- The Washington Times - Friday, November 14, 2008

RV manufacturers continue their efforts to design and build products better suited for today — and tomorrow’s — economic climates.

The new Freelander 2100 CB Class C motorhome from Coachmen RV and the Lance 1880 travel trailer are the newest examples of this genre of RVs.

Dodge Sprinter-based motor homes are all the rage today and the Freelander is a good example of the kind of small, efficient coach that can be built upon the Sprinter cab and chassis.

According to the company, the Freelander can achieve an estimated 17 to 19 miles per gallon due to its fuel-efficient 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine.

These mpg figures seem pretty optimistic, but in the real world this rig should hit pretty close to, but not exactly, those numbers.

The Freelander measures about 25 feet long and features a typical Class C floor plan with a cab over bed an integral part of the rig. It includes one modest-size slideout curbside, which contains the unusual U-shaped dinette/lounge with removable pedestal table.

The galley is aft of the driver seat, streetside, and there’s a master bed in the aft curbside corner and a compact dry bath in the opposite corner.

Functionality is key to the Freelander 2100’s success. Features such as 78 cubic feet of exterior storage, sleeping for six, plus 50/37/22-gallon fresh/gray/black water capacities, respectively, enhance its camping practicality.

Its body is the standard 8 feet wide and a 7-foot ceiling height adds to the roomy interior ambiance. The usual array of self-containment features is standard or optionally available.

Given its 11,030-pound Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, the 2100 CB is built to lightweight standards in order to avoid overloading the Sprinter chassis. The lightweight theme also contributes towards the vehicle’s potential fuel efficiency.

Its compact size means the Freelander should be easy to drive, even for those with some apprehension about operating a larger vehicle, and the Sprinter’s suspension and chassis design make for a comfortable and in-control driving experience.

A leaf-sprung solid rear axle, independent front suspension with coil springs, rack-and-pinion steering plus four-wheel power disc brakes add up to a firm, truck-like but civilized ride.

The Freelander 2100 CB price starts at around $89,000, which makes it one f the most affordable such RVs in this category. For more information about the Freelander 2100 CB, visit www.coachmenrv.com.

While Lance is a company long known for its extensive line of truck campers, breaching from that mold makes a lot of sense now.

Its new Lance trailer is aimed at the smaller rig, economy-towing crowd that’s looking for lighter-weight and more cost-effective trailers that can work well with small family transportation vehicles that also double as trailer towing vehicles.

A lot of companies already compete in this market segment, so Lance has its work cut out. However, Lance has a lot of experience at building fairly small vehicles with effective living spaces and it also has build-quality down to a science, both of which are important for producing a successful compact RV.

The Lance trailer is about 22 feet long, a good size for comfortable compact living, and it weighs less than 4,000 pounds unloaded, so it can be safely matched to a wide variety of smaller tow vehicles.

It includes 30 gallons each fresh/black/black water capacities, which are enough for average duration dry camps if you’re sensible about your water use.

Other comfort features include a 20,000-British Thermal units furnace and a 13,500-Btu air conditioner, and a 6-cubic-foot refrigerator and 6-gallon water heater as standard.

The first Lance trailer, the model 1880, includes a rear-corner main bed opposing the enclosed dry bath, a curbside dinette and streetside galley plus a sofa/bed up front.

It is a common floor plan for a small trailer and it works very well.

Lance employs the same construction techniques for the trailer that the company has used for its truck campers for many years.

Aluminum framing and polystyrene insulation, smooth fiberglass skin, a TPO roof plus clean, minimally-trimmed interior and screwed-together cabinetry add up to a unit that’s contemporary and well-built for long service life.

Learn more about the Lance 1880 trailer by visiting www.lancecamper.com.

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