As the longest of five floor plans in this Type C model line, the 31M includes a host of updates and RVer-friendly attributes.
By Gary Bunzer
Perusing recent data gathered by Statistical Surveys, a leading purveyor of data regarding the health of the RV industry, I learned that sales of Type C motorhomes jumped 43 percent in the retail market from February to March of this year. And, according to Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, this past April, the total number of Type Cs delivered to RV dealers increased 64.5 percent over April 2012.
This past April, 300-plus more Type C motorhomes were delivered to dealers than full-size Type A coaches. And for all motorhomes combined, April 2013 was the best April in the RV industry since 2008. Subsequent months have been positive as well.
Granted, some of the growth spurt this past spring could be attributed to the shoring up of RV rental fleets for the summer season, but, still, whether for rental or for private ownership, it appears the Type C motorhome is enjoying a fantastic run so far this calendar year.
If the livability and features afforded by the 2014 Tioga Ranger are any indication, that trend likely will continue well into the next calendar year. This latest Fleetwood RV offering features bold new color schemes, inside and out. In particular, the Ranger 31M should interest RV shoppers looking for a not-so-traditional floor plan in a Type C motorhome.
The 31M features a side aisle that leads to the rear bedroom, with two entry points into the spacious lavatory. This is a departure from the typical Type C that contains a full-length center aisle with half the “stuff” on the port side of the coach and the other half on the starboard side. The side-aisle configuration of the Ranger 31M spawns immediate curiosity. It literally opens up the floor plan considerably — and with only two slideouts.
As you enter the coach, the galley is positioned immediately to the left of the entry door, while a 54-inch Soft Touch sofa bed is mounted directly to the right, behind the copilot’s perch. The galley is quite interesting, since its L-shape design lends itself to a virtually uncluttered feel and look.
This feel is enhanced by the fact that the refrigerator is nestled into the roadside slideout, along with a standard convertible dinette assembly. The forward slide extends to just behind the driver’s seat. The hardwood cabinetry throughout the motorhome features hidden hinges, which adds to the clean look.
With the side aisle down the street side of the coach, the first entry door to the bath area is just beyond the pantry. Go straight past this first entrance and you’ll enter the rear bedroom. A spacious wardrobe and decorative dresser/shelving are tucked into the rear street-side corner of the motorhome. The opposing queen bed, flanked by matching nightstands, is centered in the rear slideout, which extends out the curbside sidewall.
Additional storage is available above the bed. The only issue I see with this layout is that it appears the slideout must be extended, at least partially, in order to gain access to the drawers below the wardrobe. A swing-arm-mounted, 19-inch LED television extends off the upper portion of the wardrobe, completing a nice, private enclave that raises the cozy factor a few notches.
There is also a private entrance into the lavatory from within the bedroom, as well as the aforementioned door in the aisle. At first glance, it appears odd to see only the toilet mounted directly between two separate doors leading into the bathroom. But it blends into a very thoughtful layout, with the shower enclosure directly across from the angle-mounted toilet.
A floor-to-ceiling linen cabinet is located to the left of the shower, and the lavatory sink, vanity mirror, and cabinet are mounted to the right of the shower, along the curbside wall. Clearly, some “outside the box” thinking was applied here.
Peering forward when first entering the coach, the eye is immediately drawn to the front cab-over section. Here the buyer has a few options. The one that caught this reviewer’s eye was the center-mounted entertainment center, complete with a home theater system. All the televisions, by the way, whether standard or optional, have been upgraded to LED units across the entire 2014 Ranger lineup. But the center-mounted television, flanked on either side by storage cabinets, settled nicely with the comfortable design synergy I first felt upon entering the coach.
Another cool option I liked with the entertainment center mounted in the cab-over area is the feature I call the “bed in a drawer.” You do not give up another sleeping berth with this cab-over feature. Just grab a handle and out slides a single bed in a drawer — perfect for that visiting grandkid!
Of course, you also could simply opt for a standard cab-over bed with a swing-arm LED television, or just room for additional storage. The versatility of utilizing that cab-over space is a fresh way to adapt the Type C floor plan to one’s particular needs.
Full basement storage contributes to the approximate total of 104 cubic feet of outside storage space, while the total interior storage approaches 119 cubic feet. Nice! Other capacities of note include 60 gallons for fresh water and 35 gallons each in the gray and black water tanks. A 14-gallon propane container feeds fuel to the absorption refrigerator, the forced-air furnace, the three-burner cooktop, and the 6-gallon water heater. The 31M also is equipped with a full, one-piece molded fiberglass front cap as well as all-fiberglass, high-gloss sidewalls.
New for 2014 is the addition of secure “slam-latch” luggage door closures. Also, all mattresses have been upgraded to Fleetwood’s new Dream-Easy line, along with the previously mentioned upgrade to LED televisions. New graphics grace the exteriors of all Tioga Ranger models, including the 31M. Buyers can choose from two exterior graphic schemes or opt for the standard combination of partial paint/partial graphics. I highly recommend the optional full-body paint. Besides simply looking great, it’s the easiest surface to maintain, without the potential issue of faded graphics and decals over time. You can pair either of the paint schemes with one of two new interior decors, Divina Dynasty or French Beach, along with a choice of the classy Cinnabar or fashionable Spice wood packages.
Other options available in the 31M include solid-wood-panel refrigerator inserts, satellite radio, a glass shower door, an exterior entertainment center, side-mounted as well as rear-mounted cameras, electric or manual patio awnings, and dual-glazed windows (the latter is highly recommended by this writer if you plan on any RV excursions during the winter months).
The Tioga Ranger 31M is pulled down the road by the time-proven Ford 6.8-liter Triton V-10 gasoline power plant, turning its five-forward-gear transmission with overdrive to provide 420 foot-pounds of torque at 305 horsepower; standard Ford E-450 chassis fare, tried and true! Its high-output 120-amp alternator keeps both battery systems (coach and house) charging while driving down the road.
Based on the indicators observed so far in 2013, it appears the 2014 Tioga Ranger 31M will be enjoying a fantastic fall season. I would have to concur based on conversations with local dealers. To locate a dealer near you, visit www.fleetwoodrv.com or call (800) 322-8216. And remember: RVing is more than a hobby; it’s a lifestyle!
Fleetwood RV, P.O. Box 1007, Decatur, IN 46733; (800) 322-8216; www.fleetwoodrv.com
AVAILABLE FLOOR PLANS
Ford E-450, gas/6.8-liter Triton V-10, 305 horsepower, 420 pound-feet torque
32 feet 5.5 inches
11 feet 6 inches with A/C
6 feet 10 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 35 gallons;
black water — 35 gallons
(1) 30,000-Btu furnace/(1) 15,000-Btu air-conditioner
coach — 12 months/15,000 miles;
structure — 36 months/50,000 miles;
chassis — 36 months/36,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE