Sometimes a product launch hits its target dead center. When Tiffin first launched its Phaeton motorhome, it was an immediate success and has been gaining ground ever since. It quickly established itself as the No.1-selling diesel pusher in the country, a title it has held for the past four years.

The Phaeton offered the most bang for the buck, balancing plenty of features and amenities with an attractive price. Not to rest on its laurels, Tiffin Motorhomes continued to improve the product with new upgrades and floor plans every year. The 40QBH is the latest floor plan to be offered.

The demand for rear bath floor plans has been a huge trend in recent years, but these have typically been offered in longer 42- to 45-foot motorhomes on tag axle chassis. The 40QBH is Tiffin’s first offering that provided a rear bath on a single-axle, 40-foot chassis.

Squeezing a large bath area into any motorhome is a real challenge. Whenever you add something you need to take away something else and the livability of that floor plan suffers. But Tiffin did an amazing job at packing everything needed into a 40-foot floor plan. The sales of the 40QBH quickly took off, exceeding all expectations, and now it’s hard to find one in dealer stock. Fortunately, Kings Campers, in Wausau, Wisconsin, is a respected Tiffin dealer and the team there was gracious enough to provide RV Magazine with a 40QBH to test and review.

Chassis and Drivetrain

The Phaeton is available on either of two chassis options. A Freightliner chassis is available as well as Tiffin’s own proprietary Powerglide chassis. The Powerglide was initially launched in the Allegro Bus line as a premium chassis option and has received many accolades by happy owners. The Powerglide is now offered in the Phaeton line, as well, and was the chassis selected for the Phaeton that Kings Campers gave us to review.

The Powerglide chassis cuts no corners. Huckbolts are used throughout the chassis rather than rivets for improved strength. The Powerglide chassis as used in the Phaeton 40QBH is a rear radiator design with solid I-beam front axle. An 8.3L Cummins ISC with exhaust brake cranks out 380 hp and 1,050 lb-ft of torque and is coupled to an Allison 3000 series six-speed automatic transmission. The rear axle is rated at 22,000 pounds while the front axle is rated at 14,600 pounds. This gives the 40QBH a gross vehicle weight rating of 36,600 pounds. The weight placard inside this motorhome indicated a generous 5,805-pound cargo carrying capacity. A 10,000-pound towing capacity brought the GCWR to 46,600 pounds.

The 55-degree turning radius allowed for ease in navigating some tight corners in Kings Lot, while the 266-inch wheelbase made for a nice stable ride at highway speeds. The Phaeton comes with a dual-fill, 100-gallon fuel tank and a 15-gallon diesel exhaust fluid tank. Fresh water capacity is 90 gallons while gray water capacity is 70 gallons and black water is 50 gallons. A 35.7-gallon LP tank provides ample capacity to keep the dual furnaces and hot-water heater fed.

Exterior

The Phaeton comes in a variety of exterior color schemes. Our test coach was finished in the beautiful Rustic Canyon full body paint. The 2012 model year introduced side view cameras integral to the chrome plated, heated power mirrors rather than in small housings attached to the side of the motorhome. Basement storage compartments featured side hinged doors for maximum height when accessing the cavernous 177 cubic feet of heated pass-through storage space. Power door and patio awnings are standard as are dual pane windows. An HWH automatic hydraulic leveling jack system provides stability when parked.

Entertainment for the patio area is provided by a Panasonic 32-inch LCD TV mounted in the slide out. A gas strut-assisted lid provides access, as well as shade from the sun if the power awning is not being used.

Utilities

The 40QBH is powered by a 50-amp electrical service. A standard 8,000-watt Onan Quiet Power diesel generator provides plenty of power for when shore power is not available and is mounted on a front cap slide out mechanism for ease in service access. Standard dual 15,000-Btu air conditioners with heat pumps provide cooling and heating for the living area. If you choose to upgrade to three air conditioner/heat pumps units, a 10,000-watt Onan generator is used instead. The 2,000-watt inverter is powered by six 6-volt batteries, which are also located on a convenient slide out tray.

The plumbing service bay houses the 3-inch drain valves for both the black and gray tanks as well as the water connection for filling the fresh water tank or supplying the motorhome with campground water. A second connection operates the black water tank flushing system. A hand soap dispenser, paper towel holder, and external shower attachment make cleanup tasks easy. The water pump and incoming water filter are also located in this bay. A water pump switch is provided in this bay as well as in numerous locations throughout the motorhome.

Cockpit Area

The front entry steps are all solid surface with rubber, non-slip step covers. A handy drawer is supplied to keep Fido’s leash, tools, mud shoes, or anything else you want to keep handy. Interior stairwell lighting is also standard.

Once seated in the copilot’s seat, a handy desk drawer with solid surface lid to support a laptop or writing materials can easily be pulled out from the dash. The large one-piece windshield offered up an impressive view from the driver’s seat. For 2012 the Phaeton’s windshield has been re-contoured to allow better cleaning action from the windshield wipers, and the driver’s side mirror has been relocated to the side for better visibility. A black trim panel was added to the dash area to reduce interior glare when driving at night. All of the Phaeton’s instrumentation and controls were readily at hand and a JVC radio/media player with built in GPS handled entertainment and navigation tasks. A color monitor automatically switched between the rear view camera and the side view cameras located in each mirror whenever the turn signals were operated.

A number of controls for the electrical systems a located in an overhead cabinet immediately to the driver’s left. Another cabinet located over the copilot’s seat housed the DVD surround-sound system and provided a location for a satellite receiver. This unit also featured the optional 37-inch LCD TV in the front overhead cabinetry. A Mini-State rotary housed antenna provided access to digital off-air TV stations without the need to raise or lower a batwing antenna.

Main Salon and Galley Area

The interior in the Phaeton was very attractive and balanced a nice at-home impression with just enough wow factor. The polished ceramic tile accented the high-gloss English Chestnut cabinets. A number of choices are available when selecting your Phaeton, and this motorhome was outfitted with the Capri décor package. The galley countertop was solid surface while the dinette table and buffet were solid surface edged with laminate centers. The galley came equipped with a handy pull-out work area with a solid surface top that provided additional space for food preparation. Hinged solid surface lids covered the 3 burner cooktop and were easily removed if desired. A large double stainless steel sink finished off the galley countertop. A Sharp convection microwave was located in the overhead cabinetry while a pull out section beneath the cooktop provided additional storage as well as a handy waste basket fixture on slide-out rails.

Immediately opposite, in the galley slide out, was a Whirlpool residential refrigerator with large bottom freezer section. This unit will provide plenty of storage for those longer trips and minimize trips to the store to restock. This unit was powered by the inverter and a bank of six house batteries to keep it powered when dry camping or traveling. The driver side slide also included a pair of leather recliners and a dinette table/computer workstation. The buffet portion of the dinette had cabinetry designed with a pullout shelf for a laptop or keyboards as well as housing for printers and other hardware. One drawer was equipped to handle hanging file folders for organizing important papers. Flanking the dinette station was a buffet cabinet with a 32-inch LCD TV mounted in it. An enclosed guest bathroom was located directly aft of the galley area. This room housed a water closet, as well as a sink and vanity.

Bedroom Area

A sliding privacy door separated the main living area from the bedroom. A queen bed is standard in the 40QSH, but this motorhome featured the optional king bed with memory-foam mattress. A ceiling fan in the bedroom will allow for better air movement on those stagnant days. Nightstands and overhead cabinetry finished off the bedroom driver’s side slide out.

Tiffin put lots of storage in this motorhome and the bedroom was no exception. Directly opposite the bed was another slide out filled with cabinetry. A 32-inch LCD TV was located above a cabinet wired for an additional DVD player and/or second satellite receiver. A removable laundry hamper was built into the lower cabinet section. Solid surface rimmed countertops were provided in this slide out, as well as on the nightstands flanking the bed. As in the rest of the motorhome, Roll Ease day/night shades were used instead of those troublesome pleated shades. A second set of sliding privacy doors separated the bedroom from the rear bath area.

Rear Bath Area

The rear bath area includes plenty of room and everything you’ll ever need. A cabinet houses the optional stackable washer-dryer, eliminating those trips to the campground Laundromat. A corner vanity with substantial countertop area is located immediately next to the washer-dryer enclosure and wraps around into a rear wardrobe closet with mirrored sliding doors. The opposite side of the bathroom houses a macerator style toilet and a fiberglass shower enclosure with sliding curved doors to prevent dripping on the floor. The entire bath area is covered in ceramic tile.

Summary

It’s a tough task fitting everything that buyers want into a given length floor plan. This gets tougher when you include a large rear bath area, so compromises need to be made. The Phaeton 40 QBH breaks from the typical 42- to 45-foot layouts by offering a rear bath in a 40-foot motorhome. Tiffin Motorhomes did a great job when designing this floor plan, which works very well. It affords the RV buyer the opportunity to obtain a rear bath floor plan in a more affordable motorhome while still having many of the amenities and features of higher-end products.

At a Glance

Specifications:

2012 Tiffin Phaeton 40 QBH

Gross Vehicle Weight: 36,600 pounds
Gross Combined Weight Rating: 46,600 pounds
Cargo Carrying Capacity: 5,805 pounds
Wheelbase: 266 inches
Overall Length: 40 feet 5 inches
Overall Width: 101 inches
Overall Height: 12 feet 8 inches
Interior Height: 84 inches
Basement Storage: 177 cubic feet
Fresh Water: 90 gallons
Gray Water: 70 gallons
Black Water: 50 gallons
LPG Tank: 35.7 gallons
Chassis: Powerglide rear engine diesel
Suspension: Air-ride suspension
Brakes: full air brakes
Fuel Tank: 100 gallons
Trailer Hitch Capacity: 10,000 pounds
Engine: Cummins 8.3L ISC with exhaust brake
Horsepower: 380 hp at 2pm
Torque: 1,050 lb-ft at 1,300 rpm
Transmission: Allison 3000 six-speed automatic
Base Price: $262,500 (MSRP)

Standard Features:


• Two 15,000-Btu AC units with heat pump
• Residential refrigerator
• 32-inch LCD TV and entertainment center
• Surround-sound system with DVD player
• Flexsteel six-way power cockpit seats
• Three burner cooktop with convection microwave oven
• 2,000-watt inverter with six batteries
• 32-inch bedroom LCD TV

Price as Tested: $274,729 (MSRP)

Included options:


• In-motion satellite dish
• In-dash navigation system
• Basement cargo slide tray
• Hadley air horns
• Spotlight
• 32-inch exterior LCD TV in galley slide
• 37-inch dash overhead LCD TV
• Dinette/Computer workstation
• Stackable Washer/Dryer
• Built-in vacuum cleaner
• Ultra Leather air coil Hide-A-Bed Sofa Sleeper
• Dual leather Euro recliners
• King bed with memory foam mattress

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
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