A look at the 2024 version of this versatile Type C motorhome, available with a Ford or Chevrolet chassis.
By Chris Dougherty, F263059
Newcomers to the RV lifestyle often make their first foray into RVing with a Type C motorhome. Rental fleets are filled with them, and for good reason. For the most part, Type C units are economical and provide numerous comforts when on the road.
Many choices are available in the Type C market, from 22-foot couples’ compacts to 30-foot-plus family motorhomes with bunks — and from those with spartan equipment to deluxe models filled with amenities. But for budget-minded RVers or those considering using their motorhome as a rental or RV share unit, it’s hard to beat a product like the Gulf Stream Conquest 6280LE.
I toured the coach described below at America’s Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, this past September. The display unit was built on the Chevrolet G3500 cutaway chassis and powered by a 6.6-liter overhead-valve V-8 engine with a 6-speed transmission, yielding 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque.
The 6280LE is a no-nonsense coach that harks back to the days before slideouts, but its basic 30-foot layout is ideal for family road trips. This is not to say that the Conquest line is all basic — far from it. Every Conquest comes with a standard Luxury Package, and a long list of options can make the coach a snappier ride.
Unlike the rest of the Conquest line, the LE series comes in three floor plans and is available on either the standard Ford E-350 or an optional Chevrolet 3500 cutaway chassis. The remainder of the line is offered only on the Ford E-350/450 platform. The Ford chassis used for the LEs has a 12,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), whereas the Chevrolet chassis used for the review unit has a GVWR of 12,300 pounds. The review unit had an occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC) of 1,699 pounds and could carry six seat-belted passengers. This should be adequate for families taking shorter vacations.
The interior is nicely appointed with white Shaker-style cabinets, gray upholstery, and white marble-patterned countertops. The stainless-steel appliances and round galley sink are attractive and functional. The 12-volt-DC refrigerator is 10.2 cubic feet. A three-burner propane range is standard, along with a .9-cubic-foot microwave oven.
The standard jackknife sofa is utilitarian and comfortable enough for family adventure trips, but the 6280LE’s interior can be upgraded with optional offerings — such as a second jackknife sofa in place of the booth dinette. The standard dinette provides seating as expected and folds down into an additional sleeping quarter.
The cab-over bed area offers lots of room, including enough height for kids to sit up, and has two forward cubbies for storage. Lighting and a USB charging port are standard in this area.
The mid bath gets the job done with a small but adequate water closet that houses a low-profile toilet on a raised floor box and a single oval stainless-steel lavatory sink. Across the hall is a shower with retractable doors and a skylight that offers a bit more headroom for a 6-footer.
The rear bedroom features a center-island short-queen bed (60 inches by 74 inches), closets with drawers on either side, and an overhead cabinet across its width. Windows on both the side and back walls provide ample light and ventilation in this space.
The systems in the Conquest 6280LE are exactly what you would expect of a quality back-to-basics Type C. Everything works with switches; no multiplexing, no satellite TV (no standard TV, in fact), no Wi-Fi hot spot, no cellular repeater. But while TVs and other features are optional, they are easy to upfit in the aftermarket and, frankly, this gives the owner more choice as to brands of components and quality level. The coach includes a standard house battery, with a second battery available as an option. It comes with a 4-kw generator as part of the Luxury Package and is prepped for a solar panel. USB charging ports are available throughout the coach, and it is outfitted with a backup camera. In the review model, the standard GM radio with OnStar remained.
All lighting inside and out is LED. This includes a light at the entry, with a switch next to the door, along with a rotary battery disconnect switch. (The second entry step lifts up for storage, by the way.) Otherwise, lighting is controlled by switches at the switch panel or on the fixtures themselves.
The interior is kept cool by a 13,500-Btu ducted air conditioner and warmed by a 25,000-Btu propane forced-air furnace. A 6-gallon gas/electric water heater with electronic ignition is standard.
Many RVs today have awnings that are short and minimize the amount of covered outdoor patio space. The 14-foot Carefree of Colorado power awning with LED lights on the review unit makes for a decent-sized patio, although I’d still like to see an option to max out the length. Power awnings can make this difficult to do, however, because of the need for wall backers to support the newer-style arms.
Exterior storage in the 6280LE is excellent and includes a large, lighted rear pass-through compartment, which is ideal for longer items. Magnetic baggage door catches are convenient for keeping the doors open. An outside shower that provides hot and cold water is standard, and all utility connections are on the off-door side of the coach at various spots on the wall. The water heater and furnace are also on this side of the unit, away from the curbside patio.
A huge plus on the Conquest is its sidewall construction. The laminated walls feature a welded aluminum skeleton frame and a high-gloss fiberglass panel backed by Azdel, a synthetic material that is impervious to moisture. This means no delamination or rot on the outside. Lauan is used for the interior paneling. Proper sealing and EPDM roof maintenance will ensure that no leaks ruin the ownership experience. The coach also includes the Gulf Stream Coach “Cradle of Strength” floor system of box-style trusses, fore-and-aft stringers, a steel underbelly, and other steel reinforcements supporting a laminated, insulated steel-frame floor.
With its traditional Type C construction and array of floor plans, the Conquest should appeal to RVers of all interests.
SPECIFICATIONS | GULF STREAM CONQUEST
Gulf Stream Coach, 503 S. Oakland Ave., Nappanee, IN 46550; gulfstreamcoach.com; (800) 289-8787
6.6-liter overhead-valve V-8; 401 horsepower; 464 pound-feet torque
power; 4-wheel with ABS
front — coil spring;
rear — leaf spring
chassis — OEM;
house — (1) 12-volt DC
Cummins Onan 4-kw
11 feet 3 inches (with roof A/C)
6 feet 11 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 4,100 pounds;
rear — 6,084 pounds
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
fresh water — 37 gallons;
gray water — 38 gallons;
black water — 31 gallons
25,000-Btu propane forced-air furnace
Chevrolet 3500 chassis — 3 years/36,000 miles; 60,000 miles powertrain;
coach — 1 year; 2 years structural
MANUFACTURER SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE AS EQUIPPED