Motorhome manufacturers are coming up with interesting solutions to make trips to the gas station less painful, and much less frequent.
Introducing the Icon Class C diesel motorhome, Fleetwood’s latest on the Mercedes Benz designed Dodge Sprinter chassis. A weekend jaunt up to Yosemite National Park in California provided more than our typical walk-through of this diesel-powered motorhome, but with a 26.4-gallon fuel tank and mileage averaging around 15 mpg, I can report that the Icon 24D makes sense.
Although not a full test, the end result of this three-day excursion was firsthand experience and a better understanding of the benefits — and restrictions — of such a motorhome. One being that while the interior can sleep up to six people, four adults gets a little
too close. Again, I’m talking about firsthand experience here — at least it was family.
Let’s look at the Icon as a Class C motorhome designed for a young family or retired couple. It works in both cases. The streetside slide offers a middle aisle that provides plenty of maneuvering room for two adults, and the floorplan allows for a variety of sleeping arrangements for the young family.
No doubt the bunk located above the driver’s compartment will be worthy of a few arguments among the younger ones.
Breaking away from the traditional base color and some adhesive graphics, the Icon comes with a variety of full-body-paint options, including the radical Bad Blue on this example. The aluminum running boards and matching wheel covers provide an additional dash of elegance.
Opening the side entrance, the automatic step extends and offers comfortable access for even the younger ones. The interior welcomes with a subtle luxury that seems a step above the common Class C offering, but it also maintains the features families or empty nesters might desire. Warm cherry-veneered cabinetry, coupled with tasteful
upholstery and stainless accents, looks inviting in an upscale way and the Corian countertops, four-person dinette and 19-inch living-area LCD TV might make you think you’ve stepped into the main room of a smaller Class A. And that streetside slideout mentioned earlier — housing the dinette and refrigerator — adds to the overall transformation, making this Class C seem much larger than its 26-foot length might imply.
While the counter space in the galley is somewhat restricted, the removable cover for the large, single-basin circular sink adds some welcome workspace. However, such abbreviated living space is to be expected in a coach of this size. The three-burner cooktop provided sufficient space to prepare a chicken dinner for our group and the microwave/convection oven made quick work reheating the leftover pizza grabbed on the way back to the campsite the second night. The 6-cubic-foot refrigerator offers ample room for simple weekend getaway fare, and the pantry with slide-out drawers offers adequate space for dry/canned goods.
The 52 x 74-inch bed in the rear was the comfortable and logical choice for mom and dad on this trip, but the lack of counter space while relaxing in bed watching the night’s DVD would be corrected with a set of fold-down drink holders if the Icon became part of my
motorized stable of wheeled toys.
A stainless-steel sink, with a well-lit mirrored medicine cabinet above, is located just outside the bath, and provides a convenient place for washing hands as well as applying makeup. However, the lack of any sort of privacy curtain between the rear sleeping
quarters and the rest of the coach was something that would be corrected if ownership became a reality.
My daughter and her husband started out the first 20-degree F night sharing the spacious overhead bunk, but her husband soon opted to spend the rest of the night in the dinette, which converts to a 40 x 73-inch sleeper via a well-designed strutted mechanism that locks the tabletop into place when used as a dinette. A former football player, the leading/deep side of the overhead bunk was cramping his comfort. My daughter understood, and not so secretly enjoyed being able to spread out in that 49 x 74-inch cabover bed.
As noted, it was cold at night and the 25,000-BTU furnace did an admirable job of keeping the Yosemite foursome comfortable all night long. It was also capable of warming the interior in a matter of minutes following the return from one of our extended hikes in one of America’s favorite parks.
I was pleased with the almost 50 cubic feet of storage space inside the coach, including the internal underbed access, although the 45 cubic feet of external storage compartments were a bit difficult to reach without crouching under the aluminum-skinned compartment doors. Maybe a little more upward door travel would help, but I wouldn’t let that alter my purchase plans. There is plenty of room for cargo and folding chairs, and that’s what counts.
The Fleetwood Icon 24D did minimize the cost at the pumps, handled well on the twisty mountain roads into Yosemite and is graced with tasteful decor and functional amenities. The base price may raise a few questions, but the long-term savings — in addition to the well-designed floorplan — make it a Class C worth a test-drive. And Yosemite was the perfect destination for this family foursome.