This “Short Sprinter”-based type B motorhome boasts a reported fuel economy figure of 25 mpg and comfy quarters to boot.
By Lazelle Jones
Creative and important developments are continually added to today’s motorhomes, and among those leading the charge is a coach builder that has made type Bs since 1974. Roadtrek Motorhomes (formerly Home & Park), of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, introduced the type B SS-Agile in October 2006, and it’s one of two models the company builds on the Sprinter 2500 van chassis. The other is the RS-Adventurous.
SS-Agile owners regularly claim to get 25 miles to the gallon (highway). Jeff Hanemaayer, chairman of Roadtrek, explained how this high figure is achieved. First, the Sprinter chassis comes with the cutting-edge turbocharged Mercedes-Benz diesel engine and five-speed automatic transmission. The combo develops 154 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque “” good motive force for a coach that has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of only 8,550 pounds. In addition to this, the SS-Agile is rated to tow another 5,000 pounds and has a cargo-carrying capacity of 2,500 pounds.
The SS in the Agile’s name stands for “Short Sprinter” chassis. It has a 140-inch wheelbase, but otherwise most of its specifications are the same as for the RS (“Regular Sprinter”) Adventurous, which has a 158-inch wheelbase. Both motorhomes boast the Mercedes-Benz turbocharged five-cylinder diesel engine. The Agile’s shorter wheelbase reduces the overall mass of the unit and also aids in its fuel economy.
The exterior length of the SS-Agile is an amazingly short 19 feet 4 inches, including the rear exterior Continental Kit, which houses the spare tire. The SS-Agile is 28 inches shorter than the RS-Adventurous, which is 21 feet 8 inches. Because of the SS-Agile’s small size, when it is being used to travel on vacation, it easily fits into parking spots, and a towed vehicle is not a necessity.
Furthermore, the SS-Agile’s turning radius is a very stingy 45 feet (curb to curb), compared to 50 feet for the RS-Adventurous.
Although the SS-Agile is an excellent run-around-town type of vehicle, when it comes to relaxing at an RV park, it is, after all, a motorhome. Inside is a comfortable vehicle that seats five and sleeps two. Roadtrek has achieved this through a very creative floor plan, an interior configuration that maximizes every square inch of space.
Immediately aft of the driver’s seat is a 59-inch-long galley. It features an eye-catching granite counter, a recessed European-style propane stove (with glass cover), an under-mounted stainless-steel sink, a 3.8-cubic-foot three-way refrigerator (LP-gas, 12-volt DC, 120-volt AC), an optional coffeemaker, and a 1-cubic-foot convection-microwave oven.
Opposite the galley and aft of the entry door is the bathroom. To use it, simply pull open the doors. Their design permits ample aisle width when the bathroom is not in use. When it is in use, the doors allow extra space inside while keeping the aisle clear. This bath has permanent, solid walls and its own overhead DC-powered light and DC-powered vent. The window on the exterior wall is translucent, offering total privacy and natural illumination. The bathroom sink is sequestered above the toilet, and stows in a sliding container until needed.
To use the sit-down shower (for taller people) or stand-up shower (for shorter folks), all that’s required is that the 6-gallon propane water heater be fired up, the water pump be turned on, and the shower curtain on the inside of the bathroom door be closed. This creates a waterproof environment.
At the rear of the motorhome is a sofa that easily converts to either a king-size or twin-like beds (Roadtrek characterizes these as “twin-like,” because they are separated only at the foot end). The street-side bed measures 6 feet 4 inches long, while the curbside bed measures 5 feet 10 inches long. The sofa transforms from a sitting area into sleeping accommodations via a 12-volt electric switch, so as it changes, you can stop it in different reclining positions on the way down.
The utilities on the SS-Agile make this motorhome one that can be enjoyed at any luxury RV resort or in a hookup-free setting. It comes with a 30-amp shore power hookup that will power all 110-volt-AC electrical equipment, including the 11,000-Btu roof air conditioner that comes with a heat strip. However, the 2.5-kilowatt propane-fueled auxiliary generator also provides the “juice” necessary to power all AC equipment on board simultaneously. You can stay in a remote location or make a quick overnight stop at a parking lot, with all systems running.
The combination gray water and black water holding tank has a 22-gallon capacity. The fresh-water tank holds 21 gallons. LP-gas capacity is 10 gallons. The Dodge Sprinter fuel tank holds 26 gallons, which, considering the 25 mpg fuel economy figure, means the SS-Agile could travel 650 miles before you would need to stop to refuel.
For the 2008 model year, Roadtrek SS-Agile motorhomes will benefit from a new-look 2007 Sprinter chassis. The SS-Agile’s floor plan will remain essentially the same but feature enhancements/changes incorporated in the new-style chassis. Roadtrek officials said they expect 2008-model SS-Agiles to arrive on dealer lots in November 2007.
The SS-Agile by Roadtrek has a base suggested retail price of $77,805.
Roadtrek Motorhomes, 100 Shirley Ave., Kitchener, ON, Canada N2B 2E1; (888) 762-3873; www.roadtrek.com/PR