Innovations on Wheels!
We recently had the pleasure of visiting Motor Home Travel in Bolton, Ontario to check out the first 2016 Coachmen Leprechaun 240FS class C unit to arrive in Canada. This is a model that attracted quite a bit of attention at the recent RVIA trade show in Louisville, KY, where RV dealers from across North America gathered to view the new models and place their orders for the year.
This new model was an immediate hit – with a very innovative interior floorplan, and the use of many state-of-the-art components and materials, it is filled with innovations that place it very high on our 2016 “must see” list. The Coachmen division of Forest River Inc. has a long tradition of excellent design and value in a range of RV categories The Leprechaun line of class C motorhomes has earned an enviable reputation since the first motorhome rolled off the production line in 1973. Within the class C segment, the Coachmen Leprechaun delivers quality construction, upgraded interior appointments, and a full range of safety and convenience features.
The Leprechaun motorhome is engineered for years of trouble-free RV adventures. The RV component uses a 2” laminated steel frame floor and 2” laminated Azdel composite sidewall panels constructed using a blend of polypropylene and fibreglass rather than traditional wood materials to create an extremely strong and lightweight wall. This virtually eliminates the possibility of rot, mold, and delamination that can affect wood sidewall panels. The Azdel composite walls are 50% lighter than traditional wood sidewalls, they are impervious to water damage, they absorb sound (road noise) and energy for a quieter RV interior, and they provide three times the insulation value of wood. The exterior layer is impact and puncture resistant to reduce damage. Coachmen uses Lamilux 4000 as the exterior layer for the sidewalls, rear wall, wing walls, and the cab over floor.
Coachmen builds a six-layer vacuum bonded floor using two layers of 5/16 inch luan, high-density block foam insulation, welded aircraft grade aluminum framing, an energy brace substrate and moisture resistant floor brace sheathing. The result is a floor that is three times stronger than the typical plywood or particle board floors that are traditionally used in the RV industry.
Above your head, the laminated crowned roof is covered with TPO for long life and easy maintenance.
The use of innovative new materials contributes to the “Green” certification for this vehicle.
Exterior features of the Leprechaun include an 80” radius entry door with window. The deadbolt is a good quality
component, and there is a lighted entrance door grab handle on the exterior of the vehicle and interior safety grab handle to help you climb into the motorhome. For the driver and navigator, gel coat running boards make climbing
into the cab effortless.
The Leprechaun is an attractive vehicle, with Carmel graphics and a black arm power awning with vinyl weather
guard on the passenger side of the vehicle that matches the black slide-out awning on the driver’s side.
A Roto Mold rear trunk box and Plasti-Cote metal side boxes make gear storage very convenient.
ON THE ROAD
Driving a class C motorhome is generally a pleasant experience, and this Coachmen model is an excellent example
of a very well matched chassis and RV body. The Ford E-450 is an excellent choice for a vehicle of this type, with a
6.8L V-10 engine, power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission. With power seats, cruise control, and tilt steering wheel it is as easy to drive one of these class C motorhomes as it is to drive a family van – you just have to get used to a wider and longer vehicle, and allow a bit more time to accelerate to highway speeds and a bit longer distance for braking. Our test vehicle was equipped with the Luxury Package upgrades, including heated exterior mirrors with remote control and wood grain dash accents. We enjoyed the quality of sound from the in-dash touch screen radio with dash speakers.
The Ford chassis carries a 36 month, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, and the Ford powertrain is covered by a 60-month / 60,000 mile warranty.The motorhome component carries a 12 month / 12,000 mile limited warranty.
We found the Leprechaun to be especially well-mannered on the highway, and very easy to handle on secondary roads. The E-450 chassis features the deluxe chassis package, with a back-up camera automotive air conditioning, power windows and locks, and upgraded exterior mirrors.
For RV families who like to take their toys along on their travels, the Leprechaun 240FS on the Ford chassis has a 7,500 lb. hitch and 7-pin electrical connection for a trailer.
While our road test vehicle was too new to test fuel efficiency, the 55-gallon fuel tank should provide about 400 miles
range-typical for vehicles of this type, depending on road conditions, load, and your driving habits.
AT THE CAMPSITE
The Leprechaun is just the right size to be easy to manoeuver in a campground environment. The rear view monitor makes it a breeze to back into a campsite, and the set-up is quick and easy. Just scout the area for any overhanging tree limbs or obstructions, then park in the appropriate location for easy access to your water, sewer, and electrical hook-ups, and set the vehicle’s parking brake. If you have selected the hydraulic levelling jack option, it only takes a few seconds to achieve a solid and level status for the vehicle. At this point, we generally connect the electrical hookup, check the surroundings one more time, and then extend the slide-out section. The slide-out awning will automatically extend to protect the top of the section.
Once the slide is extended, it is a simple matter to extend the power awning and hook up the water and sewer hoses.
The awning on this vehicle extends pretty much the full length of the RV portion of the motorhome.
If you arrive at the campsite after dark, you will appreciate the exterior convenience lighting on the vehicle and in the storage and utility compartments.
INTERIOR COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Step inside the Leprechaun 240FS and you will immediately see why we selected this class C motorhome to be the first 2016 vehicle in the category to be featured in RV Lifestyle Magazine. The interior floorplan is pure genius… lots of open space for a vehicle of this size, with a very clever slide-out entertainment centre to isolate the rear bedroom from the livingroom – and the LCD TV swivels to be viewable from either the dinette or the bedroom area.
The rear bedroom features a queen-size bed that folds in half (width-wise) to facilitate easy access to the rear bathroom and walk-in closet – when have you seen a walk-in closet in a vehicle of this size!
The rear bathroom has a shower, vanity with sink, and satin nickel faucet, shower head, towel ring toilet tissue holder and robe hooks. The bathroom is not large, but it is quite appropriate for a vehicle of this size. The porcelain foot-flush toilet is parchment colour to match the molded shower pan and surround. The bathroom vanity is compact, but well equipped, with a mirror and an outlet for your hair dryer or shaver. A skylight brightens the bathroom, and LED interior lighting completes the convenience features. The 6-gallon gas/electric water heater works well for two or three showers per hour for the average RV traveller.
One of the real advantages in the class C motorhome category is the use of the cab over section for additional sleeping accommodations – the mattress is a generous 57×95” size. While most class C models have limited headroom in this area, the Leprechaun has a generous amount of room, and there is a very clever safety net system that uses two seat belt type straps to protect your sleeping passengers. The ladder to climb into the cab over bed hooks securely onto the bed support board – all in all, a very simple yet elegantly efficient approach that is far ahead of the typical design for this area of a class C.
IN THE GALLEY
While the galley in a class C motorhome of this size is never very large, the use of space is always a matter of design ingenuity and camping experience. The Leprechaun 240FS is a perfect example of very well planned use of appliances and storage. The black Atwood 3-burner cooktop with 16” oven is well suited for a vehicle of this size, as is the Dometic flush-mount refrigerator. The parchment colour undermount composite double kitchen sink has a full cover to add to your counter space, and there is a flip-up counter extension. The galley includes a residential size microwave oven and a power range hood with light. You can upgrade to a convection microwave model in the Luxury option package, and gain Fan-Tastic power vent fans in the cab over and bedroom areas. All appliances are fashionable black models that look great with the cocoa ash coloured woodwork.
We liked the 1 ¼ inch drop edge countertops and the matching 1” thick dinette table. All of the drawers in the galley have roller bearing guides and poplar drawer sides.
The Congoleum® Designer Carefree flooring in the unit is an easy to maintain choice that blends well with the décor.
The Leprechaun features a large radius corner window in the dinette area, and smaller radius windows in the galley
and bedroom. All windows are slider models with tinted safety glass, night shades and lambrequin window treatments. There is an ODS side window in the cab over section.
The U-shaped dinette seats up to six adults, and the swivel chair opposite the dinette is a favourite spot to relax after a long day on the road. Our test vehicle was equipped with the optional passenger and driver swivel chairs – this would be a good idea if you like to entertain as it provides additional lounge style seating.
The magazine rack is a perfect fit for your copies of RV Lifestyle Magazine. We really appreciate Coachmen engineers installing this just for us.
ENTERTAINING IN THE LEPRECHAUN
You may ask why we left the best design element of the Leprechaun 240FS for the end of our road test feature – and the answer is simple – you cannot jump into a motorhome just because it has the best dinette / entertainment area / interior layout in the segment… you have to be sure that the vehicle itself is well-engineered and built with care and precision.
Using a pull-out pantry and entertainment centre as a natural divider between the dinette and bedroom area in a vehicle of this size is a pure stroke of brilliance. Not only do you have a convenient privacy wall for both areas, you gain a respectable amount of storage space in the pantry section, a wonderful swivel TV concept that lets you flip the TV from the front to the rear facing position, a full-featured entertainment system with good stereo, DVD player, and speakers, and a “fireplace” that effectively warms the dinette area with electric heat. There is an optional King relay satellite receiver if you don’t have cable TV hookups at your favourite campgrounds.
You can also entertain family and guests if you order the optional exterior entertainment centre, that includes a 24”
TV/DVD/Stereo system complete with speakers.
Is this the ideal layout for a compact and relatively affordable motorhome? Our road test team says you bet – without
a doubt, the most innovative and efficient interior floorplan we have seen in a class C motorhome.
For information on the current models from the motorized RV division of Coachmen, and a handy dealer locator, please visit: www.coachmenrv.com/motorhomes