Today’s RV review is of the 2023 Jayco Swift 20T, a Class B motorhome based on the Ram Promaster chassis. If you haven’t been nose-deep in RV news of late, know that the Class B (van) segment is a huge growth area in the RV space even when other segments are starting to soften. I think there are a lot of reasons for this.
Class B RVs
Unlike almost every other form of RV, Class B RVs can be much more than an RV. You can use these for family transport. They can be the ideal vehicle for a lot of families in that you bring a clean restroom and a place to store food with you to the kids’ sporting events.
These are small enough that they can serve as a daily driver. The Ram Promaster is relatively efficient considering the size of the vehicle. Plus, it’s just something you can get in and go camping in at a moment’s notice with almost no prep, except to make sure the fridge is stocked with beer.
With all the supply chain nuttiness that was happening in the recent past, it was also difficult for RV conversion companies to get hold of these vans. Now the supply constraints are beginning to ease a bit. That means all that pent-up demand may be coming to a showroom near you.
Plus, van life is trendy nowadays—and who doesn’t want to be cool in the eyes of your fellow peeps?
Camper or van
Seeing the popularity of the category, more RV companies are finding themselves in the van conversion business. I’m seeing some doing it really well, and others not. Looking at this Jayco Swift 20T, I would say they’ve done a good job with this vehicle.
The layout features a rear wet bath. You’ll notice that there’s a cabinet on the camp side that has both hanging storage and drawers.
The placement at the back of the van means you can access the bathroom either from inside the van, or by opening one of the double doors in the back. If you open those doors, you’ll also see a series of water and power connectors here. But these aren’t the main connections, as I’ve seen done in other vans. They’re just there for convenience, along with storage for a coiled spray hose.
Couch your enthusiasm
I like the two couches along either side of the interior. These are much more than just a place to sit—these serve as individual beds at night. Jayco has employed the Froli sleep system here to give you a better night’s sleep. It’s an unusual situation, where the sleep surface is actually pretty darned usable.
Further, the heads of each of the twin-sized beds can tilt up. So you can recline here like a day bed, if you choose to. I wish more RVs offered this feature—I really like it.
If you’d prefer a really big bed, you can slot the table between the beds on either side and now you have a king-sized bed. Not bad for a van!
That table also fits between these two beds to make this a pretty nice place for four people to sit.
If I were to design the ideal van interior, this would be the floor plan I would use just for the sake of flexibility. The only challenge is that, in some jurisdictions, younger travelers cannot ride sideways. It’s good to know the rules before you plunk down your big bucks on a vehicle.
Kitchen cabinet in the Jayco Swift 20T
The kitchen is certainly serviceable in this unit, with a two-burner propane cooktop. The sink comes with an insert that includes dish draining and other aspects—which is nifty.
I like that the fridge is both AC and DC—like a great rock band. It obviously works on shore power, but it can keep your stuff chilled on the road, too. The only challenge is, this is a pretty small fridge and there’s a very small freezer.
Jayco has also done a really surprising job with drawers. There are two on the kitchen cabinet and another almost under the floor of the driver compartment.
Boondocking and travel access
Jayco has configured this to be a really good boondocking vehicle, with the one big limitation of holding tank sizes. There is the Showermiser system, which allows you to redirect water back into the holding tank while waiting for shower water to get hot. This is a good feature.
There is an Onan 2800-watt generator on board along with a 190-watt (though I suspect that it’s the newer 200 watt) solar panel on the roof. Depending on your needs, this should be plenty of power.
Of course, the entire interior is accessible at all times, since Class B RVs don’t have slide rooms.
Challenges in the Jayco Swift 20T
There are a few things I saw that I really didn’t like, starting with the wet bath. I don’t think the wet bath is bad, inherently. But I don’t get the idea of putting wooden cabinets into a wet environment.
Yeah, yeah. There’s a shower curtain and you’re supposed to be diligent. Wouldn’t it just be better to have a composite cabinet back there instead? Hey, and how about one one with seals around the doors while we’re at it?
Also, if you’re sitting on the toilet, the protruding medicine cabinet is a head knocker. I wonder why the mirror couldn’t just be on the opposing side that features hanging storage? Perhaps the medicine cabinet could be inside the door of the hanging storage. That would solve both the head knocker issue and also put the medicine cabinet inside a sealed compartment.
Well, assuming they make that cabinet out of something waterproof and put a seal around it.
Lastly, it’s really good that there are cabinets that are a halo around the interior. That offers a pretty decent amount of interior storage, but watch your noggin when you’re sitting up. Don’t worry, you’ll likely only do it once or twice.
I like the layout of this van and the way a number of things were done, especially the beds with the lift-up sections. I also like that the fridge can run on 12 volt or AC, and that there’s both solar and a generator. You’re covered for almost anything.
If I were brandishing some magic wand, what I might do is eliminate the propane cooktop altogether, and thus eliminate propane altogether. This would leave more space for water tanks and be one fewer system to maintain.
For cooking then you’d have an induction cooktop, which I’ve seen in a number of these vans. For heating the space and water, I’ve seen some brands use a gasoline-fired heating system. That means you take advantage of the fuel that has to be aboard.
But that’s just Tony wishing.
As long as I’m wishing, I wish some clever RV company would figure out how to incorporate the in-dash stereo system with the one at the back of the van so that you only have one. As it is, every time you power up this van, the stereo at the back comes. If you were rocking the suburbs, that will be an eye opener.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a system where you get a second set of controls for the house audio system that lets you operate it from the front or back, but then the whole system is just one system?
Anyhow, those are just the things that bounce around inside my skull, since it’s mostly unoccupied with other thoughts. I do like the way Jayco did the Swift and the touches they use in this. And it’s kind of cool that it’s no longer a bummer to be in a van. Down by the river. [Watch the video for that reference.]
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
You can also check out his RV podcast with Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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Once I stop laughing at the image of me somersaulting across the bed to get to the bathroom, I have the same reaction to this as I do to every other class B I’ve ever seen: look into slide-in truck campers, instead. More versatility (you can use the truck part for a truck), same driveability (or better, if you size the truck adequately), and WAY better floor plans.
After reading one of Tony’s reviews several years ago, I sat down with a pencil and pad of graph paper to drew a number of variations for a Class B camper. This was before we bought our Winnebago Navion. But instead of a Promaster chassis, I used the dimensions for a Ford Transit high-roof, extended-length, twin-turbo Ecoboost van. The design I finally liked best was exactly the floorplan of this Swift. However, knowing my wife’s dislike of wet baths, I designed it with a dry bath without a sink or wardrobe, but with a cartridge toilet (no black tank!). Due to it length, the wardrobe was at the foot of one bed, which added a bit of separation for the “bedroom”. But I used the same gasoline water/cabin heater Tony mentioned, had the fresh water tank and pump under one bed and the lithium battery, inverter, and solar controller under the other bed. I actually based the floorplan on the 1974 GMC motorhome of a friend. However, with front-wheel drive, the Promaster is a GMC “clone”!
Looks like a copycat Travato 59K to me. I’d stick with Winnebago.