2009 Spring Car Guide
A silver car driving down the road with a bright sunset in the background
Latest RV features: High-tech and green

Earth-friendly options. RV aficionados like to see the world -- and not surprisingly, they also care about protecting it. "We're definitely seeing consumer interest in RVs that are smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic and more fuel-efficient," says Richard Coon, president of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, or RVIA. "We're also seeing more manufacturers incorporate 'green' technologies, such as solar panels, solar awnings, wind turbines to run onboard electronics, energy-efficient appliances and fuel-cell technology to power onboard generators."

Fuel efficiency. RVs have always been notorious gas guzzlers, but manufacturers have been making big efforts to increase the fuel efficiency of these vehicles. "Our most fuel-efficient motor homes are the Icon and Pulse models, which are built on the Dodge Sprinter chassis," says Everett. In the towable/trailer category, Dutchmen Manufacturing recently introduced its Denali SuperLite product line, consisting of seven travel-trailer models and two fifth-wheel models designed to be pulled by half-ton and one-ton pickup trucks. Six of the models weigh less than 7,500 pounds. Combined with an aerodynamic front profile, the line's relatively low weight is designed for maximum fuel efficiency.

Hybrid models. As with the automotive industry in general, the RV market is embracing hybrid models. "Two RV manufacturers introduced concept diesel/electric hybrid motor homes that get approximately 40 percent better fuel economy," says Coon. "I'd anticipate seeing more hybrid motor homes in the future."

Floor plans and furniture. One way to customize a motor home and truly make it your own is to get creative with the floor plan and furniture. At Newell Coach, Blade says they're getting lots of requests for an additional half-bath in the middle of the coach. High-end furnishings like leather sofas and Sleep Number beds are becoming commonplace from all the major manufacturers. It's not always just a matter of style and originality, though: By changing the layout and furnishings, owners can often maximize the living space and make the arrangement more practical and comfortable. Winnebago models now include a dinette designed for fine dining (it also converts into a bed). At Fleetwood, "the addition of bunk beds has been very popular, especially in our Class A motor homes," Everett says.

Other popular options. Here are some of the other options cited by our experts as popular choices for RV buyers:

  • Satellite radio.
  • Streamlined, aerodynamic exterior styling.
  • Easy sewer connection hookups.
  • Hidden storage compartments (storage in general is a popular feature).
  • Low-maintenance electrical and plumbing systems.



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