This is an exclusive interview with Kevin Atkinson, Sales Representative for THOR Motor Coach, Diesel Division, about the high end Tuscany model that is available for purchase at Guarantee RV in Calgary, Alberta Canada.
The 2013 RV season is here and with this new year comes a spectacular new product from THOR Industries, the 2013 Tuscany which includes novel features that were mostly suggested by you, the customers. There are many features inside and outside that differentiate the Tuscany from other THOR Class A Motorhomes.
Kevin Atkinson, Sales Representative for THOR Motor Coach, Diesel Division, explains exactly what they did differently in the Tuscany Class A Motorhome. “First, we put it on the larger 59,600 GCWR XCR Tag – B series Freightliner chassis with 50,000 PSI frame rails, 15,000 pound hitch standard, along with a sturdy bridged or load bearing V weight distribution super structure designed by THOR Motor Coach engineers and freightliner – Cummins. This feature gives our Tuscany a much lower center of gravity, plus all major components are “loaded low” while the weight is positioned closer to the axles for superior weight distribution and excellent drive quality especially in adverse conditions.” Having a much lower center of gravity is especially important when driving in adverse conditions manifested by the harsh Canadian winters.
There were many suggestions that customers made to THOR which are now included in the features of this great RV product, the Tuscany. They are as follows:
• The 5″ wider entry door
• The power interior step gives a solid flat platform in front of the passenger seat
• An anti-glare dash design with larger white gauges that is very easy to read making the dash air now blow more heat and is distributed so the passenger gets as much heat as the driver side does
• Added 20 x 24 high polished tile clear to the front and back (no carpet)
• VIP steering wheel, electric day and night full shades easily accessible from passenger or driver side
• More lighting in the cockpit area
• Navigation or GPS was made standard
• Simple easy to read switches in a dash that is designed ergonomically
• Functional 6 Speed Allison touch pad is slanted up so it’s easily seen without having to lean forward.
Kevin describes other changes that made customers happy. “The electronics cabinet was moved from the front to just over the passenger seat and enlarged to easily fit the receiver and any added components. This cabinet is better vented now to keep components cool. The seat belt harnesses are now adjustable and rest perfectly at the neck. The passenger seat travels forward, far enough for easy eye to eye conversation while driving.” As a result of these functional designs, there is a lot less driver fatigue and soreness from long road trips.
The larger TV was moved to a position with a direct view so you don’t have to move your head to watch TV. On some models, they located the 2nd TV forward so that viewing is excellent from every angle inside the coach.
The fireplace was a feature that was so popular that THOR made it standard. They worked with Villa International designers to improve the furniture. THOR customers loved the two tone piping on their upscale furniture but they didn’t like the carpet in the exterior bay so they got rid of it. Instead, they added a pebble grain finish that’s easy to clean and won’t leave rust marks.
Another improvement was to the awning which didn’t extend far enough due to being attached to the side wall. The much improved awning is now attached to the longer full slides so the patio is covered better. Also, the awnings are now color coordinated and armless.
“There are many more design and functional improvements to this new Tuscany. I suggest your customers visit Guarantee RV to see and feel the difference. The exterior LCD TV built directly into the wall is a vast improvement. We used to put them down inside the storage bays,” informs Kevin.
WHOLE HOUSE WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM
In a ground-breaking design and manufacturing move, THOR created a whole house water filtration system because experienced RVers are very particular about their water. “Our standard water filtration system is more than adequate, purifying all water entering the coach, not just at the galley. Also, our 91 gallon fresh water tanks are heated too. The residential galley faucet is a single lever with a sprayer that’s taller for dish washing and also has another filter in the faucet itself. We added a dish washer this year, a Paykel fisher dish drawer, and a residential all electric refer with water and ice at the door,” says Kevin.
QUALITY DESIGN IS ACCENTUATED BY THE SUPERB FUNCTIONALITY OF ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS
Another important feature on the Tuscany is the two stage Jacobs compression engine brake. THOR always wants the best for their customers, and so the two stage Jacobs compression engine brake is simply excellent. Kevin explains, “It works inside the cylinders of the engine verse off, the external turbo charger. For example, Low Jake uses 3 cylinders, High Jake uses all six. Alberta has some very steep grades. When towing, it offers peace of mind, knowing you don’t have to constantly ride the brakes to maintain a comfortable downhill speed. Plus, you never want to ride the brakes ever because they’ll get hot.”
Always considering the environment, THOR added the 450 HP Cummins ISL 8.9 literw/1250 lb. ft. torque @1400 rpm engine to the Tuscany. Kevin raves about the benefits of this engine and why THOR chose to install it in the Tuscany. “The torque at only 1400 RPMs means it’s a low RPM engine that’s excellent for increased fuel economy. The Tuscany is designed from the ground up for the best power to weight ratio in the industry so this means tremendous power is given when needed. But if driven conservatively, it will offer far better miles per gallon (MPG) than past Cummins engines. Cummins is the engine of choice. They support RVers more by offering RV parking at many of their facilities, and they will perform warranty work with less parts cost. There are more Cummins service facilities too. It’s just easier to sell Cummins engines.”
Also added for the benefit of RV customers, is the ZF Independent Front Axle featuring a 60 degree turning radius. This new feature allows the driver more flexibility when driving into shopping centers or Wal-Marts so they can make sharper turns. The ZF IFS design is revolutionary, making ease of turning and driving a leading edge feature in THOR’s Tuscany. “It’s arguably the best heavy duty suspension in the world especially for a Motor Coach application. The ZF offers a wider track design which gives our 13′ tall Motor Coach a lot more stability. For example, if the driver’s side wheel hit a bump or a pot hole, it wouldn’t reverberate across to the curb side wheel as it works independent of one another,” clarifies Kevin.
DESIGN AND ENERGY SAVING FEATURES ADD PRACTICALITY AND DURABILITY
A lot of battery power is saved in the Tuscany by the installation of LED ceiling lighting. The difference is that LED bulbs produce 3.4 BTUs per hour compared to 85 for incandescent bulbs. Besides mercury not being used in LED bulbs which is healthier, they utilize only 2-17 watts of electricity which is 1/3 to 1/30 compared to incandescent bulbs. The result is 10-15 times more battery life with a projected life of one LED bulb lasting 50,000 hours compared to 1,200 hours for an incandescent bulb.
Another brilliant decision THOR made with the Tuscany is the design and installation of the one piece molded fiberglass roof. The quality of this roof is excellent especially since it adds greater protection to one of the most important parts of the RV and guards against severe weather. “The molded fibreglass roof is more like a boat hull. All RV roofs receive a lot of punishment from severe weather, tree limb abrasions etc. People want durability when it comes to roofs and so the stronger the better. Personally I like the improved insulation factor in a solid thick fibreglass roof. If you were to pick up the Tuscany roof it would be like picking up a canoe. I also prefer the sound of rain on a fibreglass roof,” shares Kevin.
The 2000 Watt pure sign wave inverter energy management system with automatic generator start makes energy management that much easier and more cost effective in the Tuscany. The quality of this energy management system is leading edge in that it keeps the energy balanced no matter what. The benefits of this system are many as THOR has taken into consideration the fluctuations of energy in an RV. Kevin explains the benefits of the pure sine wave in the Tuscany.
“Your appliances simply prefer a pure sine wave. They will last a lot longer. The Inverter offers a very high level of convenience, all the comforts of home. It inverts your 12vt batteries into 110 power. My favorite thing is being able to make my fresh cup of coffee early without having to turn on the genny. The AGS or Auto gen start feature maintains battery levels even when you’re away. If you’re hooked up to shore power in an RV park and you lose power, the AGS will sense a low battery power and start the generator to keep your batteries up. It will also maintain the temperature inside the Tuscany as well.”
Regarding storage, just a little bit was taken away in the Tuscany because the standard 400 Aqua hot water and heating system takes up a very small portion of extra space but this alteration makes up for it in convenience. “It’s a luxurious even heat that’s whisper quiet. Aqua-hot provides unlimited hot water for a great shower! Most importantly, it will maintain a much higher resale value as many new and old RVers consider it a must have feature,” enthuses Kevin.
The 42 WX is projected to get 7.5 to 8 miles per gallon when driven conservatively. Customers who own Class A RVs don’t worry about the miles per gallon (MPG) as much as other issues. “It’s not the MPG that my customers worry about. It’s being able to have their entire home on the road and bring their precious pets with them. Not having to pay a $30 extra pet charge in an expensive ratty motel where the elevator smells like roach spray. The cost of fuel only needs to be considered and amortised out over a year time period compared to sitting in airport security or boarding your pets in cold smelly cages for extended periods. How much fun is that? RVing is a way of life, an excellent option for many people who seek freedom and want to explore. It’s in our blood. If you’re worried about fuel then you don’t fully understand how beautiful the RV lifestyle is,” explains Kevin.
The Tuscany line is one of the best RVs in its price category THOR has produced. The Tuscany has all the luxury upgrades, is visually appealing, and offers state of the art convenience and functional designs. It is the number 1 selling Diesel Pusher in Canada. “We offer just about every conceivable upgrade available. Also, the Tuscany offers 3-4 options meaning there are a lot of standard features because it’s easier to sell this way. This will help our customers out when they get trade value years later. As far as warranty goes, buying a Motor Coach is not like buying a car but rather a house so it’s important to have a good extended warranty,” clarifies Kevin.
FUTURE MANUFACTURING TRENDS
The trend for manufacturers in the future is to create shorter more compact Diesel Pushers, however, the longer length Class A Diesel Pushers are still in high demand. “This trend of downsizing started 10 + years ago. I remember Bob Lee, founder of Country Coach (RV Hall of Fame) where I worked at the time, listened to his customers and built a high end 30′ Class C called the Max. All these years since, I’ve seen older experienced RVers in greater numbers downsizing from big rigs to shorter 30′-34′ coaches. They want the same quality and amenities. Plus, they still want to RV in the same regions of the country they always have, but now they are able to access most of the more beautiful scenic places they never experienced in the past. The industry is now building double living room slides or deeper slide models that have more liveability. We offer the successful Palazzo floor plans and the Tuscany XTE models which come in 34′, 36′, 39′ lengths that are shorter but offer a high degree of features, including great drivability and handling features that are much the same. Let’s face it, longer coaches offer luxury so longer RVs will always be in high demand,” assures Kevin.
The name and model clarification for the Tuscany models are as follows: Tuscany 42 WX & 42 RQ 45LT and the Tuscany XTE 34 ST, 36 MQ, and 40 EX. The Palazzo models are: 33.1, 33.2, 33.3, and 36.1.
The new trends in Canada compared to the U.S. RV market are basically the same. “Our industry has entered into the next phase. There are more buyers with 10,000 people retiring every day. Many of those people have a long-time dream to explore in a recreational vehicle at their own leisurely pace,” informs Kevin.
The most commented on features by customers about the Tuscany is that when they first walk in, it feels like home and it’s well designed and manufactured. “They love our upgraded mattresses and our larger rear bathrooms. They prefer our warm tile in the bedroom instead of an old smelly carpet. Our Tuscany is functional and easy to use. One other great feature is our power shore cord reel. Once you have one, you would never consider another RV without it,” says Kevin.
The Tuscany is definitely one of the most desirable Class A Motor Coaches RVers have been asking about and purchasing. THOR listens to their customers’ suggestions and constructive criticisms but they go one step further by altering their designs to suit customers’ needs. THOR Industries is one of the top RV manufacturers in the world for good reason. They give back to customers more than what they expect in a beautifully designed, functional, and good value for the dollar RV. This goal has been achieved in the Tuscany, one of the latest and greatest Class A Motor Coaches on the market today.
For more information on the Tuscany RV, check out the Guarantee RV website or call (403) 273-1000.