As the shortest floor plan currently available in this product line, the 23XM incorporates an ingenious rear slideout for increased living space when parked.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Type C motorhomes are a popular choice for many first-time motorhome buyers, as well as some owners of Type A coaches who are looking to downsize. Type C floor plans are attractive to many RVers because of the additional sleeping accommodations provided by the cab-over bunk area. The Redhawk, produced by Jayco Inc., has been a popular model in this field since late 2012, and it packs in a lot of features at a competitive price point.
The Redhawk combines Amish woodworking and care in assembly with a number of modern innovations. This results in an attractive mix of old-world craftsmanship and new-world technology. Further, Jayco backs the Redhawk with a two-year bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and one year of free roadside assistance.
Recently, I took time for a lengthy examination of the 23XM, one of four floor plans offered in the Redhawk line for 2014. The 23XM includes an intriguing feature: a slideout that opens rearward, in addition to a curbside bedroom slideout. This setup gives occupants additional room when camping while still retaining a shorter length when driving — in effect, providing a 29-foot floor plan in a 26-foot-9-inch overall length. The 23XM has sleeping accommodations for six to seven via the rear queen bed, dinette, and overhead bunk. It’s the shortest of the four Redhawk floor plans and does not include a couch, as its longer siblings do. The rear slideout makes the 23XM seem bigger than it actually is, however.
The Redhawk is built on a Ford E-450 chassis, popularly used in most Type C motorhomes. A 6.8-liter Triton V-10 electronic-fuel-injected engine feeds its 305 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque through a five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission. Jayco adds a set of Hellwig helper springs to the rear axle. These two-stage springs allow the Redhawk to provide a smooth ride when lightly loaded, yet come into play to handle greater weight and eliminate swaying when fully loaded. Rubber isolation dampeners, used to mount the motorhome to the chassis, help to isolate vibrations and further improve the ride.
The 23XM carries a 14,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and a 22,000-pound gross combination weight rating (GCWR). A trailer hitch rated at 5,000 pounds is provided. The occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC) is a hefty 3,709 pounds.
Aluminum running boards are added to the cab area.
The Redhawk comes with a 30-amp electrical system. A 4,000-watt Onan MicroQuiet generator also provides 120-volt-AC power and feeds through an automatic transfer switch. The 12-volt house battery is located in a basement compartment and mounted to a slide-out tray, making it easy to access for service. Interior heating and cooling needs are met by a 31,000-Btu propane furnace and a 15,000-Btu rooftop air conditioner. In addition to the city water and black-water tank flush connections, the plumbing system also has a 32-gallon fresh-water tank, a 34-gallon gray-water tank, and a 32-gallon black-water tank. In addition, 12-volt electric holding tank heat pads prevent tank freeze-ups during cold weather.
The Redhawk incorporates durable high-gloss fiberglass sidewalls in a shade called Champagne, which give the look of full-body paint without the cost. The molded front fiberglass cap is seamless; that eliminates the potential for leaks caused by sealant failure in later years. Tinted, frameless windows provide a sleek, attractive look, while an electric-powered entry step facilitates access to the motorhome’s living area.
An LED third brake light is mounted high in the rear slideout to allow visibility when towing. A ladder attached to the rear of the motorhome provides access to the roof. In addition to the usual basement storage compartments, a large pass-through compartment is located at the rear of the motorhome; it can be accessed from either side or directly from the rear.
The Redhawk I had the opportunity to inspect was equipped with the Toffee interior décor selection, Washington glazed cabinetry, and vinyl flooring. The interior is comfortable for six persons. Seven feet of headroom is provided. The cab-over bunk area makes into a spacious sleeping area. A 32-inch digital LED TV is mounted on a swing-out mechanism, which allows it to lie flat against the wall when traveling or when watched from the bunk area. The TV also can be swung out for viewing from the main living area.
The Dream Dinette mechanism incorporated in the dinette table allows anyone to effortlessly lower the table to convert it to additional sleeping room. The booth seating provides lower storage and is equipped with seatbelts for four additional occupants when traveling.
The galley area is fitted with a dual-basin sink with a high-necked faucet capable of filling tall vessels. A three-burner propane cooktop includes a 9,000-Btu SuperBurner and piezo electronic ignition. An overhead convection-microwave oven is placed into a generous array of storage cabinetry dressed with flat-panel doors and brushed-nickel hardware. The 8-cubic-foot two-door refrigerator can run on propane or 120-volt-AC power.
The Redhawk’s split bath area contains a curbside lavatory located in the aisle leading to the rear bedroom, along with a separate room on the street side that contains the toilet and modular shower enclosure, the latter of which is equipped with sliding doors. A removable clothes pole in the shower area can be used to hang wet clothing or to store additional garments during travel. A bathroom skylight contributes adequate ambient lighting, and an exhaust fan provides ventilation.
As touched on earlier, the rear bedroom boasts an uncommon design. A curbside slideout, which contains a mirrored wardrobe, extends to increase the room’s area once parked. A number of cabinets and drawers provide even more storage around the queen-size bed, which is positioned against the back wall and equipped with a pillow-top Denver Mattress. The real key to this floor plan is the rear slideout, which contains the head of the bed. As noted, the motorhome is a comfortable 26 feet 9 inches long, but when the slideout is extended, more plentiful floor space is created around the bed. While the bed is accessible with both slides in when traveling, extending them once the coach is parked really opens up this area.
On the road, the 23XM exhibited a smooth drive and ride. It appeared that the chassis-to-body isolation dampeners did their job to minimize road vibrations. I did not drive the Redhawk under fully loaded conditions, but the two-stage helper springs played a big part in eliminating that over-sprung jounce that happens with single-stage heavy-duty leaf springs when a motorhome is lightly loaded. This motorhome was comfortable to drive while in a near-empty condition.
I found the Redhawk’s quality of construction to be at the top of the field for this market segment; when combined with a two-year bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and a manufacturer’s suggested retail price hovering in the $80,000s, even with options, I can see why the model is a popular seller. Plus, with its wealth of sleeping and driving positions, it seems an affordable and comfortable choice for family travel.
Jayco Inc., P.O. Box 460, Middlebury, IN 46540; www.jayco.com; (574) 825-5861
AVAILABLE FLOOR PLANS
6.8-liter Triton V-10, EFI, 305 horsepower, 420 foot-pounds torque @ 3,250 rpm
5-speed TorqShift automatic with overdrive
4,000-watt Onan MicroQuiet
26 feet 9 inches
11 feet 7 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 34 gallons;
black water — 32 gallons
(1) 31,000-Btu, auto-ignition
(1) 15,000-Btu air conditioner
coach — 2 years, bumper-to-bumper limited;
engine — 5 years/60,000 miles;
transmission — 5 years/60,000 miles
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED