This full-featured, stylish Type B can tackle the road with ease, especially when armed with an optional solar package.
By Lazelle Jones
Ontario, Canada-based Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc. has been designing, engineering, and building Type B motorhomes for four decades. During that time, the company has taken the luxury Type B to new heights. One example of Roadtrek’s design expertise is the CS-Adventurous (the “CS” stands for “Camping Series”). I became acquainted with this motorhome model during a recent road test.
The CS-Adventurous features many off-the-grid systems found on Roadtrek’s environmentally conscious E-trek model that help to make primitive, stand-alone RV camping so doable. When equipped with the solar package, the CS-Adventurous also can present a reduced environmental footprint, which may appeal to RVers who lean to the “green” side but still desire a high-end motorhome.
The market for the CS-Adventurous can be parsed in several ways. For the luxury coach enthusiast who wants to downsize to a more easily managed motorhome, this model embraces such needs. It works just as nicely for the couple who is anticipating their entree into the luxury motorhome lifestyle. And for those seeking to take advantage of the opportunities associated with exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations, it can negotiate nooks and crannies that may be inaccessible to larger motorhomes.
The CS-Adventurous is built on the renowned Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis with dual rear wheels and a 188-horsepower engine that produces 325 pound-feet torque. I drove my test unit along the coasts of southern and central California and, in so doing, came back with the following impressions.
During one 10-hour drive that covered 500 miles in a single day, the CS-Adventurous yielded a high level of comfort. It exhibited good acceleration and braking, with very little road noise or other outside sounds finding their way inside, and no rattles emanating from interior walls, components, appliances, or other appurtenances. This can be attributed to the fit and the finish that goes into building the coach’s interior as well as the unibody construction of the shell and chassis.
The CS-Adventurous proved to be stable along winding coastal roads, at freeway speeds, and in heavy urban traffic. Mercedes-Benz has done an excellent job of presenting the instrumentation, in my opinion. The information is immediately readable and understandable. For example, Mercedes-Benz designers have combined the use of knobs and digital push buttons to control cabin and operating functions. Yes, we live in a digital world these days, but on this chassis, the dash retains analog knobs where they work well.
During the 10-hour drive up and down the coast, fuel economy (computed by the chassis’ electronics) came in at 19.4 mpg; this means with a full tank of diesel fuel (26 gallons), the range of travel will be about 475 miles.
The turbocharged Mercedes-Benz V-6 diesel engine comes married to a five-speed automatic transmission, a combination I found to be responsive across the board. The CS-Adventurous comes equipped with a Class III receiver hitch and a seven-pin electric coupler. The overall length of the coach is 22 feet 9 inches, with the wheelbase measuring 170 inches. Roadtrek retains the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter factory walls, sliding side door, and roof line. The flat curbside and street-side exterior walls remain flush with the cockpit driver and passenger doors, which minimizes the drag coefficient and provides an unobstructed view along both sides of the unit. The sizable windshield and sloping hood provide the driver an immediate sense of control while piloting this coach.
When weighed, the unit reviewed included a full tank of fresh water (24 gallons) and 26 gallons of diesel fuel. The total weight was 9,340 pounds. Running the numbers using the 11,030-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), my test coach is capable of hauling 1,690 pounds of passengers and cargo before the GVWR is reached — plenty respectable, in my opinion. Attention to packing and planning makes it possible to take this coach out for extended road trips and use it as a mobile base camp in the vacationland of one’s choice.
When turning or changing lanes, the driver receives notification from an auditory alarm system if there is something alongside the coach, such as another vehicle. During my test outing, it also beeped when the coach drifted too far over while I was driving in the far-right lane. Visibility through the massive single-piece windshield and down the sides of the unit (via a power-adjustable split-side mirror system) was very good. As noted above, these impressions were garnered while motoring through heavy rush-hour Los Angeles freeway traffic and along U.S. 101, which hugs California’s central coast.
Camping In Style
Setting up camp in the CS-Adventurous is almost transparent. If campground noise restrictions are imposed (i.e., no auxiliary generators), and shore power is not available, the eight 6-volt house batteries and the 5,000-watt inverter that are part of the optional solar package can power all on-board appliances; these include the 7-cubic-foot two-way double-door refrigerator; the microwave-convection oven; and the 11,000-Btu rear roof-mounted air conditioner.
This solar package originally was incorporated in the E-trek motorhome model and now is available as an option on the CS-Adventurous. According to company literature, this package is designed to be environmentally conscious, employs newer technology for improved functionality and flexibility, and makes coach systems easier to use. Using diesel fuel as the primary power source, with other functions powered by electricity, the solar package provides heat and hot water through a combined heating core. It also encompasses the aforementioned 3-liter Mercedes-Benz engine, a 245-watt roof-mounted solar panel, a 5,000-watt inverter, and eight auxiliary AGM batteries.
Roadtrek engineers told me that the stand-alone capability for operating the air conditioner when relying on the house batteries can range between three and five hours, depending on outside temperatures. With the solar package, the house batteries can be charged in four ways: solar power; the optional engine generator; while motoring down the road; or when connected to 30-amp shore power. The suggested retail price for the solar package is $16,640.
The two-burner cooktop is propane-fueled and comes with push-button electric-spark ignition. The galley countertop is made of PaperStone, a solid-surface material composed of recycled paper and phenolic resin, with a stylish look that defies its eco-friendly construction. The countertop features a single-basin sink that is equipped with a propane-fueled water heater as standard equipment. On the unit reviewed, engine heat is used to warm both the house water (water heater) and the motorhome’s multiple interior heating zones. This is done via a closed-loop system, which, as its name suggests, circulates coolant between the engine and a heat exchanger.
Both the cooktop and the galley sink feature hinged glass covers. Storage is afforded by a floor-to-ceiling pantry adjacent to the galley counter, as well as by overhead cabinets, a stack of three drawers (each with a positive push lock and release), and a cabinet below.
A variable-speed Fan-Tastic roof vent, with a rain sensor feature, evacuates stale air and circulates fresh air throughout the motorhome. Cabinetry throughout the unit features hardwood doors and fronts.
The rear of the CS-Adventurous can be configured as a dining/lounge area or a bedroom. For seating, the cushions are arranged in a U-shape around a removable tabletop. To use the table, RVers insert a post into the floor, then easily set the tabletop on it. When not needed, the tabletop stows under a cushion in this area.
To configure this area for sleeping, a power bench seat lowers into a horizontal position with the push of a button. Placing the tabletop like a bridge between the opposing sides of the U-shaped seats creates a king-size bed that measures 78 inches by 69 inches.
A 22-inch LCD flat-screen television is located on the curb side, mounted on a robotic-type arm that is attached to the wardrobe. The TV can be pulled out and adjusted for viewing in the rear of the coach, or turned 180 degrees to face those seated up front.
Additional storage is provided in overhead cabinets, which are arranged in a U-shaped configuration around the rear of the motorhome. Below the rear power bench seat is a large storage area that’s accessible from the outside when the two rear doors are swung open. An optional rear door screen is available.
The ceiling is laced with high-yield LED lights that are operated individually with push buttons.
A second post-mounted table is used in the front of the coach, where the cockpit seats can be turned aft to create seating for three (including the cabin passenger seat on the curb side). When not in use, this tabletop can be stowed securely with a mechanical latch behind the driver’s seat.
The “wet bath” commonly seen in Type B motorhomes has come a long way, as reflected in the CS-Adventurous. My test unit had a permanent bathroom, located on the curb side behind the passenger seat and in front of the wardrobe. It includes a marine-style toilet with a 10-gallon black-water holding tank; a lavatory, which is part of the formed composite interior bath area; a pull-across shower curtain; and a showerhead. The bathroom occupies a minimal amount of interior coach space, but it is completely residential and full-service. There is no need to create a catch basin in the center aisle before using the shower, which means that other living activities can take place inside the coach when the bathroom is in use.
For outside enjoyment, a standard 11-foot-6-inch-wide boxed power awning extends 10 feet out, creating a covered curbside patio. The awning’s operating switch is conveniently mounted in the ceiling just inside the passenger door. A 110-volt ground fault interrupter outlet further augments comfort for those spending time in the patio area.
An exterior shower is located on the street side at the rear of the motorhome.
The unit I reviewed featured the Champagne Pearl exterior décor package, one of six available choices. The tan interior includes faux leather suede with a light embossed pattern that dresses the walls throughout the coach; it begins halfway up the walls and continues to the ceiling. The flooring is an attractive laminate material that easily wipes clean with a damp mop.
The spare tire is horizontally cradled in a bay on the street side of the unit, out of sight and out of the way. The tank dump system features a 12-volt macerator sewage pump that can evacuate the holding tank contents up to a distance of 12 feet to a dump station and, if necessary, up an incline. The pump is push-button-operated, which prevents the device’s motor from being damaged by prolonged activation. The fuel and fresh-water fill points are housed behind small hinged doors that are visible and accessible only when the passenger and driver doors are opened. An electric fold-out step facilitates entering and exiting through the side cabin door.
The Roadtrek CS-Adventurous is offered with a base manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $116,532 (U.S.). The suggested retail price of my test unit was $151,017, which included the optional solar package: engine-mounted electric generator (3,500 watts), solar-charging system (240 watts), eight 6-volt AGM batteries (1,600 amp-hours), 12-volt/110-volt inverter (5,000 watts), surge protection, and power monitoring.
When considering the smaller size and maneuverability of the CS-Adventurous, plus the optional solar package with which it can be equipped, this particular model can fill many RVers’ wish lists.
Roadtrek Motorhomes Inc., 100 Shirley Ave., Kitchener, ON N2B 2E1; (519) 745-1169; www.roadtrek.com
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500
Mercedes-Benz, 188-horsepower @ 2,300 rpm; 325 pound-feet torque @ 2,100 rpm
4.10 to 1
Continental 215/85R 16
leaf spring reinforced
power steering with tilt and telescopic wheel
chassis — (1) automotive
coach — (2) AGM, standard; (8) with optional solar package
3,000-watt, standard; 5,000-watt with optional solar package
22 feet 9 inches
6 feet 8 inches without mirrors
9 feet 7 inches
6 feet 3 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 4,410 pounds;
rear — 7,720 pounds
(weighed with full fuel and fresh water)
front axle — 3,960 pounds;
rear axle — 5,380 pounds;
total — 9,340 pounds
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
spun fiberglass and metal spray coating
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 24 gallons;
black water — 10 gallons
16 gallons/70 pounds
10,000-Btu Alde hydronic radiant heating system
Norcold two-way, 7 cubic feet
Thetford marine with foot-pedal flush
coach — 5 years/unlimited mileage; limited motorhome warranty
chassis — 3 years/36,000 miles; 100,000 miles on power train
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED