Vectra 40′

One of Winnebago’s newest coaches is the Vectra, a diesel-pusher near the top of the
company’s line, built on the new Evolution chassis developed in partnership with
Freightliner. This brings the option of independent front suspension (IFS) to 40-footers
like the 40AD tested – and the space and storage to be independent on the road, as well. A
competent chassis turns a motorhome into something special, and the Evolution with
independent front end does not disappoint. This setup is designed by ZF, sprung by air and
damped by Sachs monotube shocks, delivering impressive ride-smoothness in all conditions.
There is noticeably less pitching than on the last solid-front-axle Freightliner chassis we
drove and, apart from small sharp bumps that thud the tires, inputs to the occupants are
muted. The other big advantage of the IFS is maneuverability: The 56-degree inside wheel
cut allows tight turns for winding around campgrounds or righting wrong turns. This very
different floorplan would work as a mobile office for those preferring to drive themselves,
as a move-up for long-time Class C owners, or for a couple with a need for substantially
more space, payload and comfort. Four other plans are offered on the Vectra line, all more
conventional in layout and able to provide up to six sleeping places. The 40AD model works
much like a compact apartment, with the bedroom and bath behind one wall and a cooking,
eating and living area in another, separated to some degree by furnishings. In this case
it’s the galley island, which is actually a peninsula that slides out from under the galley
counter – creating a U-shaped area in which to prepare food and drink. Many features come
as standard – including the Smart Wheel, power visors and door locks, 10,000-lb hitch (and
gcwr to match), ceramic tile floor in the galley, bath and entry, sub-floor central air
conditioning and an electric awning. On our test unit, an Advantium speed-cook microwave
and dishwasher added to the galley tab, as did the adjustable bed and washer/dryer behind.
The Vectra 40AD represents a distinct floorplan on a foundation able to rack up the miles
without wearing you out, at a price much less than some similar-size full-time coaches. We
see it as an excellent way to make numerous long trips a year where you stay for some time
at each destination. For further details and full-test impressions on the Vectra 40′, pick
up the May 2004 issue of MotorHome — then subscribe to MotorHome so you can
stay informed on the latest motorhome tests and previews, products and technical
information, and travel info. Winnebago Industries Inc., (641) 585-3535, winnebagoind.com

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