to the narrower than usual width of the ‘van, the rear lounge might feel a bit squeezed.

This could be a sacrifice that you are willing to make if the driving is easier, and it did make the Swift feel cosier on the rather wintry day when we viewed it. Ample natural light also floods in through the side and rear windows, and at night, the interior is nicely lit, with ambient light behind the lockers and four switched spotlights.

Comfortable lounge gains plenty of natural light from large windows at the rear and sides
Comfortable lounge gains plenty of natural light from large windows at the rear and sides

There are USB ports either side of the lounge, and another set below the central section of the U-shaped settee.

Kitchen workspace is good, even without the solid extension. The small curved shelf that now seems a standard feature of Swift’s cheaper ‘vans is here, and it’s a useful spot for a radio or kettle. There is also a Thetford Triplex oven and a microwave fitted as standard.

Kitchen features Swift's signature curved shelf and a useful extension for the worktop
Kitchen features Swift’s signature curved shelf and a useful extension for the worktop

There is a bit of a step to get into the washroom, which feels rather like an airline washroom, with an all-plastic cupboard and a long, narrow basin. There’s no separate shower: the shower head doubles up as the basin tap. There is a roof vent, though, and a large, well-lit mirror.

The single beds you can make out of the U-shaped settee are both long, at 6ft and 6ft 5in, but it’s also easy to pull out the platforms and make up a huge double. You can turn over the cushions, but they are attached to the slats with Velcro and the kneehole is very soft. The only downside is that making up the double means the mains socket and USB ports under the central part of the settee are pretty inaccessible.

Those settees serve remarkably well when it comes to storage. You can lift the slats and keep them up without having to remove the base cushions.

You can lift the settee slats without needing to remove the base cushions
You can lift the settee slats without needing to remove the base cushions

There is external access at the back, but you can also access it internally by lifting the slats. Apart from the heater in the offside corner, the area is clear. There are sizeable overhead lockers here and up front, and handy cubbyholes either side of the cab. The wardrobe is narrow for the clothes of two, as it stores the table, but there is a handy shelf behind the aerial fitting.

Airline style washroom has a sizeable lit mirror and a long, narrow handbasin
Airline style washroom has a sizeable lit mirror and a long, narrow handbasin

There’s enough space for stowing dishes and dry goods in the kitchen, with an overhead locker complete with crockery rack, and a drawer containing a cutlery tray under the oven. There is a pan locker below the latter which can take larger cooking equipment. The washroom cupboard is adequate for this class of vehicle.

PRACTICAL MOTORHOME SAYS…

Welcoming interior is well lit, with ambient light behind the lockers
Welcoming interior is well lit, with ambient light behind the lockers

The washroom isn’t huge, and while it’s great to see a microwave included, the kitchen might disappoint if you’re a really keen cook. However, you don’t notice the narrower width of the vehicle when you are relaxing in the comfortable rear lounge, and the beds are simply enormous. The C500 is a welcome addition to this range.

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