The Swift Bessacarr 599 is a low line motorhome from UK manufacturer “The Swift Group”. The ‘van recently won the title “Best Motorhome for Couples” at the Practical Caravan and Practical Motorhome 2018” awards. With a high spec’, amazing fuel economy and a bed to match many a five star hotel, it’s not difficult to see why. The low line front features a large opening vent – this floods the van with daylight giving the cab area a bright and cheerful feel. Alde heating, fresh & grey tanks with frost protection and soft close cabinets add to the top end specification for this motorhome.
Swift Bessacarr 599 – the layout
From the nearside entrance habitation door, to the left we have a side facing bench seat with dinette opposite. Both front seats swivel to create a cosy lounge. The forward located TV point has connections for both RF and satellite receivers. A centre galley, separate shower cubicle, toilet and wash basin adjacent and then the key feature, the rear island bed. Additionally, the Swift Bessacarr 599 is available with parallel front seating vice the dinette. In dinette form, the motorhome has a total of four belted travelling seats. Consequently, the dinette layout may appeal to families or perhaps those wishing to take the grand children travelling. Noteworthy of a mention, the table is solid and secure, both when in use and also when “on the run”. As a result, there is no travelling noise from this travelling companion.
130 horses take to the road
The motorhome is powered by the Fiat 2.3 litre MultiJet in 130 bhp form. This output coped well with most driving requirements. Our run to Italy features motorway, cross country, inter urban and mountain pass routes. The six speed manual gearbox helps to keep the fuel economy in check. Even with this low mileage ‘van, we acheived 36 mpg over a 297 mile stretch, with the average over 2500 miles coming in at 31.9 mpg. However, and unsually, the Fiat computer appears to over estimate the fuel used. We calcuated our fuel consumption to be closer to 33 mpg over all, based on “fill to the neck” on each filling.
The Fiat cab features electric windows and mirrors, radio with USB connections, 12v socket and swivel seats. We have the optional air conditioning and cruise control fitted which forms part of the “Lux pack”. (Noteworthy of a mention, the upgrade pack also includes the Status 570 TV aerial). Smart ten spoke black and silver alloys, plus a rear view and reverse view camera complete the set up. The camera is operational when driving forward giving a clear view to the rear, with a second, more specific view when reversing. The camera can be switched off or left on when driving forwards.
A-la carte & a-la Bessacarr!
The L-shape kitchen features a Dometic cooker with gas oven, gas grill, three gas burners and an electric boiling ring. The stove features a tight fitting lid. This ensures a rattle free journey! Dometic also provide the fridge in the form of the new “9” series with removable freezer box. This fridge is the slimline version, measuring 462 mm across, yet offers generous food storage inside. Above the fridge, a decent size cupboard – ideal for sauce pans and the like. Additionally, below the fridge, another good size storage place – we have named this the “shoe box” – as numerous pairs of shoes and flip flops live here! Mobile chefs will also enjoy the microwave oven.
Two further over head lockers – complete with crockery and mug store – complete the scene for the chef on wheels. The solar panel regulator is also in the overhead cupboard. A cutlery drawer is contained within the under counter cupboard. The cooking area is well lit – a LED strip light and also back lighting around the window aperture. Above, a 12 volt fan operates on a pull-push system – it can draw fresh air in or be used to extract stale air. We found this excellent for providing a refreshing breeze whilst in the warm Italian sun.
Swift Bessacarr 599 – splash time
Moving towards the rear, the Bessie offers a separate shower with lighting. Opposite, the sink and toilet, warmed with an Alde radiator. Interestingly, the toilet door when open forms a solid partition between the living area and sleeping/bathing area of this high end ‘van. The toilet/washroom has plentiful lighting, low and high level cupboards and shelving. Overhead, a mini heki for ventilation.
Good night sweetheart, goodnight Swift Bessacarr 599
The creme de la creme of this 8.11 metre long motorhome is the rear sleeping quarters. The bed measures 4’6″ across – the same size as a domestic UK ‘double’. Top to bottom, the bed measures a generous 6’6″. Consequently, after allowing for the round corners at the foot of the bed, this bed is still a good size and very comfortable.
Two wardrobes offer illuminated hanging space, whilst two high level cupboards add to the storage. At the foot of the bed, a floor mounted cupboard at each side of the bed. The near side has provision for the second TV point whilst on the offside, a further mains socket and lighting controls – we chose this area as our holiday bar! The bed lifts up on gas struts and houses the spare wheel. Although some storage space is taken by the spare, there is still plenty of room for cases of wine, spare bedding and the like. Personally, we like the location of the spare. Imagine dark wet January night and NOT having to crawl under the van to free a spare from the chassis!
External features and storage
Outside, the Swift Bessacarr 599 offers good storage provision. A half garage at the rear is accessed from both sides, whilst an external panier locker and side locker complete the provision. It looks almost as if the side locker is made to measure for levelling chocks! We love the shelf within this locker – it’s the small details that make all the difference. We store dirty items such as the chocks and hook up lead on the bottom shelf, with the top shelf reserved for fresh water filling gear.
The Bessie has an external 12 volt socket to allow connection of a pump to aid filling the fresh water tank. We use a 40 litre water hog for this purpose – the same sort of thing caravanners use. Noteworthy of a mention, the rear under-bed half garage – the water barrel lives here in the upright position, alongside our Hoover! The rear locker is approximately 90 centimeters wide and is of course, the width of the motorhome.
The gas locker will house 2 x 13kg Calor cylinders, although we are using 2 x 7kg at present. We will switch over to Safefill in due course.
Exterior windows are from the Dometic family and cleverly feature a “self holding” position when open. Open the window and that’s it – no more reaching out to turn the locking mechanism.
Swift Bessacarr 599 – in summary
As per the award for “couples van of the year 2018”, we agree with this acclaim, yet there is space for a couple of stowaways if needed! Excellent fuel economy, good stability on the road with no “buffeting” when overtaking lorries, a pleasant driving position and minimal road noise lead to a relaxing job for the chauffeur.
However, there is another feature that really moves this motorhome into the league of the big boys. The fresh and waste tanks each have to push button control for easy, remote emptying. Now that’s magic!
Kontiki owners may wish to read our review of our 2015 Black Edition – click here. We hope her new owner enjoys the van like we did.