2012 Monaco Diplomat 43DFT Walk Through
The mating of Navistar’s more than 100 years of heavy transportation experience with Monaco’s 40-plus years of luxury RV design has resulted in an exciting lineup of innovative motorhomes. At first glance, you might not recognize the elegant new Diplomat because of its significant facelift inside and out, but rest assured that the luxury and high-end appointments in this bath-and-a-half tag axle have only been enhanced.
The exterior’s all-new front and rear chevron grilles in fiberglass wraparound caps (now equipped with LED lighting), improve body seam weather resistance — it also suggests a growing familial likeness to Monaco’s sporty Vesta.
The entry door has been moved forward, closer to the A-pillar, creating improved access past the redesigned cockpit. Here the Navistar influence is prominent with an updated automotive-style dash with hooded instrument cluster capped with a glare-reducing dark dash pad. The multifunction steering wheel not only controls the expected cruise and music functions but includes a three-stage engine brake at your fingertips. Maybe more importantly, the wheel is now connected to a redesigned steering column, no longer straddled by the driver’s legs.
Full-power Ultraleather seats afford a clear view of the Driver Information Screen that provides continuous status of the Diplomat’s torquey MaxxForce 10 turbodiesel engine, the Allison 3000MH six-speed push-button transmission, trip and distance features, and a host of monitored operating parameters.
Atop the handsome Oxford Burl instrument panel is the dock for the optional ($614) 7-inch GPS/Bluetooth unit for full-featured navigation and hands-free connectivity.
Polished 12-by-24-inch porcelain tile leads you from the cockpit into the most unexpected and surprising feature in the Diplomat’s lineup. This plan places the free-standing dinette and sofa bed, or the optional ($3,671) sectional sofa bed/dinette ensemble, in the curbside slide offering the rare opportunity to dine while overlooking your own campsite and not your neighbor’s. The entire galley, including the 12-cubic-foot two-way refrigerator, optional ($2,352) washer and dryer combo, the 68-inch sofa and the bedroom dresser and overhead cabinet module are all contained within the 28-foot-long, full-wall, streetside slide creating a wonderfully open floorplan well suited for entertaining.
Handsome Italian Sienna mid-tone hardwood cabinets (with adjustable shelves) surround the cabin and galley. The intricate and striking basketweave trim on the cabinets is accented by the galley’s Corian backsplash and countertops. A useful pullout countertop extension next to the dual-basin sink adds to the galley’s utility when deployed and helps define the cabin’s seating area.
The wall-mounted 40-inch LCD TV with surround sound and media storage above and below can be comfortably viewed from anywhere in the elegant cabin. The TV shares a common wall with the half bath, which separates the cabin from the master suite. A countertop integrated sink, storage vanity and porcelain commode complete the half bath eliminating family or guest’s late-night trips through the occupied bedroom to reach the rear master bath.
The Diplomat comes standard with a queen-size platform bed in the curbside slide, but was wisely designed to accommodate the preferable and optional ($1,470) Select Comfort platform king. Yet, there’s still room for the matching eyeglass nightstands, hidden book storage and 120-volt AC outlets. Add a 26-inch LCD TV mounted between the dresser and overhead cabinet module, which is part of the full-wall streetside slide, and the suite is complete.
Above the bed is a ceiling fan that will come in handy when the ducted, triple 15,000-Btu roof air-conditioning units or the silent Aqua-Hot heating systems aren’t needed. Leaving the family pet behind is no problem using the coach’s auto-start feature on the 10-kW AC generator to accommodate the owner-set climate controls.
For boondockers, the Diplomat comes prewired for solar panels and a controller.
The step-up rear bath has become a popular feature in full-time coaches and the Diplomat doesn’t disappoint. Highlights here include his-and-hers countertop-integrated sinks with brushed-nickel fixtures, matched medicine cabinets and additional drawer storage. A full-width, rear-wall mirrored wardrobe offers nearly 6 feet of clothes rod with 20 inches of additional adjustable or removable shelving at one end of the closet if more hanging space is needed.
A push-button macerator-style porcelain commode is used in this distant location along with a roomy neo-corner shower with integrated seat that is equipped with an adjustable track or hand-held showerhead. General and task lighting is augmented by the tinted shower skylight that floods the bath with natural light.
The redesigned Diplomat offers nearly every feature adventuring motorhome enthusiasts can think of and Monaco can often help with special requests. The Diplomat also represents Monaco’s evolving vision of luxury coach design.
Our thanks to McMahons RV in Southern California for providing this motorhome for our review.
Engine: MaxxForce 10, 9.3-l turbodiesel 405 hp
fuel: 100 gal
GVWR: 43,000 lbs
Length: 44′ 3″
Width: 8′ 4″
Height with A/C: 12′ 2″
Freshwater Cap: 100 gal
Gray-water Cap: 62 gal
Black-water Cap: 40 gal
LP-Gas Cap: 29 gal
Base MSRP: $333,600
Fully optioned: $347,004
Monaco RV, LLC