During a very successful six-year run of the popular Seneca, chassis builder General Motors ceased production of its Topkick/Kodiak medium-duty chassis, forcing Jayco to find a suitable replacement. With past and present owner input in mind, the Seneca went on a complete redesign hiatus for much of 2011, allowing Jayco to reassess its popular Class C inside and out. The results reflect not just a simple refresh of an existing line, but a new generation for the Seneca.
The most significant visible change is the new Freightliner M2/106 Business Class cab and chassis and standard full-body paint package. The 340-horsepower 6.7-liter Cummins ISB diesel, with engine brake, turns an Allison six-speed overdrive automatic transmission creating a powertrain combo that offers improved performance and handling. The chassis increases the gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr) by 3,500 pounds and provides 5,000-pound increase in the gross combination weight rating (gcwr) over the first generation Senecas.
Drivers will appreciate the large 2,500-square-inch windshield and aerodynamically sloped, front-hinged hood that not only provides a panoramic highway view but also retains excellent under-hood maintenance access. Unlike large, open Class A cockpits, the Seneca offers a more intimate cabover cockpit layout, which creates the confidence-inspiring feeling of driving a smaller vehicle. Some of the driver amenities include a 55-degree wheel cut, heated side-view mirrors and side-view cameras, anti-lock brakes, and a keyless cab and coach entry, all standard features.
Inside the popular 36FK floorplan is a curbside forward galley with an amidships entry. The galley offers a 10-cubic-foot double-door refrigerator with icemaker – an optional ($1,129) 12-cubic-foot four-door model with icemaker is also available – flanking pantry cabinets, three-burner recessed range, an oversized oven and a 1.4-cubic-foot microwave. Rounding out the galley is a stonecast twin basin sink, which is set into the Corian solid-surface countertop material on the sink base cabinet.
Opposite the galley, the cabin’s streetside slideout holds the facing dinette and pneumatic sofa bed combo or the more popular, but optional ($1,421) dinette ensemble providing a single twin-size sleeping position. The ensemble creates a striking interior design further refined with one of three new interior dÃ©cors and the medium-tone Washington Glazed Maple cabinetry.
The redesigned Seneca has an increased ceiling height of just more than 7 feet – a benefit for tall campers particularly when climbing into the cabover bed. A standard 32-inch LCD HD TV is provided in the cabover while the standard wall-mounted 32-inch LCD HD TV handles cabin viewing above the optional ($564) electric fireplace. All TVs can be connected to outside cable, the power-amp crank-up antenna or the optional ($1,536) in-motion satellite dome, including the optional ($850) exterior 32-inch TV.
Access to the bath and bedroom uses a side-hall arrangement creating convenient and private access from either the cabin or bedroom. The bath offers a porcelain commode, neo-corner shower with domed skylight, vanity basin with medicine chest above and a convenient linen cabinet next to the shower.
The bedroom’s walk-around platform king bed (all Seneca floorplans now come standard with a king-size bed and queen-size cabover bed) occupies the entire width of the curbside slide. The bedroom features overhead storage, a nightstand wired for 120-volt AC, reading lamps and a headboard in the matching handsome cabinetry. At the foot of the bed is the nearly full-width wardrobe module alongside a second storage cabinet, which holds the bedroom’s standard 22-inch LCD HD TV and provides additional storage or serves as the washer/dryer cabinet when selected. All 2012 Senecas come standard pre-plumbed for the optional ($1,500) washer/dryer combo or separate units, depending on the floorplan.
More standard features continue on the exterior. Generous pass-through storage with side-hinged doors, an electric patio awning, paired 13,500-Btu ducted roof A/C units, an 1,800-watt inverter and four coach batteries, hydraulic automatic leveling jacks, an Onan 6 kW diesel generator and an enclosed and heated utility connection bay are all wrapped up between new front and rear fiberglass caps.
The new generation Senecas with their standard features, increased capacities and upscale interior appointments should continue to attract enthusiasts looking for a Class A experience without losing the familiar accommodations of Class C travel. Our thanks go to Richardson’s RV Center in Riverside, Calif., for providing this Seneca for our review.
To find a Jayco Seneca 36FK for sale or other motorhomes, visit the online RV Buyer’s Guide!
Business Class M2/106
Engine: 6.7-L Cummins ISB 340 HP
fuel: 74 GAL
GVWR: 25,500 LBS
Length: 38′ 5″
Width: 8′ 6″
Height: 12′ 7″
Freshwater Cap: 81.5 GAL
Gray-water Cap: 41 GAL
Black-water Cap: 51.5 GAL
LP-Gas Cap: 56 GAL
Base MSRP: $190,699
MSRP as reviewed: $205,126
Jayco 574-825-5861, www.jayco.com