RV Lifestyle Magazine Road Test
The Citation Reward 25-foot travel trailer is the featured road test in the Autumn issue of RV Lifestyle Magazine.
World Premiere –
Citation Reward Travel Trailers
From General Coach Canada
Text and photos by Norm Rosen
After more than 50 years as Canada’s #1 RV enthusiast magazine, we have found that once in a generation, a product is created that embodies elements of design and functionality that sets it apart from virtually everything else in the category.
I have had the pleasure of road testing two such products – the ABI Award travel trailers, manufactured by ABI Leisure Products in Dunnville, Ontario from 1985 – 1996, with a design inspired by the ABI Caravans of England. The company was reorganized as Award Recreational Vehicles from 1998 – 2005, and parts were available from Diels Distribution in Dunnville, Ontario, until just a few years ago. The Award trailers were unique, and very popular among RV enthusiasts throughout North America, with high quality construction, excellent aerodynamics, and superb towing characteristics. More than 5,000 Award travel trailers were sold throughout North America and vintage Award trailers are still seen on the roads and in campgrounds, a testament to the durability of construction and the longevity of the design.
The second landmark travel trailer, the new Citation Reward by General Coach Canada, is, in several ways, a tribute to the Award design.
I had the pleasure of visiting with Roger Faulkner, President of General Coach Canada, to spend a day towing the new Citation Reward 25-foot travel trailer.
We coordinated our road test with Andy Thomson, of Can-Am RV Centre in London, Ontario, our “Hitch Hints” expert, and the first RV dealer to carry the new Reward trailers.
It is important to note that while the resemblance between the original ABI Award travel trailers and the new Citation Reward trailers seems quite apparent, the Citation Reward models are built with the latest in top quality materials and components, by a company that has earned the highest level of customer confidence for decades of excellence in the manufacturing of RVs, park models, mobile homes, and commercial as well as theatrical trailers.
Roger Faulkner is one of the leading personalities in the Canadian RV industry, with a long history in the business and a track record of outstanding service to the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Manufacturers Association (CRVA) and the RV community at large. Roger has served on every major RV industry board, and he was inducted into the RV Hall of Fame in 2018 acknowledging his lifetime achievements in the RV builder’s category. Roger has served on the Canadian Standards Association Z241 technical committee since 1990 – the governing body that sets the construction codes and safety standards for every RV sold in Canada.
Roger was the moving force behind the Leisure Lifestyle Marketing Group, which evolved into Go RVing Canada – the industry association that brings all levels of the Canadian RV and camping sectors together to enhance the outdoor experience for everyone who enjoys the RV camping lifestyle, and he has served on the executive committee of the Canadian Camping and RV Council since its inception.
For the full story behind the creation of the General Coach Citation Reward travel trailers, please take a few minutes to view our interview with Roger Faulkner on the RV Lifestyle Magazine YouTube channel – follow this link: https://youtu.be/cdj_s1tMQlc
Inside the new General Coach Citation Reward
The 21st century Citation Reward travel trailers are manufactured in Hensall, Ontario, with many of the components and materials sourced from suppliers in the south-central Ontario region.
The euro inspired Citation Reward travel trailers are produced in three sizes: 25-foot, 28-foot, and 31-foot models.
This exciting new trailer line is distinctly different from the mass-produced travel trailers that you might be familiar with – and General Coach Canada is certainly no stranger to the travel trailer industry – the company began building trailers in 1950, and produced Citation models until 2008, when the recession saw the company shift to put their emphasis on the very popular General Coach park model units.
The company returned to the travel trailer sector when they built a new factory in 2018 for their theatrical and film industry trailers, and this provided the manufacturing facilities to build the Reward travel trailers.
The Citation Reward travel trailers fit a niche market within the travel trailer sector – designed to be more aerodynamic and easier to tow than the majority of travel trailers – and built to provide many years of RV touring enjoyment, the Canadian made quality of this line is distinctively different from the typical North American travel trailer.
At RV Lifestyle Magazine, we have a sister publication, Power Boating Canada Magazine, that has a custom-built ABI Award trailer that we use as a boating event support vehicle. I was very curious to see the differences between the ABI Award design and construction, and the new Citation Reward.
While the original Award design concept had many excellent characteristics, it was not without its problems. The Citation Reward design addresses and resolves all of these elements to create a more refined, higher quality product.
Among the design changes, the Reward trailers utilize different construction – among the key aspects that have been completely redesigned, are the walls – the Reward features a one-piece seamless fibreglass wall that is a vacuum-bonded two-inch construction produced by a supplier in Quebec, and the roof – the Award trailer used many pieces in the roof structure to achieve the vaulted configuration – the Reward achieves the aerodynamic shape by utilizing an aluminum cage structure. There are no materials to decay or require maintenance.
The exterior of the Reward trailers features a two-tone exterior high gloss finish, and this high gloss finish is also used for the interior wall surfaces – a first in the RV industry. The walls are built with Azdel backing, which is a man-made product that is impervious to insect damage, it won’t wick, and the wall will never delaminate, unlike the luan and plywood materials commonly found in RV wall construction. The Challenger® brand entrance door has friction hinges and a very sturdy screen door. The entrance lock is activated by a digital keypad – a very convenient feature.
Another major improvement that we found in the Citation Reward design is the use of a dark tinted contoured front window that is sourced from the automotive industry and installed the same way your car windshield is fitted to the vehicle. This eliminates the leakage problems that were characteristic of the Award design. The custom molded fibreglass front and rear caps of the Reward trailers overlap the roof structure, making it highly unlikely that the trailer will experience roof leaks.
We could go on and on about the fit and finish, the materials used inside and outside the Citation Reward travel trailers, and the overall excellence of the design, but let’s summarize – the Citation Reward travel trailers are high-end units that exceed the quality and roadability of the typical travel trailer models available in the North American market… you could think of the line as an affordable alternative that approaches the level of an Airstream – although Roger is very careful to emphasize that the Airstream line is “an island unto itself”, but the Citation Reward is in a new category, between the Airstream and the conventional travel trailer designs.
The Citation Reward travel trailers are built on a 7” Z-channel huck bolt chassis and frame and feature an enclosed underbelly with corrugated plastic protective layer, with commercial grade epoxy painted undercarriage. Inside, the floor is vacuum bonded and insulated, with a plywood subfloor and high-quality vinyl floor covering.
The trailer rides on ST225/75R15 tires on 15” aluminum wheels, with a Torflex® rubber torsion axle suspension. Wheels are balanced for the smoothest ride, best handling, and long tire tread life. We were very impressed with the custom designed fibreglass moulded wheel skirt with its distinctive maple leaf There is a full-size spare tire on a slider bracket, tucked neatly below the rear of the trailer.
As one of Canada’s foremost manufacturers of park model trailers, General Coach builds a wide range of interior cabinetry and appointments. The same high-quality cabinets that are used in the park models are used in the Citation Reward travel trailers – and these are far more “residential” in style and design than what you would normally expect to see in a travel trailer, bringing durability, convenience, and ease of access that will delight any serious RV traveller. Each of the cabinets features Grass® Soft Close hinges, and the drawers have Grass® Soft Close glides. Cabinet doors and drawers have Whisper Latch™ cam locks which are compact and functional.
By the same token, the DuPont Corian® countertops, Taymor® residential quality faucets, Furrion® appliances and other design and décor elements are top quality and ideally suited for an active lifestyle. In areas where the weight of the Corian® material is a disadvantage, like the front dinette table, the Reward features a laminated component.
In the Galley
The galley includes an induction two-burner cooktop, and for quick meals, the convection microwave saves time and effort. You will enjoy the Furrion® 8 cubic-foot Arctic refrigerator/freezer.
The Reward 25 galley is very well designed and appointed for a trailer of this size. Upon closer inspection, you will see that all of the appliances – the microwave, the oven, the entertainment system, are from the same supplier – in this case, Furrion® – this makes your life so much easier if you need customer support.
Lots of headroom, easy access to overhead cabinets…
With its unique roofline, you might expect the Reward trailer interior to be short on headroom – but that is not the case – indeed, the trailer is built with a low-profile design – the floor is actually closer to the ground than most travel trailers, producing a very stable ride. The vaulted ceiling has an arched effect that measures 6’4” at the apex, and this headroom continues throughout the length of the interior. The headroom is actually 2 inches more than the Award trailer. For tall campers, the Reward has an Olympia® white sponge headliner and front-end wall.
The dark tinted frameless windows in the Reward trailer tilt out from the bottom, so you can enjoy fresh air ventilation even when it is pouring rain outside. All of the windows have roller shades for privacy. The blinds and draperies are beautifully matched to the interior décor.
On the Road
The Citation Reward trailer is very aerodynamic and has a low centre of gravity for excellent handling. There are many features that set this trailer apart from almost every other unit on the road – for example, we really like the Furrion® rear vision camera that is built into the rear cap – this would be an extra-cost option on most trailer brands.
We towed the Reward 25’ travel trailer with a Tesla Model S – and the touring experience was simply outstanding. With a very low centre of gravity, the sleek electric sports sedan brings plenty of power, low-end torque, and a supremely confident towing performance. It is, without question, one of the most capable tow vehicles we have tested in more than 50 years on the RV roads to adventure.
Andy hitched the Tesla Model S to the Reward trailer with a customized Eaz-Lift class III equalizing hitch, with 750 lb. bars and a pair of Husky dual brake pad friction sway control arms. Can-Am RV Centre is one of the leading hitch installers in Canada, with 50 years of expertise in custom fitting hitches to tow vehicles and setting up the hitch for the ideal towing experience. See Andy Thomson’s video describing how to set up a class III hitch here: https://youtu.be/JrgCNR6HvRI
For greater insights into the Tesla Model S and the 25-foot Reward trailer towing experience, we recorded our test drive with Andy Thomson – please take a few minutes to watch two videos on our YouTube channel – start with the towing video that shows the Tesla and the trailer on the road… https://youtu.be/JqfSCLbxqq8
and continue with the video of Andy and Norm discussing the Tesla towing experience, from inside the Model S… https://youtu.be/9eIP3w4esHE
In the Campground
When you arrive at the campsite, it is a very simple process to lower the four manual stabilizer jacks. The powered hitch jack is a real convenience, and there is a courtesy light to help you hook up or unhitch the trailer after dark. Many RV’ers use a cordless drill and a suitable socket to power their manual stabilizers – we have found this to be an excellent alternative to using person-power to extend or retract the stabilizers.
Your campsite comfort is assured because on the roof, there is a 200W – 12V solar package with interior monitor, and a Dometic® Penguin 15,000 BTU air conditioner. The ZipDee® patio awning features Sunbrella® fabric for long life. Once you have hooked up to the water, sewer, and electrical grid, you can extend the Zip Dee awning – it is a manual design, but it only takes a few minutes, and it is really very easy – we shot a video of Andy demonstrating this process – watch it on the RV Lifestyle Magazine YouTube channel – here is the link: https://youtu.be/YO_aCZYF7dY
While many trailers are built with large and bulky entrance steps, the Reward is designed to ride lower, so single pull-out entrance steps are perfect.
The Reward trailers have twin 30-LB LP tanks that are kept in a contoured compartment in the front cap. The 12-volt electrical system includes two AMG batteries with a multi-stage converter.
The Reward is designed to be enjoyed throughout Spring, Summer, and Autumn, with full water, sewer, and electric systems. For cold weather camping, and for winter storage, you would, of course, keep the water system empty – there is a winterization bypass valve in the water system access compartment.
Interior Comfort and Convenience
Designed and built with pride in Canada, the Reward is, of course, intended for use in the Canadian climate. The Reward trailers feature the Truma® Combi Comfort water heater/furnace – one of the most advanced appliances in the RV industry.
The 25-foot General Coach Citation Reward trailer is very comfortable for a couple or a small family. With a mid-size galley and all the appliances you could ever want. The 28-foot model features a slightly different floor plan, with a wrap around sofa in the front, with a side table.
The master bedroom in the Reward 25, outfitted with twin beds. You can opt for a queen bed configuration.
One of the many benefits of dealing with a factory that is flexible enough to customize some aspects of the trailer became evident recently, when a customer asked if there was an option to add another adult-size sleeping area – the design team retrofitted the front bench seating to include a pull-out drawer with wheels and a bed board, and voila – there was another guest sleeping area. Roger says that this feature will probably become standard equipment in some models.
While the Reward facilities are top quality in materials, design, and workmanship, as Roger describes the interior, “a bathroom is a bathroom, and a bedroom is a bedroom”. You have excellent bathroom shower, vanity, and toilet appointments, and the bedroom can be configured with King Koil pocket coil mattress, twin, or queen bed sizes, with decorative throw pillows, quilted bedspread with duvet. Underbed storage is, of course, generous and easily accessed.
The Dometic® 510 porcelain toilet is truly a throne for all seasons, and the step-in tub with shower surround is ideal for a trailer of this size. There is a tinted skylight over the shower, which helps illuminate the bathroom, and the Maxxair 4500K vent fan helps keep the bathroom steam and fragrances under control.
One of the very interesting aspects of the Reward trailer is that the company offers three exterior colours – red, as shown in our test vehicle, blue, and grey. Roger says that a customer can order any colour they like for the interior or exterior – any way you look at it, when you drive into a campground with a Citation Reward in tow, you are going to turn heads… this is a most intriguing and distinctively attractive trailer.
You may wonder what kind of customer support and warranty coverage you will have when you purchase a trailer that is, at the outset, a very rare model. The official limited structural warranty for a new Reward travel trailer is five years, non transferable…. We asked how a new customer might react to this, when considering the purchase of a new Reward trailer – Roger’s response is classic General Coach Canada – “we’ve been in business since the 1950s, and I have been in the industry since 1968, so it’s my reputation on the line – if something we’ve done goes wrong in the manufacturing of this unit it will be fixed – I really don’t care how long it’s been on the road – if it was our fault, we will fix it, other than normal wear and tear – that’s another story but the Citation Reward will have one of the best warranties in the industry – that’s just who we are as a company and the people who are interested in finding out more about this can visit the General Coach Canada website at www.generalcoachtrailers.com”
The Bottom Line…
The General Coach Canada Citation Reward will be the answer to the dreams of thousands of avid RV travellers, who have been pining for a high-quality aerodynamic travel trailer since the Award trailers ceased production.
This is a superb example of RV design and engineering, beautifully finished and built to last for generations of RV adventures.
The General Coach Citation Reward trailers are available in three sizes:
Citation Reward 25-foot
Citation Reward 28-foot
Citation Reward 31-foot