2011 Dynamax Grand Sport 370GT
January 19, 2011
Filed under Motorhome Reviews
Finding a motorhome that suits your particular lifestyle is often based on a compromise between drivability and livability. What lives great may not drive great, and vice versa.
Dynamax’s union of a Freightliner Columbia business class cab and a handsome — and sleek — coach body results in the Grand Sport 370GT, a motorhome that’s a kick to drive while satisfying the egos and live-aboard requirements of discriminating buyers.
Mating the body to the Freightliner chassis cab is virtually flawless. The result is a body that flows nicely, front to back, taking advantage of flush-fitting dual slide-outs, smooth window frame transitions and well-integrated accessories. Large exterior steel compartments are easy to access and the insulated aluminum doors function smoothly; two are devoted to an optional entertainment center and pullout LP-gas barbecue. A clever rear trunk that blends in nicely with the lines of the rear cap augments storage capacity.
Full-body paint, incorporating striping, enhances the visual flow of the exterior and gives the motorhome a very aggressive stature, one that says “moving forward.” The paint job is finished with a clear coat that exudes perfection.
Owning a coach that turns heads is just part of the fun; sitting behind the wheel and rolling up the miles is the real payoff. The cab is obviously designed for truckers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel. The plush driver and copilot’s seats are mounted on air-ride pedestals that provide the utmost in comfort — especially on long journeys. The cab is surrounded by ergonomic placement of instrumentation and controls and sealed against noise using premium insulation in strategic locations. While the big 500-hp Cummins is mounted up front, cab noise abatement allows the driver and passenger to communicate freely without using loud voices.
Besides the long list of electronic gadgets such as navigation, entertainment components and even a CB radio, the cab is fitted with doors on each side with electric windows and door locks. Drivers will swoon over the large, four-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel, especially after making fine adjustments with the tilt and telescoping controls. One feature that really stands out with this Freightliner cab configuration is the efficiency of the dash air conditioner. While most motorhome dash air units seem to go anemic in hot weather — and need to be supplemented by the house air conditioning — the Grand Sport unit blasts the occupants with an abundance of cold air. On hot days, it will even keep the rest of the coach comfortable, without the use of house air.
Road visibility is exceptional, as are the side-view mirrors, which work so well we never paid much attention to views captured by the optional side wall-mounted cameras. Brisk acceleration, a sharp turning radius, very effective air brakes and the air ride suspension all contribute to a positive driving experience. And with fuel economy in the 10 to 12 mpg range, coupled with the 140-gallon tank, stopping for fuel will not be frequent.
Once you get to your destination, the fun and comfort don’t stop. Surprisingly, the interior feels much bigger than its body suggests (this year’s model is 4 inches wider and 7 inches taller). The big streetside slideout in the front living room offsets the space occupied by the cab. Inside the slide are the Ultraleather couch and compact galley. While the kitchen is not designed for preparing elaborate meals, it does have all the amenities, including a Corian countertop with a concealed two-burner electric cooktop, double sink and microwave/convection oven. Cabinet and drawer placement is very efficient, so storing enough foodstuffs, cookware and utensils is not an issue.
Realistically, this is a two-person motorhome, although the Lexington Wall Hugger sofa makes into a queen bed (air mattress) should guests pop in for an over-nighter. Opposite the sofa, the dinette serves two comfortably on thick cushions (with innerspring bases) complemented by a sturdy wood table. Additional seating can be realized by swiveling the cab seats.
Adjacent to the dinette, the 10-cubic-foot refrigerator and pantry round out the kitchen amenities. Gorgeous hardwood cabinetry available in three styles (natural cherry, stained cherry and natural maple), tile floors, tasteful coverings on large windows and a 32-inch Samsung LED TV — mounted in proper view of the sofa and forward-facing dinette seat — make for a very pleasant place to hang out. The motorhome is chock-full of electronics, including a very listenable home theater with a Blu-ray DVD player. An automatic satellite dome is standard with an in-motion model optional. All the controls for the slide-outs, automatic leveling jacks, inverter and comfort systems are housed in a central location behind the driver’s seat.
Don’t expect to be pampered by the bathroom. It’s utilitarian at best, but has all the necessary accoutrements. In the enclosed room on the left is the Tecma china toilet with macerator. While toilet controls are different from the majority of its counterparts on the market, the use of this toilet allows the manufacturer to position it other than directly over the holding tank. It uses a vacuum system that makes a unique sound when flushing, but is very efficient, especially when using the water-conservation cycle.
Next to the toilet is the shower, which limits legroom when using the commode. The shower is compact but workable. Usability could be improved by installing a full-height sliding shower door, with the top portion of the frame abutting the ceiling. That way owners will not lose any hair — or scalp — when ducking under the frame.
Across from this room is the lavatory, tucked into a cubbyhole formed by the bedroom wall on one side and the wardrobe on the other. Counterspace is limited, but it gets the job done. The wardrobe has louvered doors and is plumbed for a washer/dryer. Those who are not hung up on large bathrooms will soon discover that the smallish quarters devoted here result in more space for the living room and bedroom.
Out back, a queen-size bed consumes just about all the space afforded by the street-side slide-out. The mattress is comfortable and the interior surroundings are pleasant — especially with the use of a sculptured headboard. Access around the mattress to make up the bed is good. Those lying in bed have a clear view of the 19-inch (or optional 26-inch) Samsung LED TV. Surrounding the TV are glass-door cabinets, shelves and plenty of storage for clothing and personal belongings. Superb lighting and an Intellitec multiplex control system are strategically placed for reading or illuminating the entire bedroom, and for that matter, throughout the coach.
This was our third adventure in a Dynamax Grand Sport since its inception in 2001. During the last 10 years the company has made a number of changes that keep improving the product. The list of features is as long as your arm and the company prides itself in quality craftsmanship while staying on the leading edge of technology. This is a driver’s coach and certainly no slouch in an RV park. Just be prepared for lots of oohs and aahs.
Chassis: freightliner columbia
Engine: Cummins ISX 500 hp
Fuel: 140 gal
GVWR: 37,600 lbs
Length: 36′ 6″
Width: 8′ 6″
Height: 12′ 4″
Freshwater cap: 85 gal
Gray-water cap: 44 gal
Black-water cap: 44 gal