Fleetwood’s Jamboree 30D, appointed with Class A luxury and an outdoor entertainment system, lends itself to hanging out and reveling in style
Settled outdoors in cushy chairs under a 16-foot awning on a cloudless sunny morning in Palm Springs, California, we watched as golfers concentrated, fixated on the ball. Silence first, followed by ahhhhs, ooooohs, noooos, whoops and cheers, and claps on the back. Behind us was our home away from home, a 2017 Jamboree 30D motorhome, with its Champagne Slate exterior. The color was apropos since we were living in style at Outdoor Resort Palm Springs, the night before toasting ourselves with glasses of champagne and proclaiming this was a great place to retire — at this site, in this motorhome.
But, alas, we aren’t retired. So, we focused on the week we had possession of this Fleetwood Jamboree 30D Class C motorhome, backdropped by palm trees and parked on brick pavers bordering the golf course.
The 31-foot-8½-inch dual-slide Jamboree 30D is built on a Ford E-450 Super Duty chassis with a 6.8-liter Triton V-10 engine, which is a commonly used chassis for this size of Class C. In this case, however, the rear portion of the frame rides on an airless MORryde rubber shackle suspension system, an industry-first for this class of motorhome. Fleetwood’s parent company, REV Group, has partnered with MORryde to create the exclusive REV Control Ryde (RCR), a ride-and-handling system that works in concert with the factory leaf springs. RCR cushions the chassis, absorbs shock and increases suspension travel without the use of air bags. Anti-dive technology, also incorporated into RCR, reduces brake dive and stops the motorhome in a more controlled fashion under hard braking.
Could we tell the difference? You bet. Cruising down the highway, the ride was smooth and the drive quiet. The overhead cabinets barely rattled over bumpy roads, and other than a few chirps from the stove’s glass top, the ride — and handling — were noticeably better when compared to a stock Ford chassis.
Wide running boards make stepping up into the carpeted cockpit easier, and from there it’s a 10-inch step up into the living space. Driver and passenger seats with large armrests are made of Soft Touch vinyl that feels like leather and match the motorhome’s jackknife sofa and dinette seating. Storage, cup holders, HVAC controls and a Pioneer stereo with Bluetooth and Sirius XM are housed in a dashboard adorned with a burlwood finish.
Stepping into the 30D via a 26-inch radius-corner entry door while gripping the strong (lighted) handrail, we immediately liked the inviting feel. Flush-mounted LED lighting graces the 6-foot-10-inch-high padded ceiling, and sunshine cascaded in from the 24-by-16-inch skylight. Dark, high-gloss raised-panel hardwood cabinet doors complement the tan Soft Touch jackknife sofa and dinette seating, while a tile backsplash pulls the color tones together. A 40-inch LED TV is mounted at the curbside end of the cabover bed.
With a queen-size bed in the rear, bunk beds, cabover bed, jackknife sofa and a dinette/bed that has a lift bracket to simplify raising and lowering the table, there’s sleeping for seven to 10, depending on the size of the overnighters. The bunks and wardrobe for the master bedroom are housed in an 11-foot slide, and a door offers adults a retreat from the kids. The foot of the queen mattress is cleverly cut at an angle to create more walk-around space, and the pillowtop mattress was as comfortable as the one we have at home. Calling the space between the bed and side walls “walk-around” is an exaggeration — it’s more like “squeeze-around,” but I could get in there to make the bed, and there are nightstand tops on each side of the bed with handy cup holders.
Plentiful storage in the bedroom includes a wardrobe, drawers and overhead cabinets, plus a large countertop for whatever suits your fancy. I could step inside the underbed storage area to retrieve items thanks to gas struts that held the bed platform up; housed in this area are two ladders for the bunk and cabover beds. A 32-inch LED TV and DVD player also take up residence in the bedroom. And, so the kids don’t feel left out, each of the bunk beds has its own DVD player (a $915 option) with a 9½-inch flat-panel flip-down screen.
Deciding that I should give each of the beds a fair shot, I chose a different bed each night we stayed in the Jamboree. At the end of the experiment, it was decided that all of them were comfortable enough, although I had to sleep diagonally on the dinette/bed and the 5½-foot-long jackknife sofa, as both were too short for my 5-foot-9-inch frame. On the contrary, the bunk beds, because of the way they are situated adjacent to the refrigerator wall and protruding partway into the aisle, make these beds capable of accommodating people up to 6 feet 7 inches. None of the beds, though, came close to the exceptional comfort of the master queen mattress.
The 42-by-80-inch cabover bed is roomy and comfortable. There are no reading lights, but with the 40-inch flat-screen TV at my feet, it was almost like being in a movie theater. Under the TV is a shelf to park a bottle of water and snacks for nighttime noshers. The cabover offered more headroom than the bunk beds and there’s a privacy curtain as well.
An 11-cubic-foot residential stainless-steel refrigerator with top freezer and icemaker offered more than enough room for a week’s worth of groceries. The large crisper drawer was a plus since lots of salads, veggies and fruit were on the menu. The two-basin sink with pullout sprayer faucet is housed in a solid-surface countertop set at a 90-degree angle from the three-burner Atwood range. This made it convenient to chop food, reach for a pan on the range without having to do more than turn, slide the chopped contents into the pan and return it to the range. The counter and range are at a good height at an inch shy of 3 feet, and a High Pointe convection microwave oven is located above.
When more countertop prep space was needed, I used one of the matching solid-surface sink covers, preferring to leave the other one off to keep a side of the sink open for rinsing food. Hot water reached the sink quickly from the nearby 6-gallon tank, and the 30D has a whole-RV water-filtration system. For one dinner with multiple dishes, I moved the whole shebang across the galley to the dinette, where I could spread out thanks to the large table.
The spacious cabinets above the jackknife sofa are not for the faint of heart; the unusually strong gas struts slammed the upward-opening cabinets closed with such force that fingers could get bent back in the hardware, so we left them open. The other cabinets and drawers on roller-bearing guides worked great and we were impressed with the overall storage space.
For additional storage, the dinette seat’s plywood top flips up. There are two seatbelts in the jackknife sofa and three in the dinette’s seating (one with a child-seat tether) for a total of seven seatbelted positions in the Jamboree. A nice touch are the two cup holders on the table — each large enough to hold a bottle of wine — that kept drinks from getting knocked over during a rambunctious game of cards, and a shelf where we kept keys and cellphones. Hanging out in the living room with friends was enjoyable with the Jamboree’s homey and relaxed setup and comfortable seating for six or seven. With the bright overhead LED lights off, toe-kick lighting adds to the peaceful ambiance. All lights in the 30D are LED, with the exception of incandescent reading lights over the queen bed, jackknife sofa and dinette.
During the day, with temperatures close to 90 degrees, the 15,000-Btu Airxcel rooftop air conditioner kept the interior comfortable. In the evening, we were able to switch off the A/C because the unit’s three Fan-Tastic Vent fans with rain sensors did an admirable job keeping the interior cool. We noted that there is a plethora of well-located electrical outlets throughout the interior, including one inside the pantry across from the bunk beds. The one issue we had was with the manual single roller nightshades, which were difficult to retract and likely a detail the dealer could handle.
For when you want to spiff up, the 30D has two mirrors, one on the wardrobe in the bedroom (not full length) and the other on the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. The bathroom’s vanity has ample countertop space with storage below and another cabinet above. Other niceties include good lighting, lots of towel racks and the Fan-Tastic Vent that did a good job whisking moisture out. The bathroom also features a raised shower and toilet (with sprayer) to accommodate plumbing and duct work. At 22 inches high, the porcelain throne on the pedestal makes great seating for tall people, but the height left a 5-foot-3-inch friend with her legs dangling. The toilet’s height also makes it higher than necessary to be ADA-compliant. Ironically, the Jamboree is designed and clearly well-thought-out to accommodate a family but the toilet is an anomaly, as little ones will likely need a boost up on it.
Likewise, the first step down out of the shower can be a doozie for shorter people or for those with knee problems, with its 14-inch drop. That would make it a high step up into the shower as well. None of this bothered me, but we did place a nonslip mat on the floor outside the shower to make sure we wouldn’t slide on the floor with wet feet when stepping down out of the shower. Then there’s the overhead metal shower frame to contend with that can be a head-knocker depending on your height. We simply paid attention while stepping in and out of the shower and had no issues. Once safely inside the shower, there is plenty of headroom at 6 feet 5 inches with the skylight, and the brushed-nickel handheld shower sprayer with shutoff valve is premium quality. The glass doors kept water from leaking onto the floor and a good-sized integrated shower caddy harbored various full-size shampoo bottles and washcloths.
Trotting off one evening to a potato bake at the clubhouse, we left the awning out and its LED lighting on. The LEDs are tied into a strip that runs along the fully wrapped fiberglass front cap and puts the finishing touch on the classy-looking motorhome. Plus, it made for a welcoming sight to come back to in the dark. The roof-mounted, integrated box patio awning with lateral arm is unusual for a Class C, and Fleetwood has skillfully replicated the awning case on the opposite side of the RV to make the radius roof symmetrical.
Taking advantage of another lovely night and the 30D’s outdoor entertainment center with a 32-inch LED TV and Jensen AM/FM/CD/DVD unit, we set up outdoors under the awning with bowls of popcorn to watch an action movie. Sound came clearly through the two speakers, and when I walked around to check the volume on the opposite side of the RV to make sure we weren’t disturbing the neighbors, the sound was hardly noticeable.
The Jamboree 30D has an extraordinary amount of outside storage. There are multiple deep bins, and the chassis is designed to accommodate two pass-through compartments that would be splendid for storing large items such as chairs and a ladder. Unfortunately, after weighing the Jamboree on a certified scale, with water and LP-gas tanks full with no supplies onboard, we discovered that the rear axle was overloaded by 60 pounds. After discussing the weight situation with factory personnel, we learned that engineers are working on carving out some weight to make the motorhome’s generous storage capacity practical, without having to run with the gasoline and LP-gas tanks only partially filled, and without the need to limit the passenger occupancy of the floorplan.
Driving out of our site after a glorious week, the rear hydraulic jacks came in contact with the ground. Retracted, the rear auto-leveling jacks measured 4¾ inches off the ground, while the front ones had 5¼ inches clearance. This is another area where the factory will need to make some corrections.
Well-thought-out details in the Jamboree — like grouping the control panels by the entry door in a well-lit area and supplying labels that are large enough to read, plus access to the bathroom while both slides are retracted — get high marks. Additionally, the 30D is prewired for solar panels and has an outside shower.
Reflecting back on the time spent with the Jamboree, we decided we were equally impressed with its indoor conveniences as well as the exterior ones. Although our small group of two spent a week at a luxury RV resort in the Jamboree, the 30D should also please families with kids who prefer RVing in more simplistic surroundings.
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