Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. puts value and utility into this gas-powered coach that features luxury appointments.
By Lazelle Jones
The new 2007 Terra LX from Fleetwood Enterprises is an especially good-looking motorhome, but its appeal extends far beyond that. It's a well-built gasoline-powered coach that is laced with substance — both the readily apparent variety and that which lies below the surface.
The Terra name is not new to Fleetwood, but the Terra LX model is. This new entry to the Fleetwood lineup comes with upscale features such as standard full-body paint, Flexsteel furnishings, and the company's Power Platform Plus basement configuration with pass-through storage and room to hold items such as dog crates, skis, and fishing poles.
With the Terra LX's suggested retail price near $100,000, coach enthusiasts from all segments of the market will find it appealing. Folks in the midst of those cost-intensive years of raising a family, as well as empty nesters who want to live the RV lifestyle on a more extended basis will be especially interested in this motorhome, which is designed and built to provide livability, utility, and years of service.
The 2007 Terra LX is offered in three floor plans that range in length from 32 feet to 35 feet. All units are 102 inches wide and have a midentry configuration, with the door located between the galley and the living area. I reviewed the 34N, the largest of the floor plans, which is 35 feet 7 inches long. For several days I put this unit through its paces.
I was impressed by the road manners and driving characteristics of this new coach and liked how it handled and performed. Visibility from the driver's seat is very good; the windshield is large and the dash is deep and flat, creating an uncluttered look and unencumbered view. The instrumentation is uncomplicated, automotive in style, and familiar in presentation. The SmartWheel steering wheel contains settings for the cruise control. The driver's and passenger's seats are comfortable.
I did find one critique item in the cockpit area, but it could easily be corrected. It involves the sash that secures the windshield drape when it is drawn open and held in place for driving. When the windows are open on the driver and passenger side, the sash does not restrain the drapes. The air eventually wins out, and the drapes begin billowing uncontrollably. This is not just an inconvenience, but also a distraction and a potential safety issue.
I was able to calculate fuel economy, and for a 35-foot, dual-slideout coach, the numbers were respectable. The spectrum of driving conditions included urban, outback, and interstate settings while occasionally hauling a towed vehicle. The Terra LX averaged 7.2 miles per gallon during our trip.
With a full water tank (60 gallons) and a full tank of fuel (75 gallons), the vehicle weighed 17,400 pounds. It has a 22,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Yes, that means the cargo-carrying capacity was superb, at 4,600 pounds. Even if you take a long, extended RV road trip, this coach should be able to accommodate your cargo needs.
Not only is the carrying capacity there, but Fleetwood provides 90 cubic feet of space in the basement. The bay doors on each side measure 48 inches by 27 inches, and with a slideout tray, even the very center of the rear bay can be utilized to the max. A second basement compartment door on the curb side also measures 48 inches by 27 inches. The basement compartments and the holding tanks are insulated and are heated via the coach's 34,000-Btu forced-air furnace.
Fleetwood Terra LX steering wheelFleetwood took its Power Platform raised-rail chassis to new levels (now it's called the Power Platform Plus) in order to create the extra cargo space. During the engineering phase and over thousands of miles of road testing, the coach was loaded to capacity and towing 5,000 pounds. The resulting cargo-carrying and towing capacity offered by the Terra LX is a huge dividend for the coach enthusiast.
The Terra LX is available on a choice of chassis: Ford or Workhorse. My test coach was built on the Ford chassis, which has a 362-horsepower 6.8-liter Triton V-10 engine that yields 457 pound feet of torque. The Workhorse chassis features a 340-horsepower 8.1-liter Vortec V-8 engine that produces 455 pound feet of torque.
On both chassis Fleetwood adds twin longitudinal platform rails and outriggers that anchor the basement compartment structures. The three holding tanks are positioned between the platform rails to keep the weight (regardless of how full or empty the tanks are) in the center of the coach. This prevents changing tank fluid levels from affecting performance and handling.
Speaking of tank fluid levels, the Terra LX has electronic tank monitors that, unlike conventional probes, do not penetrate the surface of the vessel and are not inserted into the tank. These level sensors are mounted on the outside and send an electronic signal through the wall of the tank to determine the fluid level.
Fleetwood Terra LX interiorThe coach's walls, floor, and roof all start with tubular aluminum that is welded into a grid pattern. Solid foam insulation is cut to fit in between, and a sandwich structure is created with wall board on the interior side and gel-coat fiberglass on the outside. The exterior gel-coat, called Vetrolite, is 3/16-inch thick and does not require a backing board. Fleetwood officials explain that eliminating the backer board prevents the concern of moisture working its way in between these two different materials and compromising the integrity of the coach exterior. The walls are vacuum-laminated.
The roof exterior features a new material called TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin. A single sheet lies across the top and wraps over aluminum trusses and solid foam insulation that is shaped to form the crown of the roof.
The interior part of the floor is plywood. A new product called Space Age Material, very light and impervious to moisture and dust, coats the coach's underside. The cockpit is an aluminum structure created by welding tubular members into a cage-type design.
Motorhome builders now assign great importance to making entry-level gasoline coaches such as the Terra LX look elegant and appealing. Case in point: This unit comes with full-body paint. The base coat is topped by painted graphics, which are covered by clear coat. Three exterior paint schemes complement the three interior décor packages that are available.
The two larger Terra LX floor plans — the 32K and 34N — feature a living area slideout that houses a dinette and sleeper sofa; the smallest unit (31M) has a dinette, a refrigerator, and a pantry in the front slideout.
The 34N I reviewed includes a feature that will please many folks — a full-size bathtub. It's not just a large shower with a front lip that is a few inches high. This bathtub is 46 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 12 inches deep. It comes with a tub spout and a shower head.
Fleetwood Terra LX bedroomFleetwood has paid special attention to making the rear bedroom in the 34N accommodating. The slideout is on the curb side and encompasses the head of the queen bed and the wardrobe. The wardrobe is located forward of the head of the bed, so it is always within reach, even when the slideout is retracted. You will never need to crawl across the bed to get to your gear.
I liked the simplicity of the slideout control panel, located above the coach entry door. From there, you can simply turn your head and watch either slideout extend or retract. The only requirements for operating the electric slides are that the unit is level (my test coach had the optional four-point electric PowerGear leveling system); the transmission is in "park"; and the engine is running.
The slideout in the living room of the 34N measures 13 feet long and 30 inches deep. The slideout in the bedroom measures 10.5 feet long by 24 inches deep. Together they add 53 square feet to the coach's living space. The coach can accommodate four adults for the night.
Forward of the main entry is a fabric-dressed swivel chair, so that with the two captain's seats in the cockpit turned about, the coach offers sufficient seating for several people. The 24-inch flat-screen television is positioned in the center of the overhead area in the cockpit.
The galley is a no-nonsense, full-service food preparation area that includes a double sink, a three-burner cook top (a drop-in oven is optional), a microwave oven, an 8-cubic-foot refrigerator/freezer, and a floor-to-ceiling pantry. The hardwood raised-panel interior cabinet doors are crafted from alder wood that is stained to match the particular color scheme.
Fleetwood Terra LX bathroomThe unit I reviewed came equipped with the standard 13,500-Btu roof air-conditioning unit up front and the optional 11,000-Btu unit in the rear. With the single air conditioner configuration, a 4-kilowatt generator is standard; with the optional A/C unit, the 5.5-kilowatt gen set is required.
And talking about electrical stuff, the electronic climate control system is worth noting. It makes energy management transparent to coach occupants. The system senses changing levels of A/C consumption, and when the coach is connected to shore power it goes through "load shedding" when electrical usage becomes temporarily excessive. For example, this unit can operate two roof air conditioners on 30-amp shore power, but what if coach occupants decide to run the microwave oven and 110-volt usage temporarily increases? The system "sheds" (shuts down) the compressor on the rear roof A/C unit until the microwave has finished its job. Then the compressor automatically comes back into service. All this time, the blower on the rear A/C is still going, so most folks inside the coach would never know this series of maneuvers has taken place.
My test coach's base suggested retail price was $94,780, and the as-tested price came to $101,677 with the following options: Fan-Tastic Vent roof fan; DVD/VCR combo; electronic climate control system, rear air conditioner, and 5.5-kilowatt generator; dual auxiliary batteries; exterior wash unit; electronic four-point levelers; rear vision camera; remote-controlled, heated side mirrors.
If you are new to motorhoming, or simply looking to invest your dollars in a gas-powered coach that provides quite a bit of well-built value and utility, take the time to inspect the Terra LX.
Manufacturer ... Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., 3125 Myers St., Riverside, CA 92503; (800) 322-8216; www.fleetwoodrv.com
Model ... Terra LX
Floor plan ... 34N
Chassis ... Ford
Engine ... Triton V-10, 362 horsepower @ 3,200 rpm, 457 pound feet torque @ 3,250 rpm
Transmission ... TorqShift 5-speed automatic with overdrive and tow/haul mode
Axle ratio ... 5.38:1
Tires ... 22.5
Wheelbase ... 228 inches
Brakes ... power, hydraulic with four-wheel, four-channel ABS
Suspension ... tapered, multileaf with Bilstein shocks
Alternator ... 130 amps
Batteries ... 12-volt/750 cca, maintenance-free
Steering ... power, TRW TAS 40 gear (includes cooler)
Electrical service ... 30 amps
Auxiliary generator ... 4-kilowatt Onan MicroQuiet
Exterior length ... 35 feet 7 inches
Exterior width ... 102 inches
Interior height ... 6 feet 7 inches
Exterior height ... 12 feet 5 inches (with A/C)
Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) ... 26,000 pounds
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) ... 22,000 pounds
Gross axle weight rating (GAWR) ... front — 7,500 pounds; rear — 14,500 pounds
Wet weight as tested ... front — 6,460 pounds; rear — 10,740 pounds; total — 17,400 pounds
Payload as tested ... 4,600 pounds
Frame construction ... aluminum floor, wall, ceiling; vacuum-laminated floor, ceiling, sidewalls
Insulation ... block foam
Fresh water capacity ... 60 gallons
Holding tank capacities ... black water — 30 gallons; gray water — 40 gallons
Fuel capacity ... 75 gallons
Fuel requirements ... gasoline
LP-gas capacity ... 25 gallons
Water heater ... 6-gallon quick-recovery with direct spark ignition
Heating system ... 34,000 Btus
Water system ... demand, with filter
Air-conditioning ... (1) 13,500-Btu ducted roof unit, standard; additional 11,000-Btu unit, optional
Refrigerator ... 8-cubic-foot Dometic
Toilet ... marine
Warranty ... coach — limited 1-year/15,000-mile coach warranty and 3-year/50,000-mile structural warranty, whichever occurs first; chassis (Ford) — three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty, whichever occurs first
Base suggested retail price ... $94,780
Price as tested ... $101,677