This new diesel-pusher motorhome embodies technology and innovation, along with attractive creature comforts.
By Lazelle Jones
When industry experience, technical know-how, and a forward-thinking team share a common vision, the stage is set for “next generation” product development. Holiday Rambler, part of REV Group, is such an example. Company officials also factor in input from customer focus groups and a sound understanding of household economies.
This combination of knowledge and research has enabled Holiday Rambler’s designers to address a specific slice of the RV market that continues to be in demand. The result: the all-new 2020 Nautica diesel-pusher motorhome. Additional floor plans for model-year 2021 are scheduled for introduction shortly.
To learn about this new Type A motorhome, I recently connected with Doug Miller, REV Group’s Class A product manager. He walked me through the Nautica’s design and construction, as well as features related to its livability, utility, and functionality. The following description also includes specifics of the 35MS floor plan, the largest of the four the company plans to offer.
Two floor plans currently are available, and two are in development. The coach is available in three lengths. These feature either three or four slideout rooms, depending on the floor plan. All are being built on Freightliner chassis, incorporating its raised-rail technology. This chassis design adds approximately 9 inches of height between the bottom of the interior floor and the ground, which means the basement cargo bays are 9 inches taller. That converts directly to increased storage volume in the coach-wide storage bays. The Nautica can be outfitted with an optional roll-out storage tray that extends out both sides, enabling RVers to access gear from the street side or curb side of the unit.
The Nautica 35MS is 38 feet 4 inches long and 102 inches wide; from the ground to the top of the twin 13,500-Btu roof air conditioners, it measures 12 feet 10 inches. The gross axle weight rating (GAWR) at the front is 12,400 pounds, while the GAWR of the rear axle is 20,000 pounds. The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 32,400 pounds. The coach comes standard with a 10,000-pound-rated receiver hitch. Mr. Miller stated that, as with any RV, the loaded coach should be weighed ahead of time to determine how much weight it can tow.
The base manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the 35MS is approximately $287,000, and when appointed with all options, it comes in at just under $300,000.
Mr. Miller noted that REV/Holiday Rambler has not built a raised-rail diesel-pusher motorhome in probably a dozen years, but through engineering and design, the costs typically associated with more expensive units built on raised-rail chassis have been contained; thus, the Nautica is competitive with the straight-rail and bridge-construction-type chassis offered. Company officials worked closely with Freightliner to achieve this, he added.
Perhaps equally important, the new Nautica comes standard with a 340-horsepower Cummins diesel engine. The 340 Cummins develops 700 pound-feet of torque. With the coach’s 100-gallon fuel tank, the driving range may be as much as 1,000 miles. This allows the RV enthusiast flexibility to choose when and where to make fuel stops.
Let’s do a deep dive into the systems that make the Nautica special. First, the motorhome is all electric. That means no need for a propane tank. In the galley, the induction cooktop heats via shore power or the generator. The 18.7-cubic-foot residential refrigerator/freezer operates one of three ways: shore-power; the standard 2,000-watt true sine wave inverter, which takes 12-volt-DC power from the four deep-cycle lead-acid house batteries and inverts it; or from the auxiliary generator.
Other electrics powered by the inverter are select 120-volt house receptacles for the entertainment system components. The standard twin 13,500-Btu roof air-conditioning units operate on shore power or the diesel generator. (Two 15,000-Btu roof air units are optional.) The standard 6-kw Onan diesel generator makes the Nautica capable of remaining off the grid for days on end. The roof can be equipped with solar panels to add to that capability.
The auxiliary diesel generator comes standard with an auto-start function that keeps the house batteries charged even when no one is at home. With this feature, the refrigerator remains cold, even if the house batteries drop to a low voltage state. The central residential digital control pad is designed to sense the desired interior temperature; when a designated temperature set point is reached, the auto-start feature engages the generator. When the gen set is loaded (and delivering 120-volt AC to the system), the roof air conditioners automatically come online. The wall-mounted digital control pad permits occupants to set different desired temperature levels for the front and the rear of the coach. The Nautica provides 50-amp shore power with a 30-foot power cable.
The motorhome interior, holding tanks, and cargo bays are warmed with the Aqua-Hot hydronic heating system. It incorporates a diesel-fired boiler that draws fuel from the main fuel tank. The boiler heats a self-contained fluid (similar to antifreeze) in a closed loop that circulates the fluid to four heating zones, where heat exchangers and fans move the warm air. Three zones are located in the living areas: one in the bedroom, and two up front. A fourth zone in the basement heats the holding tank area, the water lines, and the cargo bay area itself. The Aqua-Hot’s pumps and fans are DC-powered and use the house batteries as their energy source.
The Nautica’s roof, walls, and interior floor are composed of welded aluminum structural members, block-foam insulation, exterior sheets of fiberglass, and interior composite wall board; all layers are vacuum-laminated to form a single unit. For safety reasons, Holiday Rambler does not advocate that RVers go up on the roof, although structurally it is designed to carry the weight of an individual for inspections, etc.
The exterior receives four applications of paint, followed by two layers of clear coat. Four paint and graphics choices are available. Other amenities include smart-looking frameless windows made with tempered automotive glass.
In the basement cargo bays, the walls, floors, and doors feature block-foam-core insulation; it is sandwiched between the exterior wall and the inside floor of each bay, along with a layer of fiberglass sheeting on the inside. This fiberglass sheet is impervious to grime and moisture and cleans up nicely. The bay doors open in the middle and swing out. This creates unobstructed access to items stowed in the compartments, and permits the roll-out tray in the 35MS to extend and retract from both sides of the unit.
Kudos to the Nautica’s designers for including wedge-shaped holding tanks. Each tank facilitates draining, thanks to its dedicated low point. This helps prevent the buildup of residue in the gray- and black-water tanks. The wedge shape also makes it possible for the fresh-water tank to hold 100 gallons of usable water. PEX flexible water lines are used in this motorhome, which are said to be less affected by cold temperatures than other products, such as PVC.
The Nautica’s main entry door is all the way forward, similar to that seen in bus conversions. The stairwell rises to meet an interior floor that is level throughout the coach. A pneumatic stairwell cover conceals the steps when they are not being accessed. The driver sits in a six-way power adjustable seat; the passenger’s seat is available with optional power adjustment and power footrest.
The dash incorporates an OptiView digital instrument cluster. This new technology features an LCD antiglare display, touch-screen radio and input operation, Bluetooth steering wheel controls, and camera system views. For safety and convenience, the Drive Tech steering wheel incorporates dash controls. The steering column tilts and telescopes.
The single-piece windshield hosts wipers that are mounted from above; they articulate down and up to remove moisture. As noted, the raised-rail chassis makes the coach 9 inches higher, which improves the driver’s view of distant objects. The Nautica is equipped with 22.5-inch wheels. Heavy-duty front and rear axles contribute to a smooth ride. The motorhome’s Freightliner V-Ride rear suspension is said to improve stability, especially when driving into and out of curves.
Side-view cameras, integrated into the front-mount mirrors, activate when the turn signals are engaged, providing real-time information about what is taking place down the sides of the RV.
So, you arrive at a destination after enjoying the drive and the handling of this all-new motorhome. Time to enjoy the Nautica’s layout and amenities.
The 35MS has four slideouts. They are actuated via battery power, the auxiliary generator, or shore power. The 50-amp electrical cable extends and retracts at the touch of a button. Activate the coach leveling system, and touch the slideout controls. Extend the power electric awning, sit out your camp chairs, and kick back with a favorite beverage. The Dometic power patio awning can be tilted for tailored sun protection. To avoid damage, a wind sensor automatically retracts the awning if it detects powerful gusts. The 35MS floor plan includes an exterior entertainment center with a 50-inch LED TV.
Three interior décor packages and four choices of wood cabinetry are offered. Solid-surface countertops vary with the décor package selected, as does the flooring. No carpet is used. The residential-style Tarkett vinyl flooring is designed to be low-maintenance.
Cabinets, drawers, pantries, closets, and wardrobes seem to line the Nautica from stem to stern. In the rear bedroom, floor-to-ceiling wardrobes and closets extend across the back wall. This coach can be appointed with an optional stackable washer-dryer combo. The 35MS has opposing slideouts in the bedroom. An Encore Series adjustable king-size bed on the street side measures 72 inches by 75 inches. The bed faces the curbside slideout, which contains more wardrobe storage, along with a lavatory sink. A 32-inch LED TV is angled on a small wall for viewing from bed.
Just ahead of the bedroom is the galley, which in the 35MS resides in the front street-side slideout. The induction cooktop contains two burners. A microwave-convection oven sits above it, and an 18.7-cubic-foot residential refrigerator/freezer is located alongside. To the right, a farm-style twin-basin sink is surrounded by solid-surface counters, with cabinets above and roll-out drawers below.
Opposite the galley is the residential-style bathroom. It hosts a 25-inch-by-36-inch shower, a porcelain toilet, and a lavatory surrounded by a solid-surface countertop.
Farther forward, plentiful seating in the 35MS includes a 74-inch jackknife dinette and, across from it, a 70-inch sofa sleeper with a pull-out full-size bed. An optional motion power recliner sofa can be chosen in place of the sofa sleeper. An angled wall houses a 40-inch LED smart TV; below it, an electric fireplace takes the chill off on cool nights.
To accommodate guests, an optional drop-down queen-size bed can be added above the cockpit; it remains disguised overhead until needed at nighttime. A 32-inch LED TV is included with this option.
After learning about the new Nautica diesel pusher, I concluded that it may suit the seasoned motorhome enthusiast as well as someone who is interested in trying out the RV lifestyle in a big way. Holiday Rambler has made the most of today’s technology, blending it with livable features many RVers will enjoy.
Specs | Holiday Rambler Nautica 35MS
Holiday Rambler, 1031 U.S. 224 E., Decatur, IN 46733; (800) 322-8216; www.holidayrambler.com
Freightliner XCR, raised rail
Cummins 6.7-liter; 340 horsepower @ 2,600 rpm
Allison 2500 MH 6-speed automatic with electronic shift
Meritor air drum with ABS, front and rear
front — Neway AS120;
rear — Freightliner V-Ride
chassis — (2) 1,900 cca;
house — (4) 6-volt deep-cycle
38 feet 4 inches
12 feet 10 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATINGS (GAWR)
front — 12,400 pounds;
rear — 20,000 pounds
solid bead foam
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 65 gallons;
black water — 45 gallons
Aqua-Hot hydronic heating
Aqua Hot hydronic heating
(2) 13,500-Btu units, standard; (2) 15,000-Btu units, optional
18.7-cubic foot residential; 120-volt electric
(1) porcelain foot-flush with water saver
BASE MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE