The Iconic VW T2 Goes Electric
Not only is the Swift Rio 320 smart – its construction is SMART: Strong, Modern, Aerodynamic, Resilient, Tested – and signifies that Swift has joined the many manufacturers leaving traditional wooden-framed coachbuilding behind, moving to impervious polyurethane structures. Though a big, solid GRP structure, the Rio’s tailgate rises easily on gas struts. The habitation door forms part of the remote central locking system (as does the tailgate) and allows easy access via a recessed step. It has a darkened window, a bin, a horizontal grab bar and a full flyscreen – and a door stay prevents any collision with the cab door. Inside, the layout is similar to many van conversions – swivelling cab seats forming a small front lounge, wardrobe then washroom on the offside, with linear kitchen unit opposite and, beyond, twin inward-facing settees. The captain’s style seats are extremely comfortable and fully adjustable. With solid rear panels becoming the norm in modern motorhomes, good rear vision in the internal mirror through a large back window made a pleasant change – and better still, the moulding above the tailgate is ready for the rear-view camera. The long wheelbase, coupled with a short overhang and Fiat’s low-and-wide Camper chassis provides good stability, with no turbulence problems when passing lorries on the motorway. For a couple, the Rio offers generous, comfortable seating, in two separate areas. The front lounge, slightly raised above the main floor, but with ample foot-room, comprises the swivelled cab seats with a small, pole-mounted table and a useful storage unit on the offside. At the rear, two 6ft settees are perfect for sprawling and watching a wall-mounted TV which we can offer. The settee cushions are very comfortable, and ideal for sitting around the free-standing table. You’d perhaps expect a British motorhome’s kitchen to outclass its continental competitors and the Rio 320 doesn’t disappoint, providing everything required for culinary excellence. The cooker has three gas burners and a mains hotplate (all at the same level for easy sliding of pans), plus an oven and separate grill. A microwave, sensibly situated above the sink, rather than the cooker, is at 1.60m (5ft 3in) and beneath the sink is a fridge with removable freezer. There’s plenty of work surface, plus a lift-up flap by the hob. A strength of the classic rear lounge layout is the ease of bed-making. Maybe it lacks the immediacy of a fixed bed, but there’s nothing arduous about removing a couple of backrest cushions to the cab – all that’s required in the Rio for two single beds, the nearside with a six-foot mattress, the offside an inch longer. The settee cushions are split, their smaller sections adjacent to the washroom/kitchen sitting on fixed, non-extending bases. For a double bed, simply draw the main settee bases towards each other and use the two backrest cushions to infill the centre, giving a quickly-made transverse double.