This diesel-powered Type A motorhome, part of the Newmar Mobility Lineup, features the company’s latest wheelchair-accessible floor plan.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
It’s no secret that RVing is a great way to travel; it opens up a world full of opportunities and adventures. But for those with disabilities, RVing can be difficult, if not impossible. Newmar Corporation builds production motorhomes designed for such travelers. Newmar’s Mobility Lineup spans three different models: the gasoline-powered Canyon Star, the Ventana diesel pusher, and the upscale Dutch Star diesel pusher. According to company officials, these are the largest fully accessible RVs available today.
The vehicles in Newmar’s Mobility Lineup are not just existing motorhomes with a wheelchair lift added. The floor plans in this series allow easy access to every area of the motorhome, with features designed specifically for use by individuals with disabilities.
Recently, while visiting Newmar’s headquarters in Nappanee, Indiana, I reviewed a year-end 2018 Ventana 4311 diesel pusher. Except for minor décor revisions, it remains unchanged for the 2019 model year.
The Ventana incorporates Newmar’s hung-sidewall construction method. The test coach was topped by an optional one-piece, molded fiberglass roof. A BriteTEK roof, which features fleece-backed TPO (thermoplastic olefin), with a walkable deck comes standard. Optional Polar Pack insulation in the roof gives it an R-19 insulation value. The wooden floor, which is capped with 5/8-inch floor decking and filled with batten fiberglass insulation for an R-16 insulation value, is placed atop Newmar’s STAR steel foundation. The walls contain 5/8-inch foam board. Wall studs and ceiling joists consist of tubular structural aluminum on 16-inch centers.
The Ventana is based on Freightliner’s XCR chassis, which features a passive-steer tag axle and a rear radiator. A 400-horsepower Cummins ISL engine and an Allison 3000 MH Series transmission deliver power to the rear axle. A 15,000-pound-rated trailer hitch is standard. The coach is equipped with a 100-gallon fuel tank and a 13-gallon driver-side DEF tank. It rides on 305/70R 22.5 load range L tires on aluminum wheels. Equalizer Systems dual-acting hydraulic leveling jacks complete the package.
The chassis has a 44,700-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and a 59,700-pound gross combination weight rating (GCWR). The front axle capacity is 14,700 pounds, while the drive axle and tag axle are rated at 20,000 and 10,000 pounds, respectively. At the scales, the actual weights I obtained indicated 12,200 pounds on the front axle, 15,040 pounds on the drive axle, and 7,440 pounds on the tag axle, for a total weight of 34,680 pounds. The Ventana was weighed with full fuel and water and a driver aboard, so it boasts a respectable cargo capacity of 10,020 pounds if evenly distributed.
Three standard exterior colors are offered, although customers may select color substitutions as long as they are among Newmar’s commonly used hues. In this case, Merlot Red, Sovereign Gray, Burnt Sienna, and Pearl Black were combined to create an attractive exterior color scheme.
The windshield is bonded rather than gasketed, and dual-pane, frameless windows are used throughout. Power patio and entry door awnings are fitted with LED lighting. Stainless-steel trim adorns the front of the coach, and the test unit included the optional chrome mirrors. It also included the optional exterior entertainment center with a 32-inch TV mounted at a lower height for easy access from a wheelchair. An optional keyless entry system controls the entry door as well as the chrome baggage compartment locks and comes with a doorbell. Basement storage includes a large cargo slide tray and a dual-acting cargo tray in the pass-through compartment. Baggage doors are side-hinged.
The 4311 is a smartly designed, triple-slideout floor plan. None of the slideouts extend over the patio area, a configuration that places the wheelchair lift in a strategic location. (More on that later.)
My review unit featured Muslin décor, one of three interior choices offered. Carmel-glazed cherry, also one of three selections, was used for the raised-panel hardwood cabinetry and trim throughout.
Clever backlit accent trim has been added to the side trim on every slideout. Polished porcelain tile flooring is used; as an option, it extends into the bedroom in lieu of carpeting. LED lighting is used throughout the coach, along with MCD window shades. Power shades with remote controls can be added to the 4311. The furniture features Ultrafabric upholstery.
The Ventana is equipped with high-quality entertainment systems. Sony TVs and optional Blu-ray players were matched with a surround-sound system. Other test coach options included a Winegard Rayzar automatic digital antenna for bringing in local broadcast TV stations; a Winegard in-motion satellite dish to capture satellite TV signals while on the move; and Winegard’s cellular Wi-Fi prep and Wi-Fi Ranger Sky3 Pack router to boost cellular and campground Wi-Fi service to any wireless device in the RV.
As noted, the ability-equipped Ventana 4311 is not just a coach with a wheelchair lift added. Granted, the lift is a major component, but it’s the overall interior design that makes this motorhome what it is. For example, the dinette allows easy access for someone in a wheelchair. In the bathroom, the huge shower can be rolled right into. The bathroom vanity has no cabinets beneath the sink, also accommodating a wheelchair occupant. The circuit breaker panel and all related controls for the plumbing, heating and air conditioning, electrical systems, and awnings are located in a cabinet mounted at a lower level.
The 4311 is wide and open even when the slideouts are retracted, so it’s possible to navigate easily to the bathroom or dinette when extending the slides is not possible.
Flexsteel Ultrafabric-covered six-way power captain’s chairs with adjustable lumbar support grace the cockpit. The copilot’s chair is equipped with a power footrest and a workstation table that folds down to store alongside the chair. Color rear and side cameras feed into the optional Xite dash entertainment system, which also has Sirius satellite radio capability, Bluetooth, and Rand McNally GPS navigation. A charging mat built into the dash provides wireless charging of a smartphone or other electronic device.
Main Living Area
Just behind the cockpit, a sofa and dinette share the front street-side slideout. The 74-inch Ultrafabric-covered sofa makes into an air bed. The dinette incorporates power lift and retract mechanisms; these enable the table to be raised or lowered to the desired height, and slid out from the bench seat or retracted as needed. The edge of the dinette table also folds down to provide additional aisle space when traveling.
Behind the entry door, just aft of the cockpit, the curbside wall begins with a cabinet that houses a fireplace. The test unit had a 48-inch LED TV on a power lift that rises out of the cabinet. This stands across from the couch and also can be seen from the dinette.
Next is the galley. A lower cabinet holds a dual-basin stainless-steel sink and storage cabinet, as well as an optional electric induction cooktop in the test coach (a recessed gas cooktop is standard). The section of base counter just to the right of this area is slightly higher and includes a stack of large drawers; buyers can have the convection-microwave oven placed beneath the countertop if desired. The test coach also came with optional highly polished solid-surface countertops and a kitchen window.
The Ventana’s center portion holds more street-side cabinetry and a pantry with slide-out storage bins. The test coach contained a 19.7-cubic-foot residential refrigerator with French doors (part of an optional all-electric package) and an optional Whirlpool stackable washer and dryer.
On the opposite curbside wall is another larger pantry, along with the Braun wheelchair lift, which stores inside the coach when not in use. A corded remote control operates the lift from the coach exterior, interior, or from the chair itself. A wireless remote actuates an air cylinder that automatically opens the large hinged exterior door that covers the lift; the air cylinder holds the door in position. Safety bars secure the chair as the lift extends out and lowers to the ground. Once the lift is safely down, the bars automatically move to allow the occupant to drive off the lift bed. When it’s no longer needed, the lift stores back inside the coach, and the door will close.
The curbside wall of the center-aisle bath area contains the vanity and toilet. The porcelain-bowl toilet is wheelchair-accessible, and the walls are equipped with the stainless-steel grab bars. The vanity contains a solid-surface recessed-bowl sink with no drawers or cabinets beneath it. This provides plenty of room for a wheelchair to roll under the vanity.
The bath area on the street side holds a 62-inch-by-36-inch shower stall. This sizable shower is ramped to allow roll-in access for any wheelchair. The shower is also equipped with a number of stainless-steel grab bars, as well as a removable handheld shower head, and a large bench seat that can be folded up to make more room if desired.
The rear bedroom contains two opposing slideouts. On the street side, the slideout holds the head of a 60-inch-by-80-inch queen-size bed with a pillow-top mattress; gas struts lift the bed to allow access to storage space below. On the forward-most side of the bed is a large wardrobe cabinet, along with a wide aisle for easy egress from wheelchair to bed.
Additional cabinets over the bed, plus a full-width mirrored wardrobe on the rear wall, yield extra space for clothing and bedding. And there’s more; the curbside slideout opposite the bed contains a dresser with a solid-surface countertop, as well as a window and a 32-inch LED TV with even more cabinets above.
The Ventana test coach kept its cool with three optional 15,000-Btu quiet, ducted air conditioners; two 13,500-Btu units are standard. The rooftop units are equipped with heat pumps to provide warmth on cool days, though the motorhome’s primary heat source is an Oasis hydronic heating system. The Oasis system is powered by a diesel-fired boiler or by an electric heating element inside the boiler. It also provides unlimited domestic hot water, accommodating folks who enjoy long showers.
The basement utility panel contains all of the valves and controls for managing the fresh-water and waste-water systems, as well as a whole-house water filter. The test unit included an optional power hose reel for the 50-foot fresh-water hose that supplies campground water to the coach. A hot-water line also runs to the front of the motorhome, with a connection in the generator compartment — convenient for cleaning those pesky bug splatters off the windshield. Holding tank sizes are generous: fresh water, 105 gallons; gray and black water, 65 and 45 gallons, respectively.
The Ventana has 50-amp electrical service. A 50-foot power cord connects to the automatic transfer switch via an optional power-rewind cord reel. An Onan 8-Kw Quiet Diesel generator with automatic start furnishes AC power when shore power is not available. As part of the all-electric option, a bank of eight 6-volt deep-cycle batteries (four come standard) power the 12-volt lights, fans, and other accessories and also feed an optional Magnum 2,800-watt true sine wave inverter. This inverter, also part of the all-electric option, supplies 120-volt-AC power to the convection-microwave, residential refrigerator, entertainment system, and numerous electrical receptacles. (A 2,000-watt modified sine inverter is standard.)
The Ventana was a joy to drive. Its Comfort Drive steering made tight maneuvers easy; you could turn the wheel with your pinky finger if you so choose. The 400-horsepower Cummins provided plenty of power, and the ride was smooth.
Newmar is known to offer custom modifications. This coach was a good example, with different paint colors than the standard offerings, although within the same basic design scheme. The highly polished solid-surface countertops throughout the interior were a custom feature. A different Ultrafabric color was used on the captain’s chairs and sofa instead of the standard Ultrafabric upholstery.
The Ventana 4311 does a great job of meeting the needs of RVers who require assistance with access. The wheelchair lift in itself makes this possible, but the attention to detail throughout the coach interior is unprecedented for a production motorhome, including the fully usable bath area, the maneuverable dinette table, the wider aisleways, etc.
For RVers with mobility issues, I can’t think of a better way to travel than in the Ventana 4311 or in one of Newmar’s Canyon Star or Dutch Star mobility coaches.
SPECS | 2018 Newmar Ventana 4311
Newmar Corporation, 355 N. Delaware St., P.O. Box 30, Nappanee, IN 46550; (800) 731-8300, (574) 773-7791; www.newmarcorp.com
Cummins ISL; 400 horsepower @ 2,100 rpm; 1,250 pound-feet torque at 1,400 rpm
Allison 3000 MH Series 6-speed automatic
4.78 to 1
Michelin XRV 305 70R 22.5; load range L
281 inches plus tag
front — antilock disc air;
rear — antilock drum
front — Neway AS with Comfort Drive;
rear — V-Ride air
house — (8) 6-volt deep-cycle with all-electric option; (4) standard
chassis — (2) 12-volt
Magnum 2,800-watt pure sine wave with all-electric option; 2,000-watt modified sine standard
Onan 8,000-watt with automatic generator start
43 feet 10 inches
12 feet 11 inches
6 feet 11 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 14,700 pounds;
rear — 20,000 pounds
NET CARRYING CAPACITY (NCC)
(weighed with full fuel, full water, and driver)
front — 12,200 pounds;
rear — 15,040 pounds;
tag — 7,440 pounds;
total — 34,680 pounds
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 65 gallons;
black water — 45 gallons
100 gallons; 13 gallons DEF
Oasis hydronic heating system
Oasis hydronic heating system
(3) 15,000-Btu heat pump units with energy management system, optional; (2) 13,500-Btu heat pump units, standard
1 year/unlimited miles, limited;
5 years structural;
chassis — 3 years/50,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS EQUIPPED