The staff at RVBusiness Magazine has combed though the hundreds of new or upgraded RV models for 2014 and has named its “RVBusiness 2014 RV of the Year.”
“It’s not a task we take lightly,” said RVBusiness Editor Bruce Hampson, who oversaw the selection process. “But it’s a process intended to showcase the extraordinary authenticity, originality and creativity in design, styling and engineering that’s fast becoming the hallmark of contemporary recreational vehicles. What else did we consider? Innovation takes precedence over amenities — and a unit’s potential impact upon the marketplace carries more weight than a 16,000-pound GVWR fiver.”
So, the inaugural RVBusiness “RV of the Year” is Thor Motor Coach Inc.’s unusual “Recreational Utility Vehicle,” the Axis and Vegas Class A motorhome, one of a number of new cutting-edge North American recreational vehicles that exhibit smaller dimensions and a distinctly European flavor in a market still populated by plenty of big towable and motorized RVs.
Among the award’s contenders were:
• Winnebago Industries Inc.’s Trend Class C Motorhome
• Jayco Inc.’s Jay Smart Travel Trailer
• Keystone RV Co.’s Big Sky Fifth-Wheel
Why TMC’s Axis, Vegas?
Elkhart-based TMC, a division of Thor Industries Inc., is actually not the first motorized manufacturer to introduce a contemporary 25-foot Class A coach — nor is it the first to build a motorhome on the Ford E-series chassis.
However, the Axis/Vegas is the first in the modern era assembled on a Ford E-350 commercial platform that not only helps to keep the unit’s $93,675 base MSRP well below six figures, but also provides nearly limitless repair facilities should a problem crop up on the road.
The Ford chassis also allows for higher gross vehicle weight ratings (12,500 pounds) and gross combined weight rating (18,500 pounds), allowing TMC engineers and designers to better equip the coach, while it’s wide stance, long 188-inch wheelbase and narrowed (by 7 inches) front clip further improve stability.