The Swift Kontiki Black Edition is the fourth trans-bed, rear garage model motorhome to have come to earn a living with us. The layout works for us, both for short hops and longer term overseas touring. The layout essentially consists of a double bed above the cab – “the Luton bunk”, a rear double over the garage, a forward lounge, centre galley and centre washroom.
We’ve had the van just over one year, rattled up 13000 miles and had knocking on 180 nights away. Here is our review of travelling with a Swift Kontiki Black Edition.
180 horses under the bonnet
The Swift Kontiki Black Edition stands proudly on six alloy wheels and runs on the Al-Ko chassis. Fiat’s “mighty 3.0 litre Multi-Jet” provides the power. With a six speed manual gearbox, both performance and fuel economy are impressive for a five tonne ‘van. The three litre engine is an upgrade to the standard specification 2.3 litre variant. I’m a believer in more is better when referring to “poke”. Certainly this three litre Multi-Jet can pack the punches on long motorway hills and even mountain passes.
The motorhome is always heavy but despite this, acceleration is effortless and the ‘van is up to motorway cruising speed within moments. A recent check at a local weigh bridge showed my mass in running order standing at 4860 kg, against a 5000 kg maximum. This “mass” included occupants, luggage, 2 x 13 kg gas cylinders, water, full tank of diesel and a tremendous amount of clutter on board, including a washing machine and a self-seeking satellite dish!
My overall fuel economy since taking ownership of the 679 is just under 28 mpg. Fuel economy seems to be about ten per cent better than the previous “Luton” style motorhome that I owned. This can only be good for the pocket and the environment. The earlier three litre models were 160 bhp as standard. Our 2015 Swift Kontiki Black Edition features the Euro V engine with 180 bhp.
The TAG axle holds the road well and “buffeting” when overtaking lorries and coaches is minimal. The cab area features electric front windows, electrically adjusted and heated external door mirrors, power steering, ABS, twin airbags and a decent size reverse facing monitor. It’s worth mentioning that the rear monitor has two cameras – one downward facing for when reversing, and the other, as demonstrated in the photograph below, shows what is going on behind you when you are driving!
Cab air conditioning is also standard, along with internal blinds to all cab windows. A glove box is available for storage of maps and so on, together with another small storage area within the upper area of the dash. Centre stage is the radio incorporating USB slot and AUX connection. A cigarette lighter, twelve volt power socket and twin cup holders complete the picture.
Lounging and dining inside a Swift Kontiki Black Edition
The Swift Kontiki 679 layout consists of forward lounge – L shape seating group, swivel front seats and a longitudinal bench seat. The longitudinal seat lifts and is supported on struts to reveal another storage area. Beneath the front cab/passenger seat resides the vehicle jack, whilst under the driver’s seat there is a space that I use to store high viz vests, warning triangle and a first aid kit.
Five overhead cupboards add to the storage capabilities. Each cupboard has a fitted shelf. Note the VERY convenient location of the Sargent EC450 power supply unit. This gives the user easy access to check for reverse polarity for example. We like to be able to monitor the input from the standard-fit 120 watt solar system.
There are a total of four 230v power points in the lounge. Interestingly, two of these are within the cab area. These two power sockets are ideal for the ‘phone charger or the laptop. This simple yet effective feature means I can use the laptop whilst sitting in the swivel front seats, without trailing wires here, there and everywhere. There is a 230v power point and a 12v socket adjacent to the TV point. Further power points, both 12 and 230 volts are available under the L-shaped seating.
Entertainment in the lounge comes from the TV-point. We have however fixed our TV at the opposite side of the ‘van – maybe as we are left-handed! The TV is connected to our SKY receiver via RCA leads that we have run along the high level cupboards. The in-cab radio is connected to speakers within the habitation area, so perfect for the radio and USB-provided music.
The lounge is also our dining area. A folding, free-standing table is supplied but we rarely use this. The sixty centimeter boom arm table has been modified to become free-standing and offers comfortable informal dining for two.
Cooking a la carte? Or A la Black Edition 679?
A la carte – no – a la Black Edition 679 – yes! The kitchen in the Swift Kontiki Black Edition has all the features found in a modern home. Standard features include a two door Dometic fridge freezer, Dometic extractor fan, digital microwave and Thetford oven. The latter features three gas burners and an electric hot plate. Storage is more than generous. Below the kitchen work top, a large cupboard featuring shelving and three pull out metal drawers, a smaller cupboard with a fitted shelf and a further cupboard with two pull out metal drawers add to the storage capabilities. A cutlery drawer completes the picture.
Speaking of cooking in gas, there is an outside gas barbecue point too! There’s no need to worry about gas storage either – the gas locker can hold 2 x 13 kg Calor type cylinders.
Overhead are more cupboards, two of which feature the Swift crockery storage rack. This standard piece of equipment will hold even the heaviest of crockery in place. We have very heavy “Denby” tableware and this has travelled Europe – without breakage or fuss!
Dometic supply the twin door fridge freezer, which I have enhanced further by the addition of an extra shelf. After all, there has always got to be a bottle or three on chill! Beneath the fridge is a cupboard which is large enough to accommodate casserole dishes and the like, whilst above the fridge is a further cupboard which provides a home to the satellite receiver and other audio/visual accessories.
Two power points are standard in the kitchen along with further dedicated sockets for the cooker and microwave. The work top area features back lighting, three over head led’s and two lights within the extractor. We have fitted the marvellous kitchen roll holder – a holder that does not allow the rolls to unwind on the move – click here for our video of the roll holder!
A shower as good as at home
The bathroom comes with a Thetford electric flush toilet, wash basin and a fully enclosed shower area. The shower area features a twin door and two led lights. There are two plug holes – this helps draining if not perfectly level. Simple, but functional.
Note the illumination of the mirror – like a stage dressing room! Perfect for the star of the show!
The shower head is the Eco-Camel – this improves water flow yet somehow saves water. Consequently, you have a decent shower with good pressure – and one that lasts! Speaking of the shower, there is also an external shower point – great for rinsing off after a day at the beach – or maybe the four-legged one!
Storage for those that do not travel light
Storage for clothing is more than generous with both a twin door and a single door wardrobe fitted as standard equipment. The latter also houses the principal dining table. Both wardrobes are fitted with interior lighting. I have also added an additional shelf to the twin door ‘robe, and this has doubled the storage area available for shoes and so on. Two further drawers – ideal for “smalls” and a low-level cupboard complete the picture.
The principal bed is at the rear of the Swift Kontiki 679 in the form of a longitudinal double, sitting atop a garage. This double seems unusual in the “garage sector” of the motorhome industry as, wait for it, a headboard is fitted. Yes, a headboard, nothing more complex than that. Whilst many transverse, over garage beds have a window at each end, Swift have opted to fit a headboard instead of a window at one end. RESULT – sit up in bed to read and watch TV! Your back does not rest against a cold window or a flimsy blind as in many other “garage type” motorhomes.
Two 230v sockets and a TV point are towards the base of the bed whilst a further two power points stand aside a useful cabinet top area – an ideal place for specs, books and the occasional glass of something stronger. Towards the front of the motorhome, the “L-shaped” seating area will make into a generous single, or when combined with the opposite seating, a good-sized double.
Swift Kontiki Black Edition external storage
External storage is another strong point. The rear garage is complete with anchoring points for use when carrying a scooter. The garage has shelving, lighting and also warm air heating as standard. The spare wheel lives in here too. Towards the front of the motorhome, the partial twin floor is accessed externally and houses, amongst other things, two decks chairs, a step-ladder, various boxes and my most loyal travelling accessory, the bucket! This under floor storage area has a 12v light strip – useful when poking about in there in the dark!
A pull out pannier locker takes care of the dirty items such as levellers and waste water pipes.
Grade three insulation for all year round camping with a Swift Kontiki Black Edition
The Kon-tiki features grade three insulation. Good insulation qualities, alongside the Alde 3020 Scandia spec boiler ensure this van stays warm all rear round. The photo’ above shows us pitched up, 2200 metres above sea level, at the Julier Pass, Switzerland. Night time temperatures fell to minus 17 C! An Alde heat exchanger is standard, as are heaters for the fresh and grey tanks.