Lazy Daze 26′

It takes guts to buck a trend and stick to an independent course in a highly competitive
business environment. Lazy Daze has been successfully bucking motorhome sales trends since
1956. The Montclair, California, company always was, and remains, committed to selling
factory direct only, with no national or even regional dealer network. This sets Lazy Daze
apart and positions it among a tiny handful of motorhome builders to successfully follow
this sales philosophy. That independent thinking also led to the company’s line of Class C
motorhomes that are a different breed from the rest. Lazy Daze claims to have been the
first company to commercially market a Class C motorhome (1966). From that early base of
experience, the company has built a quiet reputation for manufacturing a Class C that can
be mistaken for none other, with distinct hallmark exterior paint, rear wheel-well skirts
and a clean, smooth visual appeal. Inside, Lazy Daze coaches display an interesting array
of floorplans and special details developed by the manufacturer. Our test coach, at 26 12
feet-the midrange of the company’s 2312-foot to 30-foot model sizes – has a rear kitchen
floorplan, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a motorhome in a long time. The rear
streetside kitchen opposes a curbside dinette, a self-contained bath is amidship, and up
front there’s a pair of opposing sofa beds that make up the lounge. A traditional cabover
bed is located up front, above the driver and copilot seats. Sticking with its conservative
attitude, Lazy Daze does not offer slideout rooms. Obviously, this is counter to the trend
followed by the vast majority of the industry, but Lazy Daze is comfortable with its
position. Basement storage is also missing from the Lazy Daze vocabulary. Yes, there are
exterior storage compartments, but they’re generally smaller, although large enough for
firewood, lawn chairs and a small barbecue, for example, which facilitates a lower floor
line. That allows the coach to remain low-profile overall, which helps with handling and
lower wind resistance on the road. The smaller storage compartments mesh well with the
motorhome’s 1,626-pound cargo-carrying capacity (ccc), based on a full load of six
passengers to fit the six sleeping positions, which is generous for a coach of this type.
Based strictly on wet weight with no passengers, the coach has a huge 2,550-pound carrying
capacity, and with a more-common load of two people aboard, the Lazy Daze can pack away
2,242 pounds of cargo. So much for the theory that a fully equipped, well-built, solid RV
also has to be heavy. The manufacturer loads the Class C with an extensive amenity list, so
it’s not necessary to order any options to enjoy a fully outfitted coach. That also
explains why only one price, $64,950, is listed for the test coach. We had no options and,
frankly, probably didn’t really need anything we didn’t have with us. In spite of following
its own path instead of trends, Lazy Daze continues to enjoy success and has an almost
cultlike following that most other motorhome manufacturers could only hope for. It doesn’t
take much of an examination to distinguish a Lazy Daze from the other Class C’s on the
market. The exterior is made of horizontal panels of smooth aluminum, a design that makes
for easy repairs because each panel can be individually replaced rather than swapping out
an entire side wall. Likewise, the roof is aluminum, and the end caps are molded
fiberglass. Full-body paint that’s a two-part polyurethane enamel provides a highclass
image that’s also durable, and the roof is also painted, which helps avoid the oxidizing
and chalking problems associated with bare aluminum roofs. The storage compartment and
utility-access doors are also painted and color-coordinated, giving the coach a unified,
clean look without a glaring patchwork of hatches and panels. Exterior assembly details,
such as the little stuff like how smoothly the joints are sealed, are first-rate. The
extra-dark windows are another feature that adds to the distinct exterior appearance. They
are deeply tinted to avoid excess heat buildup inside, as well as provide privacy. However,
they also make the day seem darker than it really is when looking out, a detail that isn’t
a big deal except to those who enjoy the brightest views possible. Squeaks and rattles are
almost gone; this coach is one of the all-around quietest motorhomes we’ve ever driven.
There are none of the usual annoying cricks and chirps, the squeaks of cabinet doors
flapping or the rattles of poorly joined parts. The coach has that solid feeling associated
with luxury auto doors that slam with a hearty “thump” instead of a tinny “whangg.” Wind
noise is almost nonexistent, and those dark tinted windows are also insulated thermo-pane
double-glazed models, which further help cut down on noise infiltration. Full gauges and
power accessories made it easy to drive the coach and keep an eye on the underhood
goings-on. The AM/FM/CD stereo gave us delightfully clean music, a feature we enjoyed in
the quiet driving environment. Drivers intimidated by a large motorhome should feel well at
ease in the Lazy Daze. Its modest 26-foot length is easy to maneuver in tight campground or
city-street spaces, and its low profile helps it shrug off the effects of passing
commercial traffic and strong wind. We also noticed fewer tendencies to sway and rock at
night when campground breezes blew. While we didn’t exactly want to throw the motorhome
into a power slide in corners, we felt totally secure taking on curving mountain roads and
narrow stretches of highway. Our hill-climb results are par for a motorhome this size, with
a 65-mph run up a 6 percent grade in third gear an easy accomplishment. The engine is
turning over with vigor at that point, but the Ford V-10 is made for such higher-rpm
operation. Our fuel economy averaged 8.35 mpg; again, about what we expected from a Ford
E-series-based coach. The rear-kitchen floorplan has a pair of sofa beds up front that fold
down into a huge 75 × 92 inch, almost-king-size bed. In addition to the cabover 57 ×
80-inch bed, the dinette out back folds down into a 39 × 67-inch bed. Just make sure the
occupants of the cabover bed have excellent bladder control, as the big bed down below
leaves no room for a convenient aisle for moving back toward the bathroom. While I
appreciate a bed that’s a bit on the firm side, the Lazy Daze king bed was too stiff for
me. The company makes a point of emphasizing that its sofa beds aren’t too soft and squishy
and provide a fine measure of support. That’s true, but when I toss and turn on a bed in
search of an elusive comfortable spot, it’s too much for me. But others will likely find it
just right. Like other functional aspects of the Lazy Daze, setting up and breaking down
the bed is a simple process. The lower cushions slide back to the wall on sturdy platforms,
a wooden back support swings out slightly from the wall and is latched in place, and the
cushions are reinstalled as backrests. As sofas, the furniture is as good as can be found
in a non-innerspring convertible product that uses upholstered foam slabs over a solid
plywood structure. The sofas are comfy for reading or lounging while watching television,
and they’re long enough for most tall people to stretch out. We thought the furnace was a
bit noisy, as it roared with enthusiasm each time it kicked on during the night. The
closest heat source is below the wardrobe, curbside, which means the lounge area receives
most of its heat from that one round vent. We’d like to see better heat distribution in
this coach, as the chill creeps in quickly up front after the furnace cycles off.
Wardrobe-storage space is divided between two units – one curbside aft of the entry door,
one streetside near the sofa bed. This setup makes for an easy his/hers division of space.
The bath has a surprisingly large shower with 78 inches of headroom-good for full-size
adults-and the sink is positioned for full access without straddling the “throne.” A throne
it is because the toilet is mounted on a raised platform, which may find short legs
swinging freely. Although not common in motorhomes, the aft-end galley/dinette is often
found in travel trailers or fifth-wheels, so we weren’t totally unfamiliar with the setup.
In this case, the arrangement includes panoramic picture windows on each side and in the
aft wall. Parked in a back-in scenic spot, the 26-footer gave us nearly unlimited views of
our surroundings while seated at the dinette. The compact kitchen has little counterspace,
but with the dinette so close, it’s really not much of a problem. The counter is a
composite material specially fabricated for each coach model and includes a raised lip
around the edge to avoid liquid-spill runoff. Overhead and underside cabinets gave us
plenty of spaces to stash our food necessities. Another typical Lazy Daze multifunction
feature is part of the dinette. The forward seat measures 28 inches wide in its normal
position, which leaves an unobstructed aisle space for back-and-forth traffic. At night,
the seat slides 11 inches toward streetside, and a pair of removable cushions is installed
to facilitate two-person seating per side at mealtime. The extra size also helps get the
most out of the bed space when the dinette is folded down for sleeping. If a coach feels
tinny or poorly built, we tend to use it with tenterhooks. Not so with a well built
motorhome, and the Lazy Daze exudes a feeling of solidity and quality that encouraged us to
enjoy its facilities and not worry about potential failures. It was fun to drive, quiet on
the road, comfortable in camp, and it looked great, whether parked or on the highway.
Customers need to make a trip to the factory to order one of these beauties, but they’ll
enjoy the unique experience. Lazy Daze, (800) 578-1103 or (909)627-1103,
lazydaze.com.

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