KZ Connect C221 RESE
Lightweight comfort for a couple, or the whole family!
Text and photos by Norm Rosen
On a beautiful autumn day, we dropped by Niagara Trailers in St. David, Ontario, to visit John Petrie and take a close look at the 2023 KZ RV Connect 221 RESE travel trailer. This year, both KZ-RV and Niagara Trailers celebrated their 50th anniversaries – so it was especially fitting that we had the opportunity to focus on these two milestones in this special road test report for RV Lifestyle Magazine.
Scroll down to read the full road test report.
Watch the RV Lifestyle Magazine Road Test Video… click on the screenshot below.
Doug Petrie, Sr., John’s father, was our first Canadian RV Dealer of the Year in 1989. Today, 33 years later, John Petrie leads a team of experts who have grown the legacy of the dealership as one of South-Central Ontario’s leaders in the RV community. Over the years, Niagara Trailers has grown to employ 75 staff members, with the main dealership as well as a repair facility and a storage centre across the road from the dealer lot. Among the range of new and used RVs that are available at the dealership, Niagara Trailers carries the full line of KZ-RV models, from the small 13’ Classic to the 41’ Durango Gold fifth wheel.
KZ-RV has also grown over the years, achieving many accolades for quality, design ingenuity, and consumer-centric operations. The 50th Anniversary Connect 221 RESE is an excellent example of this dedication to RV manufacturing. The RESE in the trailer’s model designation stands for “Rear Entertainment, Special Edition series.” The trailer is relatively compact, designed with couples in mind, yet quite capable of accommodating a family of four or more. The trailer measures 27’ overall, from hitch to rear bumper.
The novel interior floorplan is a first for KZ-RV, combining three distinct areas into a very comfortable 27’ trailer. We liked the use of light and dark cabinetry, and the complimentary wainscotting that gives the unit a fresh, modern, and bright interior ambiance. From the flooring to the interior ceiling material, every component in integrated to create a very “livable” camping experience.
This floorplan, which is new for 2023, features a very convenient rear entertainment area with a L-shaped sofa bed with built-in ottoman footrests at the rear of the passenger side of the trailer. The large picture window above the sofa adds to the spacious appeal of this floorplan – it really makes you feel like you are in a much larger trailer.
Opposite the sofa is a slide-out and dinette seating, which can be converted into a very comfortable sleeping area. The dinette area features a large window and ample storage under the seats.
The highlight of the interior layout is the rear entertainment section, which includes an LCD TV on a swivel mount that allows excellent viewing angles from the dinette of the sofa, a Jensen stereo with DVD player, overhead as well as lower cabinet storage, and two windows.
The mid-section of the trailer includes a full galley on the passenger side, and a refrigerator on the opposite wall.
The front of the trailer holds your master bedroom, with generous storage compartments and ample under-bed storage.
This essentially provides three distinct areas: bedroom, galley/washroom, and entertainment lounge – that’s very impressive for a lightweight and relatively compact travel trailer.
The Connect 221 RESE travel trailer is engineered for a couple, yet it is large enough to comfortably accommodate a family of 4 – 6 people, and light enough to be towed by a wide range of half or three-quarter ton trucks and SUVs. At just 5,200 lbs. dry weight, it is an ideal choice for touring, and an excellent vacation home on wheels for camping comfort.
The sidewalls are fiberglass bonded with an exterior surface that is durable and easy to clean.
The trailer has a full “walk-on” roof with a ladder for easy access, which is an excellent feature that lets you check the roof and the top of the slide-out to make sure there is no debris from overhanging trees at the campsite.
Hitching and unhitching is easy thanks to a 12-volt electric tongue jack. There are four heavy-duty crank-down stabilizer jacks, which can be operated by hand, or you can use a power drill with the appropriate socket.
We were impressed by the use of large aluminum entry steps, complemented by a large grab handle that folds flat against the side of the trailer for travelling.
On The Road
Towing this trailer is a very pleasant experience. The Connect 221 RESE rides on dual axles, with 15” mag rims. Our test unit was outfitted with 205/75/R15 Goodyear Endurance tires designed specifically for trailer use at the recommended inflation of 65 PSI. The trailer comes with a spare tire.
In The Campground
We were impressed with the exterior layout of this travel trailer – the KZ-RV engineers have provided ample exterior storage compartments, including a full pass-through storage compartment with insulated doors at the front of the unit, and full array of convenience features, including exterior speakers that are controlled by the stereo inside.
Touch a button, and the 18’ power awning extends in a matter of seconds.
Comfort and Convenience
All of the controls for the slide-out, the awning, and the RV systems are found in a panel on the wall just across from the main door. You can monitor your water tank levels, and battery condition at a glance.
The Connect 221 RESE features a brand-new Coleman roof air conditioner that has a replaceable filter built into the interior vent section. This helps keep dust and airborne contaminants out of your trailer. The Coleman RV Air Flow ceiling duct system is 40% more efficient than a conventional A/C configuration, with better airflow to the front and back of the trailer. Your A/C control is conveniently located on the wall opposite the galley.
The cool weather is kept under control by a 30,000 BTU furnace with in-floor ducted heat.
In the Galley
The mid-section of the Connect 221 RESE features a very well-equipped galley, with lots of counterspace thanks to the design of the L-shaped lounge. The passenger side galley includes a Furrion cooktop with glass cover, an eye-level Furrion microwave oven, and overhead and lower cabinets. A 10-cu.ft. 12-volt refrigerator is just forward of the galley, which provides easy access when you pop into the trailer for a cool break on a hot summer day. A gas/electric refrigerator is available as an option. A large pantry is located on the wall opposite the galley.
In the Bathroom
Across the aisle from the galley is a full bathroom, with walk-in shower. The bathroom is bright and spacious, with a skylight and a roof vent. The large vanity has storage below the sink, a medicine cabinet above, and a countertop that wraps around the bulkhead and the driver’s side wall.
In the Bedroom
The front master bedroom features a queen size walk-around bed, flanked by closets on both sides. There is a shelf above the bed with a reading lamp, and a large window across the front of the trailer. There are outlets for your chargers and the area is bright and airy thanks to windows on both sides of the bedroom.
The entry door to the trailer is in the bedroom area and features a window with privacy screen.
The Bottom Line
We were very impressed with the ingenuity of the floorplan, the quality of the fit and finish, the selection of components and materials, and the excellent value for the dollar that KZ-RV has created in this brand-new model. With a two-year hitch to bumper warranty, the KZ-RV Connect 221 RESE is built to provide dependable comfort for your camping adventures.
For more information, and to locate a dealer in your area, please visit www.KZ-RV.com
2023 KZ-RV Connect 221 RESE
Exterior width 96”
Exterior height (with A/C) 10’ 10”
Interior headroom 78”
Dry weight 5,240 lbs.
Hitch weight 570 lbs.
Axle weight (dry) 4,670 lbs.
Cargo carrying capacity 1,760 lbs.
GVWR 7,000 lbs.
LP Gas 40 lbs.
Furnace 30,000 BTU
Water heater (Gas/Electric with DSI) 6 gal.
Fresh water 45 gal.
Gray water 32 gal.
Black water 32 gal.
MSRP – please consult your local dealer.
For more information on this, and the full range of KZ-RV models,
please visit www.kz-rv.com
Watch the RV Lifestyle Magazine Road Test Video… click on the screenshot below.
Many thanks to the team at Niagara Trailers for their assistance with this road test project.