A new luxury diesel motorhome sold factory-direct by RV industry veterans.
By Bob Zagami
The Bentley name has been added to the NeXus RV family as the company enters the diesel-pusher segment of the industry. Consumers can purchase this coach directly from the company in Elkhart, Indiana, at a surprisingly affordable price for a diesel pusher.
NeXus RV has branded many of its motorhomes with names associated with other luxury products. The Bentley might make some people think of the British luxury car company known for its high-performing grand touring vehicles.
With a successful launch in Tampa at the Florida RV SuperShow in January 2015, the 2016-model-year Bentley was off to an impressive start in the 36-foot diesel-pusher category. NeXus RV is unusual in its factory-direct sales approach, which bypasses the traditional manufacturer-dealer system familiar to consumers. The factory-direct model is not new to the RV industry, of course. However, it is new at this price level, and for a diesel-pusher motorhome. Pricing on the Bentley starts around $190,000. Comparing it to competitive units with similar options, consumers can save $25,000 to $50,000 on a NeXus model, according to company officials.
The coach sits on a Freightliner XC-R raised-rail chassis, which provides tremendous storage capacity, including more than 139 cubic feet of below-floor storage — especially beneficial for full-timers who tend to carry more cargo in their homes on wheels. And speaking of wheels, the Bentley comes with 22-inch wheels mounted on Alcoa rims, as well as full air-actuated brakes and full air suspension — items you will not normally find as standard equipment on a coach in this price range.
The push in this pusher comes from a standard 360-horsepower Cummins diesel engine, which is matched perfectly to the Allison 3000 Series six-speed transmission and its 800 pound-feet of torque. The Bentley’s 28,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) allows for four slideouts and still provides 10,000 pounds of towing capacity.
A quick walk around the exterior of the Bentley highlights its upscale features. This coach is likely to appeal to knowledgeable RVers who have had several motorhomes and can recognize the value of the engineering and quality in this coach.
The large, one-piece panoramic windshield sits on top of a distinguished-looking fiberglass front cap. Here, LED lighting accents and offset exterior mirrors are placed in two different locations for maximum safety and visibility. The mirrors house the side-view cameras and external turn signal lighting. Sitting up front and center is the 6,000-kilowatt Onan diesel generator. Also in this compartment is a built-in air compressor and hose that can reach all the way back to the rear tires — a ready reminder of the importance of proper tire care and safety.
The double clear-coat paint over the four-color design provides a rich exterior appearance. The Bentley’s frameless, automotive-style windows blend seamlessly into the exterior walls; they are complemented by stainless-steel trim along the bottom of the motorhome, where side-swinging bay doors are located.
The stunning rear cap houses the rearview/backup camera and LED lighting, with additional chrome treatments on the rear vents, gas exhaust, and the safety skirt behind the rear wheels.
High-strength alloy-steel cage construction is exclusive to NeXus RV. The coach’s high-gloss fiberglass walls are topped with a one-piece fiberglass roof with rounded edges, which produces a seamless integrated package. The roof is 5 inches thick in the center and tapers to 2 3/4 inches at the sidewalls for strength and to facilitate water runoff.
Instead of wood, this motorhome has Azdel composite substrate interior walls inside the alloy-steel cage construction.
Walking down the curb side of the coach, you will find an exterior recycling or trash container access door for easy disposal of items. Also on the curb side of the unit I inspected was an optional exterior entertainment center.
The front entrance door can be covered with an optional awning with LED lighting. The single entry step provides easy, safe access to the motorhome interior. Little items such as this are sure to catch the attention of veteran RVers.
An Inside Look
After inspecting the outside of the Bentley, if you’re like me, you will want to see what the interior has to offer.
Before moving on to the interior highlights, however, it should be noted that although this is the first diesel pusher NeXus RV has offered, it comes with the backing of an experienced motorhome management team led by RV industry veterans Claude Donati and Dave Middleton. Each gentleman has designed and built motorhomes for more than 20 years. Thus, considerable knowledge and experience went into creating the Bentley diesel pusher.
Sliding into the driver’s seat, we see a molded-fiberglass dash with burl inserts, which suggests a luxurious look and feel. The instruments are well placed for driver safety and convenience. The window and mirror switches are housed in a solid-surface shelf to the left of the driver. The driver and copilot will appreciate the Flexsteel seats with built-in integrated seat belts, which eliminate the unsightly bars and supports of wall-mounted seat belts. The front windshield can be covered with electronic MCD blackout shades, and the side windows have a manual version of the same shade. Overhead in the cockpit are cabinets and an optional 39-inch LED flat-screen television for additional viewing enjoyment. The Bentley features solid hardwood cabinet doors throughout.
A lot of thought was put into the functional kitchen area. The cook in the family likely will appreciate the expansive solid-surface galley counter. It includes a large, double-basin sink, with one side deep enough for a pasta pan, and a high-neck faucet with an extendable head for easy cleanup. To the right is a two-burner induction cooktop. Behind it is a stainless-steel backsplash and a large window to see what is going on outside, or to communicate with family members or other travel companions while preparing a meal or a snack. And the abundance of storage cabinets will challenge anybody to fill them all up.
Left of the sink, toward the rear of the counter, is a covered opening that serves two purposes. First, it is the spot through which to put trash in the container that is accessible from the exterior of the coach; second, it makes it possible to pass small items to somebody outside without the need to leave the coach.
The cook will appreciate the state-of-the-art induction cooktop, the large stainless-steel convection-microwave oven, and the standard 7.5-cubic-foot Norcold stainless-steel double-door refrigerator or optional four-door stainless-steel residential refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser.
NeXus also offers customers the ability to customize many features in their coach. Company officers are not focused on how many units go out the door every day, but on how each customer’s unit is prepared and built to his or her choices. This is a benefit when dealing directly with the owners and the people who build the motorhomes.
For interior comfort, the Bentley is equipped with two 25,000-Btu furnaces and two low-profile 13,500-Btu air conditioners with a ducted heating and cooling system. The coach also has a fireplace that can heat up to 400 square feet; it is located midships just below the 46-inch flat-screen television. The TV is easily viewed from the galley, cockpit, dinette, and living room areas. Another nice touch is the smoked-glass door on the cabinet above the television for the Blu-ray DVD player and any satellite equipment RVers might add. The glass door enables you to operate the remotes through the glass, avoiding the need to open the door.
The dinette features upgraded leather with lockable storage drawers that pull out on dual ball-bearing glides, and it converts to a bed for extra sleeping space. The adjacent couch conceals the remote-controlled air-mattress hide-a-bed, with even more drawer storage underneath. Behind it, a solid-surface ledge provides a resting place for drinks or trinkets.
Two opposing slideouts in the front open up the coach for spacious living: the sofa and dinette on the street side, and the galley on the curb side.
Everywhere you look, it seems, there are wall-mounted cabinets; the cabinet doors are equipped with struts that enable them to open toward the ceiling, rather than to the side. This is another feature that buyers have requested, even though side-opening cabinets, sans struts, are less expensive. (The kitchen overhead does have a side-hinge door — one exception to the rule.)
All windows in the coach are larger than those in most competitors’ units, according to the company, providing panoramic exterior views regardless of where you are sitting.
Of special note, particularly on a motorhome in this price range, is the multiplex wiring system, a feature that typically appears only in very high-end coaches. This electronic wonder allows the owner to control shades, ceiling lights, dimmers, mood lighting, awnings, and just about anything electronic with the touch of a button, using the keypads located strategically throughout the motorhome.
Durable Beauflor vinyl flooring, which runs throughout, will be appreciated when it comes time to clean up after you have been entertaining or the kids have been running in and out all day.
A frosted-glass sliding door separates the rear of the coach. The Bentley’s controls and tank gauges are mounted on the curbside wall in this area. A nice touch is the light above the control panel, which makes it easy to read the gauges and find the right switches without having to turn on all the lights in the coach. Another visual aid is the floor-level accent lighting, which guides the way for those who may need to get up in the middle of the night.
A window in the bathroom provides extra lighting, along with the skylight in the large shower. The shower is a one-piece, molded unit that incorporates a corner seat. The vessel sink on the countertop adds a classy touch to this area. Once again, there is storage galore.
The master bedroom suite is designed for full-timers or others who are really going to use the motorhome to enjoy the RV lifestyle. This area offers plenty of storage also.
In the rear, a second pair of slideouts oppose each other. The head of the bed rests in the curbside slide, while the vanity and bank of drawers and cabinets face it in the street-side slideout. The mood lighting behind every slideout provides a relaxing environment.
The walk-around king-size bed is backed by a beautiful headboard; it conceals a window that functions as an emergency exit for the coach. (A second emergency window is located behind the sofa in the living area.) When you are sleeping, you can have the headboard in the closed position for noise reduction and privacy; during the day, the headboard can swing open for more illumination when you might be reading in bed or perhaps making the bed and cleaning up the area. Very clever!
Another convenience worth noting is a switch in the bedroom for the engine block heater; on cold mornings, you can turn it on from the rear of the coach and when departure time comes, you are all set to hit the road.
Opposite the bed is another full wall of cabinets and drawers, plus another television. The 32-inch LED TV raises up to reveal yet another storage area for valuables, and even a safe, if you wanted to put one back there. The drawer section is covered with a solid-surface bench that provides a nice place to sit when you are getting dressed in the morning.
Throughout the Bentley, it is evident that NeXus designers have taken the extra steps to build a diesel pusher that will garner a lot of attention from experienced RVers — those who are ready to step into a 36-foot diesel pusher that incorporates features typically found in more expensive units.
Many may look at the Bentley because of the price point the company was able to establish. When also comparing features, products, livability, storage, layout, and other options, buyers may find the factory-direct sales process even more intriguing. NeXus may never be a gigantic manufacturer with long and fast assembly lines. But it will be the type of company RVers gravitate to because they can customize their coach, talk with the people who will build it, and sit with owners Dave and Claude to make sure they get a coach built just for them, at a price they might not have considered possible.
NeXus RV, 3400 Reedy Road, Elkhart, IN 46514; (855) 786-3987; www.nexusrv.com
Freightliner XC-R raised-rail
Cummins ISB; 360 horsepower at 2,400 rpm; 800 pound-feet torque at 1,800 rpm
Allison 3000 Series, 6-speed
22-inch with aluminum rims
50 amps; 12-volt distribution panel
chassis — (2) Group 31 maintenance-free, 1,900 cca
house — (2) 12-volt
35 feet 10 inches
12 feet 11 inches with A/C
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 10,500 pounds;
rear — 17,500 pounds
OCCUPANT & CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
black water — 43 gallons;
gray water — 43 gallons
(2) 25,000-Btu furnaces
(2) low-profile 13,500-Btu roof units; ducted
6,000-watt Onan diesel
coach — 1 year limited;
chassis — 3 years/50,000 miles
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE