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Southwind 36L

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine


Fleetwood RV of Decatur, Ind., has recently unveiled a bath-and-a-half 36L floorplan to complement its ever-popular lineup of Southwind motorhomes. As one of the company’s top-of-the-line gas coaches, this 36-foot 11-inch dual slide unit will accommodate five to six people comfortably, and appears to be loaded with just about anything a couple with a large family or group of friends might want in a motorhome.
Fleetwood’s most recent floorplan bears a passing resemblance to more upscale diesel-pushers in both appearance and finish, and is the most well equipped of four Southwind models available. The 36L carries a suggested base retail price of $144,459, and presents an impressive profile with its molded aerodynamic front end, expansive one-piece panoramic windshield, distinctive headlamp and high-mounted taillight clusters, and standard Pewter Mist full-body paint.
14_Southwind_BedroomThis motorhome is loaded with standard niceties such as Sony audiovisual electronics, automatic leveling jacks and a 5.5 kW generator as prime examples. Noteworthy options include a Splendide washer/dryer in a mid-coach closet ($1,638), an LED high-definition TV above the cab ($917), a Sony Blu-ray surround sound system ($553) and an exterior entertainment center with an LED HDTV in a curbside bay ($1,932). This coach with extras has a sticker price of $156,054.
The 36L’s forward compartment with streetside slide houses a 41-by-23-inch dinette with handy drawer storage beneath each seat, and a Euro-recliner with ottoman curbside. To the rear is a luxurious 14_Southwind_FronttoBackModL-shaped convertible sofa with 50-by-49-inch foldout bed, while a 40-inch LED HDTV is mounted on the area’s back wall. Mid-coach curbside is a full-featured galley.
The aft curbside slideout supports a 60-by-75-inch queen bed (king bed optional) with generous aisle space all round. Like its sister 36D model, it offers a rear full bathroom, with mid-coach half bath (toilet and washstand).
Fleetwood’s new coach is built on the proven Ford F53 chassis with Triton V-10 engine that can knock out 362-hp and 457 lb-ft of torque with confidence-inspiring ease. Backing this potent mill is Ford’s dependable TorqShift five-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, plus Tow/Haul capability. Parabolic spring sets front and rear, plus Bilstein shocks and 22.5-inch aluminum wheels and tires round out the package, and help deliver a smooth, supportive driving experience under most traffic, weather and highway conditions.
Cockpit space in this coach contains an automotive-style dash with easily readable gauges, a rearview camera monitor, and important switches and essential features grouped within close proximity to the driver. Flexsteel captain’s seats take center stage in this area, and are both electrically adjustable, upholstered in soft Ultraleather, and sumptuously comfortable to say the least. Further enhancing the cab’s usefulness, the dash ahead of the copilot is set up with a handy, retractable computer workstation.
We took a quick spin in the Southwind during our walk-through, and experienced firsthand the coach’s impressive power, highway stability and dependable handling. At almost 37 feet in length, the unit is relatively easy to maneuver, exhibited noticeable mid-range power when passing slower vehicles at higher freeway speeds and navigated the narrower rural confines of the Ventura Ranch KOA in Santa Paula, Calif., with ease.
A spacious, contemporary interior in the 36L included a Pewter Mist décor treatment with dark cherry wood Cinnabar cabinetry, brushed nickel hardware and Corian-like counter surfaces. The galley also contains an attractive tile backsplash, and extra deep, dual stainless steel sinks.
14_Southwind_LSofaThe package additionally includes a 7-foot-high, soft touch vinyl ceiling for optimum acoustics, composite tile flooring, with the sofa and dinette upholstered in off-white Ultraleather with charcoal piping. Overall, quality craftsmanship is evident in every corner of this sizeable coach, and reflects what one might expect in a unit at this price point.
The galley should be a real crowd-pleaser with its residential, solid-surface countertops (including range and sink covers). Other high points of this zone include a four-door refrigerator, an overhead microwave/convection oven and three-burner stove 14_Southwind36L Floorplanwith a conventional oven below.
The back bedroom is well appointed with cabinetry and drawers to stow adequate amounts of clothing and other soft goods. Dual wardrobe closets bracket a 32-inch LED HDTV on the streetside wall, while the full master bathroom at the very rear of the floorplan includes a porcelain toilet, washstand and an exceptionally generous 31-by-39-inch shower stall with more than 6 feet of headroom.
Storage on this model, both inside and out, is quite generous. Numerous exterior bays using the company’s EZ Storage system plus a full rear pass-through bay provide lots of cargo options for extended travel, and up to 118 cubic feet of capacity. Inside, cabinets, cupboards and closets offer up to 140 cubic feet.
Fleetwood’s Southwind 36L should be a popular floorplan for long range traveling as well as entertaining, with its twin slides, bath-and-a-half, four TVs and generous storage capacities. Loaded with a host of high-end, residential amenities and sporting fashionable, eye-grabbing coachwork, the new design should serve its users well, while impressing from every angle.

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