Safari is one of those brands that’s almost always recognizable in a
crowd. From back in the company’s early days until its current state as a
Monaco division, a Safari stood on its own cosmetically. The same is
true for the new Cheetah 42 PAQ, which enjoys a position at the top of
the Safari lineup.
The tandem-axle 42-footer we approached in a Class A parking lineup had a
nose profile that was considerably different than that of other
motorhomes, yet the effect was stylish and fit the overall boxy shape
well. The Cheetah’s Bali Night exterior color scheme is a good fit for
its body and clean detailing, and trim highlights like the polished
aluminum wheels add up to a very attractive package.
Monaco builds the Cheetah on its Roadmaster raised-rail
chassis, which adds to the pass-through storage area cubic volume down
below, as well as raising the floor up above. Yet the high-profile coach
has a full 7-foot interior ceiling height, a blessing for taller
Full air-bag suspension and all-wheel anti-lock brakes for the
front discs and rear drums provide the ride and safety today’s drivers
need. The Roadmaster also comes with Automatic Traction Control (ATC),
which helps eliminate wheel slippage on slick surfaces. Power to spare
is dished up by the 400-hp Caterpillar C-9 engine.
The view from the driver’s seat is typically wide open. Dash
inserts finished like brushed stainless steel accent the off-white dash
structure and clean analog gauges, and the central wood-finish catch-all
cabinet is a nice cosmetic touch.
This four-slideout floorplan, with large dual opposing
slideouts up front and dual bedroom slideouts farther back, is a
combination of standard and “something different” floorplans. The
standard part comes in up front when I thought “I’ve been in this rig
before” after surveying the streetside sofa bed and dinette with
freestanding chairs facing another sofa bed and the kitchen in the
curbside slideout. I rather like the effect with one sofa a darker
fabric and the other off-white Ultraleather, a nice visual touch, and
the Newport Cherry woodwork plus solid-surface countertops enhance the
overall luxury image. I really like the optional full-tile floor in the
living area ($812) as it’s a smart detail in this high-traffic area.
Though we’ve seen and enjoyed this lounge setup before, a few steps back
took me to the half-bath just ahead of the bedroom suite. With its
stool, relatively large vanity/sink counter and abundance of storage
cabinetry, the half-bath should serve well for visitors or overnight
guests who just need a quick trip to the biffy.
Farther back is the master bedroom with its straightforward
design, including the curbside-positioned queen bed slideout opposing a
streetside vanity/dresser/entertainment center. The abundance of
woodwork here creates a great impression and adds a rich feeling.
Multiple storage drawers and a 20-inch LCD TV wrap around a small window
in the dresser and there are two convenient catch-all surfaces
included. Storage space below the lift-up bed is partly occupied by a
pair of folding chairs that add extra guest capacity to the dinette. A
pair of sliding doors fore and aft close off the bedroom as needed.
The “something different” factor came in when I stepped through
the back bedroom door and entered the master bathroom that occupies a
significant wall-to-wall chunk of the Cheetah’s aft end. A tall wardrobe
and washer/dryer closet covers the back wall per usual, and the rest of
the space includes a large curved-glass shower stall on one side and a
stool and vanity sink/cabinet at the other. While the floor is open
space, it’s interrupted by a somewhat intrusive central hump relating to
the chassis and engine components down below. Other than the hump, this
bathroom is a residential-style alternative to the usual walk-through
or self-contained design with a side aisle.
Every floorplan has its strong points, and the Cheetah 42 PAQ delivers
large living space along with bath-and-a-half convenience. It’s an
interesting alternative in a classy, high-end yet relatively affordable