Class A diesel pusher
MSRP: $196,725 USD
Finding that harmonious balance of content versus price versus value is one that eludes many motorhome product planners — something you can often tell as you walk through various floorplans. But it appears that Fleetwood got it right. This redesigned 38K floorplan offers many of the same features we’ve seen in other motorhomes costing $400,000. Yes, but the kicker is that this one comes in well south of $250,000.
The Pace Arrow rewards with everything else you would expect in a diesel pusher — full-body paint (Aztec Quartz in this case), aluminum wheels, a power awning with LED lighting and automatic leveling, plus an uncommonly large storage bay with side-opening baggage doors. Inside the coach are more surprises — not the least of which is a full-wall slideout, name-brand residential appliances and solid-surface countertops, to name a few. And, in fact, the engine had no difficulties maintaining highway speeds and climbed grades better than expected; in our testing, the Pace never dropped below 55 mph.
Stepping into the cockpit, we found that the Freightliner dash is logically arranged and everything is within easy reach of the driver. The instruments in particular are simply laid out, with an analog tachometer on the left and speedometer on the right, along with coolant temp, fuel gauge, oil pressure, battery voltage and primary/secondary air gauges. The instruments are far enough apart so that they’re not crowded and afford easy readability while driving, which is a definite plus. To the driver’s left are controls for an overhead map light, cockpit fans, retarder switch and transmission gear selector, plus power mirror controls and a nice, big cup holder. The HVAC controls feature a classic layout and are very easy to use.
There are two screens to the right of the steering wheel; one reserved for backup and sideview camera views, the other a multimedia screen for navigation, radio, etc. Beneath the lower of the two screens is a handy catchall shelf with a foam-padded surface, and a bin that looks like it was sized for maps, magazines, newspapers, etc. Directly above the driver on the left is a large cabinet door that opens to reveal a dry-erase board for checklists and such, and a nearby map light can easily be positioned for evening work.
The dash arrangement is driver-centric, and we appreciate the intended purpose of making everything easier to see/reach for the driver, but it makes it difficult for your co-pilot to assist while you’re driving. The passenger does, however, have access to a 120-volt AC outlet to plug a laptop into, and creature comforts are abundant.
With the full-wall street slideout and opposing galley slideout open, the living space gives up nothing to a million-dollar coach in terms of elbow room. It’s also a great floorplan for entertaining, with a roomy dinette that will easily seat four, complemented by a sturdy table with a faux granite solid-surface top that matches the kitchen counters. The dinette is upholstered in cream-colored Ultraleather and trimmed in matching cloth.
Behind the dinette is a multifunction couch that extends to form an L, and pulls out to make a simple bed. Unlike many we’ve sampled, it works well with minimal effort. When the extension isn’t deployed, the couch can seat two, or serve as a chaise lounge, with the end of the stowed extension serving as an armrest. With the extension deployed, four can sit in comfort and view the 42-inch LG LED TV on the opposing wall.
The kitchen has plenty of solid-surface countertop space, and there’s more if needed; to your left is a countertop extension, and both the stainless-steel sink and three-burner stove offer matching covers so you can really spread out if you want. Behind the stove is an attractive glass-tile backsplash, and above, a Whirlpool residential convection microwave.
The Pace Arrow comes standard with a 19-cubic-foot Whirlpool residential refrigerator/ice maker powered by four six-volt batteries and a 2,000-watt inverter, so continuous operation while on the road will not pose a problem. To the right of the fridge is a smallish pantry with shelves that can be adjusted, but not pulled out.
The guest bath is a bit on the tight side (as it is on many dual-bath floorplans) but with the toilet angled toward the door, there is adequate legroom. The corner-mounted lavatory has a solid-surface top and glass backsplash that matches the kitchen, and features a metal residential-style faucet. Directly across from the guest bath is a cabinet with standard washer/dryer prep, or in our case, a stackable washer/dryer combination.
Just a small step up from here and you’re in the master bedroom, which can be segregated from the living area by sliding wood doors. The tail end of the full-wall slide, combined with an opposing bedroom slideout, makes this area feel very roomy, an effect that is magnified by the power bed that can be retracted into a sort of large lounge. With the bed in this position, there’s a good four feet or so of walking space, which really makes a difference. Across from the bed is the wardrobe, which houses another 32-inch TV, a countertop, four large drawers and a mirrored cabinet on either side.
The rear master bath fills the width of the interior, but isn’t very deep. It should be enough space for most, however, and features a Thetford Tecma toilet, single sink (same equipment as the guest bath) and lots of cabinet/drawer space. The overhead cabinets are deep and are mirrored for easy primping. The shower is about the size of a small residential unit, but has a good-sized seat molded in at one end. The area also features a large skylight, Fan-Tastic Vent fan and switches for the fan, water pump, light and toilet (which flushes electronically) all within easy reach.
Overall, there was really nothing to complain about in this redesigned coach, which is somewhat unusual. It’s not trying to be the fanciest thing in the park, but it is well put together, tidily arranged, very well-equipped and comfortable. That, in our opinion, is more than enough.
Excerpts from and all credit to writer Chris Hemer, April 26, 2016, of MotorHome Magazine, motorhome reviews.
Fleetwood RV/REV Recreation Group