Swift mini-camper van packs work-to-weekend flex and pop-out bathroom
British road trip and holiday specialist Swift Group has a range of mobile homes that runs the spectrum from prefab holiday houses to small micro-camper trailers. Its latest offering, the all-new Monza is a mini-camper van that slots in toward the smaller end of that lineup as a 196-in Ford Tourneo Custom that can comfortably split the difference between everyday MPV and family getaway RV. Its versatile floor plan includes a flexible three-seat rear bench, fully loaded kitchen block, and user-friendly outdoor bathroom with pop-out portable toilet and shower.
The Ford Transit/Tourneo Custom has long struck us as the Goldilocks of Ford camper van base vehicles. Not so tiny as to necessitate the outdoor slide-out kitchens of the Transit Connect, and not so big and bulky out on the highway and trail as the full-size Transit, the Custom feels like just the right balance of on-road maneuverability and at-camp comfort and flexibility, as exemplified by Ford's own Nugget and Nugget Plus.
With the new Monza, Swift has used the Tourneo Custom in a classic midsize camper layout with a couple of clever twists. The five-seater relies on a floor rail-mounted rear bench that can adjust forward or backward as needed. So during the week or on a gear-heavy ride to camp, it can slide forward to clear out plenty of cargo space in back. At camp, it slides back to add legroom and create a comfortable mini-lodge on wheels.
The three seats on Reimo's Variotech 3000 rear bench are likely to be a little cramped for adults or older children because the bench width is narrowed to make room for the driver-side kitchen and wardrobe. A modern block with rounded edges and neutral colors, the kitchen is compact but generously equipped, carrying a dual-burner stove and sink combo, 42-L fridge and available broiler grill. Those who prefer to cook outside can take advantage of the BBQ hookup.
Once dinner's ready, the interior transforms into a dining room with help from the swivel cab seats, adjustable rear bench and generously sized freestanding dining table. At night, the table stores back away behind the seats, and the bench folds out into an 81 x 44-in (205 x 111-cm) bed. The second bed in the sleeper pop-top offers 74 x 43-in (189 x 110-cm) of sleeping area, giving the Monza a total of four berths.
Perhaps our favorite part of the Monza design comes on the outside. What at first looks like a design flaw – a kitchen block that takes up the entire driver-side sliding doorway – becomes the Monza's best feature, a convenient outdoor bathroom area. Swift has put a water hookup on the outside of the kitchen, supporting an outdoor shower/hose, and tucked a portable toilet away in a lower compartment on the outside of the kitchen block, making it easy to grab and use in the great outdoors. The only thing missing to make it the perfect mini-camper van outdoor bathroom is a roof-mounted drop-down privacy tent, like the Peregrine from 23Zero.
The Monza comes standard with a 95-Ah leisure battery charged with help from a 100-W solar panel. Also included as standard equipment are the 2.2-kW Eberspacher diesel heater, 40-L fresh and waste water tanks, and electrical control panel with USB ports. The camper is built atop a Tourneo Custom Titanium trim with 128-hp (94-kW) 2.0-liter Ford EcoBlue engine and six-speed manual transmission. Buyers can upgrade with an available automatic transmission and 167-hp (123-kW) engine.
Swift plans to launch the Monza this month, and on-the-road (OTR) pricing starts at £58,395 (approx. US$79,000).
Source: Swift Group