Quite an Endeavor


Photo Credit: Shawn Spence Photography

By Bob Livingston
February 25, 2016
Filed under Motorhome Reviews, Top Stories

Holiday Rambler’s 40FX is designed for couples who like to spread out and take advantage of creature comforts

The Holiday Rambler logo is one of the oldest, most recognized and respected monikers in the RV industry. For years, the company has wowed owners with quality coaches — stemming from its original towable division — and generally became a household name among RV fraternity brothers and sisters. After all, how many motorhome makers can claim they were once owned and operated by a company that built Harley-Davidson motorcycles? Holiday Rambler’s colorful history faded away while under the auspices of Monaco when the company fell into hard times during the economic crunch that hit the country and RV industry. And now the Holiday Rambler division of the newly named REV RV Group (formally Allied Recreation Group), the company that also took over the Fleetwood brand, is on its way to rebuilding its reputation as a world-class diesel-pusher motorhome. We spent time in a 2016 Endeavor FX40 and the takeaway was pretty positive.

Stainless-steel appliances and well-finished cabinetry support the galley counter; faux brick backsplash and window are nice touches.

Stainless-steel appliances and well-finished cabinetry support the galley counter; faux brick backsplash and window are nice touches.

Right from the get-go we noticed that the motorhome was assembled with more finesse than before. Fit and finish were good and the décor was upscale and tasteful. While we were very comfortable with the company’s choices of interior materials, in the few months since we lived in the Endeavor, the interior has been further upgraded with a number of very pleasant touches. We like the new look even better.

The layout of the 40FX is galley-centric up front, although the seating, dining and entertainment components in the general area help make the floorplan more versatile. It’s the kind of floorplan that takes some time to grow on you. The galley shares the larger of the two slideouts on the patio side and is positioned between a dual-recliner couch on one end and the residential refrigerator, located behind the front passenger seat, on the other. Since the dinette and the main couch are mounted in the curbside slide across from the galley, the area in the front of the motorhome is open and roomy. That’s a good benefit and we liked the spaciousness up front, but thought the refrigerator interrupted the visual continuity of the seating area, especially when the cockpit seats were swiveled toward the living area. Obviously, floorplans are subjective, and that’s why Holiday Rambler offers two other configurations in the 40-foot category.

MH1603-Test-Endeavor.inddInterestingly, we found the 40FX floorplan much more to our liking after a few days. Preparing meals in the galley was uneventful (in a good way) and the striking cherry-glazed cabinetry contrasted nicely with the stainless-steel appliances and light-color solid-surface countertop. There’s not an extraordinary amount of space to create complicated meals, but the generous selection of cabinets and drawers is well-organized and capable of absorbing a large assortment of foodstuffs. There are a number of nice touches that make the galley area even more functional, while adding to the visual aesthetics. The brick-backsplash treatment behind the stove and the window between the deep overhead cabinets and countertop were very appealing. Large, dual stainless-steel sinks and the quality high-rise faucet (with sprayer) made cleanup a breeze. And after a day or two of acclimation, we really enjoyed the ease of popping in the front entry and pulling out a cold one from the nearby refrigerator.

Dining table can be pulled out and two chairs added to accommodate four people.

Dining table can be pulled out and two chairs added to accommodate four people.

When it comes time for eating or working on a computer, the dinette works perfectly. The expandable table is attached to a large hutch, which is a great catchall for serving dishes or office paraphernalia. Pulling out the table is effortless, and it’s served comfortably by two chairs when in the retracted position; two additional chairs are stored in the bedroom closet. Large windows and LED fixtures supply plenty of light for any project or dining experience. And you can stash a lot of stuff in the overhead cabinets.

Sharing the slideout is the leatherette couch in a solid-brown color that contrasts nicely against the lighter color porcelain-tile floor, which is carried throughout the interior but stops at the rear bedroom. The 90-inch sofa is big and comfy, and it can be transformed into a bed with an air mattress when company stays over. The cushions are supportive while allowing for easy relaxing and the upholstery matches the opposing dual-recliner couch. For lounging, reading or visiting with guests, these couches are comfortable, but they are not that conducive for watching TV. That’s sort of ironic, since there’s a wonderful 50-inch TV built into a beautiful cabinet that doubles as the wall for the bathroom and divider for the side hallway. There’s really no way to watch this LED TV from the couches without craning your neck, and it’s the same situation for watching the optional TV mounted above the cockpit seats. The only way to watch comfortably is to position the dinette chairs in the center of the floor or lay down on the couches. On the upside, the TV is connected to a home-theater system for an enhanced audio/visual experience.

Test-EndeavorFloorplanHaving a streetside hallway creates a distinct separation between the front and rear portions of the interior. Before reaching the rear bedroom you’ll pass the only bathroom. Inside this area, the components that fill the space are perfectly dimensioned. The garden shower with its curved glass doors has plenty of room to wash without crashing into the molded-wall surround and there are good accommodations for holding large bottles of soap and shampoo. A built-in seat adds to the comfort and the gigantic round skylight admits a great amount of ambient light. We struggled a bit with water pressure to the shower wand and ended up using the demand pump to boost the water flow when hooked up, but that’s something that can usually be rectified at the dealer level. We would, however, opt for a higher-quality mixer valve.

Slide-out storage tray facilitates access to front compartment.

Slide-out storage tray facilitates access to front compartment.

There’s plenty of room around the oval lavatory sink and the cabinets above and below are large and can handle a whole lot of toiletry supplies. On the opposite wall is the roomy linen closet and porcelain toilet. In a nutshell, the bathroom here is right-sized for a motorhome of this caliber and length.

Moving into the bedroom, the flooring transitions from porcelain to carpet. Here, the king-size bed occupies most of the space that’s expanded by the slideout. The 72-by-80-inch premium memory foam mattress promotes sound sleeping, and the surrounding cabinets and windows are positioned symmetrically to make the occupants feel good about lounging in the bedroom. Smallish shelves on both sides of the bed give way to the large mattress, so placing common bedtime items close by is really out of the question. Reading is supported by excellent lighting, and the TV mounted on the dresser shelf can be viewed easily from bed. Within this dresser is a good assortment of cabinets and drawers for clothes.

Corner shower with huge skylight is roomy and efficient. Lavatory counter has plenty of room for toiletries while the linen closet holds a large assortment of bath items.

Corner shower with huge skylight is roomy and efficient. Lavatory counter has plenty of room for toiletries while the linen closet holds a large assortment of bath items.

An optional stackable washer/dryer is mounted behind louvered doors on the back wall, next to the wardrobe closet. Mirrored sliding doors add visual depth to the bedroom and allow access to a generous amount of space for hang-ups, shoes and other bulky items.

While the bedroom, like the bathroom, seems to be the right size, the use of a king bed restricts walk-around space. The space between the closet and mattress is very limited and foot traffic is further impeded by a carpeted extrusion that’s attached to the floor. It’s still possible to make the bed, but it does take some gymnastics to get it done.

When outfitting a 40-foot motorhome in this price range, the support systems that make the interior livable are important to potential buyers. In this department the planners and designers did not disappoint. We can attest to the efficiency of the three roof air conditioners (one is optional) while living in hot, humid conditions. An 8-kW generator handles power when hookups aren’t available, and the robust battery bank keeps the inverter powered for running the refrigerator while on the road, or for a while when hookups are not available. Switches are clearly marked and there’s an abundant assortment of LED lighting throughout the interior. The optional central-vacuum system makes cleanup a breeze.

Test-EndeavorSpecsOutside, the City Loft full-body paint scheme is appealing but has a few too many swirls and stripes for our tastes. It definitely looks like a higher-end product, especially with the use of the polished wheels, dark-tinted windows and the extensive array of patio awnings, slideout toppers and window awnings.

All the storage and utility compartments are accessed via side-hinged doors with slam latches and are lighted. The slide-out tray mounted in one of the front pass-through compartments made access to stored items painless, and there’s even a gravity-feed water filler concealed behind one of the doors — something that’s not too common these days and can be sorely missed by those of us who like to spend time in primitive locations.

Other compartment doors provide easy access to the battery banks, inverter and utility center. All the valves and connections in the utility center are clearly marked, which neutralizes the potential for making mistakes when hooking up hoses for the city water and holding-tank rinse, for example. A cleanup spigot can be neatly tucked into its storage space and there’s even a dedicated location of the whole-house water filter, which is installed by the factory. The 50-amp umbilical cord is rolled on a power reel in a separate compartment, and the 120-volt AC electrical system is surge-protected.

Excellent storage capacity is attributed to the configuration of the chassis, which is built on the proprietary Roadmaster B platform. The rail system is modified using a Freightliner XCM chassis as the base and accommodations are made for the larger compartments, big holding tanks and integrated raceway for easier access to the wiring and plumbing. A Neway air ride in front and a V-Ride air suspension system in the rear smooth out the bumps, and power is provided by a 380-horsepower Cummins ISL9 diesel.

Overall, the driving experience was pleasant and is testament to three major features: the performance of the Freightliner underpinnings; the integrity of the aluminum structure that connects the walls, floor and roof; and the well laid out cockpit. Handling was predictable and noise levels inside the motorhome were controlled by tight fit-and-finish qualities. Only the usual rattles from the stove and microwave and a little wind noise broke the relative silence.
Drivers will find the dashboard clean and the controls ergonomically placed. There’s really nothing fancy here, but the judicious use of gauges and controls — including those in the steering wheel — help shorten the time needed for driver acclimation. Visibility is good and the side/rear cameras and navigation screen keep the driver informed. Like the driver, the co-pilot will enjoy the comfort of a power captain’s chair and the retractable floor keeps the passenger’s feet from dangling.  
The Holiday Rambler Endeavor has a lot going for it. Long stints behind the wheel are comfortable, and getting to one’s destination is only half the fun. The other half of the fun belongs to the interior appointments and supportive systems that make this motorhome live up to its expectations, and of course, its long history as a major figure in the RV industry.

Holiday Rambler division of REV RV Group  
800-648-6582 | www.holidayrambler.com/endeavor

King-size mattress is comfortable but limits access to rear wardrobe. Stacked washer/dryer fit neatly in closet with louvered doors.

King-size mattress is comfortable but limits access to rear wardrobe. Stacked washer/dryer fit neatly in closet with louvered doors.



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One Response to “Quite an Endeavor”

  1. Mark C Grove on May 20th, 2016 5:47 pm

    As yet I do not own an RV, but would like to one day – if I can talk my wife into it. Part of the problem we are both having is the style of RVs. First, the exterior paint jobs are abominable. Swishes and flares? YUCK. Why not all one color, like a car?

    And on the inside the cabinetry is usually terrible, boring, or terrible and boring. I would like a galley with Italian cabinetry, slick, glossy, all one color or white, perhaps. I do not want to ride around with a galley that looks like a Motel 6. No oak-cherry-or other raised wood panel cabinets!!! Another YUCK.

    To be fair, there are some really great-looking motorhomes out there, but they are usually European-made. I want to buy American. I also want style, like Mid-Century Modern STYLE (all caps), or Art Deco. I do not want to push around in my grandmother’s bus. I want my own style. I want fresh, exhilarating, zoooom!


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