Recreational Vehicle manufacturers are producing new twists on old themes for 2011 in an effort to meet the needs of today’s RV buyer. The results can be impressive.
Peterson Industries is located in Smith Center, Kansas, (www.excelrvs.com), well off the RV manufacturer beaten path.
It could be isolation that encourages original thinking, and Peterson’s line of Excel fifth-wheel and travel trailers has long demonstrated interesting new ideas. The company’s Winslow model travel trailer, new for 2011, includes a basement-type storage area that’s reminiscent of that in a fifth-wheel trailer.
The Winslow isn’t a small trailer, at 30 or 33 feet long, and as a fully outfitted and well-built unit it’s priced accordingly. What’s new is the slightly raised floor in the forward bedroom and bath area that results in one step up from the main living area. The raised bedroom floor helps accommodate the cavernous basement storage area down below, a first for a travel trailer application. The storage space is sized to accommodate readily available plastic storage bins to make it easy to keep the area organized.
According to company information, each Winslow travel trailer model boasts more than 2,000 pounds of payload capacity, so users can take advantage of the storage space without fear of immediate overloading. Peterson also includes a “minus 10 degree guarantee” of no-freeze up performance on its trailers, which could be of real interest to those in severe climate areas.
Outdoors facilities that make it more fun to hang around outside the RV are emerging as popular choices for 2011. Many units now offer “exterior kitchens” complete with a stove, sink, refrigerator, storage and work surfaces. Besides being fun (because you’re part of the outdoor activities while cooking), these features help keep objectionable cooking odors outside and away from mucking up the trailer’s interior.
Prime Time RV (www.primetimerv.com) is a fairly new player but the company has jumped on the exterior kitchen bandwagon with vigor. The company’s Tracer model 230FBS travel trailer includes one such compact kitchen in a curbside aft wall area. Because the kitchen occupies some interior space that would otherwise be used for storage or other functions, an outside-access galley that isn’t overly large is a practical idea. The Tracer’s facility includes what you need for meal prep with no extra frills.
Some such galleys are built into a slide-out unit, but the Tracer’s has a simple lift-up access door that also helps keep inclement weather off the cook.
Over on the motorized side of the aisle, Fleetwood RV (www.fleetwoodrv.com) is back from the brink of insolvency and planning to make a big splash among motorhome buyers.
Looking stylish in its bold gray, black and white graphics, the Fleetwood Tioga DSL Class C is the company’s new coach built on the Mercedes Sprinter cutaway chassis. RV manufacturers are looking for ways to add a downsized, somewhat more-economical coach to a product lineup, and rigs based on the Sprinter are the go-to design these days.
The Sprinter chassis is compact, with a 170-inch wheelbase, is rated at just 11,030 pounds GVWR, and in the Tioga’s case it’s built into a coach that’s 25 feet long. Its 3.0-L 6-cylinder turbodiesel engine is rated at 188 horsepower and 325 ft.-lb. of torque, and while that’s not huge, it’s enough to move a moderate-sized coach with spirited performance.
Significantly, a coach built on the Sprinter can be realistically rated to achieve fuel economy figures in the high teens. That kind of fuel economy can add up to cost savings over the long run.
Fleetwood also has new products for RVers interested in a conventional Class C. The Jamboree Sport is a Class C package that’s built on a Ford E-450 chassis. The chassis’ 14,500-pound GVWR and 6.8-L 305-hp engine give the designers terrific flexibility for building a variety of coach sizes and floorplans.
The 28Z model, just a bit over 29 feet long, includes a new rear slideout that expands the size of the rear lounge that’s equipped with a sofa/bed for daytime relaxing or nighttime sleeping, plus a queen bed that drops down from the ceiling, which combined function as a large double-deck bunk bed and is effective use of the space.
Smooth Tuff-Coat fiberglass siding and full-body paint give the coach a classy appearance, and the interior is finished with hardwood cabinetry and top-grade fabrics and carpet to further enhance the rig’s higher-end appeal. The selection situation is looking good for RVers this buying season. — — Jeff Johnston, Motor Matters
Photos courtesy Jeff Johnston: Fleetwood’s Tioga DSL Class C is based on the fuel-efficient and highly popular Sprinter chassis. Coaches of this type are the wave of the RVing future and can realistically achieve fuel economy in the high teens.