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Old 11-15-2015, 03:45 PM   #1
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Insight on some entry level Class A models?

Hello everyone. My wife and I are looking at entry level Class A RVís. This will be our first for us and our two hong kids. Although weíve never owned, Iíve been around RVís for most of my life as a kid and even as an adult. We started looking within the past month and and will continue looking over the next few. Our must have is a dinette and sofa and we prefer under 32í although footage not a deal breaker would could stretch to 33í if needed.

We looked at the Winnebago Vistas and although I like the brand and their reputation, we canít help think the interiors are a bit sterile and boring.

We also liked the Fr3 but to be honest I donít know too much about the Forest River brand and their reputation. We liked the 28ds model which comes in under 30í but are a little wary of hybrid/folding mattress in the bedroom.

We were also excited to see the Fleetwood Storm 32H due to the bunks that convert to a second table. Surprisingly we looked at a 32V right next door and liked it a bit more. This we really liked the extra lounge chair but my wife also thought the counter/kitchen layout was much better. The only downside was the itís close to 33í where as the 32H is a little smaller at 32í. We also realized that although the kids really like the idea of bunks, that novelty will probably wear off and that space could be better used elsewhere, plus all these models have the from bunk which the kids love.

That leads me to the Flair. I havenít seen too much posted on the Flair. Itís at a great price point and they have a 30í with a sofa and dinette. We have yet to see one in person but wondering if anyone has any experience with it. We understand itís entry level and the finishes may not be too high end but it looks like fleetwood added some nice features to it.

Weíre also going to be looking at the Thor ACE 29 models. There is a big RV show in the next 2 months so we hope to have an opportunity to see a lot of the models again, side by side.

So far the only one we taken off the list is the Coachman. We just didnít see ourselves in one.

If anyone has any experiences with the Thor Aces, Fleetwood Storms or Flairs Iíd really appreciate any insight you have.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:07 PM   #2
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The models listed are all very good selling models from reliable builders.

BTW, all currently made Class A gas RV's in North America are built on a Ford F53 chassis in one of several load capacities. And all late 2016 chassis models will have a new 6th speed added to the Torqshift transmission.
http://www.ford.com/commercial-truck...assamotorhome/
By all reports, this change is a major improvement in how the RV handles terrain...might be worth looking at late year models for this upgrade. These chassis are purchased and delivered to the RV builder at different times, so there is no cut-off date to insure the RV has the new tranny.

Best luck and safe travels
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:14 PM   #3
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I have had luck with Winnebago and Fleetwood, both are great brands and are built well. I would say look for the floor plan that suits your family best. If you aren't afraid to buy used, you can find some great deals and save yourself a ton of money. A one owner, private party, stored inside with all records is usually a good find. Also don't be afraid to ask questions on the forum before you buy. I have gotten lots of great information from the people on this site

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Old 11-15-2015, 04:20 PM   #4
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Thanks John! New to this forum but been keeping an eye on it. People seem to be very insightful and willing to help.

My gut has been telling me to go Fleetwood or Winnebago. My parents have had a Fleetwood for years. Minor leaks issues here and there (which can be expected) but overall they haven't had anything major for the past 15 years. I really like the look and layout of the storm but will have to look a little closer at the Flair too.
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Old 11-15-2015, 04:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Jones View Post
I have had luck with Winnebago and Fleetwood, both are great brands and are built well. I would say look for the floor plan that suits your family best. If you aren't afraid to buy used, you can find some great deals and save yourself a ton of money. A one owner, private party, stored inside with all records is usually a good find. Also don't be afraid to ask questions on the forum before you buy. I have gotten lots of great information from the people on this site

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There are the best words spoken or in this case written. Floor plan is something that will affect you every day that you use it.

Take the family to a dealers. Ditch the salesman and take the family in the coach. Lock the door. Sit for 20+ minutes. You are stuck in some inclement weather and what are you going to do? Does everyone have room to be comfortable and work at a hobby without interfering with others? Can a meal be prepared without playing musical chairs? Will quiet time have to start early when the youngest goes to bed?

Once you find the plan that you like you can start looking at different manufacturers who have similar floor plans and amenities. Something that fits in your financial plan would make your enjoyment better.

No matter what coach you purchase we are all the same when sitting around the campfire.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:19 PM   #6
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I just purchased a Winnebago Vista 31be as our first RV. We have two kids and wanted bunks but needed to keep it under 33 feet. So we where looking at the Fleetwood Storm 32H and Thor ACE 30.2. Then this year Winnebago goes and copies the Thor ACE 30.2 floor plan (Forest River just did too with the Georgetown GT3 31B3).

Anyway we have been looking for a couple years trying to decide, but the Winnebago 31be had it all, the really great bunk floor plan from the ACE but 50% more basement storage due to a higher raised floor, which means the cab has no step up either. Also the Winnebago seemed generally better made (fiberglass roof), but did lack a few feature standard on the ACE (side cameras, generator transfer switch).

If you have kids I would think real hard about bunks, the kids just love them and they have their own space that doesn't need to fold away, they can just go to bed and we can stay up watching tv or whatever, really works well.

IMO the best short bunkhouse floorplan is the ACE 30.2/Vista 31BE/ Georgetown 31B3. I give credit where it's due, Thor knows how to make great floorplans, fine with me others are copying. The Storm 32H just didn't do it for me, I really didn't like the bunks on the camp side preventing the awning from being as large, also the styling just wasn't my taste.

Other bunks we looked at:

Jayco Precept 29UR: hated the accordion doors between bunks and bedroom
Thor Palazzo 33.3: Too expensive and a little too big for our situation right now.
Thor Miramar 34.3: Even bigger but between Palazzo and others in price, would have probably got it if I had the space for it.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:38 PM   #7
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jharrell - spot on about bunk beds. I get an itch for more wide open floor plan for the front living space BUT tough to get with bunk beds. We have a BUNCH of grand kids with at least 3 that enjoy traveling with us (ages 9,9,10). This last summer we sent coast to coast and return with these 3 grand kids on board. Two of the bunks are built in with tv/dvd/apple TV. The 3rd is a motorized over the captain chair bunk. The built ins can convert to a closet or a sofa.

The kids love it. They are able to move in setup their "stuff" and live there when we are parked. We have 1.5 bath, larger shower, washer/dryer and lots of fresh/gray/black water on board. Each important when traveling with kids.

So in summary - best approach is what you are doing. The idea of shooing away the sales staff is spot on. Talk about the floor plan. If you are like so many - you will go through a couple of iterations before you get it right.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:12 PM   #8
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Interesting thoughts on the bunks. Originally we were looking for bunks because we have two young kids. What has been holding us back is the thought that the novelty of the bunks will wear off and then we're stuck with two bunks. That's originally why we were looking at the Storm with bunks. The problem with the Storm 32H for us was the kitchen layout. The counter space is very minimal but in their other models the counter is next to the stove (which can be used as more counter with the cover on) In the 32H the sink and stove are separate the the layout isn't as functional. May have to think a little harder on the bunks..
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:32 PM   #9
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Didn't like the kitchen in the Storm either, same reason. Liked the the Ace and Winnie kitchen much more, Winnie has a little more counter space than the ACE and double sink even though it basically the same layout.

Can't see my kids getting tired of the bunks until they're teenagers (they are 4 and 5 now), but who knows, works great now, they do have bunks at home so its an easy transition.

If you don't want bunks you have A LOT more choice especially if looking used. These short bunk floorplans seem relatively new and I never saw a used one in all my searching, most older bunk floorplans are 35+ feet.

Also the top bunk in the Winnie folds up and has a bar that folds down to become a big closet if the kids weren't using them, the ACE bunks where fixed.
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Old 11-15-2015, 06:58 PM   #10
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You might be right about the bunks. My kids are 4 and 2 and they've gone nuts everytime we walked into one with bunks. The problem may be fighting for the top bunk, lol. Even if we did opt for no bunks the 31ke has a nice layout too.

On the topic of bunks and young kids, do you have any type of rail or netting installed to avoid falls? Just curious if there are any after market options for that.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:09 PM   #11
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There is a new wrinkle this year. There is a new 2016 F53 chassis that has a 6 speed transmission. There is an night and day difference between the sound level inside the coach and the operation while in cruise control. There are a lot of 2016 coaches built on a 2015 chassis out there. At this point in time there is no way I would consider buying a coach on a 2015 chassis . If someone tells you different insist on a test drive in both style chassis. The way to tell if it is a 2015 or 2016 is by the vin and the shift quadrant. If the 10th digit in the vin is the letter G it's a 2016. On the shift indicator prnd321 is 2015, prnd421 is 32016.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:13 PM   #12
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On the topic of bunks and young kids, do you have any type of rail or netting installed to avoid falls? Just curious if there are any after market options for that.
We actually had a plastic travel rail already that we are using for the top bunk. The bottom bunk is so low its not an issue. None of the bunk I saw had rail or netting except the Newmar's, they had a nice wood rail and ladder built in. My Winnie didn't even have a ladder for the rear bunks, only the front over cab bunk, my 5 year old insist on climbing up on her own without help, she barely makes it.

Might try and make a wood ladder/rail like I saw in the Newmar's. BTW they now have a short bunkhouse too, the 3004 I think, never saw in person, only the longer 3403.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:15 PM   #13
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There is a new wrinkle this year. There is a new 2016 F53 chassis that has a 6 speed transmission.
My Vista has the 6-speed, it seem to work well, unfortunately I have nothing to compare to since it's my first. But based on descriptions here and videos I have seen, it is a big plus for buying a new 2016 model.
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Old 11-15-2015, 07:22 PM   #14
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Unless you must have a dinette take a look at the Newmar Baystar 3004. They have one in the Baystar Sport version as well. Good quality, triple slides for a good feeling of space, nice(r) bathroom (imo) lots of storage. You can have the kids eat at the table between the driver/passenger seats and you and the wife can eat on the sofa which has a table. Or swap.

We're very close to getting one for the bunks, quality, space.
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