DIESEL-PUSHER MOTORHOMES ARE VERY POPULAR, but purchase price and owner preference tend to point some shoppers to gas-powered coaches. Forest River’s new entry in the affordably priced, yet fully equipped gas-powered motorhome market is the Georgetown Class A line, and this coach sets itself a notch above some other entry-level gasoline-powered motorhomes with an extensive array of features. The Georgetown 325S test unit has a $66,864 base suggested retail price, which includes the Ford 6.8-liter V-10 power plant on a 208-inch-wheelbase Ford chassis with an 18,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr).
The coach is also available on the Workhorse chassis, powered by the Chevrolet 7.4-liter
V-8 engine. Either way, the Georgetown is positioned at the lower end of the Class A price
range, even though the Model 325S features a slideout. The $76,432 sticker for the test
coach includes options such as the 5.5-kW Onan Marquis AC generator ($4,130), the Rear
Vision System backup monitor ($945), a driver’s door ($700), a second 13,500-BTU ducted
roof air conditioner ($693), the Exterior Accessory Package ($630), the Arctic Package
($329) and an outside shower ($105). Full front and rear fiberglass caps, attractive and
tasteful graphics, a seamless fiberglass exterior and polished stainless-steel wheel
inserts create a great-looking motorhome that belies its low list price. The test motorhome
had a weight problem with its rear axle, in that it weighed 10,870 pounds and had an
11,000-pound gross axle weight rating (gawr), which left just 180 pounds of payload
capacity on the rear axle. That is inadequate for a coach of this size and could easily
lead to overloading. Overall, the coach tipped the scales at 16,280 pounds, which left
1,720 pounds of overall cargo capacity before exceeding the manufacturer’s 18,000-pound
gvwr. The front axle is in great shape, with 1,540 pounds of capacity in addition to its
5,460-pound wet weight. The cockpit of the Georgetown is well thought out with a full
complement of gauges to keep you apprised of what’s going on in the engine compartment. We did have to crane our necks, however, to see some of them, no matter how we adjusted the steering wheel and seat. A thoughtful touch on the passenger-side dash is a laptop computer workstation with a 12-volt DC accessory socket and phone jack. Ventilation, power mirror, rear-vision monitor and leveling controls are all within easy reach. The comfortable driver and passenger seats adjust fore and aft, swivel and recline to accommodate most driver sizes and needs. A couple of chassis details were a bit annoying.
The fuel gauge never read above one-quarter full, even after a fill-up, which denoted either a bad sending unit or a faulty gauge. The dashboard ventilation and heater fan sometimes made a screeching, metal-on-metal noise that was loud and scary enough that we stopped the motorhome to see what was wrong the first time it happened. Small points perhaps, but they stood out in an otherwise mostly bug-free coach. Ford has improved the horsepower of the 6.8-liter V-10 to 310 at 4,250 rpm and torque to 425 lb-ft at 3,250 rpm, which enables the Georgetown to move smartly down the highway. Throttle response is great and acceleration from a stop is brisk when compared to diesel-powered motorhomes or commercial trucks. Freeway grades didn’t bother us at all, although a long, steep 7-plus-percent grade did manage to slow us down to 45 mph. Combined freeway and city driving yielded an average of 6.41 mpg, which is typical of gas-powered motorhomes. You can hear the V-10 doing its work from its up-front location, but engine noise is certainly not intrusive.
Other sounds that are noticeably absent are wind noise and coach rattles and squeaks. Except for a few squeaks from the slideout gasket and a plastic rattle here and there under the dash, the Georgetown 325S is surprisingly quiet for a coach at any price, let alone one at this entry-level point. The Georgetown handles like most similar motorhomes built on Ford chassis, in that it exhibits the usual bow wave “yaw” when passing large vehicles at freeway speeds and it rolls a bit while cornering, but those tendencies are no worse than in most other coaches. If we were the owners of this motorhome, we’d upgrade the shock absorbers and add aftermarket sway bars and a front-axle panhard rod, also known as a track bar,to make the coach handle even better. These additions would be helpful, but are not essential. A heavy-duty Reese hitch receiver and taillight hookups make towing a dinghy fairly easy. The Georgetown 325S is a comfortable coach. After stepping inside, you face the sofa bed and the dinette in the streetside slideout; the galley, with its three-burner range and oven, microwave, large sink and double-door refrigerator/freezer is curbside, just aft of the door. A full walk-through bath provides access to the rear bedroom with an island-style queen-size bed.
The shallow slideout opens up the interior nicely, allowing plenty of room for a person to
work in the galley while others sit at the dinette or on the sofa. The sofa, chair and
dinette cushions were very comfortable and large; the standard 19-inch television was
easily visible from all the seats except the two front captain’s chairs. Plenty of windows
allow ample natural light, and the interior airiness is enhanced by the light-oak-grained
natural-wood cabinetry. Storage abounds in the coach, both in the kitchen, with its
drawers, cupboards and large slide-out pantry, and in the master bedroom, which has
wardrobes on either side of the bed, nightstands with drawers and a large shirt closet. A
mirrored wall behind the bed gives the illusion of a much larger room, and a TV cupboard
across from the bed has room for another 19- to 20-inch television, with all the hookups
inside for easy installation. The only negative we could find in the bedroom is that the
mattress was quite uncomfortable. The bathroom spans the width of the coach and is highly accommodating, even for those of us with larger frames. The streetside commode is in its
own private cubicle, while the vanity, sink and shower are curbside, so this is a two-person bathroom. The shower has plenty of room to stand up and turn around in, while the skylight adds to the natural light in the shower. Marine-type screw hatches allow easy
access to all plumbing connections, which is a nice touch and saves tearing into walls when
plumbing requires attention. As mentioned before, the galley has plenty of storage with
ample cupboards, a large pantry and smooth-operating drawers with dual metal slider rails.
Cooks will appreciate the roomy feeling of the kitchen. The test motorhome came with
optional raised-panel oak refrigerator-door inserts and a wood-plank kitchen floor, which
added to the luxurious feel of the coach.
The range/oven and the microwave were convenient and easy to use; a ventless hood over the range houses the monitor panel. A 35,000-BTU furnace supplies ducted in-floor heat. Heat vent placement is fine. When outside temperatures rise to the other end of the thermometer, the dual ducted roof air conditioners keep occupants comfortable. Fan-Tastic roof vents are used in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom for economical ventilation. Outside the coach, there are four pass-through basement storage compartments. The other compartments, while not pass-through, are still ample for large or bulky items, and all compartments are lighted. Due to the rig’s minimal rear-axle cargo capacity, any heavy items should be stored toward the front axle. All dump valves and plumbing are hidden in their own compartments with nothing hanging below the coach. The optional outside shower and controls were stored in this compartment, too, making for easy cleanup after any messy jobs. Forest River protects the occupants of its coaches by surrounding them with a steel basement floor truss system and a full aluminum-framed wall and roof structure, including all windows and door openings.
The 2-inch-thick side walls include seamless fiberglass exterior skin on lauan with block-foam insulation. The 3-inch vacuum-laminated floor uses a one-piece 1/2-inch subfloor. Forest River foam-seals and undercoats the entire floor surround, affording extra protection from the elements. The 4 1/2-inch crowned roof uses tube aluminum roof rafters and is topped with seamless EPDM rubber over lauan. The Georgetown’s fluid capacities allow a reasonably sized family to venture beyond the bounds of civilization with dry campsites in mind.
The fuel tank holds 75 gallons for long hauls between stations. Freshwater capacity is 85
gallons, which should last awhile with conservative use, while black-water and gray-water
tanks hold 35 gallons each and the LP-gas tank holds 29 gallons. Forest River’s Arctic
Package is designed to apply heat to the holding tanks and drain piping to prevent
freezing. The Georgetown 33-footer is a lot of coach for the money, although that rear-axle
weight could lead to problems in the long run. Buyers looking for good value at a
rock-bottom price need to inspect a product carefully for construction quality and consider
the overall package in regard to content versus cost. With reasonable shopping and research time, a motorhome like the Georgetown may well turn out to be a good investment for an entry-level coach if the company can iron out its weight-distribution problem. Forest River Inc., 58277 State Road 19 South, Elkhart, Indiana 46517; (219) 296-7700 Article by: Phil Howell Photos by: Phil Howell