This gasoline-powered motorhome checks many boxes in the comfort and convenience categories.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Newmar is widely known for its high-quality diesel-pusher motorhomes. However, that same attention to quality also goes into the company’s entry-level Bay Star Sport and Bay Star gasoline-powered Type A motorhomes. I came to this conclusion after having the opportunity to inspect a 2019 model-year Bay Star 3226.
Built on a Ford F-53 chassis, the 3226 measures 32 feet 11 inches long. This floor plan is a triple-slideout design, one of 10 available choices in the Bay Star line. Floor plans range from 30 feet to 37 feet long.
The Bay Star incorporates hung-sidewall construction, the same as that used in Newmar’s diesel pushers. This method involves placing 5/8-inch foam board and a vapor barrier on the inside of the aluminum framing before applying the interior wallboard. The aluminum studs are on a maximum of 16-inch centers. Once each wall is mounted to the coach, it is filled with fiberglass batt insulation. Next, thick gel-coat fiberglass is secured to the outside of the wall framing. This combination is said to result in excellent heat and noise insulation.
Dicor BriteTEK roof membrane, said to combine the benefits of EPDM and TPO, is placed atop walkable plywood decking; it is filled with Polar Pak batt insulation rated at R-19, as well as 5/8-inch foam board. To construct the floor, 5/8-inch wood is placed over 16-inch on-center wood floor joists. This area also is filled with fiberglass batt insulation, and a vapor barrier is added. Fiberglass front and rear caps and a large one-piece windshield complete the construction.
The Bay Star is constructed on a 208-inch-wheelbase Ford F-53 chassis, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 22,000 pounds, and a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 26,000 pounds. The motorhome is equipped with a 5,000-pound-capacity Class III towing hitch.
Power is supplied by a 320-horsepower, 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline engine coupled to a five-speed TorqShift automatic transmission with tow/haul mode. Michelin 235/80R22.5 XRV series load range G tires on aluminum wheels; an 80-gallon fuel tank; and hydraulic leveling jacks complete the chassis.
The Bay Star 3226 has gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) of 8,000 pounds for the front and 15,000 pounds for the rear. The stated net cargo capacity is 3,682 pounds with full fuel but no water or passengers. The actual scale readings for this coach came in at 6,810 pounds for the front axle and 12,200 pounds on the rear axle, for a total weight of 19,010 pounds. The test unit was weighed with full fuel, full fresh water, and a driver, yielding a usable cargo carrying capacity of 2,990 pounds.
Bay Star motorhomes are given Newmar’s exclusive Masterpiece full-body paint graphics treatment, which involves multiple layers of clear coat. The exterior of the test coach featured the Whitecap paint scheme, one of two available choices; the other is Eldorado, a black, gray, and blue combination. Newmar does allow paint substitutions as long as they are standard colors used on its other motorhomes. Dura Shield paint protection film is standard on the front cap.
A rear ladder and a flagpole bracket are available as options. The 20-foot patio awning is equipped with LED lighting and is located over the exterior entertainment center, which contains a 32-inch Vizio LED TV. Tinted frameless windows are standard.
The 3226 test unit was finished in Newmar’s Whitecap interior décor, one of two available choices. Its Harbour Maple cabinetry — one of three wood choices — featured vinyl-wrapped stiles, while the hardwood mitered raised-panel doors were glazed with an attractive matte finish.
The optional vinyl tile floor, used in place of standard vinyl flooring, was bright, in keeping with the Whitecap interior décor. It is easy to keep clean and has a nice pattern that doesn’t show every spec of dirt. Carpeting covers the bedroom and slideout floors.
The coach featured Flexsteel Ultralux leather cockpit seats and sofa. Slideout fascia were backlit throughout. Manual roller shades cover all windows except the windshield, which is equipped with an electrically powered shade. A shoe storage drawer in the entry steps is useful for keeping a pair of mud shoes, a dog leash, or other items handy.
These days, electronic accessories are in high demand in any RV, and the Bay Star did not disappoint. The coach comes satellite-ready, with the necessary cables run to an area on the roof, ready to accept a dealer- or owner-installed satellite dish. All entertainment center connections are run through HDMI cabling within the coach. The optional Bose Solo 5 sound bar system provided plenty of dynamic range, and an optional Blu-ray player and connections for a satellite receiver or a DVR were found alongside the off-air antenna connections.
The cockpit is equipped with a six-way power seat on the driver’s side and a manual seat with a footrest on the passenger’s side. Both chairs can swivel rearward to face the living area when parked. The dash AM-FM radio has a CD player as well as Sirius satellite radio capability, although the latter does require a subscription to activate. The color monitor on the dash displays the image from the rear camera or from the turn-signal-actuated side cameras. A folding table on the passenger’s side provides plenty of workspace for the copilot.
A pair of overhead cockpit defroster fans helps to prevent the windshield from fogging and also can be aimed to the rear for additional airflow. The overhead cabinets can be equipped with a 32-inch LED TV; in lieu of the TV, my test unit included an optional drop-down bunk with an electric-release mechanism. When not in use, the bunk stores up against the ceiling, out of the way. A ladder provides access to the bunk.
This coach came with the optional 74-inch-long Fold-N-Tumble sofa, which folds out to a bed for yet another sleeping berth; it is fitted with an air mattress. The dinette, a legless expanding table with chairs, was attached to a deep buffet; both were topped with polished solid-surface material. A 43-inch Vizio LED TV mounted on one corner of the buffet at an angle could be viewed from both the sofa and sitting areas.
The Bay Star’s galley also features polished solid-surface countertops. A three-burner recessed gas cooktop was located beneath removable panels, as was the stainless-steel, dual-basin sink. A 30-inch-wide stainless-steel convection-microwave oven was mounted in the galley’s overhead cabinetry. A window behind the sink brought in additional light and added visibility for those working in the galley. This coach came equipped with a 10-cubic-foot propane-electric RV refrigerator with decorative wood panel inserts and an optional icemaker in the door. An optional 11-cubic-foot residential refrigerator and inverter are available if customers prefer. A nice, wide pantry was located just opposite the galley and refrigerator.
The Bay Star’s bath area utilizes a clever center-pivot six-panel door. When it’s open, the door swings both into the bath and out into the hallway. This makes it easier to access the bath if the slideouts are retracted for travel. The bath contains a solid-surface vanity with a stainless-steel sink. A mirrored medicine cabinet and additional storage cabinets provide plenty of room for bathroom necessities. The china-bowl toilet is located next to the 30-inch-by-40-inch shower stall, which has a sliding glass door enclosure. A ceiling vent fan exhausts moisture from the bath area.
The bedroom revolves around a 72-inch-by-80-inch king-size bed with a memory-foam pillow-top mattress. Solid-surface nightstands flank the bed; on the opposite slideout wall stands a dresser with a solid-surface top, along with dual shirt-length wardrobes. Additional storage is provided in cabinets above the bed. The bedroom also has a 32-inch Vizio LED TV and DVD player; an optional Blu-ray player for this area is available.
The Bay Star’s 120/240-volt electrical system is supplied by a 50-amp power cord and an Onan 5,500-watt generator, both fed through an automatic transfer switch. An energy management system controls excessive loads to eliminate tripping the circuit breaker at the campground pedestal. Customers may choose an optional 1,000-watt inverter to power the televisions and entertainment system. DC power is provided by a pair of 12-volt deep-cycle batteries, which are charged by a 45-amp converter or via the vehicle’s alternator when driving. The test coach was prewired for solar panels and has #6 wire run from the roof to a location near the batteries.
Fresh water needs are handled by a 75-gallon fresh-water tank, a 12-volt water pump, and a whole-house water filter. The 60-gallon gray-water and 40-gallon black-water tanks are emptied via a set of dump control valves and a 3-inch hose. A black-water tank flush system is also standard. A six-gallon gas/electric direct-spark-ignition water heater supplies the various fixtures, including an outside shower attachment.
The coach interior is heated by a 40,000-Btu propane furnace. For cooling, two 13,500-Btu air conditioners with heat pumps mounted on the roof deliver air via supply and return ducts within the ceiling.
At 32 feet 11 inches, the 3226 obviously isn’t as roomy as the longer floor plans in the Bay Star model line. In my opinion, however, Newmar designers did a great job packing as much as they could into this space. The optional overhead cockpit bunk allows for additional sleeping room for the family without the compromises and loss of space common to a design with bunk beds placed midships.
This 32-footer was very maneuverable, even when it came to tighter campsites or parking lots. It drove nice and straight and didn’t wander, while still offering a comfortable ride considering its 208-inch wheelbase. In addition, the excellent insulation used should contribute to a quieter, more comfortable interior environment, both on the road and in the campground.
Although the Bay Star is branded as an entry-level model, I believe it may outpace many similarly priced motorhomes on the market today.
SPECS | BAY STAR 3226
Newmar Corporation, 355 Delaware St., Nappanee, IN 46550; (800) 731-8300; www.newmarcorp.com
Ford 6.8-liter Triton V-10; 320 horsepower at 4,750 rpm; 450 pound-feet torque at 3,250 rpm
TorqShift 6-speed automatic with tow/haul mode
5.38 to 1
Michelin XRV 235/80R22.5 load range G
front — disc;
rear — drum with 4-wheel antilock braking system
front and rear multileaf tapered springs
Sachs gas-pressurized shocks
TRW TAS 40 Gear
house — (2) 12-volt deep-cycle;
chassis — 12-volt 78 AH/750 cca, maintenance-free
50-amp with electrical management system
32 feet 11 inches
12 feet 8 inches
6 feet 8 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 8,000 pounds;
rear — 15,000 pounds
NET CARRYING CAPACITY (NCC)
(weighed with full fuel, fresh water, and driver)
front axle — 6,810 pounds;
rear axle — 12,200 pounds;
total — 19,010 pounds
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 60 gallons;
black water — 40 gallons
6-gallon gas/electric, direct-spark ignition
40,000 Btu propane
(2) 13,500 Btu with heat pumps
10-cubic-foot Norcold propane-electric, standard; ice maker, optional; 11-cubic-foot residential refrigerator and inverter, optional
Dometic china bowl
coach — 1 year/unlimited miles, limited warranty;
structural — 5 years, nontransferable
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED