Meridian 36′

The new Meridian is Itasca’s less-expensive diesel-pusher lineup, but don’t mistake that
for an entry-level coach. Although all four models are dual-slides of less than 40 feet,
they have amenities, systems and performance that never bring to mind a bargain price.
Above the Freightliner chassis, the Meridian uses laminated floor risers, welded aluminum
for the structure and block foam for insulation. One-piece Thermo-Panel side walls with
dual-glazed windows and a one-piece fiberglass roof round out construction. The Cat burbled
to life with a twist of the key and settled into a barely audible idle that didn’t vibrate
a single door or shelf. This coach had the Trip Tek option ($1,176) for typical computer
functions, and also a screen that includes water and transmission temperatures, gear
selected and engaged, and boost pressure, so you can ensure everything is up to running
temperature before leaning on it. Climb into the Meridian, and you’ll notice a cohesion and
simplicity to the surroundings that belies the level of comfort. There’s nothing really new
in the layout, but it is well executed and very livable. Any level of cook, from
microwave-convenient to bring-your-own-knives chef, will function well in the galley, with
decent counterspace, ventilation and good-sized appliances. Our coach had the large
four-door fridge with icemaker so you can keep frozen stores solid, even with frequent
visits for ice or cold confections. Beyond the galley, the walk-through bath has pocket
doors at each end, a door for the toilet room, and an offset bedroom entrance for plenty of
privacy. While the area has natural and artificial light, heat and AC, there’s no window in
the shower space; so, you may need the WC door open to avoid a sauna. The Meridian, as
equipped, is a versatile unit that has the function and towing capacity for long-weekend
family trips with all the features and space you’d need for full-timing. It’s not cheap,
but represents value in a genuine recreational vehicle. Pick up the January 2004 issue of
MotorHome for full test impressions and details on the Meridian 36′ — then subscribe to MotorHome so
you can stay informed on the latest motorhome tests and previews, travel info, products and
technical information. Winnebago Industries, (641) 585-3535, www.winnebagoind.com

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