In the past, plenty of Tiffin Motorhome customers had expressed interest in a smaller Class-A motorhome that still retained the amenities of the larger units. It had to remain a diesel-pusher with air brakes and air ride suspension, yet be maneuverable and more economical to operate. With rising fuel costs, fuel efficiency was also a primary concern.

The Allegro Breeze is Bob Tiffin’s response to these requests. Rather than just shrink a larger unit, he designed a custom Powerglide chassis that was designed strictly for the Allegro Breeze and was closely integrated with the coach body at an attractive price for a diesel-pusher. The initial offering was a 28-foot floor plan, with a 32-foot floor plan soon to follow.

Navistar Maxxforce Powertrain
The chosen engine was a 215hp Navistar Maxxforce 7, which is a shorter, more compact V-8 when compared to the typical long inline six. This allowed Tiffin to reduce the rear overhang, lower the driveline to reduce the driveshaft angle, and still provide adequate power. Navistar engines utilize advanced EGR technology to meet EPA’s 2010 emissions standards, so no DEF (urea) tanks are required. This helps to keep costs down and offers additional benefits in lower net weight and increased storage space.

There is quite a backlog of orders for the popular Allegro Breeze. Thanks to Kings Campers in Wausau, Wisconsin, we wrangled a unit to road test. (Kings Campers has received a 50 Top Dealer award by RV Business magazine for three consecutive years for outstanding custom service.)

Construction and Specs
The Allegro Breeze features sturdy construction, excellent insulation, and a host of features. Its one-piece fiberglass roof mates with fiberglass sidewalls that feature full body paint. Its raised rail rear engine diesel chassis offers 77 cubic-feet of pass-through basement storage. Cargo carrying capacity was a generous 3,027 pounds on our test coach. At 11 feet 2 inches, the Breeze is shorter than most Class-A coaches. Yet, the interior height is 78 inches—plenty of headroom.

The Breeze is lighter than your typical diesel-pusher and has a GVWR of 22,000 pounds. Fuel economy is said to be 13 to 15 miles per gallon, which should allow a maximum cruising range of 800 to 900 miles between refills of its 65-gallon fuel tank, although we did not have adequate time to verify that data.

Amenities
Aluminum wheels are standard as are powered patio and entry-door awnings. A paint film covers the front of the coach to help protect it from stone chips. An optional 15,000-BTU rooftop AC with heat pump provides cool or warm air to the interior via ducted ceiling registers. The electrical service is fed by a 50-amp power cord, as well as a 6 KW Onan diesel-powered generator. Chrome mirror heads are heated and feature power adjustment controls that are in comfortable reach of the driver. Our test coach featured the Gold Coral full body paint color scheme with the Summer interior décor package with Alder cabinets.

Interior Refinements
The interior is spacious for a 28-foot coach. The 28BR floor plan features a large single slide-out on the driver’s side that contains the galley and a 68-inch sofa bed. Plus, the dinette can convert into a bed. The dinette table is hinged and folds in half for ease in navigating the hallways when driving. The pedestal lowers via a quick-release lever and a half moon-shaped pillow fills in the area to make it level with the dinette bench for sleeping.

To keep both weight and cost down, the Breeze features vinyl floor tile, rather than ceramic tile, while the cabinetry features raised panel wooden doors. The ceiling is an easy-to-clean padded vinyl that holds recessed flush-mounted lighting fixtures.

The Breeze comes with a standard mid-coach TV, but our test coach had two optional TVs, one in the front overhead and another in the bedroom. Our test unit had the optional surround-sound system with integral DVD player that connected to the HD LCD TVs via HDMI cabling. A pair of 450-watt inverters located in the basement area provides power for the TVs and surround sound system when boondocking or driving.

The coach also came equipped with an optional Winegard automatic satellite dome on the rooftop, and a Dirt Devil central vacuum system with a dust pan trap door. Just sweep the dirt over to the dust-pan door, hit the switch, and the dirt disappears into the basement vacuum cleaner.

Galley and Cockpit
The galley area is laid out with functionality in mind. Both the two-burner cooktop and stainless-steel sink have removable hinged glass covers that allow that area to be used as additional counter space. A 6-cubic-foot Dometic refrigerator is adorned with raised wooden panel inserts that match the cabinetry in the coach. To vent odors or steam outside, an exhaust fan is mounted beneath the convection microwave. The Breeze uses an attractive and durable solid-surface countertop and backsplash, rather than less expensive laminates, throughout the galley and bath areas.

The cockpit captain’s chairs swivel to face the rear and add additional seating capacity. The entire coach utilizes Roll-Ease window shades that operate by pull chains to lower the black sunscreen shade or white privacy shades, eliminating those easily-broken pleated shades. The windshield shades are electrically operated by dash-mounted rocker switches, while the side cockpit shades are manually operated.

A Driver’s Perspective
The cockpit area is laid out with the driver in mind. Dash fans and adjustable pedals are all standard on the Breeze. The instruments are easy to view and a battery of rocker switches is well labeled. Non-powered cloth Flexsteel seats are standard, but most buyers will opt for the optional six-way powered Ultra Leather seats, that came on our test unit.

The easy to view left side console contains the controls for the six-speed Allison 1000 transmission, the mirror heat and adjustment controls, and the HWH automatic leveling system. The Breeze utilizes HWH’s air leveling system rather than hydraulic jacks, which is a better choice given the shorter wheelbase and lower undercarriage height.

A center console area holds the Triple Vision color monitor that displays the view from the rear vision camera, as well as the side cameras, which interface with the turn signals to automatically display the appropriate image. A JVC radio/CD Player, dash heat and AC controls, and 12-volt power receptacles fill out the remainder of the center console.

Bath and Shower
Directly behind the galley is the split bath area. An attractive one-piece fiberglass shower stall is located on the driver’s side, while a vanity, water closet, and medicine cabinet are located in a separate room on the passenger’s side. Each area has its own skylight. This area can be blocked off from the main living area and the bedroom area by a pair of sliding privacy doors with frosted glass that stow out of the way when not in use.

Bedrooms
The bedroom features a queen bed with a memory-foam mattress and two shirt closets. The biggest drawback is the lack of a full-height wardrobe. However, most RV owners wear casual clothing, so it may not be that big of an issue. Additional storage is found in four large drawers in the bed pedestal, as well as in overhead cabinets and drawers.

Road Worthiness
The real question was how the Breeze would perform on a road test. Typically a shorter wheelbase coach tends to be more twitchy than a longer one, because the rear overhang is basically a fixed length on a diesel-pusher. You need a given amount of room for the engine, transmission, a short driveshaft, and the cooling package, so this overhang length will remain fairly constant, whether the coach is 28 feet or 45 feet long.

When the wheelbase shrinks, the affect that the rear overhang has upon it is increased and you get that “tail wagging the dog” syndrome as the weight is transferred to the rear overhang. There are a number of recommended wheelbase-to-overall length ratios that serve to determine how stable a Class-A motorhome will be, but I’ve found in the past that they aren’t a true indicator of how a coach will handle. Many variables come into play, such as how and where the weight is distributed.

In this case, the engine and transmission are fairly low in the chassis. It’s also a departure from the norm in that it’s a short V-8, rather than a long inline-six-cylinder. Tiffin spent a lot of time fine tuning this system to perfection, so the truth would be in our road test.

Our Conclusion
The Breeze was nimble and quick. The peppy Maxxforce V-8 launched us to 45 miles per hour quite smartly. Once it reached 45 mph, it settled down and reminded us of a typical diesel-pusher. The Breeze’s 560 lb-ft of torque was just right for a coach of this weight. The Maxxforce 7 does not come equipped with an exhaust brake, but the transmission did have grade braking and the coach did tend to slow down under normal driving just by backing off the throttle.

For serious mountain driving, an exhaust brake would be great, but a 22,000-pound coach isn’t any heavier than a gasoline-powered coach, which do not have any exhaust brakes either, so it’s not something that’s a huge concern.

Stopping with the four-wheel air-operated disc brakes was excellent. This coach felt like its brakes were sized for a much larger payload, so there was plenty of reserve capacity to handle any emergency stops.

Crosswinds had no effect on the 152-inch wheelbase. While we drove through S-curves, the response was fast and there was no overcorrecting required. The Breeze is actually the sports car of Class-A motorhomes and maneuverability was nothing short of amazing. As you would expect, turning radius in a tight parking area was excellent with the shorter wheelbase and the 55-degree wheel cut angle. Road noise was minimal; it’s easy to carry on a conversation when in motion.

The Allegro Breeze is a unique coach. Tiffin has managed to fit all of the features of the typical large diesel-pusher into a small package. It’s a great choice for someone who wants to downsize from a larger motorhome or enter the Class-A market as a first-time buyer.

Specifications

2011 Allegro Breeze

Base Price: $149,800

Included options:
•15,000-btu air conditioner with heat pump
•Bedroom TV
•Front TV
•Ultra Leather six-way power cockpit seats
•Leather jackknife sofa
•Automatic satellite dome
•Surround sound system
•Bedroom tile
•Vacuum cleaner

Price as tested: $155,470

Gross Vehicle Weight: 22,000 pounds
Gross Combined Weight Rating: 26,000 pounds
Cargo Carrying Capacity: 3,027 pounds
Wheelbase: 152 inches
Overall Length: 29 feet 7 inches
Overall Width: 95 inches
Overall Height: 11 feet 2 inches
Interior Height: 78 inches
Basement Storage: 77 cubic feet
Fresh Water: 70 gallons
Gray Water: 50 gallons
Black Water: 30 gallons
LPG Tank: 20 gallons
Chassis: Powerglide rear engine diesel
Suspension: Air-ride suspension
Brakes: Full air disc brakes
Fuel Tank: 65 gallons
Trailer Hitch Capacity: 5,000 pounds
Engine: Navistar Maxxforce 7
Horsepower: 215 hp at 2,600 rpm
Torque: 560 lb-ft at 1,400 rpm
Transmission: Allison 1000 six-speed automatic

SOURCE
Tiffin Motorhomes
105 2nd Street NW
Red Bay
AL  35582
256-356-8661
www.tiffinmotorhomes.com
Kings Campers
n/a
800-818-5464
www.kingscampers.com
  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
  • |
  • View Full Article