SINCE 2010, the Escape has been a runaway success for Swift Group. This six-strong line-up offers families an affordable route into touring, thanks to proven layouts that work. But budget doesn’t have to be basic; Escape ’vans are well equipped with essential kit, so families won’t want for much on road or on site. The Escape 686 saw minor changes for the 2014 season, in common with its stablemates. In came new exterior graphics, French oak-effect ﬂoor covering and revised soft furnishings.
Sporting one of the most popular layouts for large families (up to six people), the 686 augments its over cab double bed with a double bed in each of the front and rear lounges. Th e kitchen is located on the nearside, with the washroom opposite. A lounge takes up the space at the rear of the vehicle. Th e 686 is based on the Fiat Ducato chassis with 2.3-litre, 130bhp Euro V engine. You’ll need B and C1 entitlements on your licence to drive its 3650kg maximum weight.
The construction features 32mm sandwich panels to the walls and roof; Grade 3 insulation certiﬁcation aids year-round use. Opposite the kitchen is the front lounge, which has two rows of facing belted travel seats. As the cab seats are too far away and separated by a seat bench, the seat benches extend so that six people can sit around the table to eat. A large window, rooﬂight and directional reading lights provide lots of light.
The seats are pleasingly upholstered in a two-tone colour scheme, and wouldn’t look out of place in a higher speciﬁcation vehicle. To the rear of the lounge is a small washroom. There’s a corner vanity unit with half-length mirror, and the shower tray shares duties with the washroom ﬂoor. Th e shower head is a discrete hose with mixer tap mounted on the end of the sink unit. Along with a small vented rooﬂight, a frosted window takes care of natural-light provision; for other times, there’s a ceiling light.
At the rear of the’van lies a U-shaped rear lounge. Windows on three sides ﬂood the area with light, and a free-standing table can be erected here to seat ﬁve people. The seats are ﬁrm and comfortable but taller people may ﬁnd the back supports a little low.
For children, though, this area will provide a practical overﬂow area, so adults occupying the front lounge can enjoy some peace and quiet when they need it. Th e rear lounge converts into a double bed measuring 2.08m x 1.34m (6’ 10” x 4’ 5”) using slats that pull out from a box in the rear wall. The front lounge bed makes up by bridging the gap between both rows of travelling seats with the dining table; cushions are slid down into position from the seats. A curtain near the washroom offers some privacy between the rear lounge and midships lounge; another does the same for the occupants of the overcab bed. Th e Escape 686 offers good storage for family use.
As well as a half-length wardrobe, between the kitchen and the rear part of the ’van are six overhead lockers, plus a double shelf in the back lounge, and a cupboard for pans in the kitchen. Another cupboard is found left of the wardrobe.
Most of the space in the rear lounge’s offside seat box can be used for storage, and it can be accessed from outside; that opposite is compromised by the water heater and water tank. More storage is available in the overcab compartment, but not for when in transit, and a cycle rack can be ﬁtted to the rear of the vehicle.