The Winnebago Industries exhibit this year did not disappoint me one bit as new models and floor plans abounded and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the new technologies that Winnebago presented for 2010. There were too many rigs for me to review them all however I would like to focus attention on one particular model the Ellipse Model 42AD.
The 42AD was first seen at the Grand National Rally this past summer and the many WIT members that were in attendance had an opportunity to take a long look at this new floor plan. For many people in attendance at RVIA, this was our first opportunity to visit the first 42 foot 11 inch long, Freightliner powered motor coach.
The 42AD is powered by a 400-hp Cummins® turbo-charged ISL 8.9L diesel engine and Allison® 3000 MH 6-speed electronic transmission. The front and rear Neway suspension is air bag equipped and the steering travels through 55°. The engine features a compression brake for assist is slowing the vehicle and conserving brakes. The fully instrumented panel has an information center which is highly visible through the large SmartWheel™ telescopic steering wheel.
I had the opportunity to visit the Ellipse with Kelli Harms from the Marketing Group and she gave me an excellent briefing on the rig. Walking along the entry way toward the bus style door, what got my attention were the nice light colors of the full body paint which are quite refreshing from the darker colors that are seen on so many rigs. The tag axle was one of the first clues that this was going to be something large, new and special.
Approaching the door the Magnum Chassis nameplate assumes a bold position and with good reason. Freightliner Custom Chassis from Gaffney, South Carolina, my home state, designed and built the chassis in their production facility which lies in the highlands just east of Spartanburg off of Interstate 85. The Magnum Chassis features a drop rail C channel chassis mid-ships which is tied into the front and rear trucks using hardened fasteners and vertical frame stiffeners to provide the maximum strength and carrying capability without compromising on integrity.
The biggest benefit of this type of frame arrangement is storage, storage, storage. Without the constraints of having an overhead frame member in the compartment the rail actually passes through the sub floor and leaves a cavernous space for pass through storage which is called SmartStorage. A tray extends from both directions trough 90° doors and holds as much as 500 pounds of gear I understand. In the not too distant future I have been invited to do a photo shoot at the plant and I will certainly follow up on that opportunity.
The Magnum chassis has a GVW rating of 44,320 pounds, a 15,000 rated hitch and a 59,320 pound GCWR on a 279 inch wheelbase. Overall, the rig is 42ft and 11 inches and features 4 slideouts. Stepping aboard the rig I was impressed with the tile floor which extended pretty much as far as I could see. An Aqua Hot system keeps the floor surfaces comfortable during colder weather. Walking in from the living area and galley all the seating surfaces were all supple leather. The 2 forward slideouts on the street and curb side are approximately 18 feet in length. With the room that the 7 foot ceiling provide, one can easily feel right at home in this coach.
Making my way to the rear of the rig I entered the master suite that features a Sleep Number King Size bed. The cabinetry in this coach was quite nice and one thing that I appreciated in the triple slide drawers which allow full extension when pulled open. The interior fabrics and colors in the bedroom were all complimentary to the cherry wood interior. The brushed stainless fixtures afford a soft yet luxurious sense of quality. On the left exiting the bedroom was a separate washer and dryer enclosure which offers the same performance as home units. The drum size on the washer is larger than the all-in-one units and it should be able to breeze through laundry day in a jiffy.
On the right exiting the master suite is the bath. On the top of a vanity base is a raised ceramic bowl wash basin which sits on a Corian countertop. A single handle brushed chrome faucet provides the water. A medicine cabinet in mounted on the outside wall and wraps around with a number of mirrors. The over lighting in the vanity area provides just the right amount of lighting exactly where it’s needed. Directly to the left is a glass walled, rounded shower enclosure which was roomy and is supplied by a Posi-Temp shower valve.
Opposite is a quite room toilet enclosure with a vanity base and recessed sink. There are cabinets for storage in the enclosure and a privacy door. The bathroom compartment is closed off via a pocket door from the living quarters and galley and there is a second door in front of the master suite as well.
Into the living area was a leather covered Rest Easy Sofa which was tucked in between two small end tables. The 11 cu foot double door stainless paneled refrigerator acts as a partition between the dining area and the seating area. The Rest Easy Sofa is ideally placed to view the wall mounted Sony 40 inch LCD TV over the angled fireplace enclosure. One new item that I saw this time around was an extendable section sofa. There is a section of the couch that when pulled away from the curb side wall it’ll pull out about 3 feet and by placing a back and seat cushion on the couch frame it just melts right into the rest of the couch like it’s always been there.
The One Place on the 42AD now features a centrally positioned green touch screen function panel among the other 6 or so control panels and switches. Although I didn’t have a great deal of time to experiment, one can turn on and off various functions from the touch screen. The 42AD has 3 roof mounted air conditioning units and they are controlled from the thermostat in the On-Place. One can also find and operate the generator, water pump, Tru-Level panel, inverter and electric water heater. The panel is illuminated by an overhead lamp which is one feature I miss the most on my unit.
The dining area features a beautiful computer hutch with a Corian topped table. The table is free standing and supported by the cabinet. There are 2 other folding chairs in the coach for guests. Overhead in the dining area is a ceiling lamp. Within the enclosure are located a 110V plug, Telco jack and 12 volt power point. The cabinet opens up to being able to accommodate a printer and has room for other items to be stored in large drawers.
The galley was full featured with beautiful cabinetry and color keyed Corian countertops and back splash. I liked the 3 burner stove because it gave you plenty of room for 3 cooking vessels. The stove has a 1 large burner on the right and 2 smaller burners on the left. The stove is covered by a clear range cover. I thought it quite clever how this stove can accommodate 3 pots much more efficiently that a 4 burner range which typically all 4 burners are really if ever used at the same time.
A large convection microwave is mounted directly above the stove top that has both an externally vented fan and light. Located under the sink and visible in the photo is a dishwasher drawer. The cabinets are quite large and provide ample storage space that one can expect in an RV. There is a pull out counter extension above a pantry closet on the left side of the galley. At the kitchen sink is a stainless faucet with a pull out spray nozzle and a filtered water dispenser. The over head recessed lighting in the galley area place just the right amount of lighting right where it’s needed. Any person that loves to work in the galley will love working in the 42AD.
The business end of the rig the driver’s compartment provides a very well laid out compartment with as many remote features as possible included directly in the SmartWheel. Controls for the cruise, radio and lighting are all within easy touch without taking one’s hands off the wheel. The vehicle has a color rear view monitor and side view cameras. The GPS being mounted high on the dash makes it easier for the driver to keep his attention on both the GPS and the road. Sirius satellite radio is standard and comes with a 6 month subscription. The walnut burl dashboard presents quite well and a drawer on the center console is faced with Corian. The switches for the many functions are well spaced and very legibly marked. The driver looks out over the dash through a one piece windshield. Remote control blinds extend downward from the overhead by the use of a switch. What is neat about the blind is that it not only functions as a sunshade but when fully extended downward it turns into a privacy curtain. The seats of course rotate into the living space and can be reclined to a degree. The Allison shifter pad is located in the left armrest as are controls for the remote control mirrors and heaters. A cup holder in front of the shifter pad completes the driver’s cockpit area.
I want to thank Kelli for taking me through the Ellipse and my only regret is that I didn’t have all day to visit each and every one of the new products that Winnebago has introduced for 2010. In speaking with Chad Reece, the Marketing Director for Winnebago Industries, he told me that Winnebago spent a lot of R&D funding this year to bring to market new products when a lot of the motor home companies were drawing back on expenses.
One of those feature products for 2010 is the Reyo which is the First Class A on 11,030-lb. GVWR Dodge/Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. Powered by Mercedes Benz 3.0L, 154-hp, turbocharged V-6 diesel engine, the Reyo can reportedly return 15 miles per gallon.
One of my favorites for 2010 if the model 37F Adventurer built on the Workhorse W24 chassis that has a bath and a half. This rig features 2 opposing slideouts that opens the interior of the rig to the size of a ballroom. The new 2010 Vista is also available on the Workhorse W20D and W22D front engine diesel chassis powered by a MaxxForce 7, 230 HP engine with 620 lb/ft of torque.
“Reverse is for motor homes but not for motor home companies” Bob Olsen, CEO and President, Winnebago Industries Inc.