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Compact Comfort: 11 Nimble and Cozy Motorhomes

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

These motorhomes allow for on-road versatility without sacrificing livability

As most people know, motorhome owners hit every note on the scale of dreams and destinations and somewhere between City Mouse and Country Mouse, there is a sweet spot where the two harmoniously combine. These days, that soul-soothing chord is quite often struck in Class B’s and compact Class C’s. But with such a wide sea of choices to surf, what’s a mouse to do?

Well, we’ve got a few motorhomes that may help. They all share the common characteristics that make this segment appealing: shorter lengths (all between 17 and 26 feet) on smaller chassis, mobility and compact but comfortable living.

We have, however, grouped them into categories based on some of their more stand-out features: Family-Friendly, those that more easily accommodate more passengers; Clever Compact, streamlined and innovative with a more European influence; Adventurers, for those who like to go off-road, off-grid or both; and Luxury, for those (like us) who believe downsizing is absolutely not synonymous with sacrifice.

No motorhome is perfect, nor is there one that is perfect for everyone; but hopefully the following will help point you toward your motorhome soulmate … or at least give you a good place to start.

Coach House Platinum II 241XL DRT

coach-house-241XL class c motorhome in beach resort settingcoach-house-241XL class c motorhome interiorMade and sold by Coach House in Nokomis, Florida, the Platinum II 241XL DRT is the largest among our stand-outs and the most expensive, but we’re including it because it’s remarkable and well-made; and we’re tagging it family-friendly because Coach House was diligent about creating a pleasant space for multiple occupants in a more compact package.
Every component in the Platinum II is chosen and handled with conscious care. Take, for example, the hydraulic slideout with its own awning to keep out falling debris, the patented one-piece seamless fiberglass body reinforced with carbon fiber and the lightweight substrate, which is more durable and eco-friendly than traditional construction materials, according to Coach House.

Chassis Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
Engine 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Fuel Cap 26.4 gal
GVWR 11,030 lbs
Exterior Length 25′ 9″
Exterior Width 8′
Exterior Height with A/C 10′ 8″
Wheelbase 170″
Freshwater Cap 31 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap 25 gal/28 gal
LP-Gas Cap 15 gal
Base MSRP $193,497

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There isn’t room for a full run-down of all the 241XL’s appointments, which appear in 10 floorplans that shuffle various seating and sleeping options into whichever configuration best floats your boat. Oh, that’s another thing: Coach House says it takes its cues from marine manufacturers on any elements where there might be a functional or aesthetic advantage. If you’re in the Florida area and you’re in the market for a high-quality, manageable-sized Class C in which to hit the road with some companions, it’s worth swinging by Coach House for some show-and-tell.

Coach House | 800-235-0984

Coachmen Orion 21TB

Coachmen Orion 21TB class c motorhome exterior

The Coachmen Orion 21TB is the very definition of family-friendly: Plenty of room for more people to stash their stuff and be comfy during travel and downtime. Now, that’s nothing unusual for a Class C motorhome, but this Class C is a little unusual in how much it packs into a smaller footprint, and with a smaller price tag.

Even with no slideouts and a trim waistline, the Orion 21TB still has room for five to sleep and lounge comfortably between the 48-by-87-inch over-cab bunk, dinette that converts to a single sleeper and two rear sofa twins that can be combined into one king-sized bed. What’s more, it houses a spacious bathroom with a surprising amount of wiggle room that occupies the rear.

Chassis Ford Transit T350
Engine 3.7L V-6
Fuel Cap 25 gal
GVWR 10,360 lbs
Exterior Length 23′ 9″
Exterior Width 7′ 7″
Exterior Height with A/C 10′ 6″
Wheelbase 156″
Freshwater Cap 37 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
32 gal/32 gal
LP-Gas Cap 10 gal
Base MSRP $76,560

The 21TB has a few more surprises to offer for a motorhome this size, such as its stout 37-gallon freshwater capacity, abundant storage space, water-impervious Azdel substrate, standard LCD TV, and back-up and side-view cameras. Plus, it’s all built on a chassis with a good reputation for drivability and fuel economy. While we prefer overhead cabinets that prop open and a cover or flush mounting for the cooktop burners, with its sizeable features and value, the Orion 21TB has competently hunted and captured our attention.

Coachmen RV | 574-825-8439

Pleasure-Way Tofino

Pleasure-Way Tofino class b motorhome exteriorPleasure-Way Tofino class b motorhome exteriorIt’s hard to categorize the Pleasure-Way Tofino van conversion. Should we call it a budget-pleaser, or family-friendly? Is it a stand-out for its technology, or for its boondocking capability? The one-size-fits-all answer is “yes.” But we placed it here because it defies typical Class B two-occupant capacity by doubling it through its efficient use of considerably less space.

The Tofino is the most diminutive vehicle in this lineup in every way, but there’s plenty of room to play. The absence of weighty components like a generator or air conditioner allows for a substantial 2,000-pound occupant and cargo carrying capacity, which can be utilized with the 70-cubic-foot rear cargo area. Two can sleep in the 54-by-72-inch bed in the rear, while two more can open the pop-top to access a 49-by-72-inch overhead bunk with a foam mattress, USB charging and remote-control lighting.

Chassis RAM Pro-Master 1500
Engine 3.6L V-6 Pentastar
Fuel Cap 24 gal
GVWR 8,550 lbs
Exterior Length 17′ 9″
Exterior Width 8′ 2.5″
Exterior Height 8′ 2″
Wheelbase 136″
Freshwater Cap 15 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
N/A / 8 gal
LP-Gas Cap 5.9 gal
Base MSRP $69,550

The Tofino fits into traffic patterns and parking spaces with ease. Owners can expect a respectable 16-20 mpg and then corral it in a 10-foot garage. You could take it tailgating because it has a functional kitchenette with a 2.3-cubic-foot compressor refrigerator, an induction burner and a stainless-steel sink with a flush countertop-material cover.

Head into the wilderness, and you’ll still find yourself in comfort. Two 100-amp-hour-rated lithium house batteries and a 2,000-watt inverter, plus optional solar charging, will keep the multiplex switching, touch-screen control panel with remote, real-time amperage meter and 16,000-Btu furnace running. Fresh- and gray-water lines are housed inside for all-season protection, though you’ll need to bring your own portable toilet because the Tofino isn’t equipped with bathroom facilities.

Most everything is standard, including a back-up camera, GPS, electronic stability control, power folding heated mirrors, MCD roller shades and dimmable LED lights. All that with a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

Pleasure-Way | 800-364-0189

Airstream Interstate Nineteen

Airstream Interstate Nineteen Class B motorhome exteriorBeing in the Airstream Interstate Nineteen feels a bit like being on a cruise ship. The marine plank-style flooring and porthole-styled bathroom window add to that ambience. It’s the slimmest model in the bunch and one of the shortest, but it’s feature-packed, with smart use of space and thoughtful appointments.

Chassis Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500
Engine 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Fuel Cap 24.5 gal
GVWR 8,550 lbs
Exterior Length 19′ 5″
Exterior Width 6′ 7″
Exterior Height with A/C 9′ 7″
Wheelbase 144″
Freshwater Cap 20 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
10 gal/15 gal
LP-Gas Cap 9.34 gal
Base MSRP $149,240

A sliding side screen door and rear power screen door help transform the Nineteen’s space from van to motorhome. Multiplex controls operate the shades, lighting, power awning, climate control, generator and more. Rear seating folds into a relatively roomy 66-by-73-inch bed, and the wet bath is of decent size for such a trim unit. Still, it’s the extra touches like an in-counter waste basket and a waterproof toilet-paper cover that make the livability difference.

Built on the Sprinter chassis with a host of safety features, the Airstream Interstate Nineteen is easy to handle and park. While it only sleeps two, it seats four, so you could also use it as an everyday vehicle to transport friends and family around town.

Airstream Inc. | 877-596-7939

Midwest Automotive Designs Passage MDP2

Midwest Automotive Designs Passage MDP2 Class B motorhome exteriorThe Passage MDP2 by Midwest Automotive Designs is flagged as an upscale choice for backroad treks. Already equipped with a 100-watt rooftop solar charging system, tankless water heater and exterior shower for outdoor-play clean-up, a handful of extras are available to take it farther from hookups. Take your pick from options like all-terrain tires, 4×4 chassis, VB air ride system and the Eco Freedom Package’s upgrades in battery and solar power supply and management.

Chassis Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
Engine 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Fuel Cap 24.6 gal
GVWR 9,050 lbs
Exterior Length 19′ 6″
Exterior Width 7′ 8″
Exterior Height with A/C 9′ 8″
Wheelbase 144″
Freshwater Cap 32 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
15 gal/27 gal
LP-Gas Cap 15.1 gal
Base MSRP $160,495

There’s no “roughing it” feel inside, though, with touches like the 16-step high-gloss Burland wood finish on the cabinets. Ultraleather adorns the seating but also lines storage areas to add insulation and sound-deadening. An amidships wet bath hides in a wood-finish closet of sorts with a shower curtain (you may want to replace the transparent one with a more opaque one of your own). Midwest builds and installs its own components without the use of an assembly line.

To accommodate four passengers, upgrade to the Passage MDP4 floorplan for two extra seats, and add the 69-by-72-inch power lift bed to sleep them as well.

Midwest Automotive Designs | 574-522-4878

Phoenix Cruiser 2100

Phoenix Cruiser 2100 Class B motorhome exteriorPhoenix Cruiser 2100 Class C motorhome interiorWe’ve found Phoenix Cruiser to be a standout for its customized units, factory-direct value and off-road capabilities. The 4×4 option will bulk up any of its 10 floorplans ranging roughly from 21 to 31 feet, starting with our pick here, the 2100. The 4×4 package includes a heavy-duty transfer case and beefier driveshaft, bearings and stabilizers. Tires are upgraded to BF Goodrich All-Terrain with a more aggressive tread that’s still quiet on the road, something Phoenix is mindful of. All units have rubber pucks to keep vibration from traveling from the chassis into the interior floor, and double heat-and-sound insulation in the cab floor.

Chassis Ford E-450
Engine 6.8L V-10
Fuel Cap 55 gal
GVWR 14,500 lbs
Exterior Length 21′ 7″
(without ladder)
Exterior Width 7’ 9”
Exterior Height with A/C 10′ 1″
Wheelbase 138″
Freshwater Cap 26 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
35gal/23 gal
LP-Gas Cap 5 gal
Base MSRP $105,183

Another option is the LiquidSpring Compressible Liquid Adaptive Suspension System (CLASS), which we have experienced ourselves. It automatically changes spring stiffness and damps at each wheel with minimal power consumption to help hold down body roll, especially on turns and in crosswinds.

Even though the 2100 is the smallest Phoenix Cruiser model, it still has a slideout and a three-piece kitchen with a pop-up power tower, memory-foam seating and full dry bath. Because Phoenix Cruiser emphasizes customizing its units, you’ll probably want a few add-ons that may come standard in other models (e.g., swivel passenger seat, power locks and TV antenna), and there’s an extensive menu to choose from. Plus, you can even throw back a standard option you may not want.

Phoenix Cruiser | 877-754-8535

SVO Group Embassy RV

SVO Group Embassy RV class B motorhome with rear porchThe Embassy has evolved quite a bit since SVO Group first introduced it to the Class B market. Its first incarnation contained hardy, functional components, as well as a few nice touches like magnetic window covers and a wastebasket drawer, but the interior was dark and almost felt like a cargo van with furniture.

Chassis RAM ProMaster 3500
Engine 3.6L V-6
Fuel Cap 24 gal
GVWR 9,350 lbs
Exterior Length 20′ 8.5″
Exterior Width 6′ 8″
Exterior Height with A/C 8′ 11.75″
Wheelbase 159″
Freshwater Cap 23.5 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
Cassette toilet, 5.1 gal/23.5 gal
LP-Gas Cap N/A
Base MSRP $129,850
with porch and tent

Looking at the 2019 Embassy, it’s clear SVO Group has softened a few edges and lightened things up considerably, bringing it up to speed with contemporary motorhome-owner expectations: For example, whereas fabric curtains once separated a toilet from other occupants, sliding pocket doors now create a more private space for the vanity/cassette toilet space.

What hasn’t changed is the Embassy’s focus on utility. All cabinet doors are still made of lightweight marine plastic that’ll take a beating. There’s a pull-out exterior rear shower, heavy fiberglass running boards, high-traffic flooring with composite subflooring, an additional 280-amp alternator, eight-layer aircraft-style insulation and more. It seems ready to go anywhere and to put up with just about anything.

Of course, we can’t forget the Embassy’s (optional) star feature: A 6-foot fold-out tented rear porch, which is available with an optional handrail and detaches with two side pins for interior storage.

Embassy RV | 574-295-9359

Winnebago Revel

Winnebago Revel Class B motorhome exteriorWinnebago Revel Class B motorhome interiorThe Winnebago Revel is born ready to conquer the wilderness. The sport utility motorhome pops out of the factory equipped with off-road tires and alloy rims, heavy-duty running boards and mud guards, a tankless diesel water heater, insulated freshwater and holding tanks, rooftop rack with tie-downs, solar charging, awning with wind sensor, hydronic heating system and on-demand four-wheel drive.

Chassis Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 319 KA 4×4
Engine 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Fuel Cap 24.5 gal
GVWR 8,550 lbs
Exterior Length 19′ 5″
Exterior Width 7′ 1″
Exterior Height with A/C 9′ 10″
Wheelbase 144″
Freshwater Cap 21 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
Cassette toilet, 4.75 gal/21 gal
LP-Gas Cap N/A
Base MSRP $149,299

The interior is Spartan but provides for needs with a few bump-ups here and there, such as a compact galley and side and screen doors, and there’s a legit bathroom — rather than just an enigmatic space with a toilet and some form of water output — which actually doubles as a gear closet with vented shelves and hanging space. The expansive 140-cubic-foot rear “garage” features a 49-by-79-inch power lift gel-foam mattress bed.

Because the Revel is so different from a typical RV in purpose and outfitting, the utilities will likewise require a typical motorhome owner to adjust, but it all follows the same principles with which we’re all familiar.

This is still a motorhome, let’s not forget, but it’ll get you pretty deep into the Great Outdoors. Sure, a backpacker could go deeper, but when you can take the Revel, why would you want to punish your body for the privilege of depriving it of running water and a bed?

Winnebago Industries | 641-585-3535

Leisure Travel Vans Serenity

Leisure Travel Vans Serenity Class B motorhome exteriorLeisure Travel Vans Serenity Class B motorhome interiorNew for 2019 in the Serenity by Leisure Travel Vans is an innovative dinette table that can be positioned in front or back, which isn’t unheard of, but can also swivel or lock in place — plus it’s tri-fold. It can be used in its more compact form or unfolded for a larger surface area, a welcome departure from too-small tables we often see in compact motorhomes.
It’s always refreshing when a luxury compact motorhome has two sleeping spaces. In addition to the front fold-down dinette, the rear area of the Serenity can house either a 54-by-80-inch mattress or a second convertible dinette. A third choice is the innovative tri-fold Memory Foam power sofa option.

Chassis Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
Engine 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Fuel Cap 26.4 gal
GVWR 11,030 lbs
Exterior Length 24′ 6″
Exterior Width 8′ 1″
Exterior Height with A/C 10′ 3″
Wheelbase 170″
Freshwater Cap 24 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
29 gal/37 gal
LP-Gas Cap 15 gal
Base MSRP $145,740

There’s a host of full-living appointments and features, like a tall shower in the dry bath, full kitchen with a pull-out pantry and in-counter trash can, two hanging wardrobe spaces and a sliding screen door. Exterior features include up to 40 cubic feet of storage space and optional auto-retract electric stabilizer jacks. Should you forget to do it yourself, they’ll automatically pull up once you put the Serenity in gear.

The profile just over 10 feet means Serenity can still easily gad about town, and the sleek exterior makes it look good doing it.

Leisure Travel Vans | 204-325-4361

Regency RV Ultra Brougham LX

Regency RV Ultra Brougham LX Class C motorhome exteriorRegency RV seems to have really thought through some of the more pressing questions facing motorhome owners today: Namely, where do you put your shoes and laundry?
The Ultra Brougham LX answers that with a door-side shoe cubby and bathroom laundry chute to an outside compartment, and then some. Its notable layout includes an expansive bathroom with radius shower and wardrobe that occupies the rear of the motorhome.
The full-function kitchen and living/sleeping quarters are located amidships. A curbside fireplace-front console houses a power-up 42-inch TV that faces two swivel recliners and a fold-down table. Behind those recliners is a Murphy bed, one of my favorite innovations.
Several décor choices are available, featuring materials handcrafted in Regency’s cabinet and fabric shops. Regency RV also puts its products through automotive-standard seating crash-testing and an exit test drive with a 25-point troubleshooting checklist.

Chassis Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
Engine 3.0L V-6 turbodiesel
Fuel Cap 26.4 gal
GVWR 11,030 lbs
Exterior Length 25′ 1″
Exterior Width 7′ 10.5″
Exterior Height with A/C 10′ 6″
Wheelbase 170″
Freshwater Cap 26 gal
Black-/Gray-Water Cap
37 gal/39 gal
LP-Gas Cap 16 gal
Base MSRP $153,000

Regency RV Ultra Brougham LX Class C motorhome interior





Regency RV | 800-839-7551



Barb RileyRV CampingRV LifestyleSmall Motorhomes

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