How luxurious do you want your RV to be? If you just want a place to eat and sleep, there are hundreds of affordable choices, but if you want elegance, supreme comfort and every amenity of home, prices climb and the choices narrow.
While the recession has thinned the number of luxury motorhome brands, companies are still competing to attract luxury buyers with big, powerful motorhomes that offer sleek interiors, stylish furnishings, and elaborate entertainment systems.
Here is a sampling of motorhomes that are available today at prices ranging from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
Beauty and brawn are combined in the 2011 Monaco Diplomat, which boasts a powerful Cummins ISL 425 horsepower engine and has luxurious hardwood cabinetry and ceramic tile throughout the living area, kitchen and bath.
The Diplomat is available in four new floor plans, including a full-wall slideout and a five-slide design, in lengths from 40 to 43 feet.
The full slideout model has a bedroom with plush carpeting, day/night pleated blackout shades, solid surface nightstands and a 26-inch LCD TV. The bathroom in the master suite includes double sinks, and there is also a half-bath just beyond the bedroom. A stackable washer/dryer can be added as an option.
The kitchen includes solid-surface countertops, a stainless-steel sink, and backsplashes in decorative tile. Appliances include a large refrigerator with icemaker, a high-output sealed burner cooktop and a microwave. You can substitute a residential refrigerator and add a central vacuum system.
A home theater system is included and most floor plans come with a 40-inch LCD in the living area, two sofas and a dinette. The cockpit seats are Ultraleather with power controls, including a powered footrest for the co-pilot. You can add an exterior entertainment center with a 40-inch LCD TV and DVD player.
The custom-built Roadmaster raised-rail chassis provides plenty of space for pass-through storage. The three larger models are built on the Roadmaster RR10R tag axle chassis that includes ten air bags and ten shock absorbers along with sensors to make adjustments that keep the ride smooth.
Starting retail price for the Diplomat is $304,350.
For information, visit monacorv.com.
Itasca’s flagship diesel pusher, the Ellipse, has undergone a major redesign for 2011 with a striking new exterior to make it more aerodynamic and to improve both visibility and function. The new Ellipse has stacked headlamps, LED running lamps, and all-chrome mirrors that incorporate both cameras and turn signals.
A new wider entrance door includes a see-through screen. Inside the cab, the revamped dash places a rearview monitor in the radio. The passenger seat has been moved back two inches for 2011 to allow easier entrance and exit from the vehicle.
The Ellipse is offered in four floor plans, including two tag axle models. One model has a full-wall slideout on the driver’s side that includes a large pantry, room for a four-door or optional residential-style refrigerator, a dining table with chairs and a Rest-Easy multi-position lounge. Also available are two Euro-lounge chairs with ottomans and a flip-up table between them.
The master bedroom in the rear features his and her wardrobes, a retractable 32-inch LCD TV, and king bed. The adjoining bathroom includes an electric flush toilet, sink, storage areas and a tub-shower combination. It can also accommodate an optional stacked washer and dryer. A half-bath is positioned on the passenger side between the bedroom and galley area. A slideout on the passenger side holds the galley and a sofa bed, providing an abundance of interior space.
A number of options from last year are now standard, including the Aqua-Hot system, AGM-type maintenance-free coach batteries, a slide-out generator and acrylic window awnings.
The Itasca Ellipse has suggested retail prices ranging from $303,800 to $332,895. Winnebago Industries produces the Itasca Ellipse and the similar Winnebago Tour.
For information, visit winnebagoind.com.
Fleetwood Revolution LE
Glazed hardwoods, plush Villa furniture and Sony electronics are featured in the 2011 Revolution LE from Fleetwood RV.
The 2011 edition has more pass-through storage than ever, with the addition of a second luggage bay and an increase in bay height by eight inches. Other improvements include a new air conditioning system that is not only quieter but has increased air flow, and the addition of a second monitor in the dash so that images from both the GPS and the coach’s cameras can be viewed at the same time.
All of the wood finishes—almond mocha, regency cherry and mahogany cherry—now come with a glaze that brightens the interior. Villa furniture, which is now standard, includes facing ultra leather sofa beds in the living area.
Tile floors have been added throughout the bedroom in place of carpet to make the coach easier to clean and to increase the residential feel. Countertops in the kitchen and bathroom have been upgraded to Corian.
Appliances include a residential refrigerator and stackable washer and dryer. Two of the three floor plans have a bath and a half.
The Revolution is just under 43 feet in length and is built on a Spartan tag axle chassis. One exterior improvement this year is an upgraded generator slide. The generator slide now powers out attached to the entire lower cap fascia, providing easier access to service the generator and giving access to fluids and headlights. The Revolution also has added a light cut and buff paint job, providing a high-gloss finish.
Suggested base retail price for the 2011 Revolution is $366,000.
For information, visit fleetwoodrv.com.
Newmar Mountain Aire
Newmar has completely redesigned the exterior of the Mountain Aire for 2011, with new front and rear caps, new graphics and a new chrome trim package. It is equipped with Girard awnings, and for the first time, a Girard side awning with a wind sensor and remote control has been recessed into the sidewall for a sleek, integrated design.
The Mountain Aire is available in six floor plans from 40 to 43 feet in length, all powered by a Cummins 425 horsepower diesel engine on a tag axle chassis. The Mountain Aire comes with the Comfort Drive steering system developed by TRW Automotive, Spartan Chassis and Newmar. The computerized system compensates for crosswinds and crowns in the road to keep the motorhome on a straight path, taking tension out of the steering wheel to ease stress and reduce driver fatigue.
The cockpit of the Mountain Aire has two screens, one for the GPS system and a separate one for the side and rear view cameras. The seats are Ultralux leather with lumbar support, and there is a footrest on the passenger side.
The coach’s interior is all about luxury. The floors are polished porcelain tile, and the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom countertops have polished solid surfaces from Mystera. The cabinet doors have hand-glazed raised panels. Halogen lights are recessed in the ceiling and overhead cabinets. All of the lighting is on a single system that can be controlled at the door.
The furniture is from Flexsteel and the TVs and other electronics are from Sony. There are a variety of entertainment options, including a 40-inch TV at midship, and the coach is wired for high-definition components. A 12-cubic-foot Norcold refrigerator with an icemaker and water dispenser can be upgraded to a residential refrigerator. Also available are a Whirlpool washer/dryer, a Norcold freezer on a pullout tray in the baggage compartment, a central vacuum system and a Fisher Paykel DishDrawer dishwasher.
The bedroom at the rear of the coach includes an LCD TV and a king-sized bed with a pillowtop mattress with radius corners, a quilted bedspread and accent pillows.
Suggested retail price for the 2011 Mountain Aire is $450,685.
For information, visit newmarcorp.com.
The spacious Cornerstone from Entegra, a member of the Jayco family, is available in three 45-foot models, all exuding power and elegance.
A Spartan K2 tax axle chassis with a Cummins ISM 500-horsepower electronic engine supports the coach, and if you want even more power you can opt for a 650 horsepower engine. A 12.5 KW Onan diesel generator is conveniently located on an exterior slide-out tray. Also under the coach are two big carpeted and lighted slide-out trays to carry luggage, sporting gear, grills, outdoor furniture or other items. And to make access very easy, you can add power to the slide-out trays.
The cockpit contains Flexsteel distressed leather power seats that are heated. The color rear-vision monitor system includes wide-angle side cameras. A touch-screen AM/FM/CD/DVD comes with Garmin navigation and Bluetooth media and phone integration capability.
The interior has handcrafted Amish hardwoods in a choice of either caramel glazed maple or Washington cherry glazed maple. The Cornerstone’s flooring includes four-inch granite inlays, and the countertops are beveled-edge solid granite. Other features include satin nickel faucets and accessories, a slide-out pantry, hardwood crown moldings and sconces, a central vacuum system, heated granite bath flooring, an electronic security system and a hidden safe.
The kitchen has Jenn-Air appliances in black and stainless steel and includes a large convection microwave oven and a 22-cubic-foot double-door refrigerator with an in-door ice and water dispenser.
The entertainment options include a Samsung home theater system with a 40-inch LCD HDTV, a 32-inch LCD TV and DVD player in an exterior entertainment center, a 26-inch LCD TV in the overhead cockpit and a 32-inch LCD HDTV in a flip-up cabinet in the bedroom, along with a hidden DVD player.
The Entegra Cornerstone carries a suggested retail price of $550,000.
For information, visit entegracoach.com.
If luxury coaches aren’t quite luxurious enough for you, the next step up is to the $1 million-plus category where you will find custom motorhomes like this one built by Newell Coach Corporation in Oklahoma.
The coach pictured here, listed for $1.5 million and recently sold, has granite floors, Makori UltraWood cabinets, and a state-of-the-art home theater electronics system linked to a Moto-Sat satellite television system. There are four slideouts in a floor plan that includes an elegant rear bedroom and one and a half baths.
Pat Dwyer, vice president for sales at Newell, said the company works with customers to tailor coaches to their needs. Floor plans form a starting point, but the customer can move just about any element in one except the 650-horsepower rear engine. Most coaches built by Newell are 45 feet long, but can be as short as 39 feet. The interior height is seven and a half feet.
Dwyer said the coaches are built on a suspension system from Germany that is designed for buses and costs about as much as some luxury RVs. The suspension system is the key to a smooth ride in a coach that typically weighs 54,000 pounds. Appliances, such as Sub-Zero refrigerators, are the size of those found in homes and apartments, rather than RVs, and they run on 220-volt power.
Newell sells its motorhomes factory-direct and through Holland Motor Homes in Holland, Michigan, and San Diego, California. Newell will have one of its motorhomes on display at Signature Motorcoach Resort at Bay Harbor, Michigan, through the end of August.
For information, visit newellcoach.com.
Nikki is a writer and editor for Do It Yourself RV, RV LIFE, and Camper Report. She is based on the Oregon Coast and has traveled all over the Pacific Northwest.