Some RV enthusiasts think that Class A coaches must have mammoth
bus-style dimensions, be loaded to the gills with luxury and have an
equally large price tag. Although much of the industry is building
motorhomes with high levels of luxury, not all dictate massive dollar
amounts. It’s commonplace today to include features that would
previously have been optional. Providing a balanced mix of old-fashioned
function with practical living amenities and looks, Damon Motorcoach
has crafted the Challenger 348 Platinum Edition.
During my tour of the Challenger, I saw signs of good decision-making by
the company. Starting with the chassis option of a Workhorse or Ford
platform, the focus was on choosing key items that result in a quality
midlevel coach at a reasonable price.
Before entering the motorhome I focused on the full-body paint
(in Cinnabar Pearl), and the fully automated metal-wrapped, color
coordinated A&E patio awning –– just two examples of the extra
touches that come standard on the Platinum Edition. Another notable
feature is the motorhome’s tinted wraparound one-piece windshield.
Once aboard, I could see that the choice of appointments was
aimed at spending more where it counts instead of on a slew of frilly
accessories. Looking at the wood-framed cabinetry in the living area and
kitchen, I noticed that all of the raised-panel cabinet doors in the
motorhome are made of solid wood.
The living room features a booth dinette, which is operated by a
quick-release lever under the tabletop, and a comfy 70-inch sofa with
air bed (faux leather is optional), nestled into a slideout of medium
stature. Finishing off the interior seating, curbside by the door rests a
standard floor-mounted barrel chair or an optional Euro recliner and
ottoman wrapped in the same upgraded faux leather material as the sofa.
One of the bonus features I found hiding beside the chair was a
charging/docking station that accommodates four personal two-way radios.
The living room comes equipped with entertainment basics, including a
TV/DVD/home theater package, 27-inch TV in the cockpit and an LCD
flat-screen TV above the entry door.
Stepping into the kitchen revealed unexpectedly elegant
appointments such as a Corian countertop, pull-out kitchen faucet and
Fan-Tastic power vent. Features such as ball-bearing drawer guides,
raised cherry hardwood panels and matching refrigerator panels
complement the ample kitchen storage facilities.
Down the hall from the living area are two tall, vertical
windows. Opposite these is the lavatory, which contains all of the
standards and offers more than an average amount of lav space and
storage. Even with my 6-foot-plus frame there was plenty of room for me
to move in and out of the shower, unlike so many other coaches in this
Beyond the bathroom resides the master bedroom. Encased in its
own curbside slideout, the master features a queen-size bed with
designer headboard and an innerspring mattress.
Secured to the surrounding floor is an assortment of storage
areas, highlighted by a double-mirrored sliding-door closet with
four-drawer accommodations underneath. Orderly control of your smaller
wardrobe items should be no problem thanks to the spacious streetside
dresser posted at the foot of the bed.
While this coach was carefully pieced together with quality
utilitarian devices and features in order to keep the price reasonable,
there are many amenities that support the creature comforts. Proof of
this can be found in the use of individual remote-controlled ducted air
conditioners in the bedroom and living room and touchpad-operated
leveling jacks. The Challenger 348 presents a good choice in a field of
practical, fully equipped coaches and does so without crossing the line
to diesel power and the associated cost difference.