This solidly constructed fifth-wheel incorporates many details that enhance its performance and comfort in any season, including ample space to spread out.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Grand Design RV produces a wide range of towable RVs and has a large following of satisfied owners. The Solitude is the company’s flagship fifth-wheel, an extended-stay model designed for full-time living or for anyone who wants a quality RV to spend some time in. While a wide range of floor plans are available, for this review we selected the five-slideout 382WB, featuring four separate living spaces: a large rear bath, a massive bedroom, a gourmet kitchen, and a forward lounge.
At 101 inches wide, the Solitude is a bit larger than the typical 96-inch-wide fifth-wheel. The additional 5 inches offers a number of benefits, in addition to producing more interior floor and storage space. Wider frame-rail spacing gives the RV a broader stance, and, thus, greater stability when it is being towed. It also provides a wider leveling jack stance and allows more of the flooring to rest on the main frame rails rather than the outriggers, resulting in a more stable floor.
The Solitude uses upgraded I-beam frame rails. The 382WB’s main rails are 12 inches wide. All the main living slideouts and six-point automatic leveling jacks are hydraulic instead of electric. The frame rests on 7,000-pound-rated axles with eight-lug wheels and is supported by a MORryde suspension. A MORryde hitch box provides a smooth-riding connection to the towing vehicle. The RV incorporates a five-sided aluminum cage; the only wood used for structural purposes is found in the roof trusses.
The main floor is triple-insulated with a radiant foil barrier and two layers of fiberglass insulation, yielding an R-45 value. The sidewalls, rear wall, slide room end walls, and slide room roof all have welded aluminum framing and are laminated with rigid foam insulation, yielding an R-11 value. The R-40 roof incorporates fiberglass insulation and radiant foil that extends the length of the roof and around to the bottom of the front cap. The vented attic improves the effectiveness of the insulation by preventing condensation from building up in that area. Fiberglass insulation under the gooseneck and 1.5-inch insulation in the baggage doors are used. Aluminum rails hold the corrugated underbelly barrier tight to form a better seal against the elements. The fully enclosed underbelly sports a heated cargo area, along with heated tanks.
Grand Design put the Solitude through extended cold- and hot-weather tests. At 110 degrees, the air-conditioning was able to drop the internal temperature by 28 degrees. At 4 degrees, the interior temperature averaged 76 degrees front to back, and there were no water line freeze-ups, just by running the furnace and 12-volt heat pads. This testing was with the standard single-pane windows; dual-pane windows are a $2,509 option.
The exterior of the Solitude comes standard with high-gloss gel-coat fiberglass sidewalls and a painted front cap. Frameless tinted windows and a pair of large power patio awnings with LED lighting are standard. The walk-on roof is covered with seamless thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) material, which comes with an 18-year warranty.
The 30-inch-wide entry door is accessed via a Lippert Solid Step; a door-side spray port is handy for hosing off mud before folding the step back up into the RV for travel. A built-in shoe storage area is located near the entryway. A rear ladder affords access to the roof, and the unit is prewired for a backup camera. The front cap features a windshield to afford visibility from the lounge area. A sliding rear cargo tray provides easy access to the large storage area beneath the rear of the RV.
In addition to the front windshield, the Solitude is equipped with numerous panoramic windows that let plenty of ambient light into the RV while also affording a great view of the outside. In the review unit, the wood-plank-look Congoleum flooring and medium-toned woodwork combined with incoming light to provide a pleasant interior without that dark boardroom look. Roller shades are encased in narrow valances that minimize their impact on the interior décor. All trim and cabinetry is made of hardwood.
Recessed and accent-strip LED lighting is used throughout the RV. Heat registers are built into the cabinet toe spaces, eliminating floor-mounted registers that aren’t comfortable to step on and tend to collect dirt. The toe-kick placement also eliminates weak spots in the floor that can be evident when stepping next to floor-mounted registers.
The 382WB’s galley area is fairly large and fully equipped. A solid-surface top covers the galley island, which includes a recessed stainless-steel farm-style sink with a pull-down sprayer faucet. A pair of decorative pendant lights with LED bulbs hang above it. The main galley area includes a professional-grade four-burner stainless-steel propane-powered range with a full-width oven beneath. The overhead cabinetry contains a ducted convection-microwave oven. The kitchen also includes a large pantry and a second sink over the beverage cooler in one of the two side counters. This unit was equipped with a stainless-steel 20-cubic-foot 12-volt RV refrigerator. Directly opposite the kitchen area is the large free-standing dinette.
Stepping up to the front of the RV brings you to the lounge area. Theater seating, equipped with heat and massage features, is located across from a 60-inch UHD LED TV, which is nestled into an entertainment center that includes a built-in fireplace. Tri-fold sleeper sofas in opposing slideouts are positioned on both sides of the lounge area. Plenty of glass surrounds this room, including the aforementioned windshield, which can be revealed by lowering the TV via its power-lift mechanism.
Exiting the kitchen to the raised rear deck takes you to the bedroom. A 60-inch-by-80-inch queen bed is standard, but an optional king bed is also available. A window is located above the bed’s padded wooden headboard in the street-side slideout, while side windows in the slideout allow for flow-through ventilation if desired. A pull-out ottoman is located in the foot of the bed, which also raises to allow access to a storage area below. Nightstands flank the bed and are fitted with 120-volt-AC and USB receptacles. On the opposite wall, a dresser is sandwiched between mirrored wardrobes; an LED TV and window are positioned above it.
Just aft of the bedroom, through sliding hardwood doors with frosted-glass panels, is the bathroom. It contains a one-piece fiberglass shower enclosure with sliding glass doors, a skylight, and a flip-up shower seat. An adjacent full-height cabinet can be used as a wardrobe but is also prepped for a washer and dryer laundry center if desired. The back wall is fitted with a wide, solid-surface vanity with dual recessed sinks and a sizable mirrored medicine cabinet. A linen cabinet and porcelain toilet complete the bath area.
The Solitude’s utilities are also designed for full-time use. The 81-gallon fresh-water, 106-gallon gray water, and 53-gallon black-water tanks are well suited for an RV park site with or without full hookups. A tankless propane/electric water heater provides plenty of hot water for long showers. The utility bay holds a whole-house water filtration system and a color-coded array of valves that make it easy to understand how to operate the fresh-water and sanitary systems. This bay is insulated and heated and thus capable of operation in below-freezing temperatures. In fact, the holding tank area also is insulated and heated, and 12-volt electric heat pads have been added to the tanks to prevent freeze-ups. The low-point drains are located in the heated area.
The Solitude’s 120-volt-AC electrical power is provided by a removable 50-amp cord; its 12-volt-DC needs are met by deep-cycle batteries, a 55-amp converter, and a battery disconnect switch in the basement compartment. The 382WB is prewired for solar with 10-gauge wiring and standard MC4 connectors to make it easy for an owner or dealer to install solar panels on the roof. A 35,000-Btu propane furnace supplies ducted heat to the interior living space as well as the basement cargo, utility bay, and holding tank areas. All Solitudes have their furnaces located on the off-door side so that the exhaust never exits into the patio area.
The air-conditioning system features an innovative racetrack duct design; it directs airflow into a figure-eight pattern, allowing each vent to deliver the same amount of air and at the same temperature. Two 15,000-Btu A/C units are standard, and a third 15,000-Btu unit is optional.
The Solitude, an extended-stay fifth-wheel, is equipped with the features and amenities that owners expect at this level. Its residential-grade fixtures and appointments are designed to hold up under daily use, while the wide body and frame stance create a very stable platform with lots of interior space and solid towing.
Once parked, you’ll enjoy the Solitude’s residential ambience and comfortable surroundings. The plentiful ambient lighting, light interior décor, and super-quiet air-conditioning will make you feel more like you are at home instead of “away.”
SPECIFICATIONS | SOLITUDE
Grand Design Recreational Vehicles, 11333 County Road 2, Middlebury, IN 46540; (574) 825-9679; www.granddesignrv.com
41 feet 5 inches
13 feet 5 inches
8 feet 1 inch
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT
DRY HITCH WEIGHT
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
17.5-inch all-steel, H-rated
drum, with Lippert antilock
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 106 gallons;
black water — 53 gallons
(2) 30-pound cylinders
(2) 15,000-Btu, standard; additional 15,000-Btu unit, optional
3 years structural, limited
MANUFACTURER’S BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE