Redesigned for 2020, this diesel-pusher motorhome blends modern touches with traditional décor and delivers luxury features at a relatively modest price tag.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Thor Motor Coach’s Venetian diesel-pusher motorhome underwent a major transformation for the 2020 model year. Second only to the Tuscany in Thor Motor Coach’s luxury diesel-pusher lineup, the Venetian is packed with a number of new features and design changes, and it benefits from an extensive quality control process. All of this combines to bring about an impressive motorhome. I recently had the opportunity to review a unit with the R40 floor plan, one of three available options. The R40 and the L40 are 40 feet 10 inches long. The B42 measures 42 feet 10 inches long and is equipped with a tag axle.
All Venetians are built on Thor’s Atlas Foundation, which adds strength and rigidity to the Freightliner XC-R chassis. Steel framework supports the oriented strand board (OSB) flooring, and aluminum tubing forms the framework for all sidewall cage members and the roof. The fiberglass sidewall and roof panels are vacuum-bond laminated with block-foam insulation. The one-piece molded-fiberglass roof is super strong and weighs 500 pounds.
The Freightliner XC-R raised-rail chassis has a 266-inch wheelbase and, as noted, the Venetian also incorporates Thor’s Atlas Foundation. Freightliner’s air suspension, with V-Ride rear suspension, provides a smooth and stable ride. Power for the R40 is provided by an 8.9-liter Cummins L9 engine that produces 380 horsepower and 1,150 pound-feet of torque. The L40 has the same configuration. The 42-foot 10-inch B42 incorporates a 400-horsepower engine with 1,250 pound-feet of torque.
In all three floor plans, an Allison 3000 MH Series six-speed automatic transmission delivers plenty of “go” power to the drive axle, while front disc and rear drum ABS air brakes and an engine exhaust brake provide plenty of “whoa” power. A rear radiator, a solid I-beam front axle, and a 55-degree wheel cut finish off the chassis.
Both of the 40-foot Venetian models are equipped with a 10,000-pound-rated trailer hitch; the 42-foot B42 has a 15,000-pound hitch. Heated power mirrors and automatic hydraulic leveling jacks come standard. A 100-gallon diesel fuel tank with dual fills and a 13-gallon DEF tank keep the engine fed, while Michelin LT295/80R22.5 X series tires on 8.25-inch polished aluminum wheels carry it down the road.
The 40-foot Venetians have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 38,700 pounds and a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 48,700 pounds. On the 42-foot coach, these numbers increase to 44,700 pounds GVWR and 59,700 pounds GCWR. The R40 has a front gross axle weight rating (GAWR) of 14,700 pounds and a rear axle rating of 24,000 pounds. Actual scale readings on the review unit were 11,756 pounds on the front axle and 20,376 pounds on the rear axle, which yields an effective cargo carrying capacity of 6,568 pounds.
The review coach was finished in the Arrowhead full-body paint scheme, one of four available choices. Invisible front paint protection, frameless dual-pane windows, and a rear ladder are all standard. The Venetian comes with a Girard power-operated 16-foot lateral-arm patio awning with LED lighting, as well as a power entry door awning. Thor designers increased the width of the entry door from 25 inches to 30 inches in the 2020 model to allow easier passage, especially when carrying supplies into the motorhome.
A patio-side exterior entertainment center houses a 39-inch LED TV on a swivel arm for easy viewing and a Bluetooth sound bar that meets any audio needs. This year’s redesign also includes an attractive Thor logo on the front cap that is backlit by LED lighting. A keyless entry system also is standard.
The R40 floor plan features a full master bath in the rear as well as a mid-coach half bath. The unit is designed to sleep six, although a configuration with optional furniture makes it capable of sleeping eight.
The test unit was done in the Arctic Cloud interior décor, one of three available choices, with the Pacific high-gloss glazed hardwood cabinetry and woodwork. Amherst is another available wood option. A polished porcelain tile floor, leatherette seating, and slow-rise day-night roller shades are used throughout the coach. All cabinet doors feature raised panels and nickel-finish hardware.
All lighting, exterior and interior, is LED in the 2020 models. Thor’s Rapid Camp+, a full-house multiplex wiring system, controls the interior lighting as well as other basic utility functions of the motorhome via a 7-inch touch-screen display and a mobile app. Additional wireless control panels are backlit and can be used to operate the lighting from nearby locations.
Of course, no modern motorhome would be complete without a killer entertainment system, and the Venetian does not disappoint in this area. The coach is cable-TV ready and features an HDMI system to transmit signals throughout the vehicle. One Sony Blu-ray player is located in the main living area and another is in the bedroom. A Winegard Trav’ler automatic satellite dish is standard, so all you have to do is add your favorite satellite subscription and receiver to watch the latest satellite TV programming.
The rooftop-mounted Winegard ConnecT 2.0 receives and boosts campground Wi-Fi signals and rebroadcasts them on a local wireless network for all of your wireless devices. This system also can be equipped with a SIM card to receive 4G cellular data signals and broadcast them on your internal Wi-Fi network. Currently, the system supports SIM cards from AT&T and Verizon, but more carriers are forthcoming. The motorhome also comes with a Winegard digital HDTV antenna to receive over-the-air TV stations.
Thor designers revised the Venetian’s cockpit area for 2020, and it is especially inviting. The Freightliner Optiview digital dash provides custom displays of instrumentation and interfaces with many chassis components, providing information ranging from transmission status to the barometric pressure outdoors. DriveTech controls on the VIP steering wheel allow easy toggling through the many available display screens. A push-button engine start system eliminates fiddling around for keys, which can remain in your pocket as you drive the coach.
The second commanding feature in the Venetian’s cockpit is the 15.7-inch touch-screen display on the center console. This huge screen is easy to see and is used for multiple functions, such as controlling the radio and the rearview and side-view cameras, as well as for navigation. The screen can be split to offer dual functions simultaneously — for instance, rear or side camera views at the top and GPS navigation on the lower half.
The six-way power-adjustable cockpit seats are comfortable. The passenger seat is equipped with a power footrest, and both seats recline and rotate to face the rear when additional accommodations are needed in the living area.
A power-operated overhead bunk provides comfortable sleeping space for guests. This bunk lowers from the ceiling at the touch of a button and offers a 54-inch-by-74-inch bed capable of supporting up to 500 pounds. The bunk is equipped with a Cotton Cloud mattress. The cabinets in the front overhead area remain accessible whether the bed is stored or lowered. Buyers have the option of asking that the bunk be removed from the coach.
The main salon is equipped with a large driver-side flat-floor slideout that holds the dining table. The buffet dinette incorporates a table and chairs and seats two or four by extending the table and using the two extra folding chairs. A 74-inch booth-style Dream Dinette is available as an option and increases the sleeping capacity of the R40 to eight people.
The street-side slideout also holds a 65-inch-long sofa bed, with a retractable 55-inch LED smart TV on a power lift immediately behind the sofa. A 40-inch HD TV is located on the end wall, next to the dinette. The latter TV can be viewed from the sofa or galley area and hangs directly above an electric fireplace. Additional furniture options also are available, such as a desk with a Euro recliner, or a sofa bed in lieu of the curbside theater seating.
The full-wall curbside slideout houses the aforementioned 68-inch-wide reclining theater seating at the front, immediately across the aisle from the 55-inch LED TV for optimal viewing. Directly aft of this seating is the galley area. At 7 feet long, this large galley offers plenty of work space. A wide pull-out cabinet adds even more counter space when needed. The solid-surface galley countertop holds a dual-bowl, flush-mounted stainless-steel sink equipped with a tall faucet that has a pull-out sprayer. A decorative tile backsplash extends from the countertop to the base of the overhead cabinets and surrounds the window by the kitchen sink.
A two-burner electric induction cooktop is recessed into the countertop and can be removed for use when cooking outdoors. Both the sink and the cooktop come with removable solid-surface covers that afford more counter space if needed. Pop-up outlets in the kitchen counter provide power for various kitchen appliances. A 1.9-cubic-foot convection-microwave oven is located in the overhead cabinetry and is vented to the outside. Completing the galley area is a 21-cubic-foot residential refrigerator trimmed in stainless steel and equipped with an in-the-door ice and water dispenser.
Across from the fridge is the mid-coach bath, which houses a toilet and a vanity topped with a solid-surface counter and sink. A mirrored medicine cabinet hangs above the vanity, and a power exhaust fan is located in the ceiling.
The area between the half bath and the living area’s 40-inch TV and fireplace incorporates a pull-out pantry. It has shelves that provide plenty of space for storing nonperishable food items. The connection for the central vacuum system and the toe-kick dustpan are located at the base of the pantry.
Raised-panel doors separate the bedroom from the front of the motorhome. The head of the 72-inch-by-80-inch Tilt-A-View king-size bed rises to a comfortable position for reading or for viewing the 32-inch LED HD TV in the slideout opposite the foot of the bed. This slideout also holds a pair of wardrobes, a dresser with a solid-surface top, and plenty of drawers. Additional storage is available in cabinets over the head of the bed. Pop-up USB charging ports are found in each of the nightstands. A ceiling fan provides comfortable airflow.
The R40’s rear bath contains a roomy, 42-inch-by-30-inch seamless granite-textured fiberglass shower with an integral seat and a hinged glass door. A magazine rack hangs above the macerator toilet, and the rear of the coach houses the vanity. The vanity features a solid-surface top and sink. A decorative tile backsplash extends from the vanity to the mirror on the rear wall. A pair of pull-out cabinets in the corner area between the shower and vanity offer abundant storage in space that otherwise would be wasted.
The opposite corner holds a laundry center that comes with a stacked washer and dryer behind attractive louvered doors as standard equipment. A 12-volt ceiling exhaust fan serves this area.
The Venetian is an all-electric motorhome, so any basement space that would be required for a propane tank is available for storage. A 50-amp cord on a power-retractable reel and an Onan 10-kw Quiet Diesel generator with automatic generator start supply 120-volt power. Both are fed through a SurgeGuard 40350-RVC automatic transfer switch with built-in surge and low- or high-voltage protection. An energy management system oversees loads to prevent tripping the pedestal breaker.
A bank of six 6-volt deep-cycle flooded batteries meets the coach’s 12-volt-DC power needs and also serves the Magnum 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter. The inverter supplies 120-volt-AC power to the refrigerator and various receptacles during travel, or whenever the generator or the shore power is not in use. A 100-watt roof-mounted solar panel connects to a charge controller in the basement to supply additional amp-hours to help keep the batteries charged.
An Aqua-Hot 250D hydronic heating system provides interior coach heat as well as domestic hot water. The 250D is a newer model that is more compact than the Aqua-Hot 400 series and takes up less space in the basement, allowing for more cargo storage. At 40,000 Btu, the 250D is more than adequate to keep the Venetian nice and toasty in cold weather. Three rooftop air conditioners keep the motorhome interior cool during hot weather. These 15,000-Btu units also are equipped with heat pumps for mildly cool days.
The wet utility bay houses most plumbing functions. It has connections for the sewer hose, black-tank flush sprayer, and fresh-water supply. The 91-gallon fresh-water tank, the 51-gallon black-water holding tank, and the 70-gallon gray-water holding tank all are heated to prevent freezing. A power-rewind hose reel holds 50 feet of water hose, and a whole-house water filter and outside shower also occupy this compartment, along with the usual valves and controls.
The updates and changes to the 2020 Venetian combined to make this a very attractive motorhome. It blends some contemporary touches with traditional décor, without going to an extreme in either direction. With a choice of three well-thought-out floor plans, the Venetian should appeal to a wide number of potential owners who are looking for the room, ride, and performance of a nicely equipped diesel pusher at a moderate price tag.
Specs | Thor Motor Coach Venetiatn R40
Thor Motor Coach, P.O. Box 1486, Elkhart, IN 46515; (800) 860-5658; www.thormotorcoach.com
Freightliner XC-R raised rail
Cummins L9, 8.9 liters; 380 horsepower at 2,000 rpm; 1,150 pound-feet torque at 1,400 rpm
Allison 3000 MH, 6-speed
4.78 to 1
Michelin LT295/80R22.5 X series
8.25-inch polished aluminum
Full air front disc and rear drum with antilock braking system
air, with V-Ride rear suspension
VIP tilt/telescoping smart wheel
chassis — (2) Group 31, 12-volt, maintenance-free, 1,900 cca; house — (6) 6-volt deep-cycle, flooded
10-kw Onan Quiet Diesel with auto start
Magnum 2,000-watt pure sine wave
40 feet 10 inches
12 feet 10 inches (with roof A/C)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 14, 700 pounds;
rear — 24,000 pounds
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
(with full fuel, fresh water, optional accessories)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 70 gallons;
black water — 51 gallons
100 gallons diesel; 13 gallons DEF
Aqua-Hot 250D hydronic heating
Aqua-Hot 250D hydronic heating
(3) 15,000-Btu with heat pumps
(2) porcelain with macerator at rear position
chassis — 3 years/36,000 miles; house — 1 year/15,000 miles bumper to bumper and 3 years structural
MANUFACTURER’S ADVERTISED SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED