This gas-powered Type A motorhome comes in seven floor plans, including a toy hauler that should appeal to adventurous, outdoor-loving RV families.
By Gary Bunzer
I’m not saying I’m jaded in any way, but after 40 years in the RV industry, it takes more than a fancy floor plan and useful accoutrements to excite me. Well, I’m happy to say that I was impressed with the 2010 version of the Newmar Canyon Star 3920 shown at the 42nd Annual Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show this past fall. Fit for any toy-loving RV family, the Canyon Star 3920 is built around fun, without sacrificing occupants’ comfort. At its core are excellent living accommodations, and the built-in garage section is suited to house just about any purposeful off-road vehicle.
Versatility is another word that comes to mind when viewing the spacious interior of the Canyon Star. You could say it features a garage section, or a screened-in porch, or a playroom, or a roomy bunkhouse, in addition to the comfortable living section up front. How you choose to utilize this motorhome is entirely up to you.
The 3920 is one of seven Canyon Star floor plans offered for the 2010 model year. The other six are nongarage setups and range from approximately 33 to 37 feet in length. The 3920 measures 39 feet 5 inches. All are 101.5 inches wide.
Having already become familiar with Newmar’s “Pride in Quality” motto during a recent visit to the factory, I was not surprised by the superior workmanship found throughout the Canyon Star. The curbside bedroom slideout combined with the streetside dinette/sofa slideout makes for one spacious living area that universally complements the versatile garage section. Certainly this combination of motorhome and toy hauler is one exquisite mode of RVing fun and comfort wrapped up in one.
For the sake of continuity, allow me to start at the exterior front and move rearward. First, the striking European flair to the front-end design certainly is appealing. The sleek contours and requisite aesthetics generated excitement for me. The fit and finish of the headlamp assemblies exhibit the careful attention to detail that one can appreciate in a well-built, well-designed motorhome.
The twin side-mounted cameras provide the pilot and copilot a clear view, via a center-mounted monitor, along the entire length of the coach — important for those freeway-speed lane changes. A rear-mounted backup camera is also standard fare.
The proprietary slideout mechanisms, Newmar’s own ingenious design, propel the two slide rooms, which are conveniently balanced. And each slideout is carefully weatherproofed, even along the bottom seal. As popular as the slideout has become in RVs, its one major drawback remains adequate and secure protection around the perimeter of each sidewall opening. I was impressed by the tight-fitting seals on the Canyon Star, whether the slideouts were extended for use or retracted for travel.
A full 17-foot A&E Weather Pro patio awning covers the passenger side from just forward of the entry door back to the bedroom slideout.
Other exterior features include two triple-tiered powered entry steps, exterior side mirrors with a defrost function (controlled remotely from the pilot’s seat), a fueling station for the off-road toys RVers bring along, lighted and carpeted storage bays, an undercoated chassis, a one-piece windshield, a frame-mounted hitch rated at 5,000 pounds, automatic leveling jacks, and a trademarked Full Paint Masterpiece Finish with a protective film on the front cap. Sixteen gallons of paint go into each Masterpiece Finish: three coats each of primer, base color as well as the graphics, and then a final clear coat.
The same European design characteristic is carried through to the stylistic rear end, as exemplified by the pleasing taillight assemblies.
The insulation value provided by the fiberglass batts in the ceiling equals R-16; the walls, R-11; and the floor, R-11. The solid laminate roof contains a 9-mm-thick wood substrate covered with BriteTEK-brand synthetic membrane attached to aluminum roof trusses. The interior ceiling features a padded vinyl covering over 3/16-inch paneling. In addition, 5/8-inch-thick bead foam and a paper vapor barrier keep gassing and moisture from entering between the roof and ceiling.
The sidewalls consist of a one-piece gel-coat exterior finish laminated to a 3/16-inch exterior panel. The same paper vapor barrier as in the ceiling separates the exterior portions of the wall with the 5/8-inch bead foam and the 3/16-inch interior paneling. All of this covers a residential-type skeleton of 16-inch-on-center aluminum studs with a 3 1/2-inch head plate. Sturdy indeed!
The interior floor consists of carpeting over a thick pad and simulated wood or vinyl overlay. The substrate is a full 5/8-inch decking material. The wood floor joists measure 2 inches by 3 inches. The first line of defense against moisture intrusion under the floor is a polyethylene moisture barrier.
Of course, the pre-eminent feature of any toy hauler is the garage section, and this one truly stands out, especially when considering the options available. The coach I inspected was equipped with bunk beds that are powered by an electrically operated lift mechanism. Plus, the bottom bunk converts into front- and rear-facing sofas, behind an optional retractable screen. When utilizing the garage section as an additional sleeping area, this is just one of the many versatile options offered.
The garage section includes a full-size ramp for easy loading and unloading of those outdoor “toys,” plus two wheel chocks to help secure them.
Inside the garage/shop/playroom/bedroom, you will find a stainless-steel storage cabinet and maybe an optional wet-dry vacuum, mounted above the standard diamond-tread rubber flooring. Our subject coach even had a 10-inch flip-down LCD television and DVD player complete with headphones at each bunk location as a displayed option.
A separate entry door into the garage section eliminates the messiness of having to traipse through the main living areas or having to lower the rear ramp in order to gain access to the garage. This is a handy design feature for those who really get the most out of their sand or snow off-road toys, if you know what I mean!
The Canyon Star 3920’s Ford F-53 chassis is powered by a 362-horsepower gasoline power plant to move the 260-inch-wheelbase coach down the road. The rear axle ratio is a standard 5.38:1. The motorhome has a hefty 26,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and allows for a generous net carrying capacity of approximately 6,200 pounds of people and stuff.
The liquid capacities of our subject model are the same as the other six Canyon Star floor plans. They include a 60-gallon gray water holding tank, a 40-gallon black water tank, 75 gallons of fresh water, a 10-gallon water heater, and 25 gallons of LP gas. The fuel capacity is 75 gallons.
Inside the living section, the first thing noticed is the spacious living room, including the 74-inch jackknife sofa coupled with the convertible dinette (which includes seat belts), both nestled in the large driver’s-side slideout.
As an option, the dinette booth can be replaced by a nifty hidden-leaf table and four chairs, two of which fold up and are stowed until needed, or a round table with four chairs.
Other standard interior features include raised-panel cabinet doors, full-extension ball-bearing drawer guides, a folding galley countertop extension, a pull-out pantry, and Flexsteel-brand furniture. Window treatments include mini-blinds in the galley, lavatory, and garage section, and pleated day-night shades with decorative lambrequins elsewhere, including those located in the slideouts.
The conventional galley is outfitted with polished Corian countertops and a generous backsplash with an under-mounted acrylic sink for simplified use and maintenance. As is typical, the sink covers are flush-fitting to expand the countertop area.
Standard appliances include an 8-cubic-foot absorption refrigerator (upgradable to either a Dometic or Norcold 12-cubic-foot unit), a 10-gallon combination gas and electric water heater (with bypass kit), a recessed three-burner cooktop, a microwave oven, two 13,500-Btu centrally ducted air conditioners, and a floor-ducted 40,000-Btu forced-air furnace.
On this coach, the optional simulated wood plank floor in the main living section flows conveniently right into the cockpit area. The Flexsteel driver’s seat features full six-way power. The spacious dash area leads to clear viewing through the one-piece windshield.
The driver’s position is both comfortable and unassuming. With the analog instrument cluster, all switches and controls remain utilitarian, uncluttered, and easily accessible.
A privacy shade fully wraps the cockpit and windshield for those private evenings.
Electrically, the Canyon Star is equipped with a 5.5-kw Onan Marquis generator with an automatic transfer switch. A 50-amp shoreline cord provides the coach with campground or external 120-volt-AC electricity. The unit comes with two 12-volt batteries wired in parallel for house use. A battery disconnect switch removes the batteries from the rest of the system during periods of nonuse. A 55-amp convertor/charger provides the 12-volt-DC power when plugged into shore power or when running the generator. There is also a 5-watt solar panel for auxiliary battery charging. A 600-watt inverter is available as an option.
A sophisticated energy management system (EMS) governs the electrical happenings and keeps a watchful eye on the amperage flow.
Fluorescent ceiling lamps grace the living area, while incandescent lighting is featured in the lavatory, bedroom, and under most every overhead cabinet throughout. Even the wardrobe and storage bays are lighted.
The bedroom features a queen bed with a tufted mattress and a quilted bedspread, as well as pillow shams and decorative pillows. Directly across from the bed you’ll find the wardrobes, dresser drawers, and a 19-inch LCD television. I have to admit I was a bit underwhelmed by the bedroom amenities of this coach, but because of the garage section, the floor plan options were understandably limited. After all, the focus of a toy hauler is usually on the “toys.” But even with the bedroom slideout extended, I felt a little cramped. Conveniently, the bed platform lifts to provide access to the storage area below.
The lavatory, like the galley, is simple and utilitarian yet comfortable. The Thetford porcelain toilet is equipped with a convenient spray attachment. For ventilation, the bathroom and galley are both outfitted with Fan-Tastic vents. The one-piece synthetic shower/tub surround includes sliding shower doors.
All fresh water for the entire coach, including the exterior showerhead, is first run through a filter.
Other options to choose from (floor plan permitting) include a 30-inch convection oven, a surround-sound stereo system, Sirius satellite radio, a 26-inch LCD television at the dry bar, a 19-inch LCD television in the garage section, a 10-disc CD player, a one-piece washer-dryer combo, a satellite dish, an Ultraleather swivel chair or sofa bed, and a driver’s door.
As of this writing, the 2011 Canyon Star lineup has been introduced. Thanks to its popularity, the 3920 remains in the mix for the new model year.
All in all, the Canyon Star 3920 just might be the ticket for the adventurous family that truly takes advantage of both the RV lifestyle and the joy of playing with their toys in the sand, snow, or just about anywhere!
AT A GLANCE
Newmar Corporation, 355 N. Delaware St., P.O. Box 30, Nappanee, IN 46550; (800) 860-0086, (574) 773-7791; http://www.newmarcorp.com/
AVAILABLE FLOOR PLANS
Ford F-53/362-horsepower, gasoline
39 feet 5 inches
12 feet 11 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 60 gallons;
black water — 40 gallons
40,000-Btu forced-air furnace, floor-ducted;
(2) 13,500-Btu centrally ducted air conditioners
1 year limited/unlimited miles; 5 years structural
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE