Forest River’s Sunseeker 2550DSLE is a great choice for families thanks to an affordable price tag, plenty of bells and whistles and lots of room for the whole family
Shopping for a motorhome the whole family will enjoy takes some study. Most people have visions of excitement associated with road trips but are also ready for a level of convenience that goes well beyond traveling in a passenger car. Add in a few kids, and the search for the perfect family motorhome escalates quite rapidly from merely a look-see into a reality. In many cases, the Class C fills the bill because of its family-friendly floorplans, a well-stocked arsenal of appliances and accessories, and proven platforms that are user-friendly and easy to drive nearly anywhere. The Forest River Sunseeker 2550DSLE is a good example of such a Class C family motorhome.
Although compact chassis like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter seem to garner much of the buzz today, the Sunseeker is built on the venerable Ford E-450 chassis that offers builders the ability to add square footage at an advantageous price point. Under the E-450’s hood is a standard-issue 6.8-liter Triton V-10 power plant, generating a reasonable 305 hp for reliable propulsion. The 190-inch wheelbase fits the exterior profile without resulting in an extra-long rear overhang, and ride comfort/handling provides no surprises. Acclimation, from both instrumentation and visibility standpoints, comes quickly, even for neophytes. In the cockpit, you won’t find anything fancy; about the only thing advanced is the Pioneer in-dash sound system and its ability to display images coming from both the rear- and side-view cameras. Being that this is a Ford chassis, the instrument cluster employs the brand’s familiar layout.
A tour around the lower exterior of the Sunseeker leads one to the rugged, plastic-lined external storage compartments with ample space to accommodate items for both the weekend warrior and the longer-term wanderer, although the latter will likely need to plan and pack carefully because of the inherent storage capability of a Class C. Other exterior compartments house the 30-amp power cord, propane tank and a capable Cummins/Onan QG 4000 generator with enough juice to power the whole motorhome for some off-grid habitation. Depending on the size of your clan, primitive camp time may be limited by the modest holding tank capacities that top out at 44 gallons for the freshwater tank and 39 gallons each for the black- and gray-water tanks. The test motorhome was not equipped with a leveling system, so owners will have to carry blocks or boards. Fortunately, an optional four-point system is available from the factory.
The Sunseeker’s exterior is smooth and visually appealing with soft-tone gray and off-white colors (and lack of gaudy decals) that carry an effective, simple theme that is very clean-looking. An 18-foot awning complete with wired-in outdoor speakers and LED light strip makes for easy outdoor entertaining.
Under the gelcoat fiberglass skin is a network of aluminum tube framing integrated into the vacuum-laminated side walls. The assembly is reinforced with metal backers to ensure tight joints and tie points throughout the structure. As a result, the noise level inside while driving is lower than expected, a testament to a solid foundation and good fit and finish. Cockpit inhabitants will hear some engine noise due to the proximity to the engine “doghouse,” which also restricts legroom for the passenger, but that’s a common trait with Ford E-cutaway chassis.
Of course, the big benefit of a Class C chassis, other than providing a comfort zone for drivers who are skittish about piloting a Class A, is the natural formation of a bunk above the cockpit. The kid-approved cabover bunk is accessed by a portable ladder and is fitted with a mattress that provides a moderate level of comfort. While two kids can easily fit on the provided space, a single adult could also find snoozing sanctuary on this bunk. There’s sufficient space to stretch out and there are ancillary features that dovetail with a modern lifestyle, like power receptacles complete with USB outlets at both ends. There are also reading lights, covered storage bins and windows at both ends. Although the hallmark front window is missing on this plan, the side glass mitigates claustrophobia.
Rearward of the cockpit and bunk is a family-friendly floorplan that offers surprising comfort. It sleeps eight people (who really have to like one another, or are at least willing to learn) and is decorated in colors that stray from the provincial browns and tans. Observing the surroundings, your attention is drawn to the well-lit, open and spacious placement of furniture. Part of what’s creating the bright atmosphere is the vast assortment of LEDs placed appropriately for optimum lighting.
In addition, the combination of light- and dark-gray tones spanning from floor to ceiling, along with the occasional touch of stainless steel, helps to give off a perceived larger space than the actual dimensions suggest.
Complementing the ample amount of floor space is a well-proportioned array of mild gray-toned cabinetry, including ideally placed overheads and low-lying doors and drawers.
The living room encourages rest and relaxation and is configured for spending quality family time hovering over game boards, working a craft project, or just reading and watching TV.
The significantly sized slideout is outfitted with a color-coordinated dinette with comfortable cushions and a couch. There’s plenty of room for the entire family to move about freely at the dinette, on the couch and in the galley. When the slideout is retracted, there is still enough passage room for movement to the kitchen, bathroom and open seating, which is a must when traveling in a family motorhome. Although the sofa/couch is more than suitable for sleeping two people (or enjoying some movie time thanks, in part, to its fold-down armrest and cup holder), the addition of a reclining feature would enhance the experience and provide a place to prop up your feet. The sofa and dinette fit perfectly in the provided space, and there is a healthy array of storage space positioned above the sofa and via large drawers under the dinette bench seats.
Nestled into the abundant cabinet structure immediately across from the couch is a 40-inch, 12-volt DC LED TV that is perfectly placed onto the face of an upper cabinet door that leads to additional storage space — utilizing every square inch of possible real estate. By adjusting the lateral angle of the TV, it can be also be viewed from the kitchen and dinette, and even from the cabover bed.
The kitchen is outfitted with everything most users could want and need, but without a bunch of gadgets. Directly underneath the TV, the kitchen countertop has been appropriately equipped with an under-mounted, deep single-basin stainless sink with a matching stainless tall faucet. Helping to keep the cooking area usable and spacious is the flush-mounted, three-burner stove topped off with a bifold glass cover, which doubles as an extended counter work area. In an effort to consolidate counter and cabinet space, a 1.3-cubic-foot convection microwave is cradled below the range for out-of-the way usage, but it does displace a gas oven. Both of these culinary creature comforts are dressed in a stainless-steel theme that matches the front of the 10.7-cubic-foot 12-volt DC refrigerator that’s easily within arm’s reach. It was a little odd using the fridge that opened in the opposite direction of the kitchen; however, this can be remedied by simply swapping the hinges to the other side if you so desire.
Keeping the meal prep flowing and friendly, a tall and easily accessible pantry is placed at the end of the counter and is large enough to accommodate bulkier food packages.
Beyond the kitchen are the lavatory and master bedroom, sharing a common wall between them. On the right side, just before entering the bathroom, is a sizable linen closet for stowing items needed for extended trips. Upon entering the bathroom, it’s immediately obvious that no floor space was wasted. There is just enough room to perform all of your hygiene duties without elbowing the walls constantly. Part of this is due to the angle at which the toilet is mounted, as well as a small but adequate sink that doesn’t protrude into the free space. This does, however, eliminate almost any countertop room, but at least the medicine cabinet is well appointed for necessities.
There’s certainly nothing extravagant in this bathroom, but it works. One nice feature is the high-pressure, aerated shower head, emulating the sensation of a quality, homelike shower while minimizing hot water usage. This is beneficial since the motorhome, like most RVs, has only a standard 6-gallon water heater.
At first glance, the master bedroom that’s tucked into a rear corner may seem like it’s a little on the small side, but this is somewhat of an optical illusion. Aboard the smaller scaled slideout, a queen size bed is housed and surrounded by more overhead storage, while at the foot of the bed and on one side is a healthy closet big enough to hold and hang a fairly large collection of clothing. As far as the queen bed goes, it initially looks as if it will be uncomfortable (or have thin spots) due to the very interesting split mattress design, which allows the slideout to move freely without contacting the opposite wall.
But, the memory foam mattress is very plush and comfy, offsetting the necessity to count sheep to get to sleep. The Sunseeker 2550DSLE might not be outfitted with the most luxurious of appointments or the most advanced technology, but it does confidently deliver on livability, including lighter-colored design elements that portray a higher-end feeling. The motorhome is roomy, while maintaining a simple and effective aura, and will undoubtedly provide a reliable mobile sanctuary for families at a decent price point.
Forest River Inc.
Model Ford E-450
Engine 6.8-liter V-10
SAE Hp 305 @ 4,250 rpm
Torque 420 lb-ft @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle Ratio 4.56:1
Tires (front) 225/75R16 LRE
Tires (rear) 225/75R16 LRE
Suspension F/R MacPherson strut, coil/leaf
Fuel Capacity 55 gal
Fuel Economy 8.2 mpg (est.)
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain
Exterior Length 29′ 4″
Exterior Width 8′ 5″
Exterior Height (with A/C) 11′ 3″
Interior Width 7′ 11.5″
Interior Height 7′ 0″
Construction Laminated walls with 2-inch aluminum structure, block foam, fiberglass roof
Freshwater Capacity 44 gal
Black-water Capacity 39 gal
Gray-water Capacity 39 gal
Water-heater Capacity 6 gal
Propane Capacity 9.8 gal
Air Conditioner (1) 15,000 Btu
Furnace 30,000 Btu
Refrigerator 10.7 cu-ft 12-volt DC
Converter 60 amp
Batteries (1) 12-volt chassis, (1) 12-volt Group 27 house
AC Generator 4 kW
MSRP As Tested $96,518
Warranty 1 year, 12,000 miles
Wet Weight (Water and water heater, fuel, propane tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
Total 11,443 lbs
GAWR, F/R 5,000 lbs/9,600 lbs
GVWR/GCWR 14,500 lbs/22,000 lbs
ROCCC 3,057 lbs (Deduct weight of passengers for net cargo capacity)
GAWR Gross Axle Weight Rating
GVWR Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
GCWR Gross Combination Weight Rating
ROCCC Realistic Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity (full water, no passengers)