The Fleetwood Icon 24D paints a striking exterior profile.
By Jim Brightly, F358406
According to Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, one of the explanations of an icon is "an image ... any of various stylized figures ... representing available functions or resources." This is actually a pretty good description of Fleetwood's modest-sized Type C motorhome built on a Dodge Sprinter chassis.
I keep wanting to call the coach "diminutive" or "small" or "slight," because of how it feels on the highway or on a campground's access road, but it's not. It's a substantial 25-foot motorhome with a diesel engine that pulls it along easily and fairly inexpensively at nearly 15 miles per gallon. (Speaking of fuel, Icon has a rather unusual location for its fuel filler tube; it's beneath a fuel door that is secured by the driver's door when it's closed.)
Actually, another word kept running through my mind during a recent test outing, one that Ford has used for many years: Explorer. Every time I drove Icon, I thought of fun places I’d like to go exploring in it. Because of the motorhome's relatively small size and peppiness on the highway, I imagined that it would be perfect for exploring the narrow, high-crowned, twisty roads in Yellowstone or the scenic mountain byways in and around Yosemite. It's almost the perfect national park visitor; acquits itself well on slim, winding roads; fits easily in small campsites or the parking lots at attractions; and merely sips fuel at the speeds you'll drive on those types of scenic byways.
In other words, the Fleetwood Icon drives small and camps big. One might be tempted to call this Type C a Type B+ because of its nimbleness and easy handling, and the fact that it's at home in any mall's parking lot. On hills with inclines of less than 7 percent, Icon's speed is relatively unaffected. Going up hills of 7 percent or greater, however, especially long slopes, the V-6 diesel backed down to 53 mph, with the five-speed automatic keeping pace with aplomb.
Once I figured out the shifter's operation, holdback on downhills was easily accomplished, even though the coach was not equipped with an exhaust brake. Unlike other shift selector panels, Icon's panel displays no lower gears. Instead, "D" is the final selection on the bottom (starting with "P" at the top, then "R," "N," and "D," respectively.) I finally noticed a minus sign on the left side of the shifter and a plus sign on the right side. Tapping the shifter to the left dropped the transmission to a lower gear (one tap per gear); tapping it to the right raised the transmission a gear. Easy, once I figured it out. This is just one reason I caution an owner to be sure to read the owners manual thoroughly before operating a motorhome.
Another reason to do so: multiple readouts on Icon's dash must be scrolled through to see the entire list, and it's an extensive one. Reading the manual for this coach will greatly assist an owner in learning all the features on the list.
Seats and mirrors are manually adjusted. For being manual, the seats are actually quite sophisticated and comfortable. Although they do not swivel, they move fore and aft; recline; move up and down; and have an adjustable lumbar support pillow.
The color backup monitor works very well. It must be turned on each time the engine is restarted, as it doesn't fire up automatically.
The Fleetwood Icon is equipped with daytime running lights (DRLs). It's also fairly quick for a V-6 diesel-powered coach (154 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm; 280 pound-feet torque @ 1,200 rpm). Zero-to-50-mph acceleration times ranged from 14.05 seconds to 19.02 seconds, with an average of 16.4 seconds.
Icon achieved 13 mpg during our road test, and that was without attempting to hold the speed down in the double-nickel range. On the interstates, I maintained the maximum posted speed limit until that limit exceeded 65 mph, and then I kept the speed at 65 with the cruise control.
Fleetwood provides Icon buyers a six-month subscription to Sirius Satellite Radio. Since Icon lends itself to effortless exploration, an owner might find himself or herself in backcountry locations not traveled before, and in areas without AM or FM broadcasts, where the Sirius sounds will be more than welcome. After six months, be prepared to be hooked on the wonderful features of subscription satellite tunes and talk. Besides, you can listen to the same station while driving coast to coast!
While we appreciated and enjoyed the Sirius system, the bass and treble controls on the dashboard radio were preadjusted to the high treble side. Even changing the treble setting to -6 and the bass setting to +6, it was still too high-pitched for this driver's old ears.
I'd say Icon's cab is very utilitarian, with its delivery-truck-type cab, rubber mats on the floorboards and, as noted, nonswiveling captains' chairs. The motorhome interior is more plush, yet some of the utilitarian concepts have been carried throughout. For instance, one can glance back over a shoulder while seated in the cockpit and see immediately how easy and breezy coach cleanup will be, as it has linoleum flooring throughout.
The cab contains a handy compartment with a lid that's perfect for holding a laptop computer, a couple of daily journals, or some magazines (five or six issues of Family Motor Coaching would fit nicely). It's centered on top of the dash beneath the rearview mirror.
Travelers will want to ration the space and weight of the gear and toys they bring along, because of the Icon's limited weight capacity. Our test coach weighed in at 10,500 pounds; when this is deducted from the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 11,130 pounds, it leaves the coach with minimal payload. Fleetwood officials note that they chose to limit the GVWR to prevent customers from overloading their units.
This brings us back to the interior, which, as noted, should be an easy cleanup chore thanks to linoleum flooring throughout the house portion. There are two permanent beds – the curbside double bed in the rear and the cab-over bed, which tilts up when not needed to give the driver more headroom. In addition, a temporary bed is made from the dinette. The dinette is in the driver's-side slideout, which is 138 inches long and adds a great deal to the feel of "camping big."
The dinette table rests on a spring-assisted lift (air tube supports). You just push it down once it is released from its wall lock and then allow it to rise when the cushions are removed. The weight of the cushions is sufficient to hold the table down – and some cushion compression will be necessary, because they are cut slightly oversized so that they'll remain in place better without causing depressions. Two seat belts are installed on the forward-facing dinette bench.
European-style curved cabinets and stainless-steel handles and fixtures give the Icon both a retro and ultramodern feel. Our test coach featured Tiki Bar interior décor, consisting of brown and tan hues, and Jackson cherry wood cabinetry. Rope lighting accented some of the cabinets, contributing to the ambience.
In the curbside galley, the bottom surface of the overhead cabinet contains a 120-volt-AC connector, high above the countertop's surface. As such, the cords of some newer kitchen appliances (toaster, coffeepot, etc.) may be too short to reach the connector. During our test, the power cord on our coffee maker was just barely long enough. Fleetwood designers could rectify this by placing another outlet in the galley's sidewall. In the meantime, Icon owners will want to measure electrical cords when buying appliances for the coach.
Considering its compact size, the galley contains plenty of space for storage and more than enough countertop surface for making and serving meals. A matching cover can be placed over the three-burner stove to increase countertop working space, above which is the microwave-convection oven. The deep, round stainless-steel sink features a gooseneck faucet. The fridge is in the street-side slideout just aft of a small pantry.
Again, one should consider the Icon's overall size when evaluating the rear street-side bathroom. It's small but adequate, including a shower and toilet behind the door, and a small sink just outside. A towel rack hangs next to the sink, which has a narrow cabinet above and below.
With the exception of the window over the galley sink, which is equipped with venetian blinds, all of the "house" windows are surrounded by finished stainless-steel frameworks. We found the day-night shades difficult to deploy and raise out of the way for storage within these frames. However, in the shades' defense, perhaps more familiarity with them might breed an ease of use to the owner.
The ceiling and cabinet bases hold plenty of lights, and they're nicely placed for maximum usability. The excellent JVC televisions exhibited absolutely flawless, crisp images upon startup; however, we were unable to watch them because our campsite in an older campground on the shores of Lake Havasu in Arizona did not have an operating cable system, and our test coach, although prewired for it, didn't have a satellite receiver. The forward TV is located next to the entry door and viewable from the dinette or cab-over bunk, while the rear TV is mounted on the closet wall above the foot of the master bed. The latter set also can be swiveled around to be viewed from the dinette if desired.
Quite a lot of space is available in the external basement storage bins, considering the relative size of the Icon, but one must keep in mind the motorhome's weight restrictions. There are three bins on the curb side and four on the street side, one of which holds the LP-gas generator and another the LP-gas tank.
The Icon 24D carries a base suggested retail price of $97,566. The as-tested price of the coach came to $101,668 and included these options: patio awning, Onan 3.6-kw generator, exterior wash unit.
If you're stepping down in size, moving up from a smaller Type C, or just looking for a more economical but fully equipped motorhome, Fleetwood's Icon should be high on your list of possibilities.
On March 10, 2009, Fleetwood Enterprises filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for itself and certain operating subsidiaries in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The company's motorhome and manufactured housing divisions remain operational while the company seeks buyers for them. Fleetwood has closed its travel trailer division. On April 6, U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the company's plan to continue operations, honor motorhome warranties and dealer incentives, and obtain additional financing. Additional breaking news, as it develops, will be posted on www.fleetwoodrv.com; click on "Newsroom."
Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., P.O. Box 1007, Decatur, IN 46733; (800) 322-8216; www.fleetwoodrv.com
Mercedes-Benz 3-liter CDI 6-cylinder; 154 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm; 280 pound-feet torque @ 1,200 rpm
5-speed automatic with overdrive
4.10 to 1
Michelin XRV LT215/85R16
hydraulic four-wheel antilock disc
front, strut with transverse leaf springs; rear, leaf springs
power-assisted rack and pinion with tilt wheel
chassis (1) – 100 amps; coach (2) – 6-volt DC, 217 amps
Cummins Onan 3.6-kilowatt LPG Microquiet (optional)
25 feet 2 inches
11 feet 4 inches
6 feet 7 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 4,410 pounds;
rear — 7,720 pounds
WET WEIGHT AS TESTED
front axle — 3,720 pounds;
rear axle — 6,780 pounds;
total — 10,500 pounds
(full fuel and water; no passengers; @ 100 pounds gear)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 33 gallons;
black water — 33 gallons
Atwood, 25,000 Btus
(1) 13,500 Btu, standard; 15,000 Btu, optional
Dometic 6-cubic-foot two-way (AC, LP gas)
Thetford porcelain with hand sprayer
coach — one-year/15,000 miles, limited;
structure — 3 years/50,000 miles;
chassis — 3 years/36,000 miles
MANUFACTURER'S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE (BASE)
PRICE AS TESTED