Class C’s On the Rise

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by Rick Kessler
September 24, 2014
Filed under Motorhome Reviews, Motorhomes, Top Stories

 

A look at what’s new from Coachmen, Fleetwood RV, Holiday Rambler, Jayco, Thor Motor Coach and Winnebago

 

A recent morning at the Coachmen RV manufacturing facility in Middlebury, Indiana — specifically in the building where the company’s Concords, Freelanders, Leprechauns and Prisms are built — is a picture of busyness. Hundreds of employees are installing cabinets, sanding glue seams, caulking corners and performing all other various activities to produce the Class C motorhomes with the Coachmen name on them.

 

“We’re keeping pretty busy,” said Mike Bear, Class C general manager for Coachmen. The employees are producing up to 15 motorhomes each day — “not as many as others,” Bear admitted, but a good clip for them all the same.
Class C manufacturers are all pretty busy these days. Wholesale shipments of Class C’s were up 18.7 percent year to date compared to the same time period last year, according to statistics from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association.
Built on a truck or van frame attached to the original cab section, Class C motorhomes have long been popular due to their ample living space and easy drivability. Class C’s occupy a comfortable middle ground in the motorized RV segment; larger than the van-sized Class B’s, yet smaller than Class A coaches. A key distinction of most Class C’s is their over-the-cab area, a space that is most often a bed destined for the kids.
The vast majority of Class C motorhomes are built on a chassis from Ford or Chevrolet, and to a lesser extent from Freightliner and International, and paired with a V-8 or V-10 gas or diesel engine. But a new development is the introduction to the Class C segment of the Ram ProMaster chassis from Chrysler. It’s more often found on Class B’s, and at least one manufacturer is excited at the ProMaster’s potential.
“The Chrysler ProMaster chassis puts us into a new category. It’s a front-wheel drive with a V-6 engine and a six-speed transmission,” said Russ Garfin, Class B and C product manager for Winnebago, adding the ProMaster is featured on the Itasca Viva! and Winnebago Trend. “The models with this chassis also come with a host of safety and entertainment features, including six air bags, a tire-pressure monitoring system and a TomTom voice-activated navigation system.
The ProMaster features a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 (280 horsepower) or 3.0-liter Ecodiesel I-4 (174 horsepower) engine. The Ford Class C motorhome chassis features a five-speed automatic transmission, 5.4-liter Triton V-8 (255 horsepower) or 6.8-liter V-10 (305 horsepower) gasoline engines. The Chevrolet Express 4500 Cutaway offers three available wheelbases, and a Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 (342 horsepower) or 6.6-liter V-8 Duramax turbo­diesel (260 horsepower) engine.
The ProMaster is less powerful than nearly all its Class C brethren, but Garfin said this allows Winnebago to offer a smaller Class C that will appeal to buyers not interested in the larger units.
“Probably the biggest thing, though, is the front-wheel drive, which means it drives much like a minivan,” Garfin said. “And it also means no doghouse between the front seats, so now the cab is part of the motorhome. There’s no step up and you just swivel the seats around.”
Coachmen RV also offers a smaller Class C with its Prism. Available in three floorplans, the Prism is built on the popular Mercedes-Benz diesel chassis more often found on Class B’s. According to Coachmen, the Prism jumps to the Class C segment, though, and is a “luxurious, easy-to-drive multiuse touring vehicle that provides unique styling and amenities.”
While Winnebago and Coachmen, among others, are going smaller, others are going bigger — if not bigger, then more accommodating for Class C RVers with children. Ashley Lehman, marketing director for Jayco, said her company is seeing a trend toward families and not retired couples.
“We’re including options such as bunk beds in several models whereas before we’d only have a queen-size bed. Families are looking for more space for the kids to sleep,” said Lehman.
People who buy a Class C are usually first-time motorhome owners or seasoned RVers looking to downsize from their Class A coach. Many ultimately decide on a shorter Class C because their travels will take them places where longer RVs are either not welcome due to size restrictions or not practical due to terrain and other conditions.
“The other thing is having two cab doors, which makes getting in and out of the RV easier,” Garfin added.
Another trend in the Class C segment, and certainly among all RVs, is the move toward a more residential feel for the interior. To achieve that, manufacturers are incorporating name-brand appliances, electronics and other items you would find in your home as well as cutting-edge technology, such as Bluetooth connectivity and integrated LED lighting. Features previously only found on more luxurious Class A coaches, such as queen-size beds, have made their way into Class C motorhomes.
“Everything’s on them; there’s nothing you have to give up,” Garfin said.
Here’s a look at select 2015 Class C models:

 


 

Thor – Outlaw 29H Toy Hauler

Thor Motor Coach’s Outlaw 29H Toy Hauler — a 35SG Super C diesel also is available — is one of the most affordable Class C’s with a garage on the market. Built on a Ford E-350 chassis with a 6.8-liter Triton V-10 engine (305 horsepower and 420 lb-ft torque), its frame is a tubular steel floor system with a fully welded aluminum roof and side-wall cage construction.
The Outlaw 29H is definitely self-contained — it has a Cummins Onan RV QG 4000 gas generator, a 30-amp shorepower cord and convenient features such as an automatic shoreline-to-generator transfer switch, battery-disconnect switch, dual house batteries and a 1,000-watt inverter.
Thor-2Inside the 29H, residential vinyl flooring is featured throughout, along with LED ceiling lights, raised-panel cabinet doors with nickel hardware and beautiful interior fabrics. Outside the motorhome, you can choose from two HD-MAX exteriors, Thor’s exclusive premium gelcoat finish, and the Outlaw has a power patio awning with integrated LED lighting.
Bluetooth technology in the radio system in the garage offers wireless communication to devices such as smartphones or MP3 players. A Power Charging Center allows all electronics to be charged in one area. Thor also exclusively offers Rapid Camp Wireless Control System, which allows users to control and monitor the progress of the slides, patio awning, exterior patio light, leveling jacks and generator with a remote up to 50 feet away. The cabover has a 32-inch LED TV and DVD player.
Thor-1The 29H is great for RVers who need extra space, and the multifunctionality of the garage features a 24-inch LED TV and DVD player as well as patio railing when the door is down and being used as a party deck. Options for the garage include two jackknife sofas and a 5,000-Btu air conditioner.
Other options available are automatic leveling jacks, a six-way power driver’s seat and holding tanks with heat pads. MSRP for the Outlaw 29H is $104,850.

Thor Motor Coach Outlaw | 800-860-5658 | www.outlawrv.com


 

Holiday Rambler – Augusta 31M

 

Class-Cs-holiday-2After previously being labeled a Class B-plus, the Holiday Rambler Augusta moves into the Class C segment for 2015. Available in four models, the 31M is the company’s most spacious floorplan and is built on a Ford E-450 chassis paired with a 6.8-liter Triton V-10 (305 horsepower and 420 lb-ft torque) and a five-speed automatic transmission.
Standard features on all Augusta models include hardwood cabinet doors, LED TVs, a high-gloss smooth fiberglass exterior, one-piece molded fiberglass front-end cap, a full basement exterior and pass-through storage compartments.
Available options on the 31M include a 19-inch LED TV in the rear, exterior entertainment center, three-burner range with oven and a 28-inch LED TV up front.
In addition, the 31M has an overall length of 32 feet 5.5 inches, and an exterior height (with A/C) of 11 feet 6 inches and a width of 8 feet 6 inches. The interior height reaches 6 feet 8 inches and a width of 8 feet. The patio awning is 14 feet long, and its combined interior and exterior storage is 223 cubic feet. The 31M also features a 60-gallon freshwater holding tank, 35-gallon gray-water holding tank and a 35-gallon black-water holding tank. Class-Cs-holiday-1The LP-gas tank can hold 14 gallons, and it comes with a standard 6-gallon water heater. MSRP is $81,795.

Holiday Rambler | 877-466-6226 | www.holidayrambler.com

 


 

Fleetwood – Tioga Ranger 31D

 

Class-Cs-fleetwood-2The Tioga line has been a mainstay for Fleetwood RV for a number of years. With its durable construction, comfortable conveniences and superb quality of enjoyment, the 2015 Tioga Ranger 31D looks to further that reputation.
The Ranger 31D, one of 13 different Tioga floorplans at a variety of price points, features two slideouts, one on each side. One holds a sofa and the cooktop-overhead microwave, while the other carries bunk beds and the closet for the rear bedroom.
The 31D is built on the Ford E-450 chassis featuring a 6.8-liter Triton V-10 (305 horsepower and 420 lb-ft torque) and five-speed automatic transmission. Exterior length, height and width reaches 31 feet 8.5 inches, 11 feet 6 inches and 8 feet 6 inches, respectively.
A 10-foot awning and a combined interior and exterior storage of 214 cubic feet provide ample shade and cargo space. The Ranger 31D also features a 60-gallon freshwater holding tank, 35-gallon gray-water holding tank, 35-gallon black-water holding tank, 14-gallon LP-gas tank and 6-gallon water heater. Fuel capacity is 55 gallons.
Class-Cs-fleetwood-1Other Ranger 31D features include hardwood cabinet doors with hidden hinges, LED TV, bunk bed-and-breakfast feature on select models, one-piece molded front cap, high-gloss exterior fiberglass, full basement storage, Flexsteel furniture and a radius roof with ducted air conditioning.
The Tioga interior features comfortable furniture, wood cabinetry and many other details to make it feel like home. The family-friendly galley is stocked with extras such as a spice rack, sink covers, silverware drawer, cutting board and more.
Like other Fleetwood models, the Ranger 31D features Fleetwood’s Tuff-Ply Roofing Technology, which resists radiation by reflecting sunlight to reduce chalking, and Tuffpex Plumbing, which runs throughout each vehicle creating a durable seal on all internal tubing. In addition, Fleetwood uses one seamless, solid piece of exclusive Tuff-Coat fiberglass composite for each outer wall. MSRP is $95,970.

Fleetwood RV | 800-854-1344 | www.fleetwoodrv.com


 

Coachmen – Leprechaun 319D

 

Class-Cs-Coachman-1For sheer variety, it’s hard to top the venerable Coachmen Leprechaun. Available on a Ford E-350, Ford E-450 or Chevrolet 4500 chassis, the Leprechaun has no less than eight different floorplans, each with a wide range of options.
For 2015, the Leprechaun comes with a 50th anniversary “mandatory option,” featuring a lengthy list of amenities including a backup camera and monitor, power awning, upgraded sofa, and color-infused fiberglass running boards and fender skirts.
Generations of Leprechaun owners appreciate its long list of safety and convenience features, including night shades, raised-panel hardwood cabinet doors and upgraded flooring and furniture. In addition, the Leprechaun’s non-basement construction means a smooth transition from cab to living area.
Class-Cs-Coachman-2The Leprechaun 319DS model is one of Coachmen’s best-selling units and features two slideouts on the driver’s side. The first, located in the living area, holds a large U-shaped dinette and a sofa or a pair of comfortable recliner chairs. The second slideout is the large closet for the rear bedroom, which features a true queen bed.
The 319DS is built on the Ford E-450 chassis, with its 305-horsepower Triton V-10 engine. The exterior length is 32 feet 11 inches, height is 10 feet 10 inches and width is 8 feet 4 inches. The interior height, at 6 feet 11 inches, should accommodate most NBA players. The freshwater, gray-water and black-water capacities are 50, 32 and 29 gallons, respectively. Since both slideouts are on the driver’s side, the awning is a massive 21 feet long. MSRP starts at $91,500.

Coachmen RV | 800-353-7383 | www.coachmenrv.com


 

Jayco – Greyhawk 31FS

 

Class-Cs-jayco-2The 2015 Jayco Greyhawk 31FS addresses the trend toward Class C’s appealing more to families, as one of its two slides features bunk beds. The same slide also houses a wardrobe for the rear bedroom, which features a Denver mattress on its queen-size bed. The second slide, on the driver’s side in the living area, hosts a three-burner cooktop with microwave above as well as a sofa and overhead cabinet. The 31FS sleeps seven to nine people.
The 31FS is built on the Ford E-450 chassis and its 305-horsepower Triton V-10 engine. At 32 feet 5 inches long, 8 feet 4 inches wide and 11 feet 6 inches tall, the 31FS is plenty big enough for everyone in the family. With an interior height of 7 feet, chances are you’ll never test the padded vinyl ceiling. An extended stay in the 31FS is made easier with freshwater, gray- and black-water holding tank capacities coming in at 32.75, 40 and 32 gallons, respectively.
The Customer Value Package (CVP) is available on the Greyhawk 31FS, as it is with the other Jayco Class C models. Among its lengthy list of conveniences and amenities is Jayco’s JRide handling package, which includes additional sway bars, rubber-isolation mounts, Hellwig springs and Bilstein shock absorbers. The JRide package promises more stability and a smoother ride, according to the company.
Class-C-lead-jaycoThe CVP also features dark-tinted frameless windows and a touch-screen in-dash infotainment system, backup and side-view cameras with monitor and remote control, and heated side-view mirrors. MSRP for the Greyhawk 31FS is $103,176.

Jayco | 574-825-5861 | www.jayco.com

 


 

Itasca – 2015 Viva! 23B

 

Class-Cs-ITASCA-1Manufactured by Winnebago Industries, the 2015 Itasca Viva!, like the Winnebago Trend, is built on the Ram ProMaster chassis with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gas engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The Viva! is 24 feet long, 7 feet 6.5 inches wide and 10 feet 1 inch tall; interior height is 6 feet 7 inches. It has a 15-foot awning and there is 15.8 cubic feet of exterior storage on the 23B. Holding-tank capacities are 27 (freshwater), 40 (black) and 32 gallons (gray), with an instantaneous water heater. A 24-gallon fuel tank will keep you on the road for miles.
Despite the smaller stature, the Viva! comes loaded with all the comforts of home and makes the most of the available space, including a StudioLoft bed, situated over the living area, with a power lift so it is easily stowed up and out of the way when not needed. It is also the first motorhome in the industry with three-point seat belts in the dinette.
The 23B offers front swivel cab seats, a sofa bed and dinette, a large full-featured, mid-coach galley and rear bath. Two large sleeping spaces provide comfortable sleeping for four adults with the front StudioLoft with electric lift and a king-size Flex Bed System.
Class-Cs-viva-1Available in two floorplans, the Viva! features easy swivel-in-place adjustable cab seats, Ultraleather interior, retractable self-cleaning shower door, automatic entrance step, LED lights inside and out, and a U-Connect 5.0 Infotainment Center with touch screen, voice command, steering wheel controls, hands-free Bluetooth, iPod/iPhone audio integration, speed-adjusted audio levels, compass, and integrated GPS with navigation.
Among available options are a drainage system with heated electric pad for each holding tank, pipe wraps and lighted on/off switch near the monitor panel. MSRP is $89,096.

Itasca | 641-585-3535 | www.goitasca.com


 

Winnebago – Minnie Winnie 31H

 

Class-Cs-Minnie-Winnie-2The popular Minnie Winnie returns to the Winnebago lineup, loaded with amenities. The 31H/31HP features two slideout rooms. A great private bedroom in the rear of the unit features a queen-size bed and a large slideout with wardrobe and dresser, and the kids will love the bunk beds just forward of the bedroom. A full galley and front lounge have even more sleeping options with a sofa bed, a dinette that converts to a bed, and an overhead bed over the cab.
If the 31H/31HP is not your first choice, there’s a total of five Minnie Winnie and three Minnie Winnie Premier floorplans to choose from. All offer a variety of sleeping spaces that families will appreciate, a roomy living area with an available HDTV and DVD player, and storage needs are covered with plenty of compartments so you can bring along all of your gear.
Class-Cs-Minnie-Winnie-1Traveling families will appreciate having sleeping flexibility including a private bedroom in most models and cabover bed. A roomy living area provides a great place to relax after a day of fun and relaxation.
The 31H/31HP is 32 feet 7 inches long, 11 feet 1 inch high and 8 feet 5.5 inches wide. Inside, the unit has a maximum ceiling height of 6 feet 10 inches. Outside, there’s a 14-foot awning. The motorhome features a 44-gallon freshwater tank, 34-gallon black-water tank and 30-gallon gray-water tank.
Optional features include: Minnie Winnie Comfort and Safety Package, Minnie Winnie Convenience and Appearance Package, and the Minnie Winnie Premier Package with Convenience and Appearance, as well as a Comfort and Safety Package with upgraded features and amenities. MSRP for the Minnie Winnie 31H starts at $80,766.

Winnebago, 641-585-3535, www.gowinnebago.com

 


 

 

 

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Comments

2 Responses to “Class C’s On the Rise”

  1. Leo Lorenz on October 24th, 2014 8:01 pm

    I made the mistake of trading in Coachman Leprechaun only 4 years old for a Fkeetwood Tioga Ranger. You always tell us the god things about Fleetwood but not the negatives . After spending $95K for a 2010 Tioga I found all the problems. 12 total. Not counting the following. The basement compartments on Tioga have no lights in them. Leprechaun did. All the lights in The Ranger but 2 had no wall switches. The Lep did. The above stove fan on the Tioga Does Not exhaust outside. The Lep.stove fan did. The Lep. Had seperat compartments for sewer hoses and shore power cords. As they all should. Tioga had them together in one compartment. Stupid. The fresh water inlet and the saniflush water inlet are 2 in apart and 3 in above the up swinging door to the shore power cords and sewer drain comp. making it impossible to use when the door is up. The lower bunk is actuall on the floor. These are supposed to be educated experienced designers and engineers. I believe those same people drafting these products Never stayed in a MH and certainly never had to hook up at a campground.. Trying to notify Fleetwood is futile as you are stopped dead in your tracks by a professional customer relations lady. That’s as far is you can get. I should have stayed with Coachman. And I wonder who gets to read This ! Leo Lorenz

    [Reply]

  2. George Rolf on August 18th, 2016 11:30 pm

    Very well put. These designers probably moonlight from the epa. They sit behind a desk, making decisions and making demands unaware of the results or the impact on the people they impose them on.

    [Reply]

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