The Latest Crop of Specialty Fifth-Wheels Takes the “Roughing It” out of the RV Experience for Motorized Vehicle Enthusiasts
In the early 2000s, as towables with rear “garages” were becoming popular on the West Coast among those who enjoyed cavorting with motorized playthings in sand dunes, so-called toy haulers were utilitarian.
They’d have a rear ramp, and as often as not, were designed to carry sand rails and dirt bikes, with open space that extended well into the living area. Typically, they would have vinyl seating, rudimentary dining setups and sparse sleeping arrangements.
When done playing with sand buggies, motorcycles or four-wheelers, cleanup could be accomplished with a garden hose.
Oh, how things have changed.
While toy haulers of that variety remain popular in some quarters, new upscale toy haulers with a decidedly residential feel have emerged. The garage is still an important element, but these RVs now have high-end amenities that have become standard, such as leather furniture, solid-surface countertops, flatscreen TVs, hardwood cabinets and other swanky appointments.
In other words, they feel like a nice home.
“People today don’t want their toy hauler to be as edgy as it once might have been,” said Marlene Snyder, vice president of sales and marketing for KZRV, which builds the Inferno fifth-wheel toy hauler.
In particular, high-end fifth-wheel toy haulers, while offering amenities you might find at home, continue to provide the versatility that comes with having a garage. You can use it for storage space, an extra entertainment area, or even as a place to enjoy hobbies or run a mobile business. The uses of today’s upscale fifth-wheel toy haulers are almost endless.
“I use the word ‘versatility’ a lot because the garage can be anything — an extra bedroom, a den, a shop,” said Jim Rzepka, product manager for Keystone RV’s best-selling Raptor fifth-wheel toy hauler.
Marc Hauser, general manager of Grand Design RV, which has introduced the all-new Momentum fifth-wheel toy hauler, agrees. “It’s not just a box with four walls and a rear door that you can rinse out with a hose.”
Here’s a look at 10 higher-end fifth-wheel toy haulers for 2014.
Dutchmen Voltage »
To haul toys or not to haul toys. That is the question for owners of Dutchmen’s upscale Voltage toy hauler series.
“About a third of our customers don’t even have ‘toys,’” said Nate Goldenberg, Voltage general manager. “There has been a shift in the market to older couples and families who want the convenience of having a garage for whatever reason, but also want a separate living area that’s more like their home.”
Indeed, Dutchmen offers a wide variety of Voltage layouts among its 15 81/2-foot-wide floorplans that range in length from 35 to 44 feet and include island kitchens, electric fireplaces, residential sofas, quartz countertops and hardwood cabinets.
“It’s nice enough so that they don’t feel if they are getting a toy hauler — like they are taking a step down,” Goldenberg said.
With up to 160 gallons of onboard water, 70 gallons of fuel and an optional generator, Voltage owners can even “go off the grid” for days if they care to.
Garages range from 10 to 18 feet long, and with MSRPs that start at $55,000, Voltage garage options include carpeted floors, Happijac electric drop-down beds, rollover sofas and a 2,000-pound winch with storage box.
Dutchmen | 574-537-0600 | www.dutchmen-rv.com
Forest River Vengeance »
This toy hauler with a tough name actually has a soft side, with a lot of features that are uncommon even in luxury fifth-wheels. Designed to appeal to the chef in the family, the new 43-foot Forest River Vengeance features a striking kitchen with the stove situated in an Italianesque alcove and an L-shaped solid-surface countertop with pop-up electrical outlets.
An extension to the existing Forest River’s Vengeance series, the Touring Edition, with MSRPs from $69,900 to $79,900, is available in four to six floorplans ranging from 37 to 43 feet. Each offers some variation of the innovative kitchen.
The laminated fiberglass 43-foot triple-slideout floorplan that debuted last December features a sleeping loft above the 12-foot garage that has a dedicated furnace, two convertible sofas and a drop-down queen bed. With a sliding glass door between the garage and the living area, which features a standard fireplace, high-end furniture and LED lighting throughout, the Vengeance Touring Edition feels more residential than earlier generations of toy haulers. “That was our intent,” said Sean Ryan, Vengeance national sales manager. “We wanted to build a unit that, when you walk into the main entry door, you don’t feel like you’re walking into a toy hauler. We wanted to take the edge out.”
Forest River RV | www.forestriverinc.com/rv
Grand Design Momentum »
The wide-body Momentum toy hauler from Grand Design RV is built on a drop frame to provide additional basement storage, while at the same time offering 12-foot garages in each of its three triple-slide floorplans — two 42-footers and one 39-foot. “Toy haulers no longer are a niche,” said Marc Hauser, Grand Design general manager. “They’ve become a mainstream product because they have so much flexible space.”
Borrowing some design features from its traditional Solitude fifth-wheel series, Grand Design has worked to make its 8-foot-5-inch-wide toy hauler offerings as versatile as possible, with the 42-foot Momentum 385 featuring a second bathroom in the garage along with a home theater system, refrigerator, game table and an optional dedicated air conditioner.
Each of the three current floorplans — and another 32-foot layout coming later this year — features a loft sleeping area over the garage.
In the living area, the Momentum has custom-embroidered chairs, solid-surface countertops, stainless-steel sinks, solid cherry cabinet doors with hidden hinges, entertainment system with Bluetooth, oversize ovens, vessel bathroom sinks, LED puck lighting throughout and front walk-in closets that are prepped for a washer/dryer. MSRP: $100,000.
Grand Design RV | 574-825-8000 | www.granddesignrv.com
Heartland Torque »
Given the design parameters of the traditional toy hauler, with its rear garage and front living quarters, coming up with new ideas can be difficult. Yet Heartland RV raised a few eyebrows when it introduced its Torque 270HG floorplan, which turns the whole segment upside down, or at least backward.
The full-profile 81/2-foot wide-body 30-footer, one of seven 30-to-43-foot fifth-wheels in the Torque series, has extra-large pass-through storage. The Torque series utilizes a flat floor that extends from the front cabover living room to a combination rear bedroom and garage area the company calls “Hidden Garage Technology.” The drop-down queen bedroom has its own side walls and carpeted floor and actually drops down on rails into the 10-foot garage to create additional sleeping space.
Standard with tan fiberglass-on-aluminum side walls, the entire Torque lineup is equipped with Lauren Ashley furniture, stainless-steel appliances, Beauflor plank flooring, solid-surface countertops, heated-and-enclosed underbellies, and sleeps seven people.
The Torque 270HG retails in the mid-$40,000 range.
Heartland | 877-262-8032 | www.heartlandrvs.com
Jayco Seismic »
Tall slideouts and curved interior walls make the 8-foot-5-inch-wide Seismic fifth-wheel toy hauler from Jayco feel larger than it actually is. Available in six floorplans ranging from 37 to 44 feet with garages ranging from 10- to 14-feet deep, the Seismic can sleep between eight and 11 people when optioned out.
“In terms of appointments, they all are high-end as a traditional fifth-wheel but they have the garage as a bonus,” said Kevin Combs, Jayco toy hauler product development manager.
Seismic’s flexible garages include standard opposing convertible sofas and electric beds that lift to the ceiling when not being used. “They are more of a patio or bunk room than they are a garage,” Combs said. Some models include island kitchens/bar areas with striking long-stem pendant lights.
High-end standard features include hand-held remotes that control awnings, slideouts, electric-powered jacks and patio lighting; generators, LED recessed lights, toe-kick recessed illumination, solid-surface countertops, stainless-steel sinks, 8-cubic-foot double-door refrigerators with high-gloss black inserts, residential-style cabinets and queen-size pillow-top mattresses. Base MSRP: $69,857.
Jayco | 800-RV-JAYCO | www.jayco.com
Keystone Raptor »
Among the first high-end toy haulers to be introduced, the Keystone Raptor has undergone a lot of changes since its 2003 debut. “It’s become much more residential over the years,” said Jim Rzepka, Raptor product manager. “Everything has high-end appeal to it. Until an individual sees a ramp door in the rear, they might not even know it is a toy hauler.”
That means full-body paint is available these days — it wasn’t in the early 2000s — and the Raptor now is equipped standard with such amenities as residential refrigerators, three-burner ranges with stoves, Corian countertops and sink/range covers, maple raised-panel cabinet doors, king beds, three HD TVs, theater seating and fireplaces. One floorplan — the 415TS — even has his-and-hers sinks in the upper-deck master bedroom.
Raptor, with a $60,000 base MSRP, features several bath-and-a-half floorplans and all have twin-bed lofts above the garage with access from inside the living area. Garages typically are equipped with opposing convertible electric sofas and drop-down electric beds. Options include a 5kW generator, dual-pane windows, and a rear patio system with rail and awning.
Keystone RV | Co. 866-425-4369 | www.keystonerv.com
KZ Inferno »
A loft over the garage to provide additional sleeping room or added storage is standard in KZRV’s Inferno fifth-wheel toy hauler series, available for 2014 in lengths ranging from 35 to 44 feet with garages between 10- and 12-feet deep.
Crisp exterior graphics and a layered fiberglass front cap give the Inferno a distinctive look while being equipped to make RVers feel right at home. “With the Inferno, we purposely kept the more residential look rather than the ‘motorhead-guy’ look,’’ said Marlene Snyder, vice president of sales and marketing.
That means the Inferno is equipped with residential-style furniture that includes a sleeper sofa, a large glass- door shower, three-burner range, 6-cubic-foot fridge, glazed overhead cabinet doors, Corian countertops and a Sony entertainment center. An optional Excursion Edition Package adds diamond plate on the side walls, dual electric beds in the garage, outside entertainment centers and rear screen walls.
Elsewhere, standard features include a 110-gallon freshwater tank, a 12-gallon DSI water heater, 15,000-Btu air conditioner, a Sony Xplod stereo system with DVD player and Dexter Nev-R-Adjust axles. Options include a 5.5kW gas generator and a porch package. Base MSRP: $45,500
KZRV | 866-472-5460 | www.kz-rv.com
New Horizons Majestic »
Garages on the custom-built Majestic wide-body fifth-wheel from New Horizons RV are design options. “You tell us the size of garage you need and we’ll build it for you,” said Cole Brokenicky, design specialist for the family owned Junction City, Kansas, builder.
The 8-foot-5-inch-wide Majestic, available in lengths from 28 to 48 feet, is built on New Horizon’s own tubular-steel chassis with a cargo capacity of 5,000 pounds to facilitate full- time RVing, and includes heated-and-enclosed underbellies.
“We do have a set of standard floorplans, but if those don’t fit their needs we can start from scratch and design something the way they want it within some of our design standards,” Brokenicky said.
A 43-foot triple-slide with a 10-foot garage, for instance, retails for a little more than $186,000.
Available features include full-body paint, dual-pane frameless windows, LED lighting, vessel bathroom sinks, Corian countertops, breakfast bars built into island kitchens, Bigfoot automatic leveling systems, shaker-style solid wood cabinet doors, 50-inch LCD TVs on hinged storage doors, La-Z-Boy recliners and hand-scraped hickory floors.
New Horizons | 800-235-3140 | www.horizonsrv.com
Prime Time Spartan »
You know the luxury toy hauler market is red-hot when a successful RV manufacturer launches a new toy hauler division just to keep up with demand. Already a popular manufacturer of travel trailers and fifth-wheels, Forest River’s Prime Time Manufacturing division recently jumped into the fray with the Spartan.
“Four floorplans are on paper right now, and we’ll probably add a fifth one to the lineup,” said Brian Weaver, product manager.
First out of the box is a 38-footer, with plans to go as big as 44 feet. With starting MSRPs of around $70,000, the Spartan includes a host of amenities that include a colored fiberglass exterior, six-point leveling and E-Z Flex suspension, pass-through storage, Lane furniture, Denver mattresses, solid-surface countertops, glazed cherry hardwood cabinet doors and drawers, dual awnings, rear patio railings and generator.
“Before building this product we dissected the market and saw that 99 percent of dealers and customers ordered toy haulers a certain way, so we made just about everything standard,” said Weaver.
Prime Time Mfg. | 574-862-1025 | www.primetimerv.com
If you want a toy hauler and have something special in mind, SpaceCraft Manufacturing will likely to be able to build it for you.
The high-end custom manufacturer can build fifth-wheels in lengths from 26 to 53 feet, and has 50 floorplan templates from which to choose. Those include 5-foot-deep side-entry garages that don’t take up a lot of room but are suited for storing motorcycles and small toys.
And they’ll go big, as well as small. “Last year, we built a 53-footer for a semi that was a stacker that had two levels,” Marsha Trautman, president, said. “It carried a car and two motorcycles.”
As might be expected from a custom builder, SpaceCraft uses solid oak in its cabinet faces and raised panel doors throughout, and residential hide-a-bed sofas and recliners in the living room, stainless-steel double kitchen sinks, deluxe three-burner ranges, Dometic 10-cubic-foot refrigerators, front and rear stabilizer jacks and two 31,000-Btu furnaces.
Because of the custom nature of SpaceCraft toy haulers, MSRPs vary, but a 40-foot-6-inch floorplan with 13-foot opposing living room slides, two 6-foot bedroom slides and a 10-foot garage starts at $107,776.
SpaceCraft Mfg. | 888-463-7520 | www.spacecraftmfg.com