Easy Living

February 1, 2007
Filed under Motorhome Reviews

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There’s good news for RV aficionados: Affordability and innovation are among the key trends
in motorhomes for the 2007 model year. The emergence of entry-level Class C motorhomes and
gas and diesel Class A coaches — along with innovative new Workhorse and Freightliner
chassis — gives today’s enthusiasts more choices than ever. “We are trying to address
different segments of the market, beyond the premium products, that represent more of a
larger, mainstream business,” said John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing for
Newmar Corporation, which introduced its gas-powered entry-level Bay Star and mid-priced
Canyon Star Class A motorhomes for 2007. The drive to lower prices extends to the high-end
market, as well. Country Coach, for example, has introduced the new Tribute diesel-pusher
as the most affordable coach in its diesel-pusher stable — albeit a motorhome that still
retails for more than a quarter of a million dollars. Also on the price-sensitive front,
Monaco entered the entry-level sweepstakes with its Safari Damara/Holiday Rambler Augusta
Class C motorhomes, while Winnebago Industries — the industry’s top Class C manufacturer
— introduced the entry-level Winnebago Access/Itasca Impulse motorhome. Other identifiable
product trends for 2007 include the move to more full-wall slideouts — some up to 30 feet
long (most visibly by Monaco Coach Corporation and Fleetwood) — and the proliferation of
motorized sport utility RVs (SURVs). In fact, this segment of the industry is boasting some
of the most innovative floorplans you’ll find on a dealership lot. Coaches with a garage
are now available from Newmar, Monaco, Jayco, Four Winds International Corporation, Gulf
Stream Coach and others. Even Weekend Warrior, the SURV trailer-maker credited with
igniting the SURV trend in California, is weighing in with three motorhome floorplans, one
of which is a toy-hauling model. On the chassis front, Forest River’s Georgetown is the
first Class A motorhome to be built on the new Workhorse 26,000-pound gvwr UFO chassis that
allows consumers to pick from either rear-mounted gas or diesel engines. “[The UFO] is
going to offer a lot of things to a lot of people,” said Craig Fawcett, national sales
manager for Forest River’s motorized division. “We will be able to tailor-fit floorplans
for the lady consumer and give the male consumer all the nuts and bolts that he’s always
wanted but didn’t want to spend the money for. The UFO has a lot of attributes that
previously have only been available in a rear-engine coach on a lower-maintenance
platform.” By the same token, Tiffin Motorhomes has extended the application of the
Freightliner front-engine diesel (FRED) platform into its previously all-gas Allegro line.
“You’re getting a diesel coach with amenities at a price that you can’t put together with a
rear diesel,” noted Tim Tiffin, general manager.”At 65 mph, it’s just as quiet as a
[front-engine gas] Workhorse or Ford.” At the same time, Freightliner Custom Chassis
Corporation is reintroducing the high-line Freightliner Powerliner III rail that has been
absent from the market for several years. “We’re re-entering that 500-hp segment of the
market,” said Dean Schaper, director of sales and marketing for Freightliner. The new
Powerliner chassis is designed for the 44,000-pound-gvwr-and-up market and features a
60-degree wheel cut. Weekend Warrior’s new Road Warrior Class C is likely to be followed by
more motorized floorplans. “We are poking around at different things,” said Mike Beier,
marketing manager. “This was the next step — for us to get into motorized. After looking
at the competition, [we felt that] there was a good ‘in-between need’ for the Road Warrior.
We put this together almost like one of our trailers.” Pictured are just a handful of new
motorhomes featured in “Easy Living.” For more ’07 models, pick up the February 2007 issue
of MotorHome magazine on the newsstand — then subscribe to MotorHome so you can
stay informed on the latest motorhome tests, previews, technical information, products,
travel destinations and more.

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