16:09 Tuesday 09 October 2012

Motorhome with a sense of adventure

Written byGareth Butterfield

IF YOU’RE the sort of person that cherishes a sense of adventure, but is reluctant to abandon all creature comforts, then a motorhome is for you.

Swift Lifestyle 624, Euro V 130bhp 2.3 litre, £39,881 on the road
Swift Lifestyle 624, Euro V 130bhp 2.3 litre, £39,881 on the road

Over the last few years they’ve become an extremely popular sight on the roads as people look for new ways to invest in affordable holidays and turn to motorhomes for their strong residual value and relatively accessible levels of luxury.

I’ve always thought that modern motorhomes have come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years and to explore this theory I arranged a test of one of the best models in the range offered by the largest multisite dealership in the UK, Marquis Motorhomes.

The model I borrowed, for a short trip round the south west of the country, was a Lifestyle 624, which is made in partnership with caravan and motorhome giant Swift.

Based around a Fiat Ducato van, the 624 is part of a range of five layout and size options and is well-suited to a couple but can comfortably take a small family thanks to its five-berth setup and full seatbelts in the rear.

This particular model is set around an end kitchen/bathroom layout, which means the middle is entirely open for seating and it frees up space for a large settee and a table between two two-seater sofas. Both of which will become beds if needed.

Another fold-away double bed is found above the cab, accessible by a ladder. It’s slightly awkward to get to and a tad cramped but my wife and I preferred using this as a bed as it freed up space in the main areas of the vehicle.

Motorhome and caravan design really has evolved brilliantly and it means cupboard space can be found everywhere — overhead, underneath, out the back — if you want to bring something there’s bound to be a home for it somewhere.

This doesn’t mean living space is cramped inside, however. The design is very clever and allows plenty of space to move around and there are plenty of windows to let light in.

Most things, including the built-in fridge, can be powered off a seperate leisure battery, which charges while you’re moving, and there’s space for two gas bottles and an electrical socket for powering everything from a mains supply while at home or on a campsite.

Some things work better off gas, like the heating for example, while for others you’ll need to find a powerpoint — like the household plug sockets. But the leisure battery holds up well for a few nights and the water tank is a good size.

Driving the Lifestyle 624 is every bit as easy as driving the Fiat Ducato on which it’s based.

It has a powerful engine, light controls, essential luxuries including air conditioning, cruise control and even bluetooth and despite its size it handles very well.

Life in a motorhome is an absolute joy and, if you feel like taking the plunge and re-igniting your own sense of adventure, it’s well worth speaking to Marquis about the Lifestyle range.

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