This year has brought changes to Forest City, Iowa, as Winnebago’s 2011 Tour gets a new tag axle floorplan, a facelift and new power. Thanks to the talents of Winnebago engineers, a 28-foot full-wall slide has been designed to create a refreshingly open and uninterrupted floorplan in this almost 43-foot full-time explorer.
To create such a large opening in the side of this rolling penthouse, a custom extruded aluminum double-stacked beam mates with a thick-wall rectangular steel beam to create a strong hybrid support element. This hybrid beam combination locks into the roof structure as part of Winnebago’s “SuperStructure” construction method and bridges the slide opening from the cockpit’s vertical steel “B” pillar behind the driver, to the framing structure that defines and supports the rear cap. Test track durability results and the factory’s Iowa location have successfully demonstrated the span’s ability to properly handle the vibration and stresses of road travel as well as winter snow loads.
Entering the Tour, the wow factor is immediate. Beautiful dark cherry cabinets surround the cabin accented by matching fluted pilasters, ornate bridge casings and crown moldings. Handsome 18-inch by 18-inch floor tiles with mosaic inserts, a touch of accent carpeting and dark Corian countertops against light upholstery complete a very upscale environment.
This luxury touring coach is arranged with a forward living area anchored by an expanding multi-position 60-inch by 75-inch “Rest Easy” sectional sofa sleeper. This piece of furniture wrings out every usable inch of space and offers versatility and comfort. The Rest Easy can be used as a regular sofa or with a pullout ottoman for perfect feet-up viewing of the 40-inch LCD TV mated to a very nice HD surround sound system; it’s satellite-ready with optional ($2,114) in-motion King Dome dish.
Maybe you’d rather curl up with a good book in front of the optional ($490) electric heating fireplace using the travel position of the sofa as a comfortable chaise lounge? To sleep, a push of a button electronically drops the sofa back and by releasing a manual latch on the aisle sofa arm, the sofa end extends into the cabin, revealing an additional pop-up cushion completing an L-shaped sofa or the nearly 6-foot by 6-foot bed.
A comfortable free-standing swivel recliner can be used anywhere but it’s handy at the pullout laptop desk concealed in the fireplace cabinetry along with the leaf for the free-standing dinette. Both fully adjustable cockpit seats swivel to provide additional cabin seating when needed. We easily entertained 12 adults in comfort when the weather forced all of us inside for meals and to watch movies until the rain passed.
Entertaining often centers around the galley and this coach is designed for it. With nearly 13 feet of cabin width, there’s plenty of room for the chef and helpers. A glass-topped, recessed three-burner Thetford cooktop will keep the fare coming, served from the space-saver countertop extension structure that slides with its three-drawer lower cabinet to augment the abbreviated countertop. This galley relies on the optional ($553) GE Advantium 120 oven that uses conventional microwave or high-intensity halogen light to cook.
The space normally reserved for a gas oven is occupied by a Fisher & Paykel drawer-style dishwasher that can accommodate dinner plates. A stainless twin-basin sink with pullout faucet is set in the corner base cabinet and rather than use a conventional backsplash, Winnebago designers added three handy storage drawers at the back of the counter topped with another counter piece to set small items on out of the way.
In addition to whole coach water filtration located in the exterior utility bay, a countertop filtered cold water faucet further improves filtration for drinking and for the icemaker in the optional ($1,372) Maytag residential 20-cubic-foot (AC only) stainless refrigerator with freezer drawer. This must-have item is the best bang for the buck on the options list as it also includes a larger 2,800-watt inverter, two additional Group 31 AGM coach batteries and is aided by the standard 10-watt solar charger, which is only for battery maintenance when the coach is in storage.
The coach’s appetite for power is pretty big because of the all-electric refrigerator and the large number of electrical goodies. Camping without hookups requires a close eye on battery condition and the use of the 10 kW diesel-fired generator. The generator can be set to start automatically when battery power gets to a critical level and the multistage charging system does a good job of bringing the batteries back to life. We found that the battery bank, tied to the inverter, can easily keep everything working for about 12 hours without the use of the generator, but the power requirements will take the batteries down past optimum levels. During our testing, we ran the Aqua Hot for interior heat and hot water, the refrigerator at normal levels, watched TV through a satellite receiver and did not scrimp on lighting usage. Don’t expect the batteries to last exceptionally long if they are allowed to be discharged deeply on a frequent basis. This will only be an issue if camping in areas that restrict generator-running hours and/or where hookups are not available. Nevertheless, it proves that it’s possible to keep the refrigerator at acceptable cooling levels without hookups.
The dining area consists of a diminutive free-standing 22-inch-wide dinette for two that extends to seat four when you use the two additional dinette chairs stowed in protective bags in the basement. A large window provides nearly al fresco dining along the under-dinette storage cabinet’s matching Corian countertop that augments food service space. After-party cleanup is no problem with the optional ($378) central vacuum system that includes a convenient galley toe-kick broom port and additional hose ports, including one in the basement for compartment cleanup.
As one benefit of tag axle body lengths, this floorplan offers a useful half bath next to the galley and eliminates late-night forays through the master bedroom to visit the rear bath. Wainscoting matching the cabin cabinetry surrounds the room highlighted by task and accent lighting and an automatic ceiling fan. A Thetford Tecma (china bowl) vacuum flush with push-button controls for water usage is used in the half bath and in the rear master bath.
To provide some privacy for the bedroom, a shoji-like sliding door with translucent panels is used – but be forewarned that dressing too closely to it while backlit may provide additional entertainment for those in the cabin. The fully carpeted bedroom suite contains a very comfortable 72-inch by 80-inch Ideal Rest king-size bed with dual numerical controllers (for mattress comfort) that fills the curbside slide. Bedside dual pane windows used throughout the Tour provide convenient ventilation and light aided by the 34-inch ceiling fan. The bed stows for travel allowing aisle access by raising the head using push buttons on either nightstand, which are also equipped with AC outlets. Adjustable overhead reading lamps and stereo/DVD speakers are mounted under the overhead storage cabinets while wall sconces provide general lighting.
That very long curbside slide ends in the bedroom and holds the Jack and Jill wardrobes with storage drawers below.
Connecting the wardrobes is a 36-inch by 20-inch dresser hiding a 32-inch LCD TV that rises through the tabletop. The multi-format stereo is centered below the dresser top and the pair of lower cabinet doors is actually a handy tip-out clothes hamper.
The step-up rear bath offers a generous 6-foot-2-inch lighted shower stall with a domed skylight and seat. An automatic wall-switched ceiling fan will quickly clear the fogged mirrors on the large three-door medicine cabinet. Deep twin drawers and storage below should handle most bath necessities as well as laundry supplies for the optional ($1,750) separate but stacked Ariston washer and dryer. A large corner storage closet is also provided with a hanging rod but could be used for a variety of cargo. The handsome cabin tile is continued throughout the bath and includes a recessed locking floor hatch to access the top of the engine.
The dual-zone, triple-unit roof A/C system worked flawlessly maintaining zone temp settings and reinforced our love of the Aqua Hot hydronic heating and hot water supply system. Having spent decades in RVs with conventional LP-gas furnaces with noisy blowers and ever-fluctuating temperatures, we enjoyed the quiet, even heat and unlimited hot water supply so much it was hard to give the Tour back. Flip on the system, set the zone temps and forget it. Temperature control inside was as near perfect as possible, with just a little too much heat in the half bath. This system was also equipÂped with the engine block preheat feature, which allows easier starts in very cold weather and later uses waste engine heat while traveling to augment coach heating needs.
Excellent exterior pass-through storage is provided and the optional ($616) compartment pullout storage tray simplifies access to heavy cargo. Standard electric awnÂings for the coach body and entry provide the necessary protection to enjoy the optional ($1,890) entertainment center that includes a 32-inch LCD TV, speakers and DVD player housed in a weather-tight side wall panel.
The utility bay is designed to handle wet conditions and features clear labeling, protected fill and dump controls as well as the water hose power reel, cleanup features and a remote control to monitor the leveling jacks. An optional ($735) power cord reel in the adjacent compartment is also available. We’d like to see rain gutter extensions added to the standard equipment list to help protect and maintain the handsome body finish, especially dark paint schemes.
The cockpit of the Tour is a real treat to spend time in thanks to easy-to-read gauges, large mirrors with side camera mounts, tilt and telescoping steering, and comfortable heated full adjust electric seats. The optional heated ($406) copilot’s seat also offers a footrest and reclining seatback, adding a second recliner to the mix. A 6.5-inch touch-screen radio with steering wheel controls and copilot remote makes radio, MP3, CD, auxiliary input, exterior cameras and Bluetooth cell phone functions simple and intuitive. Below the radio, a 6-inch GPS screen provides navigation information with a USB port available to plug in storage devices or a printer. Remaining controls are clearly laid out along the side dash console, making it easy to operate a variety of coach, engine and transmission functions.
The Tour is built on a proprietary Maxum chassis, a drop-rail model to maximize basement storage and built by Freightliner to Winnebago’s specifications. Our Tour was equipped with the new but optional ($13,188) EPA emission-compliant 450-hp Cummins 8.9-l turbocharged engine and six-speed Allison transmission.
The big Cummins propelled the coach effortlessly on the highway and allowed hill climbing with ease. Steep grades initially slowed us down, but by the time we crested the hills, we were almost back to normal highway speeds. Piloting the Tour keeps the driver much more at ease than the 43-foot stature suggests. The sharp turning cut makes negotiating RV parks stress free. The air bag suspension takes just about all the road shock out of the driving experience, but rough highway sections and concrete expansion joints are quite noticeable, although not objectionable.
Overall, the Tour receives high marks as a handsome part- or full-time luxury touring coach with a livable combination of features and amenities that are sure to make time on the road carefree and fun.
2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD
Aqua Hot’s quiet, even hydronic heating system, 28-foot slide engineering, Rest Easy multi-position electric sofa bed, 450-hp emission-compliant diesel engine, new front cap and full-body paint schemes
Lack of roof gutter diverters protecting full-body paint, entry switch panel is difficult to read at night, half bath gets a little too much heat
Fuel Economy: 8.1 mpg
Â Â Â 0-60: 32 sec
Â Â Â 40-60: 18 sec
Model: maxum by Freightliner
Engine: 8.9-l cummins isl turbo
SAE HP: 450 hp @ 2,100 rpm
Torque: 1,250 lb-ft @ 1,200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed allison 3000MH
Axle Ratio: 4.63:1
Wheelbase: 279″ plus tag axle
Brakes: disc/drum air assist with ABS
Suspension, F/R: neway air bag
Fuel Cap: 150 gal
Warranty: 3 Yrs/50,000 miles
Ext Length: 42′ 10″
Ext Width: 8′ 5.5″
Ext Height with A/C: 12′ 11″
Int Width: 8′ 1â„2″
Int Height: 7′
Construction: Steel reinforced aluminum support structure with extruded polystyrene sheet (ESP) insulation, fiberglass skin and crowned fiberglass roof
Freshwater Cap: 90 gal
Black-Water Cap: 53 gal
Gray-Water Cap: 105 gal
Water-Heater Cap: on demand
LP-Gas Cap: 30 gal
Air Conditioner (3): 13,500 BTU
Furnace: 45,000 Btu
Refrigerator: 20 cu-ft
Inverter: 2,800 watt
Battery: (2) AGM 12-volt chassis, (4) AGM 12-volt coach
AC Generator: 10 kW
Base msrp: $328,598
MSRP as Tested: $357,830
Warranty: 1 yr/15,000 miles
Wet Weight(water and heater, fuel, lp-gas tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
front axle: 13,540 lbs
rear axle: 22,520 lbs
total: 36,060 lbs
Â gawr, f/r: 14,320/30,000 lbs
gvwr/gcwr: 44,320/59,320 lbs
Roccc: 8,260 lbs (deduct weight of passengers for net cargo capacity)
gawr: gross axle weight rating
gvwr: gross vehicle weight rating
gcwr: gross combination weight rating
Roccc: realistic occupant and cargo carrying capacity (full water, no passengers)
Winnebago Industries. 641-585-3535, www.gowinnebago.com.