In the Super C motorhome category the Explorer fills a niche between the largest king-of-the-road coaches and the midlevel models.
By Mark Quasius, F33630
Folks interested in “Super C” motorhomes have long been intrigued by the models produced by Renegade RV. But a gap existed between the company’s 360-horsepower Verona LE, built on a Freightliner M2 chassis, and the tandem-axle Renegade XL, based on Freightliner’s larger Cascadia chassis, with engines in the 600-horsepower range.
To fill the slot in between, Renegade resurrected the Explorer nameplate for model year 2022 and debuted a new motorhome. This Super C includes a ton of features that should satisfy buyers interested in a bit more than the Verona offers but not all the higher-level amenities found in the XL.
The Explorer features quality construction and fit and finish. Its Cascadia chassis is commonly used in larger Super Cs and 18-wheelers plying the nation’s highways. Its cockpit is designed for drivers who need to spend lots of time behind the wheel, with most everything within easy access.
The Cascadia comes in two variations. Large over-the-road tractors, as well as Renegade’s XL motorhome, are based on the Cascadia 126, which boasts a 16-liter engine; the “126” represents the BBC (bumper to back of cab) measurement. The Explorer is based on the shorter Cascadia 116 and derives power from a Detroit DD13 diesel engine. Its nose is 1 foot shorter than the Cascadia 126, which improves up-close vision and maneuverability in tight spots.
I was able to obtain the Explorer 40ERB for this review. This 40-foot-5-inch-long motorhome on the Cascadia 116 chassis is propelled by a 505-horsepower Detroit Diesel DD13 engine. An Allison TRV4000 transmission handles the 1,850 pound-feet of torque and is managed by a controller stalk mounted to the right of the steering column, which can be used to select gears manually if desired.
The 40ERB has a 41,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and a 61,000-pound gross combination weight rating (GCWR); its front and rear gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) are 18,000 pounds and 23,000 pounds, respectively. Actual weights on our test unit were 14,570 pounds on the front axle and 20,000 pounds on the rear, for a total weight of 34,570 pounds. This provides a realistic, and generous, cargo carrying capacity of 6,430 pounds.
A 20,000-pound-rated trailer hitch, electric brakes, and a seven-way lighting socket easily handle towing needs. The four-wheel antilock air disc brakes, plus the three-speed engine compression brake, provide excellent stopping power. The 120-gallon diesel fuel tank and 13-gallon DEF tank offer driver-side refueling at truck stops. The Equalizer Systems four-point hydraulic leveling jacks can be activated by a cockpit control panel or remotely via a smartphone app.
Longitudinal beams of tubular steel in 6-inch and 1½-inch stacks rest over the main frame rails; they are mounted with a nylon backer to prevent road noise and vibrations from entering the interior. A 2-inch welded tubular floor joist system stacks over the rails to support the “Super Sandwich” framed floor. The sandwich includes a galvanized steel vapor barrier and a 2×4 wood-framed residential floor system that is topped with ¾-inch fir plywood decking and filled with Rockwool Safe’n’Sound insulation to provide fire and sound protection.
Sidewalls are 2 inches thick and vacuum-laminated with foam insulation and welded aluminum framing. Window and door openings are also framed with aluminum tubing. Vetroresina fiberglass sidewall material forms the outer layer; interior panels have an Azdel substrate to prevent water absorption and delamination.
For the roof, trusses also are constructed with welded aluminum structural tubing and high-density foam and covered by a single piece of fiberglass. The insulation is continuous and uncut to preserve maximum insulation properties. Overhead ductwork and wiring are run in an attic cavity between the crowned roof and flat ceiling.
The test coach sported the Midnight three-color full-body paint scheme, one of five available choices. The streamlined cab-over cap blends with the sidewalls to provide a seamless fit. The cab transitions to the wider body with stylish flares, further streamlining the airflow. This also resulted in a nice, quiet drive without any noticeable wind noise. Fiberglass fairings combine with stainless-steel step treads beneath the cab doors and cover the diesel fuel and DEF tank fillers.
Standard equipment includes a Girard Vision power awning with LED lighting; frameless, insulated deep-tinted windows; and keyless entry. Across the rear, a full-width mudflap trimmed with stainless steel bears the Renegade logo. Docking and backup lights facilitate hitching up a towed vehicle or trailer at night. All lighting on the Explorer, inside and outside, is LED. An exterior 43-inch 4K LED TV and a sound bar are stowed in a dedicated patio-side compartment.
The basement compartments are built with powder-coated welded steel and paired with some of the best doors I’ve seen. The doors are framed in aluminum and laminated with aluminum skins over high-density foam insulation. To avoid the flexing that can occur when driving at highway speeds, allowing moisture, air, and road dirt to enter storage compartments, these doors have dual latch points. Each latch connects to a U-bolt that can be adjusted to achieve a tight fit. The doors closed easily, with a satisfying “thunk.”
The test coach featured Moonstone interior décor, one of three available choices. Hardwood maple cabinets and woodwork were finished in a selection called Woodstock. All drawers feature dovetail construction and have soft-close ball-bearing slides. The soft-touch padded vinyl ceiling runs throughout the motorhome, as does the polished porcelain floor tile, which is heated. Ultraleather fabric covers all furniture. The interior is comfortable and spacious enough to move around in even with the slideouts retracted.
The cockpit is easy to access from the rest of the motorhome. There is no deep step to negotiate, and the overhead cabinetry allows plenty of clearance. A curtain closes it off from the living area.
The dash incorporates seemingly every control and instrument required for coach operation. A Garmin infotainment center handles the various entertainment sources and needs and provides access to numerous apps and the Garmin GPS navigation software. The head of the unit can be removed and used as a small tablet by the copilot when traveling; Bluetooth connectivity keeps it in touch with the magnetic docking station in the dash. Heated air-ride seats are comfortable and provide lumbar support.
The curbside slideout contains an Apex Custom Furniture 72-inch sofa bed and a booth-style dinette that also converts to sleeping space. Overhead cabinetry provides ample space for cargo and contains control panels for some coach utilities.
The driver’s-side slideout holds the galley and the entertainment center. An 18-cubic-foot residential French-door refrigerator is located in front; next to it, a large pantry with pull-out shelving stores nonperishables. The solid-surface countertop contains a two-burner induction cooktop and a flush-mounted solid-surface sink. A tile backsplash covers the wall behind it. A 1.7-cubic-foot microwave-convection oven resides in the overhead cabinetry.
The countertop extends to the left of the galley, where a 50-inch 4K LED TV hangs above it. An electric fireplace and cabinets for entertainment system components, such as the satellite TV receiver and Blu-ray player, are located below.
Power entry steps allow access to the midship entry door. An adjacent closet provides convenient storage for coats and other items that need to be kept at the ready. Opposite is a half bath, which contains a macerator toilet, a vanity with a recessed sink basin, an overhead medicine cabinet, and a ceiling exhaust fan.
In the bedroom, a driver’s-side slideout contains the head of a 66-inch-by-74-inch bed with an iRelax memory-foam mattress, along with a padded headboard and overhead cabinets. Directly across is a second slideout, which includes a dresser flanked by closets, a 32-inch 4K LED TV, and a window. A ceiling fan and a second roof air conditioner complete the bedroom.
The flat floor continues into the rear full bath. A second macerator toilet and a ceiling exhaust fan are located here, along with a solid-surface 36-inch-by-30-inch shower with a tiled horizontal accent stripe and a glass door. The vanity contains a recessed solid-surface sink, with a mirrored medicine cabinet above. To their right is an area prepped for an optional stackable washer and dryer.
The Explorer is all electric, so no propane tank is aboard. Electrical needs are met by two 8D absorbed glass mat (AGM) batteries and a Magnum 3,000-watt hybrid true sine wave inverter. A 50-amp power cord reel and an Onan 8,000-watt Quiet Diesel generator provide 120-volt-AC power; in addition, three optional 175-watt roof-mounted solar panels can supply battery charging power for dry camping on sunny days. The multiplex wiring system also manages the Onan generator and its automatic generator start module via a color touch-screen control panel or a smartphone app.
A Winegard ConnecT 2.0 mounted on the roof creates an internal Wi-Fi network via a 4G SIM card or a campground Wi-Fi hot spot. An optional Winegard Trav’ler automatic satellite dish was mounted on the roof of the test coach, supplying a satellite connection to the TVs; this replaced the standard in-motion dome.
Heating and cooling needs are met by the Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic heating system. This setup utilizes a diesel burner or electric heating element to provide interior heat, as well as unlimited domestic hot water. The boiler also preheats the engine. Two 15,000-Btu ducted roof air conditioners with heat pumps cool the interior.
The wet bay contains the usual collection of valves and controls required to manage the fresh- and waste-water systems. Labels for these items are carved into the panel via a water-jet system, so they will never fade or fall off. A whole-house water filtration system is located here also. Renegade’s 150-gallon fresh-water tank and 75-gallon black-water and 75-gallon gray-water holding tanks come with electric heat strips to prevent freezing in cold weather.
Driving And Final Impressions
The Renegade Explorer’s Cascadia cockpit is driver-friendly and intuitive. Steering feel was excellent, and the coach went right where it was pointed. The motorhome exhibited less roll and sway than some I’ve driven on the smaller M2 chassis. The 505-horsepower DD13 engine moved the coach smartly when the go pedal was pressed and should be beneficial when towing or driving in the mountains. The four-wheel air disc brakes and three-speed engine compression brake made it easy to slow down. Wind noise was absent at highway speeds, and the RV was quiet in general.
The steering-column-mounted stalk for the Allison TRV4000 transmission was easy to access but took some getting used to. But before long, it became intuitive. This setup would be useful if one wants to select gears manually when driving in mountainous terrain.
The Cascadia chassis is equipped with the latest safety technology: collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning, all controllable by smart buttons on the steering wheel. Of course, that large hood in front and the aluminum cab provide additional protection. I did notice that the Explorer’s slightly shorter hood, when compared to the larger-engine Cascadia chassis, made it easier to see where the front of the coach ends — useful when maneuvering in tight quarters.
Most features come standard in the Explorer. RVers who are interested in the specialized category of Super C motorhomes may find that this new model already contains much of what they want.
SPECIFICATIONS | RENEGADE EXPLORER
Renegade RV, 55216 S.R. 15, Bristol, IN 46507; (888) 522-1126, (574) 846-1126; www.renegaderv.com
Freightliner Cascadia 116
Detroit Diesel DD13; 505 horsepower at 1,625 rpm; 1,850 pound-feet torque
3.58 to 1
front — 315/80R22.5, 20-ply;
rear — 295/80R22.5, 16-ply
antilock disc air with ABS
front — taper leaf; rear — air ride
front and rear
TRW power steering
chassis — (3) 12-volt lead acid;
house — (2) group 8D AGM
Onan 8,000-watt diesel
40 feet 5 inches
13 feet 2 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 18,000 pounds; rear — 23,000 pounds
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
front axle — 14,570 pounds;
rear axle — 20,000 pounds;
total — 34,570 pounds
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
6,430 pounds as tested (full fuel, fresh water, optional accessories)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 75 gallons;
black water — 75 gallons
120 gallons; 13 gallons DEF
Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic heating system
Aqua-Hot 450D hydronic heating system
(2) 15,000-Btu units with heat pumps
18-cubic-foot stainless-steel residential
(2) with macerator
coach — 1 year/unlimited miles, limited;
structural — 3 years/36,000 miles, limited;
chassis — 1 year/100,000 miles, basic (contact Renegade for additional details)
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
AS-TESTED SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE