This 24-foot Type C is touted for its fuel efficiency, drivability, and livability.
By Jim Brightly, F358406
Jayco has nicknamed the 2010 Precept the “Escape Artist.” Since this Type C motorhome is based on the popular and economical Sprinter chassis, Escape Artist is a solid and succinct sobriquet for this high-mileage hustler, which I had an opportunity to inspect at a recent Las Vegas RV show.
The Precept diesel-powered motorhome is said to deliver fuel mileage of 16 to 18 miles per gallon, a figure reached via independent testing. Several months ago I tested a similar coach that also was based on the Sprinter chassis; it provided an average 13 mpg of diesel fuel. Thus, the Precept might be able to equal its stated fuel mileage claims, especially if the driver holds the speed down to the double-nickel.
The Precept’s 3-liter V-6 turbo-diesel Mercedes-Benz engine produces 154 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 280 pound-feet torque at 1,200 to 2,400 rpm, and it is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission with a single overdrive gear. With a 25-gallon fuel tank, and using 15 mpg as a fuel economy estimate, this escape artist could conceivably provide 375 miles per tank. So, most drivers could comfortably fill the tank in the morning, drive about six hours, find a campsite, and do the same thing the next day.
Based on my previous experience with motorhomes built on this chassis, the Precept should prove to be nimble, easy to handle, and able to park in any mall’s parking lot, easing greatly the chore of trip preparation. The Sprinter chassis features rear stabilizer springs and an adaptive electronic stability program (ESP), which Jayco says makes the Precept more responsive than conventional Type C motorhomes. It’s only 24 feet 8 inches long on a 170-inch wheelbase with a very respectable turning radius, so it probably will fit in almost any driveway, again easing trip prep.
Whether one is traveling with kids or adults, passengers may have to be selective in what they bring on board because of the Precept’s 11,030-pound GVWR. Four people can be strapped into this motorhome safely with seatbelts, so you’ll want to watch what you load into it. The fuel tank holds 25 gallons of diesel fuel, approximately 170 pounds. Its water tank holds 37 gallons (which includes the water heater’s capacity), or about 300 pounds, and the LP-gas tank contains another 56 pounds (approximately). When these tanks are full, you’ll want to take care not to overload the coach with clothes, food, and other provisions.
When preparing to drive the Precept for the first time, RVers will want to make note of its shifter-select panel. The display starts with “P” at the top, then “R”, “N,” and “D,” respectively. A minus sign (“-”) on the left side of the shifter and a plus sign (“+”) on the right side indicate additional gears. To drop the transmission to a lower gear, the driver taps the shifter to the left (one tap per gear); each tap to the right raises the transmission a gear. To see all of the dash readouts, one must scroll through an extensive list.
In keeping with other motorhomes constructed using the Sprinter chassis, the cab is somewhat utilitarian, but functional. After unlocking the doors with the standard remote key fob and slipping into the cab, with its leather non-swiveling captains’ chairs, one can adjust the remote-controlled side-view mirrors, relock the doors, and put down the power windows before starting the engine.
Once the Precept is all packed, fueled, and watered, simply back it out of your driveway (using its standard backup camera and monitor and remote-controlled side-view mirrors for safety) and be on your way. If you wish to haul a towable along, be aware that it will need to be a smaller car; leave the SUV at home. The Precept has a 14,530-pound gross combination weight rating (GCWR) and offers a 3,500-pound-rated hitch. Also, with a towable attached, keep in mind the coach will take longer to achieve freeway speeds.
While you’re driving, you’ll enjoy the Precept’s cruise control, tilt and telescoping power steering wheel, antilock brakes, and electronic skid control. The 180-amp alternator should be capable of keeping all three batteries (one chassis and two house) charged and ready for use. The two house batteries are also wired through a dash-mounted auxiliary starting switch in case a bit more boost is needed to turn over the engine on a cold morning.
The Precept is offered in one floor plan, the 24DSS, which includes one slideout on the street side. The interior floor of the motorhome is covered front to rear in tile-design linoleum, an easy-to-clean alternative to carpet. Three décor options are available (Sable, Crimson, and Khaki) to accommodate the standard Provincial Glazed Maple interior cabinetry. The dinette, situated in the driver’s-side slideout, adds a great deal to the feeling that the inside of the motorhome seems larger than the outside. European-style curved cabinets and brushed-metal nickel handles and fixtures give a combination of retro and modern feel to the Precept.
As far as sleeping quarters are concerned, a permanent double bed with a rounded bottom corner is situated in the rear. This rear bedroom area also features halogen reading lights, overhead storage cabinets, roller shades, and under-bed storage. A temporary bed can be made up from the dinette. The dinette table, featuring the Dream Dinette mechanism, is built on a spring-assisted lift. After the wall lock is released, the table can be pushed down easily for use as a bed, and it rises and returns to couch height when the cushions are removed. In addition, the cab-over area contains space for another bed.
In place of the dinette, buyers can select a fold-out sofa bed, or “comfort lounge,” and sofa table; instead of the cab-over bed, an optional entertainment center with a 32-inch TV and extra storage capacity may be substituted.
The galley’s overhead cabinet appears to be a comfortable and convenient height for easy working at the galley’s countertop. To the right of the round, stainless-steel sink is a three-burner stovetop with an Apollo convection-microwave oven beneath and an exhaust-fan-equipped range hood above. A 6-cubic-foot, two-way, two-door refrigerator sits across the aisle, adjacent to the dinette.
The ceiling and cabinet bases hold plenty of recessed halogen lights, which are nicely placed for maximum usability. A 22-inch LCD television is mounted between the entrance door and the upper bunk. The TV is on a swinging wall mount, so it’s viewable from the dinette or cab-over bunk. The dinette is equipped with two seat belts, so the TV can be watched from there while traveling, either via the generator or the 400-watt inverter.
The Precept’s rear bathroom is adequate but tight, with a shower and toilet behind the door, and a small stainless-steel sink just outside the door. The shower is outfitted with a retractable shower door and a skylight. A towel rack hangs above the toilet. Outside the bath area, another towel rack hangs next to the sink, and narrow cabinets above and below the sink provide a bit of storage.
You’ll find quite a lot of space in the exterior lighted storage compartments (33 cubic feet, to be exact), which are conveniently equipped with lockable side-opening doors. But keep in mind the coach’s weight restrictions when packing. Each side of the coach contains three storage bins; of these, one holds the 3.2-kw diesel-powered generator and another houses the LP-gas tank.
The Precept is constructed with Jayco’s patented TuffShell vacuum-bonded laminated roof, floor, and sidewalls, as well as a welded aluminum sidewall frame and a one-piece fiberglass roof. Buyers may select standard or premium paint for the exterior of the motorhome.
When I examined the Precept, I was intrigued by a large exterior baggage door that opens into the rear curbside bedroom. This door provides access to the storage area under the mattress and mattress support frame. The mattress incorporates a hinged seam, which enables part of it to be lifted up toward the bathroom so that taller items such as lawn chairs, foldaway bikes, etc. can be stowed under the bed.
Jayco celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. The company was founded by the late Lloyd J. Bontrager, who felt he could build a better RV than what was being manufactured at the time. Housing production in two chicken houses and a barn on the family farm, Lloyd developed his own prototype camping trailer and a lift system for fold-down campers, the basic design of which is patented and still in use today. By the conclusion of 1968, Lloyd and his 15 employees had sold 132 fold-down camping trailers. Today, Jayco employs nearly 1,600 people and constructs various sizes and types of RVs and park models, including Type A and Type C motorhomes.
Jayco Inc., P.O. Box 460, Middlebury, IN 46540; 574-825-5861; www.jayco.com
Sprinter; 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-diesel
24 feet 8 inches
7 feet 4 1/2 inches
10 feet 11 inches (with roof A/C)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
37 gallons (includes water heater)
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water – 33 gallons;
black water – 37 gallons
25,000-Btu furnace with auto-ignition;
13,500-Btu low-profile air conditioner
36 months/36,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE