The Conquest Motorhomes division of Gulf Stream Coach has created this powerful, spacious type C on the International 4200 chassis.
By Bob Zagami
In an era when every industry and business seems to have something called "super," you must look hard to see whether a product truly deserves that moniker. Conquest Motorhomes, a division of Gulf Stream Coach, has combined the word with "nova," the astrological term that stands for a rare celestial phenomenon: a star that emits a vast amount of energy.
This certainly has proven to be an appropriate name for Conquest Motorhomes' SuperNova, which I recently had an opportunity to review. A star is born with this Super C that has energy and power to spare when you need it to pass on the highway and even stay in that passing lane while driving up a steep incline. The International engine provides another level of comfort and confidence when going down the other side of the mountain. The lower gears of this truck engine are so finely tuned that we were able to navigate a very steep decline through the hills of Watkins Glen, New York, without ever needing to touch the brake pedal.
You don’t have to be timid with the SuperNova, and you will surprise many road veterans with the maneuverability and power under the hood.
Gulf Stream, one of the largest privately held manufacturers in the RV industry, has set a new standard with this Super C category, which in turn sets a new level of expectation for RVers who want a large vehicle but don’t necessarily want to drive a type A motorhome.
Gulf Stream has established a reputation for innovative designs and floor plans resulting from significant infrastructure investments in lean manufacturing and Six Sigma quality initiatives — strategies that have allowed it to be more responsive to customer demands and to bring products to the market faster. As these processes evolve, the company anticipates continued improvements in quality, as well as increases in sales and customer loyalty.
Make no mistake about it: the SuperNova is big! Muscular might be an even better word for this impressive coach that exudes confidence even before you get a chance to see its expansive and comfortable interior, accessed midship as you step up into the living room.
Even with the impressive full-wall street-side slideout not yet extended, there is plenty of room to walk throughout the front of the coach from the cabin to the bathroom. It's easy to appreciate the design of model 6372, which measures 37 feet 2 inches.
Driving this coach was exhilarating, and that may be an understatement. Packaged with a powerful International VT 365 300-horsepower turbo-diesel engine, the SuperNova easily passed 18-wheelers while ascending steep hills. In fact, its performance was so impressive that when those big rigs caught up to us at the next rest area, their drivers took the time to come over to look at the motorhome and inquire about the power under the hood of its familiar-looking International truck front end. Although some truckers out there might look upon motorhomes with disdain, those we encountered showed a lot of respect for this beauty. In fact, one of the long-haul veterans commented, “It’s about time somebody put a real truck in one of those things!” If you own a SuperNova, you can bet that they will be making room for you at the truck stops.
The SuperNova family of coaches comes with an impressive selection of full-body paint graphics, including an Adrenaline series that provides a sense of fluid, powerful motion, even when sitting in a parking lot.
Residential touches inside the SuperNova 6372 include solid hardwood cabinet doors and fronts.
Hop into the cab of the coach, and you have a luxury work-over of the comfortable pilot and copilot seats and easy-to-read instrumentation. Once inside, the strength and comfort of the cockpit provide you with an extra measure of confidence and safety that is surprisingly easy to adjust to as you head out on the road. Although large on the outside, and cavernous behind the cockpit, the cab has a comfortable feeling that makes it seem as though you're driving a much smaller motorhome.
When my wife and I arrived at one of the many KOA Kampgrounds we had an opportunity to visit on our road trip, the SuperNova drew a great deal of attention, and everyone wanted to have a quick tour of this type of coach. So let’s take a walk through the interior and showcase the creative design that has made this such a livable arrangement.
Just beyond the cockpit, two couches face each other in the living area; the one behind the pilot is capable of converting to a 60-inch-wide bed. In the full-wall slide that stretches back to the master bedroom suite on the street side, you will find a comfortable-for-four dinette, a large two-way double-door refrigerator, a pantry, and tremendous closet and storage space. When the slideout is at full extension, a very pleasant seating and entertainment area is created, with the galley set back and left of the curbside entrance door. Given the large interior, I thought the television was smaller than it had to be. The TV is hinged to a cabinet door in the overhead bunk area that seems to be underutilized in comparison to the overall floor plan. Although this area can sleep one person, I believe that an upgraded entertainment center and larger LCD television would easily become a fan favorite for this cab-over environment. It may simply be my own reservations, but I prefer not to place a television in a sleeping area that is susceptible to swinging hands and feet from those inclined to move around during the night.
The curbside bathroom is accessible from the rear bedroom and the kitchen area, and is usable even with the slides closed.
The galley is moderate in size but contains everything needed to whip up a snack or a gourmet meal. The convection-microwave oven, which is quite large, is a great addition. Couple this with the three-burner cooktop, and you have all the comforts of home in an easy-to-use corner of the coach. The pantry and refrigerator are just across the aisle. When the slideout is closed, access to the pantry is very tight, so you will want to make sure anything you want while driving has already been removed before leaving the campground or resort.
The cabinet craftsmanship throughout the SuperNova rivals residential-style products. Built in-house, the cabinets are constructed of solid hardwood doors and fronts that are predrilled and screwed; ours were rock maple stained with a furniture-grade finish. The coach cook will appreciate the full-drawer extensions, plenty of storage space, and close proximity to the outdoors when entertaining outside the motorhome.
One of the things you will really enjoy about the SuperNova 6372 is the large bathroom that separates the living room/kitchen area from the master bedroom suite. Accessible from both the kitchen area and the bedroom, this area offers plenty of storage in the vanity and medicine cabinet, and it is flooded with light from the translucent panel in the ceiling and the powered bath vent. You also will find ample room in the curved corner shower, which is quite decorative and very functional.
The bathroom is usable at all times, during travel or anytime the slides are not extended. Although this may sound logical, in some coaches the slideout must be extended in order to have this availability.
A king-size bed is incorporated into a second slideout in the bedroom, this one on the curb side. The large size of this bed didn’t leave room for any nightstands in this particular floor plan. The bed must be folded up before the bedroom slide can be moved in or out. On our trip, the configuration and design of the mechanisms that operate the movement of the bed proved challenging, and I understand that Gulf Stream has recognized the problem and increased the power of the motors driving the bed assembly. I think consumers might like to have an option for a queen-size bed here with nightstands. However, the king-size bed almost seems like a given in such a large coach.
The bedroom also featured a washer-dryer combination that faces out from the street-side wall. When the bed is fully extended, it does push right up to this cabinet, so it can be a little tricky if you happen to be the person sleeping nearest to the rear wall and you need to get up during the evening. Another possible improvement here would be turning the washer-dryer to face the front of the coach instead of the opposing side wall.
We were really impressed with the livability of this particular floor plan and found it to be a great coach for two people that offers the ability to entertain several more when a destination is reached. Other models in the SuperNova lineup allow for increased sleeping accommodations, including a new unit that is outfitted with bunk beds for larger families.
Riding on the 25,900-pound-GVWR chassis, which is outfitted with a 140-gallon diesel fuel tank, was extremely comfortable. The super strength system used by Gulf Stream on this coach rivals that of larger type A units and is unique to the industry. The engineers specifically designed the chassis rails with 10-inch C-channel construction and welded a network of web trusses that distribute and transfer weight and energy evenly for a great riding experience. I did keep tabs on mileage, and we averaged approximately 7 mpg during our 3,000-mile trip.
The SuperNova should appeal to those who want a powerful motorhome with a strong sense of security and comfort that is equal to many type A motorhomes but offers the type C configuration that many people prefer. What owners will truly enjoy, though, is the power that places this motorhome into an entirely new category that many call Super C. RVers who enjoy the driving experience and don't just hurry on to the next campground will want to have this coach high up on their list of units to look at the next time they are ready to trade.
In fact, the pilot may have to be the copilot more than he or she would like, because this motorhome is such a pleasure to drive. Fortunately for me, my wife, who happens to own her own kitchen and bath design business, doesn’t like to drive, so the pleasure was all mine. On the other hand, she truly enjoyed the comfort, interior, king-size bed, and the quality of the products built into this coach.
Conquest Motorhomes, Division of Gulf Stream Coach, 503 S. Oakland Ave., Nappanee, IN 46550; (800) 289-8787; www.conquestmotorhomes.com
International VT 365 turbo-diesel; 300-horsepower @ 3000 rpm; 530 pound-feet torque @ 1800 rpm
Allison 2500 Series
5.29 to 1
house — 12-volt; chassis — 12-volt
450 watts, optional
50 amps with auto changeover and convert0r
6-kilowatt Onan diesel; 8-kilowatt diesel, optional
37 feet 2 inches
101 3/4 inches
12 feet 7 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING
front — 10,000 pounds
rear — 17,500 pounds
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY*
super strength truss system, 10-inch C channel; aluminum frame vacuum-bonded
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
black water — 52 gallons
gray water — 52 gallons
front — 13,500-Btu low-profile, ducted; rear — 11,000 Btu low-profile, ducted
structural — 2 years/unlimited mileage, transferable; 5 years/150,000 miles, limited
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED
* As reported by manufacturer