Winnebago Industries adds the 42JD, a full-timer-friendly floor plan, to this aptly named motorhome line.
By Jim Brightly, F358406
If you’re a full-timer, or are considering becoming one, you’ll want to take a look at the 2012 Winnebago Tour lineup. Its three floor plan choices consist of the 42AD (four slideouts with a wide-open front galley), the 42QD (three slideouts with a full-wall slideout on the driver’s side, a midcoach half bathroom, and an L-shaped extendable sectional sofa), and the 42JD (three slideouts with a full-wall version on the driver’s side, a midcoach half bathroom, a master bath with two sinks, dual living room TVs, and a pair of facing sofa beds).
New for the 2012 model year, the Tour 42JD is a nearly 43-foot coach with which I had an opportunity to spend some time recently. It has a forward living area, a midcoach combination dining and galley area, and a rear bedroom. Adjacent to the galley is a midcoach water closet, which includes an electronic-flushing porcelain toilet, a sink, and a medicine cabinet.
The Tour’s brochure says it very nicely: “Experience the beauty, luxury, and livability of the 2012 Winnebago Tour and you’ll appreciate all that a diesel pusher motorhome can be.” I agree.
The Tour’s road test took place in and around Las Vegas. My wife and I spent three days living in it while enjoying the scrumptious Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort (see this month’s “RV News & Notes” column).
We took delivery of our Tour test unit from Findlay RV in Las Vegas. Once on the road, we stopped at a CAT truck scale in north Las Vegas to determine the vehicle’s wet weights. My route entailed several Las Vegas surface streets and a few miles south on Interstate 15 through the heart of Vegas.
What really surprised me while driving the Tour was the voice-actuated Xcite GPS with a Sony touch screen (all monitors in the Tour, by the way, are Sony; the TVs are Samsung). Not only does the GPS give the driver excellent, articulate, and easily understood voice commands, but it also issues alerts when the speed limit is exceeded — and it does this very quickly after a speed limit change. What completely blew me away was the fact that I was driving in a temporary construction zone at the time! How did it know that? While on the highway, I used the GPS extensively. Its nicely detailed 7-inch HD touch screen was very easy to see and follow, and its sound level was just right and easily understood in the quiet cockpit. The GPS unit’s calculating time was almost instantaneous.
The Winnebago Tour is built using the Freightliner Maxum chassis, powered by the 450-horsepower Cummins ISL 8.9-liter turbo-charged diesel engine. During our brief drive in the coach, I made note of the fact that the trip computer indicated its fuel mileage was 5.8 mpg. I ascertained from Winnebago Industries officials that the Tour — once it was broken in and depending on loaded weight, of course — should produce mileage figures in the 8-to-9-mile-per-gallon range. At 8 mpg, this would result in an approximate 1,200-mile-plus range . . . that’s almost halfway across the continent! With such an extensive range, an owner could pick and choose fuel prices while touring the USA. And with a cargo carrying capacity of more than four tons, the Tour’s 181-plus cubic feet of exterior storage — not to mention the humongous amount of interior storage — allows an owner to load up seemingly everything needed for weeks on the road.
The secret of the abundant storage lies in the Maxum chassis’ lowered-rail design. This repositions the chassis frame rails, increasing the cross-coach storage height for a more efficient use of space. Combined with Winnebago Industries’ Smart Storage philosophy, an owner gets taller compartment openings, larger pass-through compartments, and a very large storage capacity. The Maxum chassis also is said to eliminate much of the road vibration with a combination of innovative structural design and shock-absorbing components.
The Tour delivered a very smooth ride, and coach handling was comfortable, steady, and reassuring. With its weight, the Tour wasn’t a tire burner off the line, but with a bit of patience and prudence, it reached cruising speed easily. Winnebago Industries officials noted that 0-to-60-mph acceleration should average approximately 30 to 35 seconds.
While I didn’t have the opportunity to climb any long hills, my experience tells me that the 450-horsepower engine and six-speed Allison 3000 MH electronic transmission (equipped with two overdrive gears) shouldn’t be pulled down into fourth gear, which is its straight-through 1:1 gear ratio, on any hill less than 8 percent (unless it’s towing a heavy SUV). The Cummins/Allison combination also has a two-speed engine brake system, which worked very well in the Las Vegas traffic to slow the Tour down without using the service (air) brakes in most situations.
All Tour floor plans come with tag axles. Air in the tag axle suspension can be dumped to avoid tire tread scrubbing when maneuvering the coach in tight situations at low speed.
Sitting just below and to the right of the Sony/Xcite GPS is another 7-inch Sony HD monitor. This one is wired to the three outside cameras. The external monitoring system defaults to the rear camera and then changes to each side camera whenever the turn signal for that side is activated. I quickly became accustomed to carefully watching the images from the rear camera and all four side mirrors (two large flat mirrors and the two convex mirrors below them) when changing lanes.
To back up a bit in my narrative, when you first sit in the driver’s seat, look closely at the floorboards. You’ll see a foot pedal beside the steering column that adjusts the SmartWheel in and out and up and down. Now turn the key to its first position to allow the gauges to run their auto-check and the cylinders to warm up. When the key is turned, a pretrip checklist appears on the dash’s information screen prior to the engine starting. This list offers reminders to address the jacks, the towed vehicle, tire pressure, engine maintenance, and antenna power cords, among many other items. When the engine is started, a list of odometer readings appears, including the main odometer reading, today’s distance, leg distance, trip distance, and engine hours.
When we were given a tour of the Tour at Findlay RV prior to taking delivery, my wife said, “This reminds me of that guy you don’t like on TV.”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“This interior has a major wow factor!” she exclaimed. “It’s got a huge rear bathroom, a recliner bed, a bigger fridge than we have at home, and this interior design makes me feel right at home. It’s luxurious and homey at the same time. I love it! I could live here!”
I agreed with her and I realized how at-home full-timers would be in the Tour 42JD. Folks who plan on spending more than six months a year in a motorhome — retired couples, vendors, convention/rally attendees, snowbirds, desert denizens, and ski bums — will embrace the new Tour design with open arms.
In the galley, the stainless-steel microwave-convection oven with sensor cook and the vented range fan sit in the cabinet above the three-burner range top with glass cover. Below the stovetop, which is mounted in the Corian countertop, is an optional full-featured stainless-steel dishwasher. A filtered cold-water faucet and a combination Moen faucet flow into a double stainless-steel sink that is mounted to the right of the stovetop.
The cabinet below and to the right of the sink is accessible from the front or the side; just one more little convenience that grows on you the more time you spend in the galley. The dining area across the aisle, on the driver’s side, includes a table cantilevered out of a shallow cabinet set beneath a large window. The table can be expanded to seat four people.
With the slideouts extended, the couch area becomes the next best thing to a home theater — as an option, a pair of reclining chairs with a cocktail table between them can be ordered in place of one sofa bed. Up to four people can comfortably enjoy the two couches while riding or watching either the 32-inch LCD HDTV or a 40-inch LCD HDTV in the forward overhead and listening to the home theater sound system.
Each sofa pulls out into a double bed, but only when the slideouts are deployed (the curbside sofa also comes with a storage compartment). Whether the slides are in or extended, there’s enough room to walk down the aisle to the midcoach bathroom. Since the two sofas are equipped with seat belts, they could use cup holders so that passengers don’t spill their drinks.
Just past the curbside bathroom is the bedroom, which includes a 72-inch-by 80-inch king bed. This wonderfully comfortable, powered bed features an Ideal Rest pillow-top mattress with digital-numbered comfort-control settings. The bed’s firmness is fully adjustable using a wired digital control on each side; this was handy for us, as my wife liked to set her side more firm than I set mine.
The top third of the adjustable air-cushion mattress lifts up to transform the bed into a lounger (a really great position to watch football while making notes, by the way). With the bed in the lounger position, the bedroom can be a great place for a novel, a nap, or a little “me” time.
Street-side in the bedroom are vanities, overhead storage, and a 26-inch Sony LCD HDTV.
It should be noted that when the full-wall street-side slideout and the rear curbside slideout are retracted in travel mode, the head of the bed, which resides in the latter slide, must be elevated to activate the slideout (there is a lockout to prevent any damage). Within the bed’s innards resides a safety lockout switch that tells the starboard rear slide that it’s okay to retract. If the switch becomes misaligned or fails, the slide won’t slide and the motorhome can’t be moved.
Aft of the bed is the fully functional master bathroom, which stretches across the rear of the coach. Curbside is the electronic-activated residential-size porcelain toilet as well as the oversize shower, which is as large as or larger than many residential shower stalls. On the street side stands a double-sink vanity, with large mirrors above. Within this area you’ll also find the optional stacked washer and dryer and an array of closets.
Each window in the Tour features MCD American Duo solar/blackout roller shades behind valances. The solar shade makes it possible for occupants to see out. The blackout shade is made of an off-white, heavy-duty fabric.
I have to say that as easy, as comfortable, and as relaxing as the Tour 42JD can be to drive, this motorhome really impresses in a campground setting, such as we found ourselves in the Las Vegas Motorcoach Resort. Hooked up to a 50-amp shore power post, water, and sewer; Power Gear automatic levelers in place and locked; and all three slides deployed, the Tour became home.
The entire Tour model line offers electronic cargo door locks, which means the driver can flip a switch and lock all the basement doors at once. Buyers have a choice of storage configurations with an available 90-inch compartment tray that slides out for easy access from both sides of the coach. Standard storage bins and the optional sliding storage tray in our test coach helped us to stay organized. Electrical and plumbing service centers and reels for the power cord and water hose make setup at campsites quick and easy.
The Winnebago Industries SuperStructure construction system combines Thermo-Panel sidewalls, interlocking joints, and a steel and aluminum substructure. The Tour also features a crowned, one-piece fiberglass roof, backed by a 10-year limited parts-and-labor roof skin warranty.
The exterior of our test unit was graced with a remote-controlled electric-powered patio awning with a motion sensor that will retract the awning should a certain wind speed be detected. The test coach also had an optional exterior entertainment center behind its own locking panel. It included a 32-inch LCD TV with remote, an AM/FM stereo, a CD/DVD player, an iPod/MP3 input, speakers, and power outlets.
The motorhome’s strength becomes evident with its tow power package, which includes a seven-pin trailer wiring and I.P. wiring with a hitch receiver rated at 15,000 pounds (1,500-pound maximum vertical tongue weight).
The suggested retail price of the test unit came to $364,101 and included the following options: exterior entertainment center with TV/DVD; microwave/speedcook oven; GPS/infotainment center; stackable washer/dryer; central vacuum cleaner; in-motion satellite TV system; Dish satellite receiver; power cord reel; stainless-steel Maytag residential refrigerator with French doors, freezer drawer, and water and ice dispenser; dishwasher; compartment tray slideout; water supply hose with reel; Sirius satellite radio; Ultraleather dual-control Rest Easy sofa; exterior refrigerator/freezer; Blu-ray home theater system; and stainless-steel valance panel trim.
The Winnebago Tour, particularly the 42JD, seems to be an ideal choice for a family of full-timing folk (up to six people) who need power, space, and cargo-carrying capacity.
Winnebago Industries Inc., 605 W. Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436; (641) 585-3535; www.winnebagoind.com
Cummins ISL 6-cylinder, 8.9-liter turbodiesel; 450-horsepower @ 2,100 rpm, 1,250 lb.-ft @ 1,200 rpm
Allison 3000 6-speed automatic with two overdrive gears and engine compression brake
4.63 to 1
Michelin XZA2 Energy 295/80R 22.5H (front);
Michelin XZA3 275/80R 22.5 LRH (rear/tag)
(6) aluminum, (2) steel 22.5-inch-by-8.25-inch, 10-hub
279 inches plus tag
full air brakes with ABS;
front — 17-inch disc;
rear/tag — 16.5-inch-by-7-inch/15-inch-by-4-inch drum-style, S-cam
ZF RL67EM IFS (front); Neway Air suspension (rear)
Sachs tuned shocks
ZFL8 8018, power steering gear, 60-degree wheel cut
Delco Remy, 160 amps
chassis — (2) 950 cca; coach — (6) deep-cycle AGM marine/RV
2,800-watt inverter/charger with remote panel (with refrigerator upgrade in test coach); 2,000-watt with standard refrigerator
10-kilowatt Cummins Onan diesel
42 feet 10 inches
8 feet 5.5 inches
12 feet 11 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 14,600 pounds; rear — 30,000 pounds
WET WEIGHT AS TESTED
front axle — 14,020 pounds;
rear axle — 12,320 pounds;
tag axle — 9,800 pounds;
total — 36,140 pounds
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY
aluminum and steel
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 129 gallons;
black water — 51 gallons
150 gallons, dual fill; 13 gallons DEF
Aqua-Hot hydronic heating system for continuous hot water
Aqua-Hot 450 hydronic dual-zone heating system
(3) 13,500-Btu Coleman TrueAir Maximum Comfort units with heat pumps and condensation pumps
Maytag residential 14-cubic-foot with ice maker and in-door water dispenser
(2) porcelain with electronic flush
coach — one-year/15,000-mile limited warranty; 36-month/36,000-mile limited warranty (structure); 10-year on roof skin; chassis — 36-month/50,000-mile
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED