Motorhome Review: Travel Supreme Select Print E-mail

A luxurious interior and abundant cargo-carrying capacity characterize this 41-foot triple-slideout diesel pusher.

By Lazelle D. Jones
August 2003

At FMCA's 69th International Convention in Pomona, California, this past March, Ron Domiano and his grandson, Jeremy, were in the outdoor motorhome display area doing a land-office business. Ron and Jeremy operate Domiano's RV of Stanton, California, one of several West Coast dealerships that sell Travel Supreme diesel-pusher motorhomes.

As I stood in the shade of one of the exhibit coaches, waiting to talk with the Domianos about the possibility of reviewing a Travel Supreme Select for Family Motor Coaching, I was awed by the enthusiasm the Travel Supreme coaches were generating. In fact, as it turned out, the Domianos were so busy I had to wait until the convention ended before I finally connected with Ron. When I did, I found he was in the middle of filming an episode of a program for cable TV's Travel Channel that will be aired in the fall of 2003. It will feature a specially outfitted Travel Supreme motorhome that carries a Mini Cooper automobile inside. (FMCA members who attended the Pomona convention may recall seeing this model on display in the Travel Supreme exhibit.)

Travel Supreme and Travel Supreme Select motor coaches are luxury homes on wheels that strike a chord with their intended clientele. They were introduced in 1999, and as of March 2003, nearly 1,000 Travel Supreme motorhomes had been built. The company's success can be attributed to the fact that it already had 10 years of experience constructing luxury, high-end fifth-wheels before it put all of that wisdom into building motorhomes.

The Travel Supreme Select is available in five floor plans; three are 41 feet long, one is 42 feet long, and one is nearly 45 feet (44 feet 11 inches) long. I reviewed the 41DS03, a 41-foot, 101-inch-wide coach that boasts three slideouts.

The galley slideout, on the curb side, measures 140 inches long and 19 inches deep. The opposing slideout, which measures 150 inches long and 32 inches deep, contains a sleeper sofa and a freestanding dinette with chairs. When both of these slideouts are extended, this front portion of the coach is a whopping 152 inches (12-1/2 feet) wide.

The rear bedroom slideout is located on the street side of the coach and encompasses the head of a queen-size bed (a king-size bed is available as an option in the 45-foot Select) that is flanked by nightstands. The slideout measures 80 inches long by 26 inches deep.

All three slideouts are powered by Ever-glide electric mechanisms. I liked the safety feature that prevented the slideouts from articulating when the ignition key is in the "on" position. The control switches for each slideout are located behind a cabinet door — l another safety consideration, because it helps prevent them from being accidentally actuated. A single touch of a switch sends the slideout into an extend or retract mode; the slideout can be stopped in midcycle with a touch of the control switch. The windows in all three slideouts can be opened for ventilation.

I did discover that when the living-dining slideout is retracted, both dining chairs need to be on one side of the table, so there is room to stow the Euro recliner. If you don’t stow the recliner there, it is difficult to move down the center aisle of the coach when both living area slideouts are retracted.

Travel Supreme elected to use the Spartan K2 chassis to support this domicile on wheels. The raised-rail structure has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 37,600 pounds. When outfitted with the standard 500-horsepower Cummins diesel engine and 4000 MH Allison six-speed transmission, the Select is capable of towing another 10,000 pounds — quite impressive.

A combination of Bilstein shocks and four large air bags, each 19 inches long, gave the coach an excellent, quiet ride. The K2 chassis features Tuthill independent front suspension, and antilock air brakes with auto slacks. The prowess of this brake system was evidenced during my test trip. As I was driving in 65-mile-per-hour traffic, the vehicles ahead of me suddenly came to a halt. My ability to rapidly slow the coach was further augmented by a standard-equipment Jacob exhaust brake, which features three positions on the control selector: hi, low, and off. This safe braking took place while the coach had a full fresh water tank (100 gallons) and a fuel tank that was approximately three-quarters full (capacity 150 gallons).

With completely full water and diesel tanks, my Select test coach weighed 34,260 pounds. This left more than 3,000 pounds of cargo-carrying capacity. RVers planning an extended trip no doubt will appreciate the leeway that capacity provides.

Two coach-wide storage bays include slideout trays that provide access to stowed items, even in the center of the bays. This coach offers a total of 180 cubic feet of exterior storage space. The battery-powered key fob that locks and unlocks the main entry door also locks and unlocks the exterior bay doors.

My test coach featured the optional Hydro-Hot heating system, which works by circulating warmed fluid throughout the motorhome in a closed-loop system. It keeps the storage bays warm in winter and also warms dual heating zones inside the coach. The Hydro-Hot system also can be used to preheat the diesel engine on cold mornings, and it employs the heat produced by the engine to provide domestic hot water while the Select is motoring down the road. An auxiliary 110-volt AC system that uses shore power is available for heating the house water when in camp.

The Select has an excellent power-to-weight ratio, which, Ron Domiano explained, can partially be attributed to the way Travel Supreme builds this motorhome. The other important part of the equation is the fact that the 500-horsepower Cummins diesel engine develops 1,550 pound-feet of torque. The torque rating also explains why the coach has such an ample towing capacity. (Future Selects will be equipped with Cummins 1,450-pound-foot engines modified to comply with government specifications concerning emissions on diesel engines.)

Speaking of construction, welded tubular aluminum framing forms the skeleton for the motorhome's walls and roof. Residential-style fiberglass insulation is used in the walls to create an insulation factor of R10. The walls are dressed on the outside with gel-coat fiberglass and on the inside with vinyl-covered wallboard. Full body paint and graphics adorn the exterior. The roof structure features an R22 insulation factor and is capped with a single sheet of fiberglass.

The Select is made comfortably cool by two 15,000-Btu centrally ducted roof air conditioners that are available with optional heat pumps. I was concerned about the ceiling registers that were located near the living room and galley slideouts, however. It appeared to me that airflow from these registers might be somewhat obstructed when the slideouts are closed. Because I didn't experience any extremely hot temperatures during my springtime review of this motorhome, I was unable to personally gauge their effectiveness under such conditions. I did ask officials at Travel Supreme about this and was assured that they have not had any problems cooling the coach.

The digital controls for both zones in the motorhome's heating and cooling systems are in a single location. A thermostatically controlled Fan-Tastic Vent fan with a rain sensor is positioned in the ceiling, midway in the coach (aft end of the galley).

The Select features an all-electric galley that includes a two-burner electric cook top. The standard four-door Dometic refrigerator-freezer with ice maker can be operated on either 110-volt-AC power or LP gas. A microwave-convection oven dressed in stainless steel is situated above the electric cook top.

An 8-kilowatt Onan Quiet Diesel generator provides the electrical "juice" for these appliances when no shore power is available. It enables occupants to run all of the coach's 110-volt accessories simultaneously, while enjoying stand-alone camping.

Elegant materials and fabrics adorn the interior of the Select. For example, the sofa, the captains chairs, and the Euro recliner and ottoman in the living area all are upholstered with leather (an optional material). The windows are surrounded by a frame covered with different types, textures, and colors of complementing fabrics. Day-night shades cover windows throughout the coach.

Countertops are made of granite, and travertine marble flooring is used in the entryway, galley, center aisle, and bathroom. All cabinetry, including the stiles, consists of solid maple; nothing is wrapped with a look-alike wood vinyl. Wood color choices include Brown Sugar Glazed, Carmel Glazed, and Coffee Latte. Eleven interior décor packages are available. A large oval sheet of beveled mirror covers the center of the ceiling in the living and dining area. Travel Supreme has spared no cost to create a look that exudes luxury and elegance.

Every 41-foot Select comes with a King Dome satellite dish. My test unit had the optional TracVision In-Motion satellite system from KVH Industries. Above the center of the dash is a 25-inch television, and another television is situated in the bedroom. A third TV set is located in the exterior storage bay that houses the optional outside entertainment center. But perhaps most unusual of all is an optional fourth television — a 42-inch plasma model — that is positioned on an interior wall facing forward. It is set at eye level and can be viewed from anywhere in the front portion of the vehicle. Travel Supreme designers have also cleverly disguised the coach's surround-sound system by recessing it into the ceiling.

The rear half of the Select is dedicated as a bed-and-bath suite. This venue goes far beyond appearing elegant. For privacy, a double door smoothly sequesters the bedroom from the bath. A matching maple pocket door separates the bath from the front of the coach.

The glassed-in shower features a sweeping, curved design and includes a seat, a Moen shower head, and hot-cold water controls. As noted, granite is used to fashion the sink's countertop, while travertine marble dresses the floor. The bath area also includes a combination washer-dryer that is housed in its own designer cabinet, as well as a private water closet with a porcelain toilet.

The rear bedroom is a pleasant place. With the streetside slideout extended, there is more than ample space to move around the foot of the bed. The bed is lifted via a pneumatic mechanism that provides access to a cavernous storage area below. Unlike many rear-engine diesel motorhomes in which the engine is positioned under the bed, the Select's engine is aft of the bed, leaving the area below completely free for storage. On the curb side, at the foot of the bed, is a granite-topped vanity. The nightstand tops also are fashioned from granite. Along the rear wall of the coach is a cedar-lined wardrobe with mirrored, sliding doors.

I had the opportunity to drive 650 miles in the Select and found it to be a pleasurable and non-fatiguing experience. Nearly everything in the dash area was comfortably located and visually pleasing. Travel Supreme designers have given the dash a curved shape, one that permits the use of a very large windshield, which lends the exterior a bus-style look. The panel behind the instruments is a titanium material, further enhancing the dash’s visual appeal.

I very much liked the power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals. The passenger seat is extra wide, permitting the copilot to ride in comfort. Everything is power-adjustable, including the power leg lift on the passenger seat. The power (electric) stairwell cover control switch is immediately adjacent to this seat, so the passenger can reach it quickly and effortlessly.

I should mention several cockpit-related critique items. First, the switches on the horizontal panel to the left of the driver could be moved aft several inches, making them a tad easier to reach. Second, the pull-down sun shades on the driver's and passenger's side windows are spring-loaded, and when I raised the shade on the driver's side of my test coach, it moved too quickly (it snapped open). In addition, the cup holders in the cab area, although large and well-situated, will not accept cups with handles on them.

The Travel Supreme Select I reviewed had a base suggested retail price of $312,500. Its as-tested price came to $349,225 with the following options: leather sofa; 42-inch plasma television; navigation system; TracVision In-Motion satellite system; Hydro-Hot heating system; TripTek trip computer; Tire Sentry system; surge suppressor; exterior entertainment center; power front privacy curtain.

Ron Domiano told me that Travel Supreme bends over backward to work with clients who have special requests, and I believe it. The final analysis is that, for folks looking at motorhomes in the mid-$300,000 price range, the Select by Travel Supreme most assuredly merits consideration.


SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer ... Travel Supreme Inc., 66149 State Route 19, P.O. Box 610, Wakarusa, IN 46573; (800) 626-0563; fax: (574) 862-2065; www.travelsupreme.com
Model ... Travel Supreme Select
Floor plan ... 41DSO3
Chassis ... Spartan
Engine ... Cummins ISM, 500 horsepower, 1,550 pound-feet torque @ 1,200 rpm
Transmission ... Allison 4000 MH electronic six-speed
Axle ratio ... 4.10 to 1
Tires ... Michelin 295/80R22.5
Wheelbase ... 276 inches
Brakes ... air, with ABS
Suspension ... air ride (independent front suspension)
Alternator ... 200 amps
Batteries ... chassis — (2) 1,000 cca; house — (4) deep cycle
Steering ... 51-degree TRW
Inverter ... Heart Freedom 2000
Electrical service ... 50 amps
Auxiliary generator ... 8-kw Onan Quiet Diesel
Exterior length ... 41 feet 6 inches
Exterior width ... 101 inches
Interior height ... 6 feet 8 inches
Exterior height ... 12 feet 4 inches
Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) ... 47,236 pounds
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ... 37,600 pounds
Gross axle weight rating (GAWR) ... front — 14,236 pounds; rear — 23,000 pounds
Wet weight as tested ... front axle — 12,380 pounds; rear axle — 21,820 pounds; total — 34,260 pounds
Payload ... 3,340 pounds
Frame construction ... steel (chassis) and aluminum
Insulation ... foam and fiberglass
Fresh water capacity ... 100 gallons
Holding tank capacities ... gray water — 60 gallons; black water — 60 gallons
Fuel capacity
... 150 gallons
Fuel requirements ... diesel
Propane capacity ... 40 gallons
Water heater ... 10 gallons
Water system ... demand
Furnace ... 42,000-Btu
Air conditioner ... (2) 15,000-Btu Dometic units with heat pumps
Refrigerator ... Norcold side by side with ice maker
Toilet ... porcelain with sprayer
Warranty ... chassis — 2 years; coach — 2 years
Base suggested retail price ... $312,500
Price as tested ... $349,225