RV manufacturers are responding to the new marketplace conditions with amazing speed. As a
good example of the new breed of motorhomes aimed at today’s economic times, Gulf Stream Coach introduced its Montaj at the recent National RV Trade
Show in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Montaj is modest sized (about 31 feet long), has a fairly
low profile (just higher than 10 feet tall), and is powered by a small-block Ford engine –
the 5.4-l V-8 that’s been a standard engine in Ford light trucks for many years. While the
engine has been available in the Ford Class A chassis all along, most manufacturers have
opted for the larger 6.8-l V-10 to accommodate the load-bearing requirements of a larger
coach. According to Gulf Stream, the Montaj package may deliver as much as 13 mpg, which is
a significant jump from the usual single-digit mpg figures delivered by gas-powered Class A motorhomes.
Gulf Stream builds the Montaj with fiberglass skin and roof coverings
vacuum-laminated to an aluminum frame with polystyrene insulation throughout. A steel
I-beam floor truss system provides chassis strength, and galvanized steel forms the storage
compartments for durability.
While the Montaj we viewed at the show was the first prototype
– which means details are subject to change as manufacturing ramps up for the production
models – our tour gave us a good feel for its possibilities. Externally, the bodywork is
simple but appealing and the coach’s steeply raked front end is consistent with its
Despite its qualifications, the Montaj doesn’t call for a lot of the
living-area compromises present in some other fuel-efficient motorhomes. For example, it
still features generous exterior storage compartments and a large pass-through compartment
toward the rear.
Inside, the Montaj 29A uses a forward lounge opposing a curbside kitchen,
midcoach bathroom and aft main bedroom. Dual slideout rooms up front and in the bedroom
provide welcome additional floor space.
The low floor height means climbing into the Montaj
is easy. Once inside you can’t help but notice the dash area. Many lower-priced motorhomes
have dashboards that are about 15 years out of style, but the Montaj dash includes
simulated molded woodwork surrounding instruments and controls sensibly grouped in three
pods. The colors nicely complement the gray dash background and lighter earth-shade carpet.
The balance of the interior appointments is a cut above average. Streetside, the main
slideout houses a sofa bed with an air-pressurized mattress, and a removable table makes
the area double as the dinette. Opposite, the galley is surrounded by contemporary-styled
partially curved surface cabinets and includes a round single-bowl sink and low-profile
stovetop set in a laminated countertop. The refrigerator is conveniently close by.
back, the bath is set up in two sections, with the toilet and washbasin in an enclosure
curbside and the shower with curved-glass enclosure streetside. A look in the bathroom
reveals this is no ordinary setup, with its curved-front countertop, freestanding-style
bowl serviced by a residential-style faucet and contemporary-style cabinetry. There’s
enough room therein to maneuver, as well, and that’s a plus.
The queen-size bed is tucked
against the aft and curbside walls out back. A narrow carpeted shelf abuts the curbside of
the bed, and a larger raised area that’s part of the lower pass-through storage compartment
fills the broader streetside bedside area that’s topped by a small nightstand. Also
streetside, the wardrobe is housed in a slideout that creates some open floor space when
deployed. This further adds elbowroom in front of the upscale-image shower enclosure.
Modest but adequate fluid capacities ensure those who follow sensible dry-camp conservation
practices should have enough showers and such to go around. Overall, the Montaj offers
living space and accommodations to match those of the best midsized Class A motorhomes. The
Montaj has a base price of $111,900 and its features and potential capabilities will be
interesting to explore further.