This elegant diesel pusher includes all the creature comforts and storage required for a weekend jaunt or a long-term live-aboard stay.
By Lazelle Jones
The Monaco name is familiar to many RV enthusiasts, current and aspiring owners alike. Monaco RV, a Navistar company since 2009, today produces motorhomes under the Monaco and Holiday Rambler brands. Navistar is a Fortune 100 company that provides global resources, transportation expertise, and innovative engineering — qualities I found evident in the 2012 Monaco Knight that I recently had an opportunity to review.
Following the 2011 California RV Show in Pomona, I took temporary possession of a 2012 Knight 40PDQ, which had been delivered from the Monaco RV plant in Coburg, Oregon, and utilized for demo rides at the show.
The Knight is available in two lengths and three floor plans for 2012. The 36PFT, which measures 37 feet 4 inches in length, comes with two curbside slideouts and a full-wall slide on the street side. The 40DFT comes with the same slideout configuration, while the 40PDQ (my test coach) is a quad-slide unit; the latter two measure 41 feet 4 inches long. All three are rated to tow 10,000 pounds.
The 40PDQ has an exterior width of 100 inches when the slideouts are retracted and ready for travel. Its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 33,000 pounds. The Knight’s in-dash electronic monitoring system calculated an average fuel economy of 7.8 miles per gallon, which I found impressive for a 41-foot diesel pusher. This unit’s actual gross weight of 30,460 pounds included a quarter-tank of fuel and empty holding tanks. This means that with the 100-gallon fuel tank filled, the driving range is almost 800 miles, maybe more, depending on how the coach is driven. This also means that I could have carried more than 2,500 pounds of cargo, passengers, and fluids and still have towed the 5 tons for which it’s rated.
On The Road
I enjoyed my time behind the steering wheel. The Knight’s expansive single-piece windshield and dual mirror system made me feel confident about what was going on around the outside of the coach. The dash and instrumentation panel, newly designed for 2012 with the technical and design support of Navistar engineers, are uncomplicated yet elegant, exuding both simplicity and functionality.
Visibility while driving was unimpaired. I also appreciated the abundance of legroom when driving and when sliding in and out of the pilot’s seat. Electric day-night windshield shades lowered and raised as needed.
My test coach was outfitted with an optional Garmin navigation system. When one’s destination is reached, this plug-and-play device can be popped out of its docking station for use in a towed car or other vehicle.
Whether on city streets, steep hills, or out on the blue-line highways through Southern California’s Santa Ana Mountains, I found the Knight to be quiet and responsive. I was able to adjust the steering wheel and column in and out, up and down, in micro amounts. I also placed the six-way power-adjustable Ultraleather-covered seat at the correct distance from the controls and at just the right height for optimum comfort when driving. Even on long travel days, fatigue would be minimized by the driver’s ability to custom-tailor the controls in this unit, which also include brake and accelerator pedal adjustments.
Camp setup is also uncomplicated. Touch the button on the optional auto-leveling system, and in a matter of moments the motorhome is ready for the slideouts to be extended. The all-electric slides extend and retract with a push of the appropriate switch. The optional residential refrigerator extends and retracts with the sofa and dinette in the living area. The 50-amp shore power cable also extends and retracts from its electrically powered reel with the touch of a switch, which means little effort is required to complete hookups.
No need to extend the TV antenna, either; I simply touched a button and watched the lights on the ceiling-mounted housing, which indicated when the antenna had been rotated into place to receive the strongest signal possible.
The front day-night electric shades can be actuated to select the level of privacy desired. Those who enjoy dry camping will appreciate the massive house battery pack (four 6-volt deep-cycle batteries, two of them optional), the 2,800-watt inverter (included with the residential option; 2,000-watt is standard), and the optional 10-kw diesel auxiliary generator with auto-start (an 8-kw gen set is standard).
The Knight 40PDQ comes equipped with a 40,000-Btu forced-air furnace and two 15,000-Btu roof air conditioners, each with a heat pump (a third air-conditioning unit can be added). The dual-pane windows throughout the coach are solar-tinted and work together with the other systems to maintain the preferred inside temperature.
As for plumbing, the Knight comes with a 62-gallon gray water tank and a 40-gallon black water tank. The motorhome can be equipped with an optional RV Sani-Con holding tank emptying system with macerator pump, which pulverizes the contents of the black water tank so that it can be pumped (if needed) through a garden-size hose to a dump station as much as 20 feet above the level of the coach’s holding tanks.
Floor Plan Features
The Knight PDQ featured Glazed Italian wood treatment throughout and the Platinum interior decor. In addition to these gorgeous interior treatments, the Knight boasts a number of functional elements to enhance the motorhome experience.
Immediately aft of the street-side sofa is a floor-to-counter cabinet that glides in and out from the permanently mounted galley counter. This pull-out complex features roll-out drawers with ball-bearing hardware. When extended, the cabinet instantly creates an L-shape configuration in the galley. Its top is dressed with a solid-surface material that matches the Corian galley counter. At the rear of the counter cabinets is a flip-up extension made of the same solid-surface material. The backsplash features a dark ceramic tile with Italian glass.
The curb side of the living area includes a sofa and a pull-out dining table with a solid-surface top. Alongside the table is an area that lends itself to holding serving dishes for meals and features a matching solid surface. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets, overhead cabinets, wardrobes, roll-out drawers, nightstands, etc. provide enough interior storage to support full-time RVers.
The 42-inch flat-screen TV above the dash and the home theater surround-sound system should satisfy entertainment needs in this area.
The roomy rear bedroom offers mega amounts of storage and many creature comforts, including an optional Select Comfort king-size bed. The head of the bed is housed in the curbside slideout. A 32-inch flat-screen television, a vanity, and a wardrobe drawer complex sit opposite the foot of the bed on the street-side wall. Floor-to-ceiling mirrored wardrobe doors stretch across the entire rear of the coach.
The center-aisle bath in the 40PDQ features a private water closet with a porcelain toilet. Opposite the water closet is a three-quarter-round residential-height one-piece shower. This area is reminiscent of what one might find in a luxury stationary home. The ceramic tile that graces the bathroom floor actually begins at the entryway up front and flows aft to the rear stateroom, which is dressed with carpet. The tile on the unit I reviewed had a satin finish that is more skid-resistant than a full-sheen ceramic tile, but should the client elect to enjoy the full sheen surface, that choice is available.
When you enter the center-aisle bathroom, you will find another solid-surface countertop (with integrated sink) that features a color treatment opposite that in the front of the coach — a black countertop with a light backsplash. It makes a nice contrast.
Nuts And Bolts
The Knight is built on the Roadmaster RR8R raised-rail chassis. This super structure features eight outboard-mounted air ride bags with matching tuned shock absorbers. No chassis is built before an order is placed by an individual or by a dealer. This means the chassis are not subjected to weather or other environmental conditions as they would be if they were produced ahead of time and stored. This practice also allows for the latest electronics and other technologies to be applied and installed at the time a coach is manufactured.
With Navistar as its parent company, Monaco RV now features MaxxForce diesel engines. The Knight 40PDQ is powered by the MaxxForce 10, which develops 350 horsepower and yields 1,150 pound-feet of torque. It is coupled with a six-speed automatic 3000 MH Allison transmission. Towing is made possible by the 10,000-pound hitch receiver that comes as standard equipment.
To help slow this giant luxury coach, a Jacobs three-stage engine compression brake is standard. The controls have been ingeniously designed into the face of the Smart wheel, where at the touch of a button, the engine braking is instantly activated to slow the coach. The driver needn’t look away from the road to locate and put a finger on the exhaust brake control. Standard equipment includes a locking transaxle (ATC), which prevents rear axle slippage on wet surfaces.
The exterior of the 40PDQ is nicely appointed. Every Knight motorhome features full body paint, with three paint schemes to choose from; my test unit featured the Platinum scheme. The front and rear caps have been redesigned for 2012, giving the Knight a distinctive look. Buyers can add an optional wind sensor to the standard electric patio awning, which automatically retracts the awning at a certain set point. Two huge coach-wide storage bays can be equipped with optional pull-out trays that articulate from either side of the motorhome, making it easy to reach stowed items. The coach can be refueled from either side. For convenience, a single key is used for the ignition, the main entry, and the cargo bay doors.
In addition to the options noted above, polished aluminum wheels add a nice touch. Audiophiles will appreciate the Sirius Satellite radio tuner with antenna. In addition to the residential refrigerator, an optional central vacuum and a stackable washer and dryer simplify housekeeping. A bedroom DVD player is offered, and an exterior entertainment center that includes a 42-inch LCD TV with DVD player is available. A pull-out trash can in the galley area is a handy feature. And let’s not forget the optional GPS navigation system with docking station. (Other choices the new coach owner can make include furniture options such as a booth dinette ensemble, an extendable L-shape sofa, a freestanding dinette with workstation, or a freestanding dinette).
The base suggested retail price of the Knight 40PDQ is $271,350; with options, the price of my test unit came to $279,405.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve stepped aboard a Monaco motorhome, or even if you’re unacquainted with this venerable brand, the 2012 Monaco Knight is a worthy contender.
Monaco RV, 91320 Coburg Industrial Way, Coburg, OR 97408; (800) 634-0855; www.MonacoRV.com
MaxxForce 10, 9.3-liter; 350 horsepower @ 2,000 rpm; 1,150 pound feet torque @ 1,200 rpm
Allison 3000 MH
4.30 to 1
stainless steel, standard; polished aluminum, optional
(8) outboard air bags
(2) UL16HC with 840 amp-hours, standard; (2) additional batteries with 2,800-watt pure sine wave inverter with 1,680 amp hours, optional
2,000-watt with (2) batteries
Onan 8-kw Quiet Diesel
41 feet 4 inches
12 feet 7 inches (with roof A/C)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 13,000 pounds;
rear — 20,000 pounds
(weighed with 1/4-tank of fuel, empty holding tanks)
front axle — 11,420 pounds;
rear axle — 19,080 pounds;
total — 30,460 pounds
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
steel; slideouts — vacubonded tubular aluminum
roof — one-piece fiberglass featuring 9-layer construction with combination block foam, aluminum I-beam, and residential fiberglass;
sidewalls — 5-layer vacubonded construction
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 62 gallons;
black water — 40 gallons
10-gallon combination gas/electric
40,000-Btu, centrally ducted
(2) 15,000-Btu units, ducted, with pumps, standard; third unit, optional
12-cubic-foot two-way four-door gas/electric, standard; 23-cubic-foot two-door residential model, optional; both with ice maker
porcelain with sprayer
coach — 1 year/24,000 miles;
structural — 5 years on roof, sidewall, and floor;
chassis — 3 years/50,000 miles;
engine — 5 years/100,000 miles;
transmission — 5 years/200,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED