LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Welcome to RV PRO’s sixth annual “Best of Show” coverage, highlighting standout motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers on display at the 53rd annual National RV Trade Show.
With so many products on display and manufacturers from all categories stepping up their game, it made for an extremely difficult time for RV PRO’s intrepid reporting team to narrow down the field for inclusion in this section. The resulting compilation of featured RVs is admittedly subjective, based upon reviews of a plethora of products from dozens of manufacturers. The following Best of Show entries were chosen in part with the goal of representing a wide spectrum of product, including lightweight and entry-level RVs.
2016 Jayco Designer 37RS
For 2016, Jayco reintroduces its iconic Designer brand of premium fifth wheels in four distinct floorplans, according to Ben Johnson, Jayco luxury fifth wheels senior product director.
Known for the highest luxury the RV maker offers, the Designer nameplate has been used around the company in both the towable and motorized segments over the years. The new 37RS fits into the family nicely with exceptional high-end features, fit and finish.
The 37RS is a three slide rear living room layout with a large bed/washer-dryer cabinet slide in the master suite. An upstairs side-isle, dual-entry bath comes with a king-size shower, followed into the bedroom with a queen-sized bed, dresser and full-width front walk-in closet with shelves.
The center island kitchen features a full-size, gourmet stainless double-bowl sink with sideboards and gooseneck faucet, and a pop-up power center. A 23-cubic-foot residential stainless refrigerator with ice and water in the door is standard. Next to it is the induction cooktop, above which is the microwave convection oven, and below which is the dishwasher.
The cabinetry is excellent, with solid cherry hardwood as an option with a mix of solid and tinted leaded-style glass centers. The 37RS has a leather hide-a-bed sofa across the back, with a door-side leather theater seat aft of the dinette with an integrated hidden desk in the dinette table – a great feature, which is perfect for a laptop, and has two small integrated drawers. Across from the theater seating is a replace in a cherry surround and top, which has the 50-inch TV lift behind it. Next to that is an ample-sized pantry for the kitchen.
The flooring is a travertine-appearing vinyl floor with optional carpet in the living area. The barreled ceiling has LED lighting throughout. Windows are trimmed out with cherry surrounds instead of fabric. Drawers in all cabinets feature soft-close slides, and other features like a drawer within a drawer.
The Designer is full of technology, including multiplex lighting and the MyRV digital command system, which features a 7-inch Android tablet, Wi-Fi hub, tank monitoring and bedroom and living area digital controls.
The exterior of the coach features a deluxe full automotive-grade cut and buff paint package in three designs; there are four interior décor choices. A full four-season coach, an extreme weather package and thermopane windows are optional, giving the coach usability from zero degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 17,500-pound GVW coach has a number of other options, including Goodyear tires, hydraulic brakes, power recliner chairs, backup camera and monitoring system, third ducted A/C, generator prep and 5-kilowatt genset, tailgate TV, second power awning, slide- out covers and more. A six-point electric leveling system is standard.
The roof features the company’s Magnum XL6 roof system, designed to withstand 4,500 pounds – 50 percent more than other roofs, according to Jayco. Also, the sidewalls are double-layer insulated and 3 inches thick.
The Designer fifth wheel comes with Jayco’s two-year warranty. The RV has an MSRP of $120,000 to $130,000.
What impressed RV PRO: This is a beautiful four-season coach, inside and out, starting with the full automotive-grade cut and buff paint package and including the use of cherry hardwood throughout the coach. A nice bonus is that so many features, including the six-point electric leveling system, come standard.
Grand Design Momentum 376TH
There are a multitude of variations on toy haulers. Basic trailers with few amenities. Luxury trailers with garages in back. Travel trailers with a deck on the front to load toys.
But with the newest Momentum floorplan, Grand Design hit on a concept that meets some of the needs that conventional toy haulers haven’t solved yet.
Momentum’s garage is, in essence, a basement that allows the vehicle to have all of the living quarters and space of a regular fifth wheel while still having space for a motorcycle or golf cart or just plain room for extra storage that might be desired by full-time RVers.
The 9-foot-long, 54-inch-wide garage area is fully enclosed and separate from the living quarters.
And despite the garage space, there’s still room for a full-sized bedroom in the space above the garage. The bedroom features dual closets and nightstands on either side of the queen bed.
Five slides provide ample interior space for a large kitchen and pass-through bathroom as well as a large front living room with 50-inch television. The living area includes theater seating with 80-inch tri-fold sofa beds on both sides of the room.
External features include an outdoor kitchen and entertainment center as well as a second pass-through storage center.
“I’ve been trying to build a front lounge toy hauler for a number of years, but you always end up compromising something in order to get the layout you want,” says General Manager Nate Golden- berg. “These units are pushing 100 grand and the people end up sleeping in the garage. With this, we were able to build a true front lounge with no compromises. I’m really anxious to see what kind of customer this attracts. It is really customer friendly. Even some full-timers might not use the garage for a motorcycle or a golf cart, but they still have a lot of possessions they want to put in there.”
Momentum 376TH checks in at 15,900 pounds and 41-feet, 3-inches long with fresh water capacity of 117 gallons. The triple- axle vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating of 19,500 pounds. MSRP is around $98,000.
What Impressed RV PRO: Although the garage probably isn’t big enough to handle a Polaris RZR, it will handle a full-sized motorcycle or golf cart. Having the external, enclosed space makes for a full RV. It also keeps mud and fumes that might be associated with the toys outside of the living compartment.
Lifestyle Luxury Bay View Select 374REBH
New for 2016, the Lifestyle Bay View 374REBH is a 39-foot fifth wheel with a number of amenities that will make it stand out above the crowd, according to Kevin McMahon, Lifestyle Luxury RV general sales manager.
This four-slide coach features a barrel ceiling for a feeling of added roominess inside, and a main oor side-isle guest bunk room/seating area that includes the washer/dryer closet. This gives the occupant another living zone, guest space and laundry room, separate from the rest of the coach.
The main living area is spacious and features an aft- wall entertainment center with replace. A large picture window on the rear wall allows great ventilation and a great view; the 50-inch TV is on a televator in front of the window and is concealed when not in use. The replace features an attractive faux-field stone surround, and a high-end Jensen residential-styled stereo.
The kitchen features a center island with double-bowl sink and gourmet residential faucet. Solid-surface counters add a high-end residential feel. The standard 9.5-cubic-foot two-way RV refrigerator can be replaced by an 18-cubic-foot residential refrigerator with a 1,000-watt inverter.
Storage is plentiful with hardwood-raised cabinet doors, and drawers with residential glides. The coach also features a residential over-the-range microwave oven and the standard LP three-burner range with oven.
The upstairs side-aisle bath features a porcelain foot-flush toilet and glass surround walk-in shower with seat and skylight.
The master bedroom suite feels roomy with the barrel ceiling, queen-sized bed with sideboard counters and full-width front closet with integrated shelving.
The coach construction features a five-sided aluminum frame, gel-coated exterior walls, and a triple-layer insulated roof and floor, making it a true four-season coach, according to McMahon. The HVAC system features a multiplex heat delivery system and H-series air conditioning delivery system with a 15,000-BTU air conditioner standard with A/C prep.
Options include the replace, a king-sized bed, a central vacuum, a TV package with two 40-inch TVs, and a freestanding dinette. The MSRP on the 374REBH is about $56,000.
The coach comes with a standard three-year structural and one-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The parent company, Evergreen RV, also offers an extended three-year warranty for purchase.
What impressed RV PRO: The Bay View 374REBH is an interesting floorplan offering plenty of space thanks to its four slides and barrel ceiling. There are plenty of residential-style touches including the replace with faux-field stone surround and the hardwood-raised cabinet doors.
Winnebago has made use of the new-to-the-U.S. Ford Transit chassis to develop a smaller motorhome specically designed for active lifestyle RVers.
The 24-foot motorhome features a six-speed full automatic transmission and a five-cylinder diesel engine in a cutaway chassis that offers some of the best ergonomics and visibility RVers will find in a Class C coach, according to Winnebago Product Manager Russ Garfin. The motorhome’s smaller size, good handling qualities, and large side windows in the front cab make the coach easy to drive and park, and many who have test-driven the motorhome say it is one of the best driving coaches they have been in, he says.
The fact that the Fuse has dual rear wheels means the coach has plenty of carrying capacity with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,360 pounds and a gross combination weight rating of 12,000 pounds. The motorhome features cavernous exterior storage compartments as well as many drawers and storage spaces insides the coach.
Notable exterior features include an outdoor entertainment system with TV as well as a large armless patio awning. A 100-watt solar panel is an option, and Garfin says the Fuse is equipped with ports to easily expand the system to include three solar panels. The Fuse also can easily be equipped with a bike rack on the back wall.
While appealing to RVers looking for something compact and nimble, the Fuse still comes with plenty of interior amenities, including a fully functional galley kitchen and dry bath. The motorhome comes with a larger shower, a larger bathroom sink, and a larger refrigerator than typically found in a 24-foot motorhome.
The Fuse comes in two floorplans: the 23A and the 23T. The 23T features a rear-bedroom slide that extends from the passenger side housing a queen walk-around bed. The 23A features a left-front slide room that houses a sofa/sleeper. Twin beds are located mid-coach (which can be converted to a queen-sized bed) and the bathroom is located in back. Although designed for couples, both RV floorplans can sleep up to four people.
The 23T oorplan offers the option of a full oven, which is typically only found in a larger Class C motorhome, Garfin notes. In both coaches, the TV is located above the cab area of the coach; a second TV in the bedroom area is available as an option.
The interior look of the coach could be described as American contemporary, with modern components and washed maple and glazed driftwood wood tones. The Fuse has a base MSRP of $93,880.
What impressed RV PRO: Thanks to its well-designed layout, the Fuse doesn’t suffer from the cramped feel of other smaller- sized Class C motorhomes, and it offers good carrying capacity. Additionally, the styling inside the coach and out feels modern and inviting and it comes well-equipped for its price point.
Perhaps best known for its truck campers that populate campgrounds around the Western U.S. in the summer, Lance continues to offer quality, lightweight travel trailers.
The newest offering, the 1475, takes a lot of its cues from the camper market. The trailer only has an interior floor length of 14 feet, 10 inches, but like campers, makes the best possible use of the available space. Anyplace there’s an area that’s big enough, there’s a useful feature. Anyplace there’s a space that might not t a TV or stove or sink, look for there to be extra storage.
“It’s our smallest travel trailer we’ve made to date,” says Lance Director of Marketing BobRogers. “There are no slides and no dinette. We’ve had many customers tell us they don’t want the dinette. Whether they would rather eat outdoors or just sit at other seating, we can make better use of the space. In this case, we were able to make the bath a little bigger.”
As any camper owner knows, a little bigger bathroom means a dry bath. There’s no toilet-inside-the-shower setup for the 1475. Space is still at a premium inside the bathroom, but there is now room for the toilet, shower and sink to be separate.
The galley/living area features a surprising amount of counter space and cabinet space underneath. Appliances include a 5-cubic- foot refrigerator, a three-burner range and a hood with fan and light. The double sink includes a pull-out sprayer faucet and a sink cover, making for more counter space as needed.
Two swivel rockers serve as general seating, whether it be for eating or just relaxing.
The sleeping area features an innerspring mattress and LED reading lights. The front of the trailer above the bed has an acrylic-tinted Thermopane Euro window.
The 1475 is a quality entry-level travel trailer towable by most vehicles. It has a dry weight of 2,495 pounds and total length of 19 feet, 8 inches with ceiling heights of 78 inches. MSRP is $22,000 to $23,000.
What impressed RV PRO: Too often it’s easy to lose sight of the entry-level market and what draws customers to the RVing lifestyle in the first place. The 1475 offers a step up to buyers who are interested in a towable rather than a camper, but who want a little more comfort than can be offered by a pop-up or other soft-sided trailer. A large window and a skylight in the galley and a window in the sleeping area make the interior of the trailer lighter than might be expected.
2016 Jayco Melbourne 24L
Euro design-styled Class C motorhomes continue to grow in popularity because of their compact size, amenities and fuel efficiency. To answer the call, Jayco introduced its Melbourne 24L full-wall slide Class C on the Mercedes Sprinter cut-away chassis in Louisville.
With sleeping space for four to six people, the full-wall slide 24L is built on the Mercedes 3500, 170-inch, 11,030-pound GVW chassis, with a V-6 turbo 188-horsepower diesel engine and ve-speed transmission, with fuel mileage in the 14-16 mpg range. A 5,000-pound receiver hitch is standard on this platform.
The exterior of the coach is mostly polar white with an attractive graphics package and frameless windows. The coach features a full one-piece neo-angled fiberglass nose cap for strength and to help eliminate leak issues that plague many Class C motorhomes, according to Chuck Lasley, vice president of sales for the Jayco motorhome group. The rest of the roof is a laminated TPO. The overhead bunk is rated for 750 pounds.
Entering the coach under the 14-foot standard electric patio awning with LED light strip, the galley on the left comes fully equipped with a microwave, a Suburban two-burner cooktop, a convection microwave and a single-bowl sink with pull-out faucet. Two interior décor options and a front entertainment system in place of the overhead bunk bed are the only options on this coach besides two Sikkens exterior paint options.
Operational features include an electric step, a slide-out battery tray, heated holding tanks, a 3.6-kilowatt LP genset, LED lighting, a six-gallon DSI water heater, a 32-inch LED TV, and an 8-cubic-foot double-door refrigerator. A 3.2-kilowatt diesel genset is an option.
The coach’s full-wall slide in this style RV feels very roomy when open and includes the U-shaped dinette with exterior storage, pantry, ward and the queen-sized bed. On the door side is a corner dry bath with walk-in shower with curved shower curtain track, which is efficiently sized but adequate for the task. The coach features Jayco’s two-year warranty. The MSRP is $98,000.
What impressed RV PRO: The full-wall slide gives this coach the feel of a larger motorhome while the interior feature set is everything one would expect for a motorhome in this price point. Meanwhile, the RV’s exterior is designed for strength and durability while also offering wonderful styling.
Heartland Cyclone 3611
Heartland prides itself on being on the leading edge when a new design or technology becomes avail- able to the RV industry.
For the 2015 model year, that meant being one of the first manufacturers to make functional use of side patios on its toy haulers. In 2016, that means making use of slide- within-a-slide technology to set its Cyclone 3611 fifth wheel toy hauler apart from the competition. The Cyclone name- plate has been around for a while, but the 3611 has a different feel to it that gives it the illusion of being a much larger coach than it is.
“It really opens up the space in that living area,” says Heartland Vice President of Sales Coley Brady. “It makes for a nice viewing angle for the TV and functionality of the kitchen that is second to none. To be able to pack in that much open living space with a bath-and-a-half model and still be 38 feet, 9 inches is going to be a big-time winner for us in the coming year. The order count we received was strong. Almost every dealer we do business with wanted to get one or two of these on order.”
The slide-in-a-slide feature sits across from a slide in the kitchen area, giving an additional 3 feet of space in the living area. A 58-inch TV accents the entertainment area of the coach.
The kitchen includes an 18-cubic-foot refrigerator, solid-surface countertops, and a deep stainless-steel sink.
Sleeping space is plentiful, as the bed- room comes with a standard king bed, there is a loft above the living room and the 11-foot garage features a power queen bed.
Although there are plenty of features throughout the RV, what makes it stand out comes back to the living room. The extra space caused by the slide can’t be overstated.
“Some guys could put a slide in a slide, but is it really functional?” Brady says. “We did this and it’s truly functional with big windows and open space. It’s an area where people are going to be hanging out.”
MSRP for the Cyclone 3611 starts at $69,000.
What impressed RV PRO: The Cyclone 3611 may not be as big as Heartland’s Big Country or as luxurious as its Landmark 365, but the coach undoubtedly still has appeal to some extended stay customers. The added space in the living room gives a truly wide-open floorplan from the bathroom wall to the front of the garage. External options, such as a 40-inch TV and outside grill, as well as the option of a third 15,000-BTU air conditioner or Canadian arctic package, could make the Cyclone a year-’round campers’ dream.
Winnebago Winnie Drop
The Winnebago Brave retro-styled motorhome, with its prominent flying W logo, was the talk of the 2014 National RV Trade Show, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the RV maker would bring a retro cool vibe to its towables division for the 2015 RVIA Show.
Winnebago did just that with its Winnie Drop, a retro-style teardrop travel trailer that is reminiscent of a small trailer the company was making in the 1960s. And while Winnebago borrowed styling elements from yesteryear, it made sure this RV included the best manufacturing processes of the modern day, including a one-piece front-to-back fiberglass roof and solid gel-coat sidewalls over an aluminum frame.
Other notable features include a lightweight but durable Norco NXG Z-frame chassis, torsion axles and, of course, amenities expected in any RV today, including an air conditioner, a microwave and a TV, plus LED lighting throughout and a bold, stylish graphics package. A full queen-sized bed is standard.
“We borrowed from the past, but took the best things from today,” Winnebago Towables President Johnnie Hernandez says of the Winnie Drop, which is available in three floorplans: WD170S, WD1780 and WD1710. (A rear “chuck wagon” version featuring a fully equipped outside kitchen is expected to be released in the near future.)
The trailers measure between approximately 18 and 20 feet and weigh between 2,400 and 2,800 depending upon the model and features, making all of them towable by even a small SUV or Jeep. The trailers feature a somewhat narrow width, at 6.5 feet, but still manage to feel spacious for a teardrop trailer, perhaps thanks to the design, the 77 1/4-inch ceiling height, the use of light brown interior colors and the 2.5-foot slide-out. Notably, the WD170S floorplan includes a full bath with shower, lavatory and sink.
Early dealer reaction to the Winnie Drop at the show was strong, with dealers placing more orders for the teardrop trailer than any other Winnebago towable, according to Hernandez.
Base MSRP ranges from $17,000 to $22,105.
What impressed RV PRO: The Winnie Drop is a relatively small teardrop trailer that still manages to convey a surprisingly spacious feel, plus it includes all of the standard coach amenities found on larger trailers. The retro styling is a nice touch, but even without that, the RV a well-designed, nicely styled lightweight teardrop trailer inside and out.
Renegade Vienna 25-V-HAB
When luxury motorhome owners are ready to downsize from their luxury diesel pusher, they are generally prepared to sacrifice certain product features and amenities in order to get into a smaller coach.
The new 25-foot Vienna from Renegade RV is built on the premise that they don’t have to.
“The Vienna is built for the customer who is looking to down- size, but who doesn’t want to lose the best things about their Class A motorhome,” says Tim O’Connell, Renegade RV product manager for the Vienna and Villagio lines. “Our tagline for the Vienna is: ‘The perfect combination of elegance and size.’”
The Vienna is a B+ motorhome built on the popular Mercedes- Benz Sprinter chassis and features a powerful Blue Tec 3-liter turbo diesel engine. Thanks to the coach’s unique construction, O’Connell says it is 16 to 18 inches wider than other coaches in its category, creating a more wide-open feel inside the coach.
The Vienna’s exterior is notable for its vacuum-bonded laminated construction, its four-color full-body paint job, its frameless dual-pane insulated windows, and notably, its two-piece rear cap.
Other notable exterior features include a walk-on roof that is solar prepped, an aerodynamic front cap, an exterior entertainment center with TV, a keyless entry door, a lateral arm awning with LED lights, and side-view cameras. The Vienna features a 15,000-BTU AC with heat pump, an on-demand water heater and a Cummins Onan generator. The motorhome offers 3,500 or 5,000 pounds of tow capacity and is prepped for satellite.
As nice as the motorhome’s exterior is, it’s on the inside that the coach really shines. The Renegade Vienna 25-V-HAB model is equipped with a hide-a-bed sofa that sleeps two in place of the xed queen-sized bed that tends to dominate the interior of other small motorhomes. As a result, the 25-V-HAB has a remarkable spacious feel about it.
The feature set found in the Vienna is also impressive: a full dry bath, solid maple hardwood cabinets throughout, Ultra Leather seating throughout, Beau Flor rolled-plank flooring, and solid- surface countertops.
“The cabinets are the same ones as you will find in our luxury Class A motorhomes,” O’Connell notes. Other interior features include a central-ducted AC system, a 30-inch LED TV, a convection microwave, three-part valances and night rollers shades.
Vienna is the only RV in its class to use Azdel in place of lauan wood, according to O’Connell, who touts Azdel’s good thermal quality and durability. Also notable, the coach’s floor and slide-out room are vacuum-bonded.
Base MSRP for the Vienna is 144,900.
What impressed RV PRO: In part as a result of trading out a fixed queen bed for sleeper, the Vienna has a spacious feel for a motorhome of its size. Additionally, there are a multitude of high-end features such as the solid maple cabinets and Ultra Leather furniture that one wouldn’t normally expect to see in a smaller coach like this.
Keystone Montana 3820FK
Montana has been a staple of the Keystone lineup for years, but with this new front kitchen design, the fifth wheel might have hit a new gear in its legacy.
Making interior features more residential is nothing new, but in Montana 3820FK’s case, the floorplan itself feels residential. The different areas of the coach actually feel like separate rooms without making the interior feel cramped.
Starting with the front kitchen, a large front windshield makes for an open, well-lit space. Against the front wind- shield is a dining area with a booth with ample seating. The table lifts and rotates away from the bench seating, making it easy for four or five adults to slide in around the table, which can be rotated back into place if desired.
“With the front kitchen, there’s really nothing else out there like it,” says Communications Manager Jim Mac. “It’s a very comfortable area to be in. You’re no longer limited to just a table and chairs.”
The kitchen also includes a Norcold 18-cubic-foot refrigerator, a microwave convection oven and a gas oven.
The mid-deck living room has opposing slides, leading to a spacious feel. Each slide has a sleeper sofa and there is theater seating facing toward the television and replace.
Continuing the residential layout, the bathroom separates the living area from the bedroom. In order to save space in the potentially narrow hallway between the living room and bedroom, the bathroom door has been placed on a pivot hinge, which allows the door to slide inward as it opens outward.
Opposing slides in the bedroom allow room to walk around the bed and still have plenty of closet and storage space. A large window caps off the back of bedroom, pro- viding the same lighting and open feel that is notable in the front kitchen area.
Like all Keystone RVs, Montana features the iN Command control system and standardized wiring. It checks in at 13,340 pounds and 40 feet, 9 inches in length and features two 15,000-BTU air conditioners. MSRP is about $82,500.
What Impressed RV PRO: The large windshield and booth seating in the kitchen give the RV a feel unlike anything else. Most vehicles on display at the RVIA Show with front windshields used the area for a bedroom. In the case of the Montana, the light and the spacious feel make the kitchen area a place for a family not just to eat a meal, but also for a place to hang out together once the food is gone.
Highland Ridge RV Ultra Lite 2604 RB
For those who may believe the term “light-weight” as applied to travel trailers naturally equates to “short on features” and solid construction, Scott West would like to introduce you to the 2604 RB model from Highland Ridge RV.
The 2604 RB is lightweight, at about 5,300 pounds for a 26-foot trailer, making it towable by medium-duty pickups and SUVs. However, the engineering, manufacturing and amenities that go into the RV meet or even exceed units larger and more expensive, according to West, Highland Ridge Ultra Lite project manager.
Among those construction features is the deepest in-class slide, at 39 inches; the slide itself is full walk-in with a slide height of 5-foot, 10-inches. Additionally, the trailer features a good-sized outdoor kitchen, which West notes is rarely found in rear bath units like the 2604 RB because of the engineering challenges that have to be overcome.
Meanwhile, Highland Ridge mounted the jacks on the 2604 at 45-degree angles, which gives the coach 360 degrees of stabilization. Other solid construction features include an 8-inch I-beam for strength and aluminum framing for durability.
Additionally, the trailer features a 26-inch full-width entry door and a “keyed alike” system on the trailer, which means one key works on all of the trailer’s locks, whether for the trailer door or the various compartments. The coach also comes standard with a composite “no-reveal” baggage door exclusive to Highland Ridge; a heated, enclosed underbelly; and a 19-foot awning equipped with LED lights and speakers in the awning.
Notable features inside the coach include a residential-style toilet with foot flush in a large rear bath; a 42-inch dinette; seamless Omnova 3D laminate one-piece countertops; RV linoleum throughout the trailer, including the large slide; and a 39-inch Furrion TV in the living area. (A 24-inch TV in the bedroom is an option.)
The 2604 RB has a base MSRP of about $32,000. The coach features a two-year standard warranty.
What impressed RV PRO: There is a lot to like about this ultralight from Highland Ridge, thanks to the thought that went into its design and construction. The large slide-out creates a good- sized space inside the coach and the feature set in this travel trailer rivals many larger, more expensive units. The two-year standard warranty is a nice bonus.
Vanleigh Vilano 365RL
Any time a new manufacturer enters the ring, it does so with high expectations. But Vanleigh RV may have a higher-than-normal set of expectations due to its pedigree.
The company is owned by family members of the Tiffin Motorhomes company. The pressure is on, but it appears that Vanleigh came through with flying colors with its first entry, the Vilano fifth wheel, featuring two floorplans.
The larger of the two, the 365RL, fits the bill of the luxury fifth wheel. It checks in at 13,000 pounds at 38-feet, 11-inches long and 101-inches wide.
“This is a high-quality towable with motorhome DNA,” says co-owner and General Manager Leigh Tiffin. “We are going to offer a very personalized level of customer service.”
The coach has 8-foot slides, which not only lend to plenty of headroom and living space, but also make room for extra interior storage space.
A four-step entry leads into the kitchen area, which has an 18-cubic-foot French door refrigerator, stainless-steel microwave and oven and oversized stainless-steel sink. One end of the kitchen island includes space for an optional dishwasher. The other end is filled with handy spice racks.
All of the woodwork, from the kitchen cabinetry to the valances to other doors, is made by Vanleigh craftsmen. The valances include the Vanleigh logo.
The living room includes an 80-inch sofa bed and theater seating as well as a 50-inch TV and replace around a retractable desk. There is no carpet in the living room or kitchen except in a small portion of one slide-out.
At the front of the coach, the bedroom includes a spacious wardrobe with motion-sensored lighting. The king-sized bed has nightstands and USB chargers on each side.
The 365RL floorplan includes two 15,000-BTU air conditioners and is pre-wired for an optional third. MSRP is $85,000 to $88,000.
What Impressed RV PRO: Vilano’s two floorplans are an impressive first effort for Vanleigh and a third floorplan is expected to be in production by March, according to Leigh Tiffin. The 365RL has all the feel of being made by a company accustomed to meeting the tastes of a luxury market. The coach makes excellent use of every inch of space. Three different wood treatments can meet any taste from dark to light, but all three are produced with quality workmanship.
Holiday Rambler Navigator XE 36K
For Holiday Rambler, the big news at the RVIA Show was the reintroduction of the Navigator brand.
In years past, the Navigator was known as a premium, luxury brand. For 2016, with the launch of the Navigator XE, the motorhome is being re-envisioned as more of a competitively priced diesel pusher.
Still, the 2016 Navigator XE has a lot in common with its predecessors in terms of the quality of the build and a rich feature set, according to Mike Snell, president of Holiday Rambler and Monaco RV.
The 37-foot Navigator, built on a Freightliner XCS Series chassis, is equipped with an Allison 2500 six-speed transmission with electronic shifter and powered by a 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine offering 340 horsepower and 660 pounds-per-feet of torque. It has a GVW of 33,000 pounds.
To start, the Navigator is being offered in two floorplans: the 35E and the 36K. The 35E is a bunkhouse model that features dual driver-side slides: one in the galley and the other in the rear bedroom, which features a queen-sized bed.
Still, it was the 36K model that really impressed RV PRO. The floorplan is a bath-and-a-half model with a large slide mid-coach that includes an 80-inch jackknife sofa, a dinette and a full-size residential-style refrigerator. The sofa and dinette are located opposite a 40-inch LG TV, mounted on a swing arm, and a replace.
The oversized galley features Whirlpool stainless-steel appliances, solid-surface countertops with backsplash, and a laminate floor offering a tile appearance. The kitchen also features a large pantry area with pull-out drawers.
The second slide in the 36K model is located in the bedroom, which hosts a king-size bed with an exclusive Dream Easy Series mattress. The bed is articulating, so RVers raise and lower the head of the bed. Opposite the bed are spacious wardrobe closets and a 32-inch LED TV.
Meanwhile, the rear bath is good-sized and has a full shower that includes a seat.
Among the options available for the 36K model are a washer and dryer, a drop-down queen-sized bed toward the front of the coach, a theater seating sofa with incliners, a facing dinette, and an exterior TV and entertainment package.
The Navigator XE has three exterior options, two interior décor packages, and two cabinetry options. Base MSRP for the 36K is $151,000.
What impressed RV PRO: The 36K comes with a lot of nice features for its price point, including the bath-and-a-half, the good-sized bathroom and the king-sized articulating bed. Beyond that, thanks to its slides and layout, it feels more spacious than one would expect of a 37-foot motorhome.
Fleetwood RV Pace Arrow LXE
Fleetwood RV showcased a multitude of new offerings at the National RV Trade Show. Still, perhaps the biggest news was the reintroduction of the Fleetwood Pace Arrow diesel pusher, once a top brand for the RV maker.
For 2016, the Pace Arrow XLE is debuting in two floorplans: the 388, which is a bunkhouse model with two large slides, and the 38K. At the RVIA Show, RV PRO toured the 38K, which is a 38-foot bath-and-a-half floorplan.
With a GVW of 33,000 pounds, the 38K is built on a Freight- liner XCM Series Power Bridge chassis and powered by a Cummins ISB 6.7-liter diesel engine generating 340 horsepower and 700 pounds-per-feet of torque. It is equipped with an Allison 2500 six-speed transmission.
The exterior of the 38K has the standard feature set for a diesel motorhome its size. It’s what’s inside the coach that really makes it stand out.
The XLE features three slide-outs: a full-wall one on the driver’s side that encompasses a large U-shaped dinette, an L-shaped sofa transformer and a storage cabinet in the galley plus the wardrobe area of the bedroom. Opposite the sofa and dinette is a slide encom- passing the kitchen area, which is equipped with a residential-size refrigerator and stainless-steel appliances. The sofa faces the passenger side of the galley, where a 40-inch LG TV is mounted on a swing arm underneath a replace.
The third slide in the 38K model is located in the bedroom, which hosts a king-size bed with a memory foam mattress. The bed is articulating, so RVers raise and lower the head of the bed. Opposite the bed are spacious wardrobe closets and a 32-inch LED TV.
Meanwhile, the rear bath is good-sized and has a full shower that includes a seat.
Luxury residential touches – many of them borrowed from Fleet- wood’s highline American Coach product – are found throughout the coach, including Villa furniture, wood plank-styling flooring, solid-surface countertops, crown molding, hardwood window valances and hardwood ceiling treatments, and double roller shades. Other notable features include an 8-kilowatt Onan Quiet Diesel generator and a Rand McNally GPS with WiFi.
With so many features offered standard on the 38K, there are only three options: a washer-dryer, an overhead 32-inch TV at the front of the coach, and a front mask.
The Pace Arrow XE has two exterior options, two interior décor packages and two cabinetry options. Base MSRP for the 38K is $235,000.
What impressed RV PRO: Thanks to its design with its L-shaped sofa transformer, the 38K offers true three-zone living: bedroom, living area and galley, and yet it still feels roomy, thanks to its three slides. What’s more, luxury comes standard on this mid-priced coach, with high-quality residential features big and small found throughout the motorhome.
Shasta Phoenix 34RK
One of the oldest names in the RV industry, Shasta has advanced its Phoenix ver with an all- new 34RK floorplan for 2016.
The 34-foot rear kitchen floorplan is in response to demand for additional rear kitchen layouts, according to Chris Grathen, sales man- ager for the Middlebury, Ind., manufacturer and division of Forest River. This unit features three slides, a side-isle bath and an island in the kitchen.
“This is a mid-pro le hung glass unit with ve-sided aluminum framing,” Grathen says of the 100-inch wide-body coach, touting it as a four-season coach. The fifth wheel has R-14 walls and R-38 floors and roof, he says, noting this level of insulation is achieved in part by adding a layer of ex foil insulation on all sides of the coach including the slides.
The feel inside the coach is roomy, with the two opposing slides in the living area with barrel ceilings that are accented by LED lighting. The Phoenix has few options, as just about everything is included between the base equipment and mandatory option package. A larger four-door refrigerator, auto leveling, grill and Fantastic Fans are among the available options.
The interior is attractive and comfortable with standard La-Z- Boy furniture, LED accent lighting, and solid-wood cabinet styles and doors. The entertainment center features an LED TV, stereo with DVD, and a replace for some heat and ambiance. The bath- room features a vessel-bowl sink and a walk-in shower with LED light. The master suite features a queen bed, a dresser, and a large front wardrobe with built-in shelving, and is washer/dryer ready.
The exterior of the coach is attractively appointed with gel-coat fiberglass on the sides. The exterior lighting is all LED, and the coach features a power exterior awning with white and amber LED lights. An easy-open slam-latch baggage door opens to the sizable front storage areas. The rolled-edge roofline prevents pooling and leaking, according to Shasta, and the rear bumper is covered by an extruded aluminum cover. Power rear jacks are standard, as are the 50-amp service and replace. A four- or a six-point auto leveling system is an option, depending on the floorplan selected.
The GVW of the 34RK is 13,911 pounds with a respectable carrying capacity of 2,981. MSRP for the Phoenix line is $40,000 to $55,000.
What impressed RV PRO: The feel inside the coach is roomy thanks to the two opposing slides in the living area and the barrel ceiling, and the RV comes standard with plenty of nice residential-style features, including the La-Z-Boy furniture. Plus, the insulation offered makes this a nice four-season coach for its price point.
Forest River R-pod RP180
Size continues to be a major factor with many RVers wanting to have the RV experience with a minimal carbon footprint, and Forest River’s R-pod RP180 answers the call, all while proving that “downsizing doesn’t mean downgrading,” according to Kevin McArt, general manager for Surveyor/R-pod, and Ben Holdread, regional sales manager.
Known for delivering a lot of RV in a small package, the RP180 pushes the envelope by adding a full dry bath to its No. 1-selling line of lightweight, less than 20-foot-long trailers.
With its classic appearance, the R-pod gives the impression of being a back-to-basics minimalistic unit, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With three interior colors to choose from, and a standard two-tone exterior fiberglass treatment, the R-pods come standard with a multitude of features, including aluminum wheels, AM/FM/CD/DVD stereo with Bluetooth, LED lighting inside and out, automatic flip foot front jack, solar charge port, 30- to 35-gallon holding tanks and more. The only options are an air conditioner, a convection microwave, an LCD TV, an R-dome screen room and an awning, a bike carrier, and for the West Coast, the Hood River Edition, which raises the axle and adds 15-inch off-road tires.
For 2016, other changes include a new axle, better-sounding exterior speakers, a fender skirt with LED lighting, Schwintek slide-out systems are standard, 48-by-15 window drapes on café rods and more.
Exterior storage on the RP180 is ample with a front storage compartment and a small side compartment by the door. On the inside, cabinet space is plentiful, especially for a unit this size.
“The unit is designed with dry camping in mind,” says Hold- read, noting the three-way refrigerator and solar charging port, which are standard. The small galley still has a nice-sized stainless- steel sink and a two-burner LP cooktop.
The rear bath with freestanding corner shower is unique in this size trailer, but has adequate space for necessities.
A recipient of the 2015 RVDA Quality Circle Award, the R-pod is built to comfortably accommodate a couple or small family while being able to go just about anywhere from National Parks to that jaunt down Route 66.
The RP180 has a base MSRP of $18,669.
What impressed RV PRO: The R-pod line delivers a lot of RV in a small package, and that’s especially true for the RP180 and its full dry bath. Meanwhile, the coach’s attractive exterior styling is a nice plus.
Coachmen Galleria Class B
Forest River’s Coachmen Division is pulling out all the stops for its new Galleria Class B motorhome, touting it as “the ultimate solution for today’s RV enthusiast.” With its high-end appointments and equipment, it’s easy to see why.
Built on the Mercedes Sprinter platform, the Galleria is available in four floorplans, all of which are similarly equipped with limited options, according to Mark Steele, Galleria product manager. “The Galleria is the most versatile touring vehicle on the road,” he says.
The 24SQ, which was featured at the RVIA Show, is well-suited to take a group on a road tour, with seatbelts for seven people, but sleeping space for just two, with a fold-down rear couch. The remaining seating consists of four captain’s chairs, two side-mounted seats and a rear couch all clad in leather. Two removable tables pro- vide working or eating surfaces for the seated occupants.
The galley consists of a small counter with a fold-down sink and a small range, with a below-counter refrigerator. On the door side is a wet bath with sink and shower.
The interior of the coach is outfitted nicely. The cabinetry is hand- made by an Amish cabinet builder near the Elkhart area, according to Steele. The simulated wood floor is made by Gerflor and carries a 15-year warranty and is fully repairable, Steele says.
The coach is well-equipped and built to impress. The in-dash entertainment system by Kenwood has full connectivity, including SiriusXM satellite radio. It plays all types of media and features an integrated Garmin navigation system.
In addition to its touch screen, the coach features two LED TVs and an additional “smart” DVD player with Internet connectivity for streaming content from the Internet. The coach features a multiplex wiring system, and the controls are in a convenient central location. The plumbing features all chrome fixtures, a ceramic toilet and macerator waste disposal system. The HVAC system is equally sophisticated. The roof-mount air conditioner is a 13,500- BTU Dometic Penguin unit. The heat and hot water are provided by a Truma Combi Eco system.
Power is provided by an Onan MicroLite 2.5 LP genset. A Go Power 100-watt solar panel is set up to independently charge both the coach and chassis batteries.
The exterior of the coach features a monotone paint scheme with dark tinted C.R. Laurence frameless vented windows and black applique, which is sharp and sophisticated. The Mercedes extended Sprinter features a V-6 Blue Tec turbo diesel engine that provides 188-horsepower and 325 pounds-per-feet of torque. Despite all of the equipment in this coach, the 24SQ weighs out at 8,929 pounds, leaving a carrying capacity of 2,101 pounds. Shade on the exterior is provided by a Carefree power armless awning with LED lights and wind sensor retract in a painted-to- match roof mounted box.
With many more standard features, and basically no options, the Galleria Class B has an MSRP of $145,000 and is set to impress any discriminating buyer.
What impressed RV PRO: The detail that went into this coach is impressive. That includes the Amish handmade cabinetry as well as the high-tech features, such as the in-dash entertainment system featuring satellite radio and an integrated navigation system. The HVAC system is top-notch, and the carrying capacity is good.