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Old 12-14-2011, 07:00 PM   #1
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2012 newmar ventana verses 2012 Phaeton

Looking at the bath and half models. Seem to be about the same price. Vantana 380 isc engine with engine break. Phaeton 400 isl with engine break. I think newmar has a aqua heat system.

Any thoughts about how these two coaches compare.

Steve
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:01 PM   #2
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I meant Ventana.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:13 PM   #3
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Both are excellent coaches, "probably" built on the same FCCC chassis, however the Tiffin will have their Powerglide chassis as an option. The Newmar will have "Comfort Drive" steering, a computer assisted feature that most who have it say they'll never drive without it again.

Do yourself a favor and buy the one the wife likes best!
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:44 PM   #4
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Ditto on the Comfort Drive and the wife theory!
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Old 12-14-2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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A major factor in the decision is that! coach. We can post back and forth on the companies in general, but both makers have pluses and minuses. You will be owning that one. So make sure you test drive it very carefully and take your time. Do not let the bling and emotion distract you from going through the coach section by section to make sure it has what you need.

I don't know the CCC capacity of those two so make sure that the one you buy has enough for your use.

Make sure you get printed complete manuals. CDs and web site addresses are not good enough.

I think dual pane windows are optional on some coaches. In my opinion they are needed.

Air brakes - make sure you get them.

Pass through storage bays - you will need those.

Make sure you get durable counter tops and floor coverings.

Tiffin has had some knocks lately on slide problems, floors under tanks problems. Make sure this one does not have those issues.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:22 PM   #6
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Not an easy choice to make, for sure. We looked and looked and looked at both Ventana and Phaeton. Our choice, for plenty of good reasons, ended up being between a Ventana 34 or a Phaeton 36 -- both very close in size, weight, layout, cost, overall dimensions and features.

We debated, we checked TRVN and iRV2 discussions, we got brochures and talked by telephone with reps at Tiffin and Newmar. We visited both Newmar and Tiffin dealers and got to see both units side by side. We drove them, we measured and poked and prodded to see what we liked best and what we didn't like. We conversed with others we met, and trusted, on the TRVN and iRV2 web sites. We kept open minds.

We concluded that there is not a right or wrong choice between Tiffin and Newmar and Phaeton and Ventana -- only a choice that fits best for you and your partner. With another couple we really like and admire, and whose judgment we truly trust, we ended up deciding on the Ventana -- and they ended up favoring the Phaeton. I think neither of us is off base.

Our friends wanted more "wow" factor; we wanted more practicality and designed-in livability. They wanted more power; we wanted more fuel savings as much as possible. We wanted ease and simplicity of systems; they wanted more glitz regardless of complexity of operation of systems. Again, neither of us was wrong -- we each headed in the direction we wanted to and were happiest with. I am certain that we could have opted for the Phaeton and I am sure they could have been happy with our Ventana.

This being a hugely personal decision, here are some of the considerations that led us to the Ventana:

First and foremost, build quality -- as evidenced by what we directly observed, by what we have seen in the postings of problems after delivery from other owners, the volume of their comments about things that ended up being badly designed engineering and the things that turned out to be good and well engineered.

In this category, we were very much impressed with the quiet and solid ride of the Ventana over the Phaeton, and the ease of driving -- even by the DW whom I believe has to be comfortable and confident enough to be able to drive the MH -- for all of the safety, comfort and emergency reasons we all know about.

Second, the Comfort Steering (just a huge plus IMO), the Smart Wheel (with all important controls right on the steering wheel where you want them to be), the layout of the Ventana -- which are all unique to Newmar in a coach with this price point (Ventana and Phaeton ended up being remarkably similar in the size we ended up buying). These things to us are big and definitely factored highly in our decision -- they make the driving and operating experience decidedly better to us than any other coach in the same price range we considered. Regrettably, none of these things (Comfort Steering, Smart Wheel, layout we decided on) were available from Tiffin.

Third, and this to us was really critical -- in our Ventana we were able to get an All Electric coach with all the ease of operation, safety and comfort we were most interested in -- and we were able to get in our 34 foot model many of the very same things that Newmar puts into its top end 43 foot tandem axle coaches -- e.g., high quality GE Profile residential reefer and convection microwave, diesel / electric hydronic heat, electric cooktop, one-switch locking of all storage doors, Amish-built full wood cabinets. This stuff was not available from Tiffin in any coach of similar size and price.

Finally, we were able to visit the plant to see how they do things at Newmar. Very impressive -- quiet Amish workers just doing the job day in and day out, making sure the fit and finish are right before the coach goes out the door. Though we did not physically get to go through the plant at Red Bay, we looked at several inside-taken pictures of the manufacturing and finishing facilities there and we feel we got a pretty good idea of how they do things at Tiffin.

Certainly and undeniably, Tiffin is outstanding -- otherwise how in the world would they be selling as many new units as they do? Like our dealer -- who sells both Tiffin and Newmar says -- the Tiffin coaches they get in don't really require "selling" as other coaches do -- Tiffin buyers come to them and Tiffin products leave their inventory as soon as they hit the dealership.

But overall, we just ended up being a bit more impressed by Newmar -- again, very admittedly only a personal, intuition-based sense of things, not anything scientific or objective about it. If you told me in response to this posting that, "Hey, Deek, I think you could have been happy with the Phaeton 36 -- and that your friends could have been happy with the Ventana 3433" -- you would be absolutely correct, on both counts. Again, simply personal preference here with no right or wrong involved.

Last thing we considered before we pulled the trigger -- we felt that with the excellent track record of both manufacturers, the future should definitely be considered -- where will these guys be in 10 years, especially given all the uncertainty in the RV industry, the very real ups and downs of the American economy and the past history of so many RV manufacturers going belly up in the past same 10 year period?

On this score, there appears to be a solid plan for transition at Newmar that perhaps will not be the same at Tiffin once Bob Tiffin decides to give up the reins -- and now, how far into the future can and will that be? Many prospective and current Tiffin owners appear to have this concern, and correctly so, I believe.

We haven't seen much at Tiffin which shows that any significant heir apparent is being moved out front to take over when Bob goes off into the sunset. Perhaps they do have that person waiting in the wings, but if they do, he (or she) has not yet been put out front by Tiffin in any apparent and visible way. I do not hear posters on TRVN or iRV2 telling us they get a warm and fuzzy feeling about anyone at Tiffin other than Bob himself. On the other hand, the Millers have in fact made this transition and in the Miller son and daughter in law I see a lot of the Miller tradition and values continuing in Newmar's day to day operations. That frankly means a lot to us and we like the percentages of how that bodes for the future.

Hope some of this helps in your review process. My opinions are only my opinions so take them with whatever grain of salt is needed and use them as you find helpful. Truth is, this is all great stuff, no matter which way you end up heading.

Happy Holidays!

Deek
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:59 AM   #7
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Great post Deek.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:28 PM   #8
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Thanks for the great post. I love the Tiffin products. However, the full wall slide in the Newmar is very nice. Seems to give you much more room. We are full timers and room is important.

Are the Ventana and Dutch star built in the same manner as the high end Essex? Same assembly line? Can you go see your unit being built like Tiffin?

Steve
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:09 PM   #9
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Hi bigdomino,
All Newmar coaches are built on the same assembly line and the same workers.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:27 PM   #10
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Steve --

The Ventana is built on the same line as all other Newmar diesel products -- including the Essex and the King Aire. And yes, you definitely can go to Indiana to see your coach being built -- like Tiffin (and any really good manufacturer) they encourage this. And why not? As buyers of dreams that are this expensive, we are all the best sources of good advertising these guys have!

Best of luck in your decision process. There is no bad decision to be made here with either coach, either manufacturer. I hope, if nothing else, I was able to convey that in my little epistle last night.

Cheers --

Deek
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:26 PM   #11
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Derek,

It was a great note. Thanks for the info. Just wondering what you think of an all electric coach?

Steve
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:13 PM   #12
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All Electric Coach

Well ... I think it's very big.

Plenty of reasons for saying so -- probably first and foremost, safety -- with no combustible gas to worry about, no risk of leaks to lose sleep over, one less thing to think about while on the road managing all the other things you have to manage while enjoying the ride. No flame means considerably reduced (though not eliminated) risk of fire.

Plus, reliability -- you know from your own experience that electric appliances are considerably more break down free than those which use LPG or even CNG. I was a sail boater for many years and I can't tell you how many LPG / CNG appliances I had which had to be worked on (or replaced) but no similar issues with the electric ones.

Finally, efficiency. Dollar for dollar, electric is less expensive to use in a coach setting than LPG given adequate electric hook up at the campground. Plus even when boon docking, you are using batteries, not liquid gas or diesel fuel. The batteries recharge when you move on and you have not consumed separate fuel for your cooktop, refrigerator, microwave/convection. Even though we spend all the money we do on these fabulous motorhomes, we all love to save money on fuel -- to me that applies to LP just as it does diesel.

I have always been a big fan of all electric in MH's. Surprisingly, it is really only very recently that all electric has been an option -- but it is more and more the choice of new buyers.

In our 2005 Dutch Star, all electric was simply not available. Today it is, and more and more manu's are headed that way. Newmar has done, I think, a very good job of allowing people to option out their coaches this way and I strongly suspect that you are going to find more and more coach manufacturers will provide that option. Discriminating buyers who have the money (and when you stop to consider what we are willing to pay for these coaches when we find the right one, we are really all discriminating buyers) are beginning to demand this ease, efficiency and safety feature in their coaches.

I am, frankly, surprised that Tiffin has not been not out in front on this as Newmar has been. That's certainly one of the reasons we bought Newmar and not Tiffin even though we were (and are) attracted to Tiffin (we especially liked the Phaeton 36 QSD).

When we were looking for our new coach this past year, there is no doubt that all electric was near the top of our list of what we wanted as most important options in the coach we intended to buy. We knew that Newmar offered all electric on its upper end coaches -- Essex and King Aire. But when we found out that Newmar would allow dealers to option the Ventana and Dutch Star with all electric too, our attraction not Newmar went up appreciably.

We did a lot of looking on the internet, checking out literally every Newmar dealers' inventory across the country until we found just what we thought we wanted in the coach we ultimately bought in Ft. Myers. The all electric option on this coach literally tracks exactly with what we saw in Newmar's top end King Aire models. In our case, Newmar allowed the dealer (admittedly the top or one of the top selling Newmar dealers in the country) to do what they wanted in this coach (and they loaded it up) and we loved the options the dealer put on it (including a terrific full paint scheme which is not a stock scheme for Ventana but usually only comes on the Essex) -- and they were able to equip it with dark brown leather pilot and co-pilot seats and sofa even though those colors are not stock for 2011. Like the all electric option, these things were all selling factors to us -- and we fell in love with the coach when we flew down to look at it after we had put the deposit on it.

Would we have bought this coach with LPG? Maybe ... but to tell the truth, as much as we liked it, we probably would have continued to search further for an all electric coach if this one hadn't been -- we think that much of the all electric option. And again, I really think this is where cutting edge stuff is headed in the well made / upper end quality coaches. People who have the option love it -- just see the posts -- and the manu's who don't offer it as a regular option are going to see their market share diminish as time passes IMO.

Deek
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:32 PM   #13
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If you are looking at the Phaeton 40 QBH it is a ISC, not ISL.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:00 PM   #14
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Well written Deek. We are newbies and are extremely pleased with the 06 Essex we purchased. Craftsmanship is superb and even being the 3rd owner of this coach, the kind folks at Newmar and Spartan have gone above and beyond the call to answer our many questions and provide detailed info that we never would have imagined.
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