Winnebago’s Adventurer 30T AE incorporates an expanded hallway and bathroom, and an 800-pound-capacity hydraulic lift for wheelchair accessibility
People with mobility issues are faced with unique challenges when traveling, and building a motorhome that can meet accessibility requirements is likewise challenging for the manufacturer. Winnebago (641-585-3535) offers three motorhomes that are Accessibility Enhanced (AE): the diesel-pusher Forza and two gas-engine models under the Intent and Adventurer nameplates.
To test the AE-equipped motorhome’s capabilities, an Adventurer 30T was put through its paces to include feedback from a 26-year-old RV enthusiast who uses a wheelchair for mobility. The Adventurer, on a Ford F-53 chassis with a 6.8-liter Triton V-10 and six-speed automatic transmission, is what Winnebago refers to as its top-of-the-line gas coach that is equipped with some of the Forza’s high-end amenities.
The 31-foot 30T has dual slideouts on the driver’s side, with a three-seater sofa bed, microwave and range residing in the living area, and a walk-around queen bed in the rear slide. With the galley’s slide retracted, the floor space through the living area is 3 feet, 4 inches wide. When the slides are open, the passageway from the front to the back is wide open and unobstructed, which easily accommodates a wheelchair. In the cab’s dash near the driver position is a second control switch for operating the galley’s slideout.
Unobstructed accessibility from front to back, BraunAbility lift, inviting floorplan, smart kitchen layout, plentiful storage inside and out
Ducking under a slide to retrieve a heavy 50-amp power cord not on a reel, floor vent below sink in bathroom
Give Me a Lift
To the right of the entry door is an 800-pound-capacity BraunAbility power wheelchair lift for a mid-galley exit and entry that’s close to the cab’s captain’s chairs. The chairs swivel around for an about-face into the living area to make transferring easier, plus add two more comfy seats for relaxing time. The chairs have two-position armrests, lumbar support, and multi-adjustments to slide and recline. Optional is a power transfer captain’s chair that raises, lowers, rotates, and moves forward and backward. Winnebago does not install a wheelchair lockdown system, but it can leave the passenger seat out, if requested. This way, the customer has the option to order an aftermarket docking system. Where the customer stows the wheelchair during travel is personal preference.
The lift’s air-assisted door is operated via wall-mount and key-fob remote controls, so the entry door doesn’t have to be physically opened or closed. Owners are charged with making sure the outside area around the door is clear, especially of people, because the door swings out sideways with quite a bit of force. The lift’s 54-inch-long-by-34-inch-wide platform extends outward, has a 54-inch floor-to-ground travel, and is controlled by a remote attached to the lift.
Winnebago consults with Mark Douglass, cofounder of RVing Accessibility Group, who needed wheelchair assistance for 10 years, on the AE motorhomes. Explains Douglass, “We also do what’s called a ‘closed fist’ test. This has been created where somebody who might have problems with their hands can operate something with a closed fist.” Light switches and systems monitoring panels are installed lower on the walls. To keep a wheelchair from rolling down into the entry’s stepwell, a hinged cover creates a flat surface.
Eating, Entertaining and at Ease
A sofa bed, which Winnebago calls a TrueComfort+Sofa, has three seat belts and is positioned across from the lift. The sofa’s soft Primera Ultrafabric is durable, and when a cup of water was spilled on it, the moisture simply beaded up and could be wiped off the leatherlike material. Three floor receptacles, two in front of the sofa and one between the captain’s chairs, house posts for two supplied oval pedestal tables. With these freestanding tables, each with room to accommodate a cozy dinner for two, there was plenty of floor space for the person in the wheelchair to roll up. With the included two folding dining chairs, there’s a total seating for seven. The cushioned dining chairs are stored under the bedroom’s queen bed, which has gas struts to hold the platform open.
The TrueComfort converts into a 6-foot-3-inch-long-by-4-foot-10-inch-wide bed. I found that sleeping on the 6-inch-thick sofa’s firmer cushions was more comfortable than the bed. For additional sleeping room, a powered 48-by-80-inch StudioLoft bed that lowers over the cab is optional.
Behind the neutral-toned sofa is a sliding window, and a remote-control-operated vent is overhead in the galley. Much of the time, with the warm and humid Indiana weather, the two 13,500-Btu air conditioners were going at full throttle.
Winnebago has made a few changes in the 30T AE since our test. A 32-inch TV on an articulating bracket is now mounted on the front passenger-side wall to the left of the lift (rather than centered over the cab) and across from the sofa. The 30T is equipped with a KING HDTV antenna. And the wall-mounted pull-up table, which would now be below the TV, must be ordered as a custom item.
There’s storage galore, with cabinets mounted overhead and at chair-accessible heights. Next to the three-burner range, with a one-piece metal grate and glass flush-mounted cover, a plexiglass guard helps keep splatters off the neighboring sofa. Two deep drawers live below the range, and the microwave convection oven, which was mounted overhead, has optional placement below the range.
A large double-basin stainless-steel sink populates much of the Corian solid-surface countertop. With the bamboo sink covers in place, there’s lots of food preparation room. And those sink covers could be used as cutting boards, but they look so good that we’d never mar them for that purpose. Cabinets over the sink were great for tossing things in willy-nilly that we needed to grab on the go since everything in there was viewable.
Hiding around the corner in the cabinet that houses the sink are three cutlery drawers. In the AE model, the galley’s flip-up countertop extension is removed to provide maximum hallway clearance, but is supplied with the coach for the owner to install, if desired. Across the aisle is a 7.5-cubic-foot two-way Norcold refrigerator with a woodgrain inset panel that blends with the cabinetry. A pantry is to the right of the fridge, and we stacked four 12-packs of soda in there without making a dent in the plenty-deep cabinet.
The placement of the fridge made it convenient to hand off cold food for our group meals to someone standing just outside the entry, and, with the sink covers in place, loading groceries into the fridge after a run to the market.
Beyond a Bed and Bath
Separating the bathroom and bedroom from the living area is an accordion-style folding door that snaps into place. A person using a wheelchair can maneuver through the bathroom and into the bedroom. No walls separate the rooms: the toilet and sink are on the right, a 54-by-25-inch roll-in shower is on the left, and the bed and a second vanity are straight ahead. If someone is uncomfortable with this setup, a curtain could be added to separate the bath and bed. Height in the shower is almost 7 feet with the skylight.
A 1-inch flexible water-barrier strip runs the perimeter of the shower floor designed for a wheelchair to roll over, and a shower curtain slides smoothly around the curved design. A switch for the marine-grade shower-drain pump that siphons water down the drain while the shower is in use is mounted above a vertical grab bar. Standard is a freestanding shower chair. When asked, our volunteer said he’d prefer a wall-mounted folding shower bench, and one is available as an option ($1,815). Winnebago adds extra structure behind the wall to ensure strength for the seat. The chrome-finish Moen showerhead slides up and down for height adjustment, has multiple settings and provided good water flow, though it had no shut-off valve. A towel rack is over the toilet, which requires crossing the hall to get to that bath towel after a shower.
On the right side of the toilet with a push-button flush is a grab bar with a stainless-steel finish that swings up and out of the way. The toilet is set at 20 inches from floor to seat, the height wheelchair users have requested, but Winnebago can customize the height. There’s no lack of storage space below the 34-inch-high counter, nor above it in the double-door mirrored medicine cabinet and corner cabinet.
A single LED light above the mirror is operated by a low-placed wall switch. A secondary wall switch operates two more ceiling-mounted LED lights, one in the shower and one just outside it, but if you’ve already closed the accordion door, you’ll be opening it again to access the light switch that’s in the hall. Abundant counterspace is great for stowing powder room necessities. Our one nitpick is that a floor vent is right below the sink … in the ideal location to say adios to a pill, contact lens or dollop of toothpaste.
With this open design, it felt uncomfortable to leave the solar/blackout MCD roller shades up on the rear-wall emergency-exit window when using the bathroom. During daylight hours, from the outside, you cannot see in through the high-placed tinted window unless your face is up against it from the outside (we checked!), but at night, we felt like we were on display, so we kept the shade closed.
The second vanity, with the sink centered in the counter, has roll-under access and 27 inches of vertical clearance. A two-door mirrored medicine cabinet over it spans the length of the counter. The double-handle chrome-finish faucets and the hand towel we hung on the ring mounted to the wardrobe wall could be easily reached from the sitting position.
A floor-to-ceiling wardrobe — with three large drawers below and the mirrored upper half devoted to hanging space plus storage for the galley’s freestanding tables and posts — is next to the roll-under vanity. The wardrobe’s drawers are set below the vanity’s height. In this area is open floor space at the foot of the lowered queen bed. At 23 inches from the floor to the top of the 7-inch-thick mattress, the bed is in the recommended height range for transferring from a wheelchair. Our volunteer expressed that he wouldn’t mind if it were even a couple of inches shorter. Optional are a power-raised headrest or adjustable bed.
Soft padding stands in for a headboard, and there’s plenty of clearance for sitting up in bed with the cabinets overhead and viewing the opposing 24-inch HDTV. Narrow end tables, reading lights, 120-volt AC outlets and USB ports are on each side of the bed. Slide-open windows bookend the bed, but darn if we could get them to stay open. We appreciated having a light switch for the bedroom’s overhead LEDs on the wall next to the bed, so we didn’t need to get out of bed to turn them off.
Returning to the front of the 30T, you’ll find map lights over each captain’s chair and an adjustable electric shade for the large windshield. At foot level on the passenger side is a window for furry friends to enjoy the view (as well as to provide driver blind-spot visibility). The passenger gets a pull-out dashboard workstation that flips open and slides forward, revealing a big “bowl” for stowing items; inside are 12-volt DC and USB ports.
The 30T has Lippert’s three-position automatic hydraulic leveling, and power mirrors with defrost. Centered in the cab is a 10-inch color touch screen for side- and rear-view monitoring, and a Bluetooth multimedia radio system with iPod/MP3, USB and SiriusXM features. Rails built into the overhead shelves help keep things from landing on your head during travel.
Outside, on the passenger side, is a row of storage compartments, with side-hinged, slam-latch doors that range from 3½ feet long to 7 feet long, each with an individual push-button LED light. One compartment houses an exterior TV connection and 120-volt AC outlets. On the driver’s side, the compartment housing an exterior sprayer, winterization valves, solar connection, freshwater hookup and 50-amp cord is partially under the bedroom slide. There’s no power reel for the electrical cord, which could be an issue for those with physical limitations or who are not able to lift a heavy cord; we just stuffed it into the space. On the same side is more exterior storage with a 7-foot-long bin, though we had to duck under the living-room slide to get into it. A PetPal leash tie-down is by the entry door so pets can enjoy shade under the 19-foot powered awning with LEDs.
For those looking for an accessibility-enhanced RV, Winnebago is a leader in providing wheelchair-friendly motorhomes to fit the customer. With the 30T AE, the company has made it easier for wheelchair users by adding thoughtful features for feeling safe and independent. Thumbs up to Winnebago for designing the Adventurer for comfortable home-sweet-home travel in a Class A.
Chassis Ford F-53
Engine 6.8-L V-10
SAE Hp 320 @ 4,250 rpm
Torque 460 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Axle Ratio 6.17:1
Brakes Front/Rear Disc with ABS
Suspension Front/Rear Leaf spring/leaf spring
Fuel Capacity 80 gal
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles
Exterior Length 31′
Exterior Width 8′ 5½”
Exterior Height 12′ 1″ (with A/C)
Interior Width 8′
Interior Height 6′ 7½”
Construction High-gloss fiberglass exterior; crowned, one-piece fiberglass roof; high-density block foam insulation, welded-aluminum side walls, steel cab substructure
Freshwater Capacity 78 gal
Black-water Capacity 41 gal
Gray-water Capacity 42 gal
Water-heater Capacity 6 gal
Propane Capacity 18 gal
Air Conditioner (2) 13,500 Btu
Furnace 35,000 Btu
Refrigerator 7.5 cu-ft
Converter 55 amp
Inverter 1,000 watt
Batteries (2) 12-volt Group 24
AC Generator 5.5 kW
MSRP As Tested $233,822
Warranty 12-month/15,000-mile basic limited, 36-month/36,000-mile limited structure,
10-year limited parts and labor on roof skin
(Water and water heater, fuel, propane tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
Total 16,464 lbs
GAWR, F/R 7,000 lbs/12,000 lbs
GVWR/GCWR 18,000 lbs/23,000 lbs
ROCCC 1,536 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)