Fleetwood added a fifth floorplan to its popular Storm crossover line blending Class C sleeping capacities with the amenities of a Class A. As anticipated, Fleetwood incorporated some new features for 2013 that should pique the interest of those considering Class A living at an entry level price.
Built on the venerable Ford F53 leaf spring chassis, the Storm offers V-10 gas power and torque delivered to 19.5-inch wheels through the five-speed TorqShift OD transmission with tow/haul mode. Monitoring powertrain functions from the step-up cockpit is clear and uncluttered. Ford Class C owners will immediately recognize the familiar instrumentation of paired analog dials bordered by sweep-style gauges for fluid capacities and temperatures. Controls for the A/C, radio, camera screen for the optional ($770) side view cameras and optional ($2,513) Power Gear hydraulic leveling system are all within easy reach. A pair of Flexsteel captain’s chairs, with manual adjustments and swivel, provides comfortable miles behind the wheel as well as additional cabin seating in camp.
Handsome Toasted Chestnut cabinets combined with the Midnight Forest interior dÃ©cor suggests a coach costing many thousands more. A significant feature of the 33Q is a dropped main cabin floor providing a 7.5-foot ceiling height and creating the sense of being in a much larger motorhome. By eliminating the short forward pass-through exterior storage compartment above the frame rails, Fleetwood was able to drop the cabin floor 4 inches. Lost storage volume from this modification is amply restored in the large rear compartment.
The faux-leather wrapped curbside facing booth dinette is equipped with a Cass Hudson Dream Dinette table, which unlocks and drops horizontally to the sleeping position using one hand and creates a 42-by-72-inch sleeping area. Normally, you’d expect to find storage under the dinette benches but in this floorplan, the aft bench seat base has been modified with a pair of 14-by-24-inch floor-level cubbies facing the nonskid, rubberized entry door well. One cubby with a pullout drawer has a rack for a pet’s food and water bowls with room for pet food storage behind it. Next to it is a second cubby for shoes, cargo or even as a pet’s bed.
Sitting at the dinette and looking out over the campsite or playing cards is one way to spend leisure time, but with the flick of a switch the Storm’s primary audiovisual system rises from the window sill, covering the window with a 40-inch LCD HDTV screen. While some may consider it too close for viewing from the table, it’s perfect for viewing from the sofa, the cockpit chair or on the optional ($2,520) cockpit drop-down loft queen bed. Sound quality is enhanced when the optional ($539) home theater system is ordered.
Opposite the dinette, the 42-by-72-inch faux-leather jackknife sofa and galley share the Storm’s sole slide, which is 20 inches deep by 11 feet 4 inches long. The open L-shape galley module uses a twin stainless steel sink with pullout faucet. A three-burner Atwood range with oven, aided by a microwave above it, will easily handle meal prep. Galley cabinets provide plenty of storage for pots, pans and utensils. Next to the 6-cubic-foot, two-door fridge, a 13-by-19-inch three-shelf pullout pantry should handle everything needed for most trips. Should an extended journey require more space, there are four large, deep drawers below the pantry.
A short step-up from the cabin floor through the paired privacy doors leads to the bath and bedroom. The bath is contained within one room and sports a good-sized ABS shower surround with curtain and 6 feet of headroom, plus a few inches courtesy of the domed skylight. A large ABS sink set in the matching countertop provides the expected space for grooming with storage in the medicine cabinet above. Drawer storage is found in the sink base plus a linen cubby below it. An electric roof vent fan exhausts into a MaxxAir all-weather vent cover, and a porcelain bowl commode with handy handheld sprayer completes the bath’s appointments. Sharing the bath wall is a 64-inch-tall-by-6-inch-deep hallway storage closet with four adjustable shelves for print or digital media storage, which could double nicely as a broom closet with the shelves removed.
The Storm’s storage volume both inside and out is a significant and successful design feature of this floorplan. Wardrobe storage can be found in no less than four dedicated locations to stow the family’s clothing in the hall and bedroom. One large multipurpose wardrobe unit lines the curbside hallway wall providing a 42-inch clothes bar with 51 inches of hanging length and four large drawers below it. A step up into the carpeted bedroom reveals a pair of narrow bedside wardrobes above each nightstand tied together with more overhead storage. Fleetwood has also provided an additional 22-by-48-inch curbside wall wardrobe with lower drawer storage. The larger curbside nightstand is capable of holding everything from books to medical equipment and both sides of the platform queen bed have 120-volt AC outlets. Under the bed is a large, shallow storage tray and removing it provides refreshingly easy inspection and maintenance access to the electrical panel, freshwater tank, pump, whole coach filter and plumbing valves. An optional ($406) 19-inch LCD HDTV is offered on a locking multi-axis wall mount for bedroom viewing.
The storage story continues outside with a pass-through storage compartment running the full width of the coach. In addition, customary saddlebag style rotomolded compartments ring the exterior creating useful space for smaller cargo. A fully enclosed utility compartment protects dump valves and the shorepower cord from the elements, and both black and gray tanks are transversely mounted in the heated mid-coach pass-through compartment for easy visual inspection or maintenance. Striking full-body paint is also available with the optional ($3,500) Titanium Edition, which also includes stainless steel wheel inserts, chrome tipped exhaust pipe, 18-foot electric awning and the side view cameras mentioned earlier.
The new Storm 33Q offers great storage, sleeping for six to eight people, handsome woodwork and trim, an upscale interior dÃ©cor and an impressive list of features at an attractive price point for Class A living.
Our thanks go to the staff of Mike Thompson RV Super Stores in Southern California for providing the Storm for our review.
Chassis: Ford F53
Engine: 6.8-L Triton V-10
Fuel: 80 gal
GVWR: 18,000 lbs
Length: 33′ 5″
Width: 8′ 5″
Height with A/C: 12′
Interior height: 7′ 5″
Freshwater Cap: 60 gal
Gray-water Cap: 37 gal
Black-water Cap: 37 gal
LP-Gas Cap: 14 gal
Base MSRP: $94,220