Embassy RV’s quest for luxury, technology and rugged adventure is highlighted in its PRL Class B
It wasn’t too long ago that Class B motorhomes filled a need for a fairly narrow consumer base: those who wanted a maneuverable touring vehicle that could double as a second car at home, and those downsizing from big Class A’s. Today, the Class B market is stronger than ever, and buyers are trending toward smaller, full-featured motorhomes that fulfill the need for a luxury vehicle that’s sporty enough to get off the grid. While finding a Class B that qualifies as a true luxury touring vehicle; a well-equipped luxury motorhome; and an off-road, off-grid-capable adventure machine that you can literally hose out the inside when it gets dirty is a tall order, the Embassy PRL fits the bill precisely.
The Inside Scoop
Embassy RV is a luxury vehicle upfitter that has specialized in converting a variety of vehicles from vans to small buses, as well as building a number of custom vehicles for various applications. “Motorhome” is the latest category added to the Embassy portfolio and, according to Embassy RV president Terry Minix, he and his team spent a great deal of time on every little detail. Sure, he’s going to claim that distinction; he wants to sell more units, right? But, as we found out, Minix practices what he preaches.
Upon entering the side door, sleek black cabinets are matched with tan leather-like vinyl cushions and appointments, carpet on the floor, stainless-steel appliances, myriad technology, a padded ceiling with central air and a drop-down LED HDTV, just to name a few items that make this motorhome totally comfortable.
Design, construction materials, layout, technology, durability
Front seat comfort, drivability, lack of side awning, no passenger seat belts/capacity
Two bench-style couches line both sides of the living space. The ultra-soft leather-like fabric and comfortable, supportive cushions provide an inviting environment for hanging out or even hosting guests, and the couches electrically convert to a comfy sleeping space at night. And yes, hosting company is actually possible. While the only seat-belted seats in the Embassy are the front two, rotate them around when parked and six could sit in relative comfort; or, two people will have space to lounge extravagantly.
Dinner, snacks and cocktails, or the computer are right at home on the movable-mount table that stores in its own cabinet just forward of the bathroom. There are built-in brackets — two in the living area and one in the rear of the motorhome — that accept the fully adjustable table mounting hardware.
The galley is nicely appointed, with plenty of solid-surface countertop workspace and a plethora of storage, something seldom found in Class B’s. The living area offeres overhead storage also, with one lockable cabinet for valuables. In the galley, a 6.8-cubic-foot, 12-volt DC refrigerator is housed next to a full-size pantry, across from the countertop with a stainless-steel Moen single-bowl sink. Above is a 1.1-cubic-foot convection microwave.
Decent food-prep space is paired with generous storage accommodations for foodstuffs.
Farther aft is the wet bath, complete with two closets. One closet is fitted with several steel drawers that look like commercial toolboxes on soft-close glides, and the other one is for hanging clothes.
Across from the “cabinets” is the built-in cassette toilet that can be concealed by a fold-down counter. When not in use, the vanity sink, a tip-out backlighted makeup mirror, the shower/sink faucet combination and freshwater-tank gravity fill are exposed. Not a conventional spot for the fill, but considering that the gray- and freshwater tanks are bladders located under the left-side sofa (more on that later), it all makes sense.
The PRL’s black cabinetry is a modification of similar designs found in the marine industry. A number of cues have been taken from the marine industry, along with custom fabrication that’s built to be virtually indestructible even with hard, adventurous use.
All the black cabinetry, furniture (except the front seats) stiles and boxes are composed of various thicknesses of marine-grade high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic sheet, all computer-designed and cut in CNC machines. According to Minix, you won’t find any hardware holding components, including the cabinets, to the RAM ProMaster’s walls. All the cabinetry is “epoxied” in place using 3M VHB tape. This bonding technology is extremely stout and eliminates squeaks and rattles. The cabinet doors are attached with recessed spring hinges and marine-grade slam latches.
The floor covering is Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl ($695), the same material used in Airstream trailers, which provides a durable, warm, cushioned floor to step on. But unlike in the Airstreams, the woven vinyl is removable, and sits atop Gerflor seamless industrial-grade vinyl flooring, which in turn sits atop a composite sub-floor. And the leather-like vinyl cushions have marine-grade removable slip covers atop automotive fabric, so when the center sections of the couches are slid together electrically, the covers can be pulled off, exposing breathable fabric under the bed sheet instead of vinyl.
Versatility is the key; the PRL can go from luxury touring coach to adventure vehicle in a matter of minutes. There are no wood products in this unit. You can throw your dirty, sandy surfboards and beach gear in the back, and literally (albeit carefully because of electronics) hose out the back.
There’s plenty of technology in the Embassy as well. First is a Lithionics 600Ah lithium power cell ($7,895) combined with a 3kW Xantrex Freedom inverter system. The system features Xantrex Freedom’s Conext ComBox communication system, remote control and a router for connecting to smart devices with iOS and Android apps. These allow for full control of the inverter system either via the remote or a smart device. The chassis engine is equipped with a 220-amp factory alternator plus an auxiliary 280-amp alternator ($3,695) and an auto-engine start ($4,495) to keep the whole system up and running without batting an eye. All the interior lighting is multiplexed using integrated switch panels located throughout the motorhome.
While there’s no Wi-Fi hotspot or cellular booster, space and roof access is provided so the owner can choose the best technology for his/her needs.
A unique feature is the integrated ASA Electronics Voyager camera system. Tied into the main TV as well as the dashboard, the system allows occupants to see 365 degrees around the outside of the rig on demand, which is a great security feature.
Another feature of note is the rear deck with add-a-room vinyl tent ($3,990 with step). Embassy has custom-fabricated a toy-hauler-like deck that stows just inside the rear doors. Open the doors wide and the hinged deck can be unlocked and lowered onto two folding legs. A series of trusses are raised into place under the tent and secured, and another room is created. Lights, speakers, connectivity ports and outlets are located on the back of the cabinets, as is a removable table mount.
The HVAC systems are not traditional, either. The rooftop A/C is a 20,000-Btu, 12-volt DC unit that, according to Minix, is used in the Toyota Prius. With highs in the 80s, the unit operated well, and kept the interior temperature quite comfortable. Heat and hot water are supplied by an Espar gasoline-powered hydronic system.
Embassy has also ventured outside the box to create a plumbing system that is usable, even in extremes, and tough enough to withstand the rigors of off-grid use. There are no holding tanks in the traditional sense. Instead, the unit has two heavy-rubber industrial bladders, one for freshwater and one for gray water, located under the sofa. All the plumbing is heavy-duty marine-grade and assembled well. The toilet normally has a tank that is removed from the outside and dumped; Embassy has modified the tank with a custom macerator system composed of Dometic and Thetford parts, which exits a side compartment on the driver’s side. The system has a pipe that enters the top of the tank, drawing the effluent up and out of the tank. Should the system fail, the tank is accessible from the rear deck by a cover panel. Gray water is dumped via a built-in industrial rubber 1-inch hose that stows in a tube in the driver’s side running board. The freshwater system also includes a filter and ozone water purification.
Behind the Wheel
The Embassy RV is built on the RAM ProMaster 3500 extended van platform. The front-wheel-drive RAM is powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 gasoline engine, and its performance is about as unremarkable as the original Dodge vans of yesteryear. That said, the ProMaster performed adequately with the loaded motorhome, and offers many features for the driver including FCA’s U-Connect system with GPS navigation, SiriusXM radio and the Mopar trailer tow group with Class IV hitch receiver.
The front seats are a disappointment and will likely require a padded aftermarket cushion to make them tolerable for driving long distances. The seats are fitted with air bags and are electronically connected to the body control module, and there are no good options currently for their replacement. Mercedes-Benz has the same restriction on its Sprinter models. Universally, everyone who road-tested this vehicle complained about the seats without any prompting.
On the flip side, the ProMaster is less expensive than the Mercedes-Benz diesel, which allows this motorhome to have a list price far below some of the competition. There’s no question that the chassis will get you where you need to go, but it’s not going to be winning any races. The overall equipment package is excellent, however, and with a bit of tweaking, this is a very serviceable unit. But, if you want to up the performance, Embassy will build it on the Ford Transit or the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for an upcharge.
The Outside Story
The PRL’s rear deck takes the prize for outside detail. That said, the unit does not have a side patio awning.
Wheel-to-wheel custom rubber-coated running boards are a nice, durable addition, and are not as susceptible to damage as formed fiberglass. The Embassy is understated outside, with a standard factory silver paint treatment, and very little to indicate that this is, indeed, a motorhome, and not just a van. What’s underneath, or rather, what’s not underneath the motorhome is notable. Minix designed this motorhome to be four-season capable, so the tanks and lithium battery pack are inside. And, since it doesn’t have a generator, the underside is stock RAM ProMaster. Eight-layer aircraft-style insulation helps keep the rig comfortable in most conditions.
The Final Word
The Embassy Class B is a unique expression of custom design and engineering, yet at a mass-produced price. You won’t find high-end woods in this motorhome and the tough, marine- and industrial-grade materials can take just about anything aggressive occupants can throw at them. While the interior is comfortable and livable, more discriminating buyers might want to opt for the Ford or Mercedes-Benz platforms. That said, the Embassy’s Class B is truly a yacht on wheels.
Model ProMaster 3500
Engine 3.6L V-6
SAE Hp 280-hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque 260-lb-ft @ 4,175 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle Ratio N/A
Brakes Front/Rear Disc
Suspension Front/Rear Strut/Leaf
Fuel Capacity 24 gal
Fuel Economy 14.3 mpg
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles/
5 years/60,000 miles powertrain
Exterior Length 21′
Exterior Width 6′ 6″
Exterior Height 7′
Interior Width 5′ 11″
Interior Height 6′ 2″
Construction Van body with 8-layer aircraft insulation
Freshwater Capacity 23.5 gal
Black-water Capacity Cassette toilet
Gray-water Capacity 23.5 gal
Water-heater Capacity Hydronic 6-gal
Propane Capacity N/A
Air Conditioner (1) 20,000-Btu
Furnace Espar hydronic 13,650-Btu
Refrigerator 6.8-cu.ft. 12-volt DC
Inverter/Charger 3,000-watt, 150-amp charger
Batteries 12-volt lithium
AC Generator N/A
MSRP as Tested $129,620
Warranty 3 years, 36,000 miles
Wet Weight (Water and water heater, fuel, propane tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
Total 8,420 lbs
Maximum trailer weight 2,150 lbs
GAWR, Front/Rear 4,629 lbs/5,291 lbs
GVWR/GCWR 9,350 lbs/11,500 lbs
ROCCC 930 lbs
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)