Want a full-size coach without paying in excess of six figures?
There are more Class A motorhome choices out there for less than $100,000 than you might think.
And while all are gas-powered and most are characterized as â€œentry levelâ€ in RV manufacturersâ€™ lineups, they are not without many of the amenities youâ€™d expect to find in more expensive motorhomes â€” solid-surface countertops, multiple slideouts and full-body paint.
Those are available standard on some coaches and as options on others.
Most builders of affordable motorhomes also pay attention to the storage needs of todayâ€™s RVer, borrowing from their European brethren who have been building compact coaches for years.
The under-$100,000 crowd primarily falls into the 29- to 30-foot range, although there are exceptions, such as 35-foot floorplans in the Forest River GeorgeÂtown VE and Thor Motor Coach Hurricane and Windsport. For those looking for more compact floorplans, thereâ€™s also a 26-foot Winnebago Vista and an Itasca Sunstar.
One thing they all have in common is their Ford F53 Super Duty chassis mated to a 362-hp Triton V-10 engine â€” the largest gas power plant available for motorhome chassis. The gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr), however, ranges from 16,000 pounds to 22,500 pounds.
Winnebago Vista/Itasca Sunstar
The Winnebago Vista and Itasca Sunstar feature two floorplans â€” the 26-foot Vista/Sunstar 26P built on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 16,000 pounds and the 30-foot Vista/Sunstar 30W that is mounted on the Ford platform with a gvwr of 18,000 pounds. A large wardrobe with drawers highlights the bedroom in the double-slideout Vista/Sunstar 26P, retailing from $90,745 to $90,943. Dual living room slides and a large under-bed storage area with curbside exterior access are featured in the Vista/Sunstar 30W, retailing from $96,844 to $97,202.
Forest River Georgetown VE Series
A 19.5-foot full-wall slide in a 30-foot floorplan is one of six layouts in the Forest River Georgetown VE series, which the comÂpany calls â€œThe Elegant Alternative.â€ With base prices ranging from $86,300 to $91,000, Georgetown VEâ€™s 28- to 35-foot floorplans are built on the Ford platform with a gvwr from 18,000 to 20,500 pounds. At its price, the Georgetown VE has a lot of amenities, including 77 cubic feet of pass-through storage beneath the rear bedroom. Standard features include stainless steel sinks, 32-inch LCD TVs and solid-surface countertops and sink covers.
Thor Motor Coach Hurricane/Windsport
Thor Motor Coachâ€™s less-than-$100,000 lineup includes six 31- to 35-foot floorplans with up to three slideouts in the Hurricane/Windsport. Built on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 15,700 pounds or 18,000 pounds, the Hurricane/Windsport features one-piece fiberglass front and rear caps, automotive-style dashboard with flip-out computer tray for the passenger, rotocast plastic storage compartments, Onan Microquiet 4.0 kW gas generator, leatherette furniture and captainâ€™s chairs, china bowl toilet, and cherry or glazed-maple cabinetry. Base price is $89,865.
Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite Class A
Two 32-foot floorplans are now available in the 2012 Holiday Rambler Aluma-Lite Class A, a new low-profile aerodynamic coach built on the Ford chassis with a gvwr of 18,000 pounds. Designed with 100 cubic feet of exterior storage, the Aluma-Lite single-slide 32PBS and dual-slide 32SBD floorplans are equipped with hardwood cabinets throughout, a 32-inch LCD TV, U-shaped booth dinette, 62-inch-long convertible sofa, full-height kitchen rollout pantry and queen-size bed with large wardrobe. Base price is $95,660.
Two dramatic exterior packages and three interior dÃ©cors distinguish the 2011 Monaco Riptide, two floorplans of which â€” the 31-foot single-slide 30PBS and 34-foot triple-slide 32SBT â€” fall into our under-$100,000 category. Both are assembled on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 18,000 pounds. The two floorplans are equipped standard with 5,000-pound hitch receivers and 4.0 kW generators and feature pass-through storage, a booth dinette, convertible sofa, plush carpet, hardwood cabinets and 19- and 26-inch LCD TVs. Prices start at $92,424.
Designed to sleep as many as eight travelers, the Fleetwood Storm has three 29- to 31-foot floorplans. The double-slide 32BH is equipped with two dinettes, one of which converts into a mid-coach drop-down bunk bed. All floorplans, built on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 16,000 pounds or 18,000 pounds, feature a second Hide-a-Loft queen-size bed that descends from over the cockpit. Amenities include glazed hardwood cabinet doors with hidden hinges, full basement storage and Flexsteel furniture. Base price is $82,000.
Thor Motor Coach A.C.E.
The new 29-foot A.C.E. motorhome from Thor Motor Coach is an evolutionary unit that combines aspects of Class A and C motorhomes. Built on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 16,000 pounds, the A.C.E. (an acronym for Class A & C Evolution) cockpit is more akin to Class Câ€™s with a modest eyebrow above the windshield that houses an electric drop-down bed. With a base price of $88,853, A.C.E. has optional full-body paint and is equipped with a kibble station in the hallway for pet food, residential linoleum, and leatherette cockpit seats and convertible sofas. (For a more in-depth look at the A.C.E., see our test review.)
Forest Riverâ€™s Coachmen division offers three 29- to 34-foot Mirada Class A double-slideout floorplans with base prices ranging from $95,982 to $99,995. The 34-footer is built on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 22,000 pounds â€” the heftiest in the under-$100,000 class â€” while the other Miradas have a gvwr of 20,500 pounds. Standard features include 6.5 kW generators, Corian countertops, rear- and mid-coach pass-through storage and a Dream Dinette, a gas strut-operated dinette that converts into a bed.
Considered a crossover between a Class A and C motorhome by its maker, the Fleetwood Terra, with a $99,000 base price, is available in two 31- and 34-foot double-slideout floorplans on a Ford chassis with a gvwr of 22,000 pounds. Each is equipped with Fleetwoodâ€™s Hide-a-Loft drop-down bed over the cockpit. A queen-size bed in the rear bedroom along with a convertible dinette and sofa up front create a sleeping capacity for eight adults. Standard features include hardwood cabinet doors, Corian countertops, a soft-touch ceiling and basement storage.
Thor Motor Coach Daybreak
A 27-foot-long full-wall slideout opens up the living area and bedroom considerably in Thor Motor Coachâ€™s 35-foot Daybreak 3370 floorplan, one of four Daybreak models beneath the $100,000 threshold. Available in 29- to 35-foot lengths, the motorhomes are equipped with full basements and are built on a Ford platform with a gvwr of 18,000 pounds or 22,000 pounds. Features include Villa Comfort Fit furniture and a gas-strut-powered Dream Dinette to make conversion to a bed easier. Also, Thor recently debuted an outdoor kitchen option for the single-slide 35-foot 34SS floorplan that includes an LP-gas grill, mini-fridge and integrated stainless steel sink. Base price is $95,965.
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