Eight smaller motorhomes that earn an A for livability
Class B motorhomes have always been revered for their ease of driving, fuel economy and minimal learning curve to operate. What they haven’t necessarily been known for is their livability, often requiring a number of concessions from the owners, with floorplans ranging from minimalist galleys to cramped (if any) bathrooms to awkward, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements. Well, the times they are a-changing. A continuing trend in the motorhome market has seen manufacturers focus on improving the amenities in the ever-popular Class B segment to make them more than simple van conversions with fold-down beds and a kitchen sink. And, while the space limitations of a traditional van chassis (no cutaways) will always dictate some compromises in space, luxury add-ons and bells and whistles, the gap between small Class C’s and Class B’s continues to close. Patio-type doors at the rear and side entry help open up the living space, and innovative bed-slide systems help to lend a more inviting “living-room” feeling during the day. And though overall storage will continue to be ruled by the vehicle’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), manufacturers are finding additional ways to utilize every nook and cranny within the floorplan to enable owners to take along the comforts of home. Add in enhanced entertainment systems, instant hot water, solar panels and LED lighting, and you can see why the current Class B trend is here to stay. No longer for soccer moms and weekend warriors, these motorhomes offer real livability for real people – be it a couple or a small family that doesn’t mind the close quarters. Following are some of the more livable floorplans we’ve found.
The Airstream Interstate has been the top-selling Class B diesel motorhome for five years, outfitted with what Airstream claims is more than 50 best-in-class features. The Interstate is available in the Grand Tour (which we tested in the June 2016 issue) and the Lounge configurations, in addition to a slick Tommy Bahama edition with a beachgoing interior theme. The Lounge EXT shown here focuses, naturally, on comfortable Ultraleather seating for up to nine people, creating a luxury lounge area worthy of most upscale celebrations. A removable table is handy for the front four seats (including the swivel captain’s chairs), while the galley features a microwave, two-burner stove, sink and flip-up shelf for a bit more prep space. The mid-plan wet bath helps heed the call of nature, while two LED TVs provide the entertainment in the lounge area. Other niceties on the Interstate include an optional air suspension, sideview cameras, power roller shades and front and rear parking sensors. The rear power lounge folds down to an impressive 70-by-82-inch bed. A standard rear hidden storage compartment aids with packing.
Airstream Inc. | 877-596-6111 | www.airstream.com
Avion Vans, a division of The RV Factory, offers a factory-direct buying process that enables owners to get exactly the amenities they’d like. And, in order to take advantage of the available space on the 24ELX’s floorplan, Avion has outfitted the motorhome with some cool features that would be at home in the next Transformers movie. For instance, the rear lounge folds into a twin bed, or, you can remove the pedestal-type table and combine the rear sofa with the surrounding seats to make a large king-size bed, for a great place to watch the LED flat-screen in the rear of the motorhome. Up front, the driver’s seat can be swiveled to face a small table, which is equipped with extensions on two sides to help it morph into a nifty work area. Buyers can also opt to replace one of the three swivel seats up front with an entertainment center that can be viewed from outside. The wet bath contains a toilet and stand-up shower, while the galley offers a good amount of counterspace for meal prep, in addition to a microwave, double-door refrigerator, sink and flush-mount stove. Options to further up the ante include a Freedom Solar Package, which includes three 100-watt solar panels, a charge controller and four 6-volt AGM batteries.
Avion Vans, a division of The RV Factory
Coach House Arriva
The Arriva marks the re-entry of factory-direct Coach House RV into the Class B market. The Arriva V-24 TB offers a solid privacy door to close off the living area from the lavatory, the latter of which contains a porcelain toilet, separate shower, sink and medicine cabinet. Adjacent to the rear bath, two twin beds facing each other across the aisle can be extended for a wider twin on either side or combined into one king-size bed. The galley features Corian countertops, a two-burner stove, stainless-steel sink, a spacious 6-cubic-foot three-way refrigerator, a microwave convection oven and a pullout pantry cabinet. Up front, the driver’s and passenger’s seats both swivel to face a fold-down table. When mealtime is over, the tabletop can be used for a desk or folded up out of the way. Two HDTVs are standard, with one facing the beds, and another that can be positioned to enjoy TV under the stars outside. A retractable screen slides across the main sliding and rear doors, creating an open, airy feeling while keeping the critters out.
Coach House RV
Coachmen’s Galleria 24T offers a sizable power rear sofa plus three captain’s chairs to ensure maximum livability. A removable table in the rear services the powered sofa and an additional seat, all positioned to view the 24-inch TV with smart-enabled Blu-ray player. The impressive galley offers a large refrigerator, a microwave convection oven, induction cooktop and flush-mount sink. The modern wet bath is equipped with chrome fixtures, a liquid-soap dispenser and a sealed toilet-paper dispenser to keep the tissue dry while showering. The Galleria also includes a Truma Combi furnace/water-heater system, Onan generator and handcrafted Amish maple cabinetry with radius cabinet doors, soft-close doors/drawers and custom trim. A 12-volt DC macerator waste-disposal system makes dumping the holding tanks easier than ever. An optional side and a standard rear screen help keep the interior cool and breezy, while a Carefree power awning with integrated LED lighting extends the living space into the campsite. A standard 100-watt solar panel helps keep the batteries charged. The Galleria also includes helpful features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane assist and collision avoidance.
At less than 18 feet in length, the Hymer Sonne makes the most of its diminutive size by utilizing a bright and spacious open-concept layout to allow for maximum flexibility. The Sonne features a unique expanded multifunctional kitchen galley offering extra counterspace, a single-basin sink, 3.1-cubic-foot refrigerator and induction cooktop, all adjacent to an innovative hideaway stand-up shower that doubles as storage or a workstation when not in use. Owners will also appreciate the spacious separate bathroom, fixed double bed (with storage below), sliding screen door and power awning for added convenience. The windows throughout the interior allow in enough light so owners don’t feel too cramped. The captain’s chairs up front can even be swiveled to create an additional sleeping position. An Alde LP-gas heating system helps keep occupants comfortable during inclement weather.
Erwin Hymer Group
Pleasure-Way prides itself on top-quality construction, and the Lexor TS is a good example of the manufacturer’s attention to detail. Outside, buyers can opt for fully painted exterior moldings to complement the stylish fiberglass running boards. A power lateral-arm awning comes standard, as do 100 amp-hour lithium house batteries and a 2.8-kW Onan generator.
Inside, the Lexor is outfitted with an expansive wet bath, a surprising amount of storage and a well-equipped galley that includes a flush-mount two-burner range, sink, microwave convection oven and 5-cubic-foot refrigerator. Storage below the sink is made more efficient by the inclusion of utility drawers that have been shaped to fit around the plumbing. Flush-mounted LEDs in the ceiling are standard, as is the multiplex wiring allowing you to control the lights, awning, batteries, etc., at the push of a button. Occupants can enjoy seating for up to seven, including an electric sofa at the rear near the swing-out 24-inch LED TV and Blu-ray player. The available side and rear screens are a great addition to let in the fresh air while keeping insects at bay. When the sun goes down, the sofa converts to a comfy queen-size bed.
The Simplicity SRT features big living in a package of less than 20 feet in length. A removable table near the front swivel captain’s seats allows owners to enjoy a card game or a nice meal, freshly prepared in the galley with two-burner LP-gas stove, microwave, 5-cubic-foot refrigerator and sink. Storage space in the kitchen includes a pullout pantry and a deep pot/pan drawer. There’s also a flip-up counter extension with a charging station for your electronics. Next to the galley, a wet bathroom with stand-up shower and corner sink take care of grooming duties. The rear fixed queen bed sleeps two and offers storage below, while an overnight visitor can slumber up front once the chairs have been converted into a sleeping area. All can enjoy the entertainment provided by the optional 24-inch LED TV in the rear, or go outside for alfresco dining beneath the standard patio awning.
Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc.
The Travato offers two floorplans (59G and 59K) that offer exceptional flexibility and high-end features. Buyers can choose a large corner bed (59G) or go with a more versatile Flex Bed System that can function as a large double bed or two separate twin beds (59K, shown here). By day, the twin beds convert to comfortable bench seating with a center dining table for entertaining up to six people. The comfortable cab seats swivel to become lounge chairs, incorporating pullout tables for quick meals in the 59K. There’s also a 24-inch LED TV with AM/FM/CD stereo. The Travato features Corian countertops, Ultraleather furniture and recessed LED lighting with dimmable settings. The efficient Truma Combi ECO Plus heating system keeps the interior pleasant, while the galley offers all the essentials, including a two-burner range, microwave convection oven, stainless-steel sink with glass cover and even a handy sliding bamboo cutting board. The 59K also includes a dishpan, drainpan and silverware rack, plus cold-water filtration in the galley.
Winnebago Industries Inc.