Based on the redesigned Mercedes-Benz chassis, the Forest River Forester 2401Q’s inviting floorplan incorporates modern and comfortable living for leisure and work
Last fall, while standing outside on a warm and humid cloudless day in Elkhart, Indiana, Big Gulps in one hand and Indiana’s specialty melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts in the other, we got our first look at the 2020 Forester MBS 2401Q 25-foot, 5-inch Class C motorhome with its edgy eye-catching full-body paint on a completely redesigned Mercedes-Benz chassis. Finishing up the last of the Rise ’n Roll Bakery’s cinnamon masterpieces, we stepped inside to take in the Q’s modern living area with seating for five, inviting kitchen, folding workstation, bathroom with floor space for two and a queen bed housed in the single slide. Forest River had folks in mind who do a lot of traveling and possibly want to work remotely when designing this floorplan.
Built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500XD cutaway chassis, the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel sports a seven-speed automatic transmission and 170-inch wheelbase. To accommodate the new chassis, the Forester MBS-series body was updated with a new, fancier finish with a redesigned fiberglass “wing” fairing that enhances the overall look and improves aerodynamics. This revamp includes a new cap, rear bumper and running boards to give it a more automotive feel.
Safety features include rear- and side-view cameras, and Mercedes-Benz’s Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Brake Assist, Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist that monitors the way the driver is controlling the vehicle and alerts when it’s time to take a break, and Active Distance Assist, where the driver sets the desired speed and the system automatically maintains the selected distance from the vehicle in front. The new dash incorporates a 10-inch display screen, activated by touch or voice control, and a “Hey Mercedes” speech dialogic system (like Siri). It also has Wi-Fi capabilities with a hot spot that’s free to the user for three years by registering with Mercedes.
The list goes on: USB-C ports, wireless and 12-volt chargers on the dashboard, traffic data in real-time, smartphone integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and Bluetooth capability, and MB Emergency Call System.
Later, while reclined in the cab’s power-heated and adjustable leather captain’s chairs, we decided the plush seats are comfy enough to fall asleep in. With the captain’s chairs swiveled around to face the galley, seating at the L-shaped dinette and the 360-degree swiveling lounge chair, the cozied-up arrangement works nicely for conversation. Allowing for plenty of natural light are large, tinted frameless windows on each side, with MCD blackout shades in brown-gray-toned textured fabric.
The dinette is set up breakfast-nook-style and offers spacious seating for two — or a close-knit fit for three with airline-style legroom — and has a single-post European-designed adjustable table. A drawer on roller glides is set into the front-facing bench seat. Across the aisle and leaving walk space when flipped up is a lounge table with two cup holders set into a permanent shelf. This handy little table can be set up and put away in a second; a couple of salad plates and drinks can fit for mealtime, and then it morphs into a workstation with USB charging stations and 120-volt AC outlets located in the bottom of the overhead cabinets.
Set into the shelf alongside the lounge chair, and handily located by the entry, is a wireless cell-phone charging plate. Seat belts are stationed in the lounge chair, with its wide armrests, and in the dinette’s bench, for a total of four seat-belted positions in the 2401Q. The Q is equipped with Lippert’s ONEControl multiplex monitor system for monitoring and controlling the RV’s functions from an LED touchscreen or a smartphone via the free app.
Positioned over the cab in the model we reviewed is a 54-by-80-inch bunk the kiddos will love climbing up into with the ladder that’s conveniently stowed off to the side, and a 40-inch 12-volt LED TV on a swiveling arm. If you don’t want the extra sleeping space with the overhang and bunk up top, the Trekker Cap option eliminates it while incorporating the entertainment center. In that case, you’d have sleeping space for two in the Q since the dinette does not convert into a bed.
The kitchen’s solid-surface countertop is equipped with an extended counter that flips up next to the round stainless-steel sink with pull-down sprayer and leaves walk space while up. Set in the cabinet below the flip-up are cutlery drawers on gliding hardware and 120-volt AC outlets. The kitchen counter incorporates a waste-bin-cutout with cover, with access to the bin from outside so no worries about pulling a trash bag out once you’ve stuffed it. A cover for the sink adds extra prep room, but even without the cover in place there’s enough counter room to set a large mixing bowl surrounded by a collection of condiments. The recessed two-burner cooktop has a flush-mount glass cover, and a wave-looking backsplash to the left quickens cleanup.
Nestled below the cooktop is a 1.3-cubic-foot convection microwave that adds to the kitchen’s efficiency and cheery tone. With no impeding overhead appliances, the chef can enjoy an unobstructed view outside through the big window that runs most of the length of the countertop.
Two-tone European-inspired overhead cabinets open upward and line the driver’s side between the kitchen and cab, with more overheads opposite for plentiful storage. Even more storage comes in the form of a small coat closet and a slide-out pantry, and for your cold items is a large stainless 10-cubic-foot 12-volt refrigerator. A water filtration system is standard.
Since there’s no range hood, the galley’s MaxxAir powered ceiling fan helps pull cooking steam out. Also positioned in the galley’s 6-foot, 9-inch ceiling are speakers for the multimedia entertainment system with AM/FM, Bluetooth and outside speaker control, and vents for the 13,500-Btu (15,000-Btu with heat pump optional) air conditioner.
Bed and Bath
Sectioning off the living area from the bedroom and bathroom is a trackless accordion-style folding door. Anchored on the wall that separates the bathroom from the bedroom is a second 40-inch 12-volt LED TV that faces the 60-by-75-inch queen bed, overhead cabinets and emergency-exit window. There’s room between the bed and back wall to scoot around the memory-foam mattress, although it’s a bit snug, and one step up. The split mattress is specifically made for the Sprinter to accommodate it when the slideout is retracted. Mini bedside tables with cup holders placed high flank each side of the bed and are at the perfect height to keep you from knocking something off should you roll over in your sleep. Adjustable LED reading lights have built-in 12-volt USB charging stations.
A hanging wardrobe and drawer in the bedroom shares the same large space with a shelved linen cabinet around the corner that opens to the main aisle area. The linen door swings open toward the galley, making it useful for accessing from the bed and bath area, provided the accordion door is open. This cabinet is a great location for stowing cups so you can pour yourself a drink right from the refrigerator.
The size and setup of the bathroom, which runs the length of the bedroom and is fully accessible during travel, are impressive. The long and narrow design — with a raised commode angled out from the corner to make the most of floorspace and the vanity on one wall, and with the shower at the far end — allows room for two. An excellent inclusion is a flush-mount cover for the sink, so we have no complaints about a lack of counter room. The white-with-gray-swirled water-resistant vacuum-pressed vinyl countertop is color-matched to the 24-by-30-inch step-up shower pan. With the skylight, you’re looking at more than 6½ feet of headroom in the shower.
The shower’s four ledges are wide enough for full bars of soap to stay put, and with two ledges close to floor level, it gives ladies a nice place to plant a foot when shaving legs. An adjustable oxygen-infused showerhead has a shutoff valve, and the curved shower rod adds elbow room. Keeping the mirrored medicine cabinet mist-free is a 12-volt electric ceiling fan. The extended counter protects the 120-volt AC outlets housed below in the vanity safe from dripping water and also creates space to stash a little trash can. There’s no lack of places to hang items with double-prong robe hooks across from the vanity and three bath-size towel bars on the door.
Kicking Back Outdoors
Enjoying downtime al fresco under the 16-foot electric awning with LED lighting can be done quietly or owners can ramp up the party with music playing through the speakers built into the awning’s adjustable arms and the optional entertainment center with a 32-inch 12-volt TV. When the awning is deployed, the speakers point downward so they aren’t blasting toward the neighbors (presuming you have neighbors). The LED TV is housed inside a compartment to the right of the power entry step with motion-sensor light.
A 29-cubic-foot Rotocast storage compartment is under the bedroom slide and has a plug, so technically it could be used as an ice chest while in camp, though you’d have to duck under the slide to get to it. The Q has a Winegard HD antenna, black-tank flush, valve-stem extenders, propane quick connect, an outside sprayer and a 5,000-pound hitch rating (be mindful of the total weight). Optional is a solar-powered 12-volt charging system. Color choices include standard White Glass graphics and two full-body-paint schemes, Obsidian or Pewter.
At just shy of 25½ feet long, the Forester 2401Q is versatile, easy to take on the road and can be maneuvered into a wide selection of campsites. The Q comfortably accommodates two to four for transit, dining, sleeping and, of course, adventure with turnkey travel and all the comforts of home.
Forest River Inc., http://www.forestriverinc.com