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Old 08-31-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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How do manufactures rank?

I'm an newbie to the whole Class A Motorhomes. We own a Newman Mountain Aire.

What I'm wondering is how do the manufactures rank, in terms of prices/quality?

For example with auto's I'd rank GM, Ford, Chrysler, KIA, Hyundai, VW, Toyota as equal - then the next step up would be Acura, Lexus, Lincoln, Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes. Then you could go up to Super Luxury models....

Now I know that certain GM vechicles (think Corvette) aren't entry level - there are always exceptions to the rule.

What brands would you label as entry, mid, high end and luxury
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:22 PM   #2
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I'd have to say Newmar
and
Tiffin
are up at the top of the list
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:00 PM   #3
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I would have to say that Newmar, Tiffin, Monaco, Holiday Rambler, fleetwood are very close. Even Winnebago is up where with them. These are mid level coaches, that have some upper mid level models.
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Old 09-01-2012, 02:53 PM   #4
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This is the old Chevy versus Ford thing so you are going to get lots of opinions on this one.

But after spending time at tthe factories going over their construction details and doing magazine road tests I would rate Entegra at the top, most likely Newmar after that, then American Coach and Tiffin in a close tie. I'm throwing out Foretravel, the Prevost conversions, and Newell obviously because they are in a different league.

As far as customer support and service go - Tiffin is legendary but Entegra goes that extra mile as well.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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opinions are like noses every one has one. find one that the floor plan and the budget suit's you.
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaverfever View Post
opinions are like noses every one has one. find one that the floor plan and the budget suit's you.
I've thought that as well but that's not necessarily true. For example, my current MH is a 1998 Mountain Aire and we just purchased it. The wife wants to redo the flooring, captains chairs, bathroom area, paint, it needs resealing, and other work necessary on an older unit. We knew that going into the purchase. Our goal was to see if we really liked the Class A style and we both agree we love it.

So now we know what kind of layout we like and we know what things we want but there are price differences like crazy between various manufacturers.

For example we were looking at mid 2006-07 units (Newmar & Tiffen) when all of a sudden my wife shows me a 2013 Thor unit, same size for less money. It's newer, less wear and tear but.... I'm reading where Thor is having issues with their Ultraleather seats because of them using less expensive materials.

I know people have their 'bias' and I don't expect everyone to agree but when we looked at a 2012 new Mountain Aire we fell in love until we saw the price tag .

I don't want price to be the determining factor because let's face it in the 1980's I could have gotten a Yugo for a steal but it was basically a disposible car. I'm just wondering if there are certain builders that one needs to be careful of.
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:35 AM   #7
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you noticed that certain brands "didn't make the list" above?
there are definitely brands that typically build "entry level" motorhomes.
not bad machines really, but typically lower cost stuff "underneath"
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:25 PM   #8
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All subjective, and due to the some manufacturers having low to high end models, you really can't fairly grade manufactures.

And, as the comment about noses said, we all have them! Here are some opinions:

Newel/Foretravel are pretty much high end and top of the non 'rock star' bus food chain. Newel being all custom, and in almost a leage of it's own. Foretravel has various models, and is typycally well respected.

Monaco and Newmar, in their upper model food chains, have well respected coaches. Newmar has supper Customer Support, and Monaco is a 'new' company now, so time will tell, they are also chaging over to the new master's engine, and again time will tell. Newmar high end, usually use the high end Spartan chassis, as other high end coaches do too. A good chassis. Monaco has their Roadmaster, and usually the high end units are on the I think the S chassis (different years, may have different names or be called 10 bag). The high end Roadmaster chassis, are respected for solid handling and control.

Entegra has been building off, and adding to, the quality of coach and customer care that Travel Supreme started. (Not sure, but I think Entegra and TS used Spartan chassis as well.)

Alpines with their Peak(SP?) chassis are respected as good handling rigs.

Beaver, Holiday Rambler, etc. are part of the Monaco clan now, so the higher end coaches are very close to the Executive + line model. Older units of both, back when they were on their own, are well respected. Beaver had a good rep for great cabinets.

Country Coaches are well thought of for their quality, cabinets and attention to detail on owner manuals and schematics. CC is also now a new company, not yet making coaches, so time will also tell on who they are.

Winnie/Tiffin/Thor/Fleetwood in their upper food chains, provide a reasonable level and balance of quality and content vs costs. Tiffin has strong owner following, and Bob Tiffen is known to try and make things right, when problems pop up. Tiffen also has a new in house chassis, as I recall the same gent that designed the Western RV Alpine Peak(SP) chassis. Early reviews are good.

American Coach, by Fleetwood, are respected for quality and solid cabinet works. The Revelution crosses over to the Fleetwoold brand, but was built on the American Coach lines, good bang for the buck on quality and content. Depending upon model year, I believe the LE had a better chassis option then standard Rev's.

Bluebird and Wanderloges, probably fit in the same class as the Foretravels. Well built, lifetime and almost a cult following for some of the Older Birds/Lodges.

Some often overlooked models, with solid followings are:
Tripple E - Usually most models come with better insulation then other rigs, and are well built.
Rexhall - Probably one of the best bangs for the bucks. Bill Rex started many creative 1st's for RV's. Most, if not all, of their rigs include a safety steel cage around the rig. Solid build, with protection for the driver/passenger, are often of question in many RV's. And, I also think they all had one piece fiber glass roofs.

I've left many out, expecially those that are no longer in business.

Some thoughts when doing your research. Pick your budget, which I don't think you mentioned, and then shop for the best quality unit you can find, dropping years if needed to remain within budget range.

On the new technology front, and other neat items, consider:
-Newmar offers Comfort Drive (others might now too, but I don't know this). Many owners that have Comfrot Drive Newmar's, say they will never be without it again.
-Aqua/Hydro hot water and heat supply, are in most of the higher end units. Some of the mid level units, will step down some on these units features. For example 120V only electonic heating element, instead of 240V.
-Floor radiaing heating, very nice on a cold AM!
-Ducted AC units, should be in most of the mid to high end rigs. Adding Heat Pumps, and stepping up to 15K BTU units, can save you from needing to add a third AC unit.
-Slide out storage trays, are a very nice feature.
-Side radiators vs rear, will usually occur when you step up from the entry/mid level models, into the higher food chains.
-Engines. In general, big blocks are going to be in the high end units. Big Cats C-12 and above. Cummins ISM (or older M11's), ISX. Detroit Big Blocks. These usually come with the three stage Jake Brake compression, and make a difference. All running thru the bigger Allison 4000 trans. (Exceptions with Foretravel having Trans Retarders, a ncie safety feature. And Newell, may have a European 9spd or above trans (forget the make ZF I think).
-Capacity of grey and black tanks, can be much larger in the big boy high end rigs.
-In the higher end, the tags add stability, comfort, and CCC. These high end coaches add lots of weight, so having enough CCC is something to really understand.
-Full electonic units are quite common in the upper food chains. This usually adds big battery banks, and sometimes second coverters.
-On covnerters, Pure Sine Wave is preferred, if an option, suggest it is a good idea.
-Slides, IMO, fit too much into floor layout. Those are all personal, so pick what works for you. That being said, many do not like a slide on the passenger front side. So many high end coaches may have a three, or two slide option. When three, they are on both sides of the bedroom, then front driver side only. (Now, others could care less about storage basement access, and enjoy the four slide or two Super Slides front, high end coaches. It is such a personal thing that ties into floor layout, that no one can make this decision for you.)


I'll stop here, and wish you the best of luck on your research. Go kick some tires, find a good sales person (they exist) to walk you thru and point out what are the differences.

Best of luck, have fun,
Smitty
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Old 09-02-2012, 09:56 PM   #9
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Smitty

Thanks so much for a long and detailed listing of companies.

The reason that I'm asking this question is that now that we've spent time in our current model we're realizing that there are certain things that we didn't think was important but now wish we had spent more time looking for.

A perfect example is the bed. Our unit has a queen size with no slideouts in the bedroom. Unfortunately we're finding that it's really tight in there expecially since I'm a tosser.

Another thing is the bathroom area. Mrs. Lucky has made it clear to me, in no uncertain terms, that she prefers a closed in bathroom, like on a cruise ship. I personally don't care but I can tell you this I AM getting tired of hearing about not having a traditional bathroom door.

I mean I could go on but as you and others have said it's personal choice. What I was wondering about is the reliability of makers. I've found some really nice floor plans on some units that I like but I'm not sure about the Manufacturers - that's why I' trying to learn. Thanks for helping me.
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Old 09-02-2012, 11:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzer View Post
This is the old Chevy versus Ford thing so you are going to get lots of opinions on this one.

But after spending time at tthe factories going over their construction details and doing magazine road tests I would rate Entegra at the top, most likely Newmar after that, then American Coach and Tiffin in a close tie. I'm throwing out Foretravel, the Prevost conversions, and Newell obviously because they are in a different league.

As far as customer support and service go - Tiffin is legendary but Entegra goes that extra mile as well.
American Coach and Tiffin in a close tie?

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Old 09-03-2012, 10:13 AM   #11
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Hi OP,

I understand how hard it is to determine which features are important to you, or not. Mechanical is a pretty straight forward assessment of needs vs what the coach provides. The interior was one that was easy for me, as with exception of a few items that I felt were important to me (headroom, seperate water closet, large enough shower) the rest of the inside was the DW's domain!

I did not attempt to include all manufactureres above, but did notice that National RV's were not mentioned. National made a good coach. From very solid mid level up lower end of the upper food chain. If going for a gasser, the Dolphin with 8.1 in say the 36' size with slides, has many happy owners. They made some good DP's, with different names during different years. They also had I think a 2003/2004 National Coach that was built on top of the Country Coach (that they owned in that period) Dynomax chassis. No, it's not a CC, but it is a good value for alot of coach. If memory is correct, the 2003's had a bit lower setting on the suspension in height, so the 2004 might be the one to check out.

One thing I respected about National, is when the bad crop of sidewalls came out (was not National, as many coach builders had problems with the supplier) - National did the right thing and brought them into rebuild them. Probably a major contribution from the $$ hit on why they are not in business today. A few other coach builders, I believe Newmar, were also known to try and make repairs on the falty side panels. Many, did not, standing behind the paper work on warranty periods, blowing off owners long enough for them to slide by. (I may be way off on the facts on this, as I had no involement at that time, and only going off memory from reading other posts as we researchedour current coach purchase.)

Again, good luck on your research... A perfect coach may exist for a DW and DH, but most of the time it is going to be a compromise to get 'close' enough to be happy and go out and have a good time.

Best,
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:10 AM   #12
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Thanks again for mentioning National

I can tell you this - we've found ourselves using the MH a LOT more than we had thought. We originally bought our unit to use one a month for 300 mile round trips. We put 1100 miles on the unit this month alone!

So we're thinking - hey we're going to do a lot of local 400 miles and under trips and likely not going out of FL (pretty flat). So with that in mind we're looking at

1. A Gas MH that's easy for Mrs. Lucky to drive.

2. A self-enclosed bathroom - like on a cruise cabin. Our current rig the bathroom is like a pass thru between the kitchen and MB and it can be closed but Mrs. Lucky wants a single door!

3. It's just the 2 of us so we don't need bunks, don't need to sleep 6, etc.

4. We figure that we'd like to use this next unit for 5 years before upgrading to a DP for longer trips. The longest trip we'll use this for is 7-10 days.

Now we were looking at NEW units and the layouts are really WOW Especially with all those slides.

Now if we want to stay in the Newman family we're looking at a 2009-10 Canyon Aire of Allego (we want to stay in a certain budget).

However for that same price I've seen Coachman units 2012 for the same price but they're new. In fact we expanded our looking at found that given the price range we want to stay in we can purchase new:

Thor, Coachman, Bounder Holiday Rambler with "zero" miles and nicer layouts

OR

2008-2009 Canyon Star, Allergo.

So far everything has been online. We're going tire kicking this weekend so I'll be able to see, first hand, cabinet quality from one brand to another. I don't expect the cabinets on the Coachman to be like those on the Newmar/Tiffen; those are things I can see. The chasis and engines will be easy to compare as well because all models are new.

I guess I just have to do my homework
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:44 AM   #13
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Don't ignore the Airstream Landyacht series from from the 2000s up to 2007 or so. Airstream is well known for quality construction and components. Our newly acquired 2001 xc 360 has a Cat engine, solid oak cabinets, a 8kw diesel gen in a front slide, full awnings, and an overall highend build. It continues to impress.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:54 AM   #14
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I don't want to come across as a smart ass, but after being around for well over 70 years, about 20 of those with MHs, I believe I can recognize quality when I see it. In my experience, cost is the key. Look at $200K and $500K unit, the difference is obvious. I don't believe a manufacturer will take a "cheap" chassis and drive train then use top of the line appliances, solid wood cabinets, Corian counter tops, top quality heating and cooling systems, etc. I'm not talking ginger bread like mirrors, lights and smoke.

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