The European(RV)s are Coming!
From diminutive teardrop camping trailers to wide-body toy haulers, this year brings an exciting host of towables, many with a Continental influence
The European influence on the American RV market has become more evident in the 2014 model year, as domestic manufacturers continue to borrow design cues from across the pond. Notable among them are the Jay Smart, a concept towable from Jayco, the diminutive T@G from Little Guy Worldwide; and the reissued Element travel trailer from EverGreen Recreational Vehicles.
Other manufacturers have followed suit, adopting design strategies that have long been popular in Europe, including smaller floorplans and the increased use of composites and other materials to reduce weight.
But that’s not all. Innovation and new offerings from familiar manufacturers are also in the offing. For example, a solar option has been added to Forest River’s diminutive r-pod series for 2014, along with a rear door floorplan. The 8-foot-wide r-pod is reminiscent of the early teardrop trailers but is equipped with slideouts, queen beds, dinettes and kitchens.
Until this year, Topeka, Indiana-based CrossRoads Recreational Vehicle’s smart-looking Rezerve towable was part of the company’s Zinger series. For 2014, Rezerve is available as a stand-alone travel trailer and fifth-wheel brand with 15 floorplans.
Airstream, meanwhile, has softened the interior of its Land Yacht travel trailer that debuted in 2013 as a concept vehicle, while Prime Time RV, a division of Forest River, introduced its first toy hauler, the Spartan fifth-wheel.
KZRV also brought several new models to the table for 2014, including the lightweight Spree Connect travel trailer and the Gold Rush by Durango, an upscale fifth-wheel. And Starcraft RV, well known for its line of lightweight towables, introduced its A-frame-style Comet Hardside folding camping trailer.
Of course, these are only a few examples of what makes this year a great one for RVers. And while we don’t have room to feature every new product or update, here’s a broader look at some of the notable towable offerings for 2014.
Augusta RV made waves in the fall with the introduction of its polished-looking, upscale Luxe fifth-wheel concept vehicle sporting a chic full-paint, high-gloss, gelcoat exterior and a residential interior replete with quartz countertops and knotty alder and light maple cabinetry.
Although some changes are in store before the aluminum-framed 40-footer debuts (it should be available by the time you are reading this), it will have the same eye-catching curb appeal that it sported when shown initially to dealers, according to Marketing Director Chris Epps.
“We decided to tweak it a little bit and take some weight out of it. That’s the big thing,” Epps said. “We’re adding a few new features for technology purposes that are very innovative and cutting edge.”
But the Luxe’s uniquely good looks, he assured, won’t change, including a rear cap design borrowed from a high-end bus conversion. A retail price has yet to be established.
574-848-0200 | www.augusta-rv.com
It’s hard to imagine, but with double-over-double bunk beds, a convertible sofa and a front queen bedroom, the new 28-foot Coachmen Apex 259BHSS travel trailer floorplan can sleep eight people.
The double-entry 259BHSS is one of three new 8-foot wide-body Apex floorplans in 28- to 31-foot lengths featuring 40-inch flush floor slideouts — all weighing less than 6,000 pounds.
“The Apex line is a neat little lightweight package for people who are looking for more room, less weight and better towability,” said Apex Sales Manager Tracy Anglemeyer.
Indeed, the laminated fiberglass-and-aluminum Apex lineup also offers the ultimate in versatility with three hybrid, six 71/2-foot-wide and 11 8-foot-wide floorplans. “We cover the gamut of lightweight,” said Anglemeyer.
With MSRPs of about $30,000, the three new floorplans offer glazed cherry cabinets, Congoleum Grand Canyon flooring and black appliances.
With the Forest River Coachmen Division marking its 50th year, an anniversary package includes a painted fiberglass front cap, power A-frame jack and interior LED lighting.
Coachmen Recreational Vehicles
800-353-7383 | www.coachmenrv.com
An attached side patio offers unique entertainment opportunities in the wide-body, 44-foot Cyclone CY 4200
toy hauler fifth-wheel from Heartland Recreational Vehicles.
“We incorporated a side patio into the living space of the kitchen and living area,” said A.J. Jones, Cyclone general manager. “Usually when you’re camping, you’re either outside or inside. There’s no interaction between who’s inside and outside the RV. This allows for an open flow between the two.”
The side patio drops down, much like the rear ramp does on the toy hauler, and is capable of supporting up to 1,000 pounds. Additionally, the 10-foot-by-7-foot patio contains a 40-inch flatscreen TV, built-in refrigerator and bar table with a sliding glass door opening into the trailer.
The 12-foot garage, with an 8-by-8-foot loading ramp that can double as a second patio, also has a second bathroom and a sleeping loft above.
Retailing for about $90,000, the double-slide CY 4200 floorplan, featuring a front king bedroom, is one of 13 Cyclone fifth-wheel floorplans available for 2014.
For those wanting a primitive camping experience, the CY 4200 has a dedicated 1,000-watt inverter coupled with two 6-volt batteries that will allow the fifth-wheel to operate for 48 hours off the grid.
Standard interior features include LED lighting throughout, solid-surface countertops, 23-cubic-foot refrigerator, and Broyhill furniture, including electric recliners.
Heartland Recreational Vehicles
877-262-8032 | www.heartlandrvs.com
After a two-year hiatus, EverGreen Recreational Vehicles has reintroduced — or “reimagined” in the company’s words — the European-inspired Element travel-trailer series. Available with a lower price, the 2014 spread-axle Element initially features two double-slide 30- and 32-foot floorplans with four others in lengths between 25 feet and 34 feet planned for early this year.
With a new distinctive front cap that can be optioned with a front window, EverGreen has paid close attention to design. Both of the initial front queen-bed floorplans have island kitchens with 8-cubic-foot refrigerators, Corian solid-surface countertops, glazed hardwood cabinets and full-size composite sinks.
With MSRPs that begin at $34,900, other Element standards include fully enclosed and heated underbellies, painted tri-color vacuum-bond fiberglass-on-aluminum side walls, frameless, automotive-type windows, LED lighting throughout, residential-style furniture, entertainment centers, full wardrobes and 46-inch showers with glass enclosures.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles
574-825-4298 | www.goevergreenrv.com
Manufacturers have introduced front living room fifth-wheels in the past that have drawn big RV show crowds. Then, they’d drop them because, as “sexy” and “cool” as they were, these novel towables weren’t all that practical or they didn’t sell well.
But Grand Design RV claims to have solved the riddle with its new 40-foot, 379FL front living room Solitude, a wide-body fifth-wheel with an extra-spacious upper deck area. Comfortably seating up to eight, the living area sports a large recliner or hide-a-bed sofas that can sleep four along with theater seating directly in front of a 50-inch HDTV.
The 379FL, with a retail price of about $80,000, is one of four 36- to 40-foot floorplans in the all-new Solitude line.
“Our goal in creating the front living room Solitude was to take what’s sexy about it — the ‘cool’ factor — and make it livable and practical and something that the customers, the full-timers, can use,” Grand Design President Don Clark said of the 379FL.
The floorplan houses plenty of pass-through storage and a kitchen with a huge island featuring a curio cabinet that facilitates a major amount of countertop space. Other details include a painted front cap, high-gloss fiberglass side walls with color-matched fender skirts, frameless windows, enclosed-and-heated tanks, and underbelly storage.
Grand Design Recreational Vehicles
574-825-8000 | www.granddesignrv.com
Aimed at the half-ton tow-vehicle market, Gulf Stream Streamlite’s upscale Champagne Edition is the highest line of lightweight travel trailers the company offers.
Distinguished by its full painted front cap, the Champagne Edition — available in seven 26- to 32-foot floorplans — also offers a power A-frame jack, power stabilizer jacks and power awnings.
There’s also a deep slide — which, like the side walls, is vacuum-laminated and backed by Azdel composites — and up front, solid-wood pocket doors and a queen-size bed with a chest of drawers.
Standards include LED lights inside and out, Congoleum flooring, Lane theater seating, an exterior mount for the TV (you just pick it up off of its mount inside and hook it up outside), choice of free-standing dining table or dinette with inner-spring seating and a huge amount of storage.
Options include frameless windows, all stainless-steel appliances and a fireplace. MSRPs range from $23,093 to $33,453.
Gulf Stream Coach
800-289-8787 | www.gulfstreamrvtrailers.com
The ultra-lightweight Jay Smart, a concept towable from Jayco, appears to be less a U.S. travel trailer built with a smattering of European influences than it is a European caravan “Americanized” for domestic use.
That’s not surprising, given that one of Jayco’s design and engineering consultants on this project has been working on European “caravans” — as travel trailers are called in Europe — for three years.
By reconfiguring the trailer’s center of gravity through a modified chassis and extended A-frame — the low-slung Jay Smart is designed to have a low hitch weight of between 100 and 150 pounds. With four 19- to 26-foot rear-bath floorplans in the works, the Jay Smart weighs in at between 2,400 and 4,100 pounds.
Other innovations include the use of a friction pad that allows the coupler to lock down tightly to prevent chucking, an optional manual maneuvering system attached to the axles to enhance positioning into tight locations and acrylic windows throughout. All floorplans feature LED indirect lighting along the ceiling. A retail price has not yet been set.
574-825-5861 | www.jayco.com
Beyond the standard amenities available on Keystone RV Company’s upscale 40-foot Montana Big Sky fifth-wheel, the thing that catches your attention is that hard-to-define aspect called eye appeal.
The high-end Big Sky joins the Montana, Mountaineer and High Country fivers in the nation’s top-selling fifth-wheel series. Available initially in two 37- and 40-foot 100-inch wide-body floorplans, the Big Sky will be available in two other layouts with up to five slideouts.
“For the last couple of years, the Big Sky has been an option package,” said Southeast District Sales Manager Mark Krol. “Now we are differentiating it by separating it into its own set of floorplans and its own production line so that we can more aggressively attack the high-end market.”
Standards are impressive and include full-body paint, dual metal-wrapped power awnings with LED lighting, a 12-cubic-foot Dometic refrigerator, Corian granite-style solid-surface countertops, hardwood cherry cabinets, fireplaces, leather theater seating, 80-inch sofas with built-in end tables, wood-plank linoleum flooring, 48-by-30-inch showers, outside entertainment centers, 8,000-pound axles, disc brakes and a six-point automatic leveling system.
MSRPs range from $85,000 to $110,000.
Keystone RV Company
866-425-4369 | www.keystonerv.com
Lance 2212KS 4
Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp. has produced the company’s first toy hauler — a 22-foot, half-ton towable travel trailer with a streetside kitchen slide and a unique sink configuration that slides out of the way to create 12 feet of horizontal space to store toys and gear.
Lance says that 18- and 26-foot floorplans, all built on a newly designed Z-drop frame to increase outside storage, will be added to the toy hauler series in the near future.
The front bedroom Lance 2212KS has a dry weight of 6,310 pounds with a cargo capacity of about 4,000 pounds.
Twin convertible sofas that fold up against the side walls in the cargo area increase sleeping capacity, while the cargo ramp is protected by an automatic rear awning.
Featuring high-gloss fiberglass side walls on a lightweight aluminum superstructure and an aerodynamic front cap, the Lance 2212KS MSRP starts at $39,000.
Lance Camper Manufacturing Corp.
661-949-3322 | www.lancecamper.com
Lifestyle Luxury RV has resurrected the Alfa Gold fifth-wheel brand that those who live on the West Coast might recognize by its distinctive straight-line roof.
“Our ability to replicate, innovate and improve upon quality resulted in the resurrection of this Western classic,” said Mark Boessler, president of the EverGreen Recreational Vehicles subsidiary.
Built on Lifestyle’s “Titan Structure” double-stacked box-steel superstructure, Lifestyle’s 2014 102-inch wide-body Alfa Gold fiver is available in six 34- to 41-foot floorplans, including a unique five-slide double-bunk, double-bath arrangement. With the wide-body layout, barrel ceilings and 7-foot-tall slideouts, the Alfa Gold feels as spacious as any fifth-wheel you’re going to find.
All floorplans have six-point automatic leveling, front bedroom double-door wardrobes, washers and dryers, king-size beds, Martha Stewart Corian countertops, side-by-side refrigerators and dishwashers, plush furniture and hardwood cherry cabinets with radius doors.
Retail prices range from $69,000 to $89,000.
Lifestyle Luxury RV
574-825-5578 | www.lifestylelrv.com
Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles continued its tradition of building towables without a stick of wood in its all-new half-ton towable Camplite fifth-wheel.
The key to bringing in 28- and 32-foot floorplans with dry weights of 5,830 pounds and 6,490 pounds, respectively, is a Lite-Tech lightweight steel frame from a Northern Indiana specialty frame designer. “Traditional fifth-wheels were too big and bulky to be built on it,” said Scott Tuttle, president of Livin’ Lite, which was purchased in September by Thor Industries. “We really want half-ton towable owners to feel comfortable towing the Camplite fifth-wheel, and the Lite-Tech frame allowed us to hit our weight goals.”
The Camplite fifth-wheel, which retails for $39,900 to $49,900, is a new cog in Livin’ Lite’s lineup that also includes lightweight all-aluminum or aluminum-and-composite folding camping trailers, truck campers, toy haulers and travel trailers.
“The big focus of the company has been building RVs that can be towed by half-tons, cars, crossovers and minivans,” says Tuttle. To that end, the unit features cabinets framed in tubular aluminum with lightweight wood-look Azdel composite doors, as well as Azdel in the side walls, floor and roof.
Available with one or two slideouts, the Camplite fifth-wheel’s exterior is offered in a variety of metallic automotive colors to match the tow vehicle.
Livin’ Lite Recreational Vehicles
574-862-2228 | www.livinlite.com
Massillon, Ohio-based Little Guy Worldwide — which bills itself as the world’s largest distributor of teardrop camping trailers — first unveiled its new solar-ready MyPod camper in the fall, then closed out the year with the all-new T@G, which debuted at the National RV Trade Show in December 2013.
A smaller derivative of the company’s popular European-derived T@B travel trailer, the retro-looking T@G weighs less than 900 pounds and can be towed by virtually any vehicle with a four-cylinder engine — motorcycles included.
T@G boasts a queen-sized bed, air conditioner, sight-and-sound center, propane cylinder and battery, and initially is available in a single 11-foot floorplan with an MSRP of about $10,900.
“We were looking for something that had a little more headroom on the side, because a lot of the time women feel closed in in our trailer,” said Chris Baum, chief operating officer.
That’s important, in that 15 to 20 percent of Little Guy’s customers are single women who appreciate the company’s lightweight, uncomplicated units.
Little Guy Worldwide
877-545-4897 | www.golittleguy.com