Well-appointed Coach House Arriva offers Mercedes-Benz luxury and a smooth handling experience
The overwhelming popularity of Class B motorhomes is an interesting phenomenon. It wasn’t too long ago that Class B sales were at the bottom of the list. That all has changed, and with the uptick in popularity and sales, the Class B has become everything from a four-wheel-drive outback adventurer to, in the case of the Coach House Arriva, a comfortable, technologically advanced touring vehicle for discriminating buyers.
When the MotorHome team arrived at the Coach House Factory in Nokomis, Florida, the company was wrapping up an owners’ rally and things were a bit frantic putting the facility back together. Nevertheless, the Arriva V24-TB slated for testing was set up in the showroom delivery area. We were quickly greeted by Steve Gerzeny, the company’s vice president, who proceeded to give us a tour of the company’s higher-end offering.
While we in the RV industry may be getting used to seeing Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans around, walking up to this motorhome with the big three-pointed Mercedes-Benz star on the chrome grille is impressive, and certainly exudes the company’s drive to dominate motorization on land, sea and air.
Built with the 170-inch wheelbase, dual-rear-wheel Sprinter with the 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel and five-speed automatic transmission, the package oozes elegance, and certainly the warm welcome we received is commensurate with that ideal.
To evaluate the Arriva, we drove the motorhome back to Tropical Palms RV Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, to give it the once over. Tropical Palms’ paved full-hookup sites and beautiful recreation and pool area, a mile outside of the Walt Disney World complex, made this assignment a “real challenge.” Tough job, but someone had to do it.
The Inside Story
Appliance selection, dry-bath size, cabinetry, technology, realistic occupant and cargo carrying capacity, Firefly Integrations multiplex control system
Lower-resolution (and non-smart) HDTVs, wheel liners rather than aluminum wheels, there’s not one in my driveway
The Arriva, undoubtedly, has the feel of an elegant home on wheels. Stepping inside the screened side door, which is part of an option package ($1,500), it’s clear that attention to detail is an integral part of the game with Coach House. The sliding screen door is mounted to a cabinet-matching stile from the step to the ceiling, with a fixed hook-and-loop mounted screen on the back of the galley countertop, which works well to keep the bugs out . But, when the weather is nice, extend the power Carefree Freestyle RM awning, and enjoy time on the patio watching golf on the exterior 22-inch LED TV that’s mounted on a swing-away bracket. Don’t worry … there’s another TV in the bed/living room.
The V24-TB (Twin Bed) is currently the only floorplan available in the Arriva. There are various floorplans available in the Class B segment, but so many squeeze a wet-bath amidships, which, for a 6-footer, is untenable. A motorhome should still be about livability, and the V24’s rear dry bath and 26-by-24½-inch shower makes this about as livable for the members of the sasquatch club as can be had in a Class B. Across from the shower is the toilet and sink, with a wardrobe just aft of the shower with cubbies facing the rear door. Shut the doors, and you have an entirely private bathroom.
Forward of the bathroom is the combination living and sleeping space. The two 28-by-74-inch twin beds have thick back pillows, which turn them into available seating during the day and offer comfortable sleeping at night. If you prefer a king bed, the frame of the driver’s-side bed slides over to join the passenger’s- side frame; push the two cushions together, and you have a king bed in a Class B. Of course, doing this eliminates the hallway, so there’s some crawling involved to get to the bathroom.
The galley is complete with a microwave/convection oven, Dometic gas cooktop and fold-down sink, a Dometic 6-cubic-foot three-way refrigerator-freezer, and a great pull-out pantry. There’s plenty of cabinet and drawer storage to boot, and just forward of the refrigerator is a cabinet with an additional fold-down desk/dining table for extra prep space. The desk and table are cherry and match the cabinetry. The countertops and vanity are solid-surface for easy care and longevity.
Both front seats rotate to become the dining seats and/or additional guest seats, and the driver’s seat can also be used as an office chair at the fold-out table.
The Coach House cabinetry is designed and built in-house, which is not unusual. What is remarkable, however, is how the cabinetry is made. The core of all the cabinets is a polypropylene honeycomb sandwich panel inside a solid wood frame, with veneer applied externally. This creates a strong, yet lightweight, cabinet. The test motorhome had solid-cherry flat-panel cabinet doors with push-button locking hardware, which was attractive and functional. Inside cabinet storage is remarkably generous for a Class B, and with the weight savings, this motorhome hits a home run with a 1,730-pound realistic occupant and cargo carrying capacity with full water, fuel and propane.
The Arriva is a technologically savvy motorhome. Coach House has done a credible job equipping this rig for off-the-grid and internet-connected living. The 12-volt DC electrical system’s foundation of dual Lifeline 6-volt AGM batteries is charged by a 160-watt Go Power! solar charging system, and the AC electrical system, which consists of a 30-amp shorepower supply, a Xantrex Freedom X 1,200-watt inverter/charger, as well as a Cummins-Onan 3.6-kW Micro-Quiet LP-gas generator.
The motorhome comes standard with an HDTV antenna with Wi-Fi, and there are USB, 12-volt DC and 120-volt AC receptacles throughout. The two TVs are fed by a standalone DVD player. While no smart TV option is installed from the factory, as in some other motorhomes, owners have the option to choose and add their own, like an Apple TV system, and network it with the Wi-Fi system.
On-the-road entertainment and directions are handled by a Fusion touch-screen stereo with integrated Garmin RV GPS programming and Bluetooth capability. Mercedes’ basic steering wheel controls are tied into the stereo; however, this gets much better in the new 2020 Sprinter setup. A new electronic control system will be available in the next generation models.
Comfort and convenience aren’t to be left out of the Arriva, either. Underfoot, Infinity luxury woven vinyl flooring ($1,500) is a pricy but excellent choice. It’s cushioned, slip-resistant, anti-fungal and easy to clean. All lighting and systems are controlled through a Firefly Integrations multiplexing system with smartphone app control. All the switch panels are touch-panels and are programmable, and the system integrates auto-generator start and HVAC control as well. The Dometic Penguin-II high-capacity air conditioner/heat pump’s output is channeled through ceiling ducts and registers, which reduce noise and improve distribution. A 19,000-Btu furnace takes over heating when the temps dip below the mid-40s. And, remember that rear dry bath? Yes, well you can take a nice long hot shower courtesy of the Truma Aqua-Go on-demand hot-water system.
Behind the Wheel
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has been a solid motorhome foundation for years and continues to be into 2019. The test motorhome was built on the older style German-built model. The legacy diesel chassis handled respectably during our test, and even crosswind conditions on the interstate didn’t present much of a handling issue.
While having to use the original Mercedes-Benz seats on legacy-model Sprinters, owners can have them reupholstered to suit the interior. But we learned from Coach House, which is a Mercedes-Benz Master Upfitter, that new models will have to retain the Mercedes-Benz seats in their entirety (including fabric) for safety reasons; the seats have electronics in them that are VIN-specific and that the computer recognizes, so they can’t be replaced.
That said, the most significant changes from the standard Sprinter are in the dash and electronics, including an integrated entertainment system with hands-free voice-controlled functionality and Wi-Fi connectivity. There are also some additional tweaks to the front end and an entirely new cab interior. The powertrain has seen some changes, including new seven- and nine-speed transmissions, a 3.0-liter diesel and a newly available gas engine.
As expected, the Arriva has Mercedes-Benz driver assist systems, including collision prevention and blind-spot assist, which all worked as expected. Driver and passenger seats are the Mercedes-Benz comfort models and have armrests and heat in each. As we have reported in previous tests, the instrument cluster is simple and easy to read, even if the computer interface buttons take some acclimation for non-Mercedes drivers. The control stalks and dash controls are within easy reach; the HVAC controls are intuitive, and the temperature seems accurate. Six cup-holders between the front seats, if all used simultaneously, hold a selection of refreshments and ensure frequent rest stops.
The Outside Story
In an interesting twist, the Arriva has maintained the full-side-wall glass appearance of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter passenger van; however, the dark tinted glass features jalousie windows in appropriate places. When combined with the high-output roof fans, comfortable sleeping on cool nights can be ensured.
The Arriva has a pleasing appearance that isn’t over the top, with all white paint and black trim. Fiberglass running boards on each side give this motorhome a sleek look, better access to the cab (of course) and also double as a nicely sized storage compartment on the driver’s side. The stainless wheel covers are decent-looking, but on a high-end coach, we’d like to see aluminum wheels.
Under the awning, campsite RV amenities are everything you’d expect, including a 120-volt AC receptacle, propane gas quick connection for grills and gas fire pits, and the aforementioned LED TV, which lives just behind the sliding door.
The utility connections are located at the rear on the driver’s side, and are quite straightforward, with a twist-lock shorepower cord connection on the side of the motorhome, and the water, cable, and sewer connections located at the bottom corner. Electrically heated holding tanks ($690) help to extend the camping season or keep tanks from freezing up while transiting south during the winter.
The Final Word
Choosing a Class B motorhome is dependent on how you plan to use it. Unlike many floorplans, the V24-TB has a very livable design, with comfortable sleeping for two; a great bathroom, especially for a Class B; ample galley facilities; good entertainment options; and friendly road manners. Most at home on the road, adequate ground clearance will keep owners from fretting about campground maneuvers.
The Coach House Arriva V24-TB is a well-thought-out and well-built Class B, and the equipment chosen for this motorhome is excellent-quality, name-brand products with solid reputations. There’s enough tech from the factory to satisfy most gadget geeks, while still being a great foundation to customize as desired. Luxury features and compact-but-highly-livable stature make it a good candidate for those who want to downsize without compromise.
Engine 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbodiesel
SAE Hp 190 @ 3,800 rpm
Torque 325 lb-ft @ 1,400–2,400 rpm
Transmission 5-speed automatic
Axle Ratio 3.92:1
Front Tires LT215/85R16E
Rear Tires LT215/85R16E
Brakes Front/Rear Disc
Suspension Front/Rear Strut/Leaf spring
Fuel Capacity 24.5 gal
Fuel Economy 16 mpg
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles basic;
5 years/100,000 miles powertrain
Exterior Length 24′ 2″
Exterior Width 6′ 6.5″
Exterior Height with A/C 9′ 8″
Interior Width 5′ 10″
Interior Height 6′ 2″
Construction Van chassis
Freshwater Capacity 31 gal
Black-water Capacity 13 gal
Gray-water Capacity 20 gal
Water-heater Capacity On-demand
Propane Capacity 12 gal
Air Conditioner 15,000-Btu with heat pump
Refrigerator 6 cu-ft
Inverter/Charger 1,200 watts/45 amp
Batteries (1) 12-volt chassis,
(2) 6-volt AGM house
AC Generator 3.6-kW
MSRP as Tested $155,526
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles
(Water and water heater, fuel, propane tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
Front Axle 3,680 lbs
Rear Axle 5,620 lbs
Total 9,300 lbs
GAWR, Front/Rear 4,410 lbs/7,720 lbs
GVWR/GCWR 11,030 lbs/15,250 lbs
ROCCC 1,730 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)