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Exciting new models add spice to the RV market

February 16, 2007|by JEFF JOHNSTON / Motor Matters

The RV industry trots out its best and brightest new models each year at the annual Louisville show, an extravaganza of new designs and redeveloped older models. The show featured a wide variety of rigs of all types, all of them designed to interest curious RV customers.

There's no doubt that the cost of fuel has an impact on the RV industry, and many companies are paying attention. Some manufacturers are focused on making their fuel-hungry products as cost-effective as possible to make them more appealing. Others are aiming squarely at the smaller, fuel-efficient parts of the market. Either way, it's good news for consumers. Here's a look at four of the interesting new models from the show:

Host Manufacturing caused a stir at the show with its new Host Motorcoach, a Class C motor home based on Ford's Super F-550 Duty cab and chassis. The Motorcoach is available in a 4WD model, which should endear it to those who plan on exploring the farthest reaches of the backcountry. It's built with two slideout rooms, one street-side with a U-shaped dinette and another curbside with the kitchen in the slider. There's a fold-down bed platform that opens from the back wall. The main sleeping space is in the cabover area, as is usual practice for most Class Cs based on van-type cutaway chassis.

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Because the Motorcoach is built on the Crew Cab four-door chassis, there are four bucket seats positioned up front. Fiberglass skin, aluminum framing, polystyrene insulation and a complete roster of living amenities are standard fare for the Motorcoach. Ford's PowerStroke diesel engine provides the guts to move the rig in sprightly fashion. Contact: Host Campers, (541) 330-2328 or www.hostcampers.com.

Over on the high-priced end of the business, Newmar Corporation has added a "toybox" style rig to its motor-home lineup. The new All-Star Cycle Hauler is based on a Spartan Mountain master mid-engine chassis powered by a Cummins diesel.

A pair of slideout rooms set up as garage spaces adorns the 42-foot rig's aft end. The big difference is these rooms are open, front and back, and fold-away ramps provide a means of accessing the garages. A lowered floor means entry is relatively easy for two-wheeled toys.

The Cycle Hauler is as fully equipped as a user could want in the area of luxury features and hardware. Full body paint, simulated marble flooring, solid oak cabinetry, solid-surface countertops and a gel-coated fiberglass exterior are among the unit's details, and the Spartan chassis provides air-ride comfort and luxury vehicle handling. Contact: Newmar Corporation, (574) 773-7791 or www.newmarcorp.com.

Many RVers start on the more affordable end of the spectrum with a small travel trailer that's easy to buy and tow. The Takena is a new 19-foot trailer from Chalet RV, a company with a long reputation in the industry. Its roughly 2,655-pound dry weight ensures it's towable without needing a big pickup or SUV.

Although compact, this fully self-contained unit includes a dry bath with shower, a kitchen with demand freshwater system, and a choice of two floor plans with a forward bed/side dinette or forward dinette/side sofa/bed option. A standard 16,000 BTU furnace and solid aluminum-framed sidewalls with polystyrene insulation and fiberglass skin help ensure comfort within. Contact: Chalet RV Inc., (541) 791-4610) or www.chaletrv.com.

Several years back the Dutchmen Tb trailer started a trend towards tiny, minimalist trailers that provide the bare minimum of amenities in a small space. The Twist is a new offering from Columbia Northwest Inc., a company that's best known for its fold-down trailers built with hardwalls.

At just more than 1,000 pounds dry weight, the Twist can be towed by many of today's downsized SUVs, minivans and small trucks. That capability means the buyer need not invest in an expensive tow vehicle that may also be fuel-thirsty.

The twist comes in one size - 13 feet long - and two floor plans. One features a forward dinette that converts to a 64-by-76-inch bed, the other, called The Office, has a side-mounted desk and workstation up front that converts to a 44-by-76-inch bed. Both models include an aft wall, entry door, a small curbside kitchen with an optional furnace and refrigerator, and a porta-potti storage spot streetside. The manufacturer crams as much storage space as possible into this tiny trailer, which although small, is a fine jump up from a tent. Contact: Columbia Northwest Inc., (724) 423-7440 or www.aliner.com.

Copyright, Motor Matters 2007

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