Tiffin Motorhomes’ smallest-ever diesel-powered unit is creating a stir in the RV market.
By Gary Bunzer
Amid much fanfare, RVers, industry pundits, and first-time buyers perusing the offerings at consumer RV shows across the country have embraced the new Allegro Breeze, produced by Tiffin Motorhomes of Red Bay, Alabama. I had the chance to take a firsthand look at this new diesel-powered motorhome during the 2010 Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show in Hershey this past September.
The impact begins when you simply compare the interior of the coach to the exterior. Yes, it’s only 28 feet long (actually approximately 29 feet 7 inches, bumper to bumper), but by the time you make your way from the cockpit to the rear bedroom, you wonder just how Tiffin designers have fit so many features into such a short motorhome. As the shortest diesel-pusher Type A motorhome currently on the market, the Allegro Breeze is smartly outfitted, inside and out. Tiffin designers have done a masterful job of providing the necessities along with some nice added features to this, the company’s shortest offering to date.
Pushed along by a Navistar MaxxForce 7 power plant, which delivers a peak torque of 560 pound-feet through an Allison 1000 transmission, the 2011 Breeze indeed earns high marks in the driving and handling category. In fact, all the people I interviewed who had the opportunity to get behind the wheel were quick to point out how easy the Breeze is to drive, steer, turn, and park. A wheelbase of only 152 inches allows the driver literally to make a complete U-turn within the width of a single lane of parking spaces, such as is found in a typical parking lot. Name any other diesel-pusher Type A motorhome that can do that!
For you Type C fans especially, when it comes to steering and handling, the move up to the Type A motorhome category is a much smaller progression with the Breeze. As one observer opined, it was more like driving an oversized SUV rather than a Type A motorhome. Air brakes supply the stopping power. The full air suspension further contributes to the comfortable ride and handling of the Breeze.
Outside, the Breeze is configured with ample storage bays (approximately 77 cubic feet), as well as the obligatory electrical, propane, and plumbing bays. The 6,000-watt Onan generator is neatly ensconced in the front end of the motorhome and is easily accessible for service, as are many of the chassis electrical components, which are located behind the gas-shock-supported access door.
The propane bay houses a stout, 24-gallon ASME propane container, along with pressure-regulating equipment.
As a standard feature, the fresh water storage container and both waste holding tank compartments are heated to ward against the hazards associated with winter RVing. Personally, I would have preferred to see the holding tank termination valves positioned in a more vertical orientation, but this can be reconciled later with the addition of a couple of aftermarket electric gate valves.
A sleek European-like styling aesthetic accentuates the headlamp assemblies and makes for a very pleasing look to the front end.
Construction-wise, the 2011 Allegro Breeze is outfitted with a solid, one-piece fiberglass roof cap that sandwiches an aluminum tube framework encapsulating a full 5 1/2 inches of insulation. It is a known fact that the fewer seams on the roof, the fewer chances of roof leaks.
The sidewall construction consists of exterior gel-coat fiberglass laminated to a layer of thermal insulation and installed over a framework of aluminum tubing. A decorative wall panel finishes the interior surface. Overall, the wall thickness measures approximately 1.5 inches.
Vinyl tiles affixed to sturdy, high-impact OSB (oriented strand board) top the floor inside the motorhome. Again, high-performance thermal insulation is encapsulated inside the floor section, surrounded by high-strength aluminum tubing, and protected by a woven moisture barrier on the bottom side.
Tiffin officials are confident enough to offer a 5-year lamination warranty against all exterior fiberglass delamination and wall separations. The Allegro Breeze also boasts a full 10-year construction warranty against all structural defects, including diagnosed inner frame weaknesses.
In addition to the 24-gallon propane container mentioned earlier, the other tank capacities include 65 gallons of fuel, a 6-gallon DSI (direct spark ignition) water heater, 70 gallons of fresh water, 30 gallons of black waste water, and 50 gallons of gray water. It’s quite refreshing to see a coach outfitted with enough waste holding tank capacity to more than contain the contents of a full fresh water tank.
Before we head inside, here is a partial list of standard features found on the exterior of the Allegro Breeze: heated power mirrors; powered patio awning; slideout awning; electric entry step; backup monitor; side-view cameras; roof ladder; cable TV hookup; full body paint (five schemes to choose from); 6-volt auxiliary batteries (wired in series).
Inside, the driver’s compartment features a sleek, contoured, wraparound dash with clear viewing through a one-piece, tinted windshield. The 18-inch steering wheel perfectly centers the pilot’s location. For privacy, a powered solar and privacy shade covers the windshield with the flip of a switch (shades at the pilot and copilot windows can be lowered manually).
Though utilitarian in design, the pilot’s seat is within easy reach of all of the requisite controls. As standard equipment, the nonpowered pilot’s and copilot’s seats are cloth-covered, but one option I certainly would select would be the powered, leather Flexsteel seats as found in our subject coach.
Located in the Breeze’s single, street-side slideout, a hefty 68-inch sofa bed comes as standard equipment. On our subject coach, a like-sized Ultraleather-covered sofa bed was in place as an option. In either case, the custom sofa is cut around the front left wheel well, forming a nice aesthetic for when the slideout moves in and out.
An embracing U-shaped convertible dinette is located directly across from the sofa bed and is equipped with a flip table that neatly folds in half for more clearance when traversing the motorhome, front to rear. The dinette converts to a bed for an additional sleeping area as needed.
Abundant ceiling-mounted overhead storage cabinets line the space above the sofa bed and the dinette area on the opposite side of the coach.
In the set-up position with the slide extended, the galley area becomes sleek and quite roomy. It is equipped with plenty of storage cabinets. The galley sink contains a nifty fold-down spout and faucet assembly that disappears under a protective covering when not in use. The same is true of the two-burner cooktop; covered, the countertop expands the usable work areas. The countertops are all solid surface, as is the backsplash.
Directly across from the galley sink, cooktop, and convection-microwave oven (all located in the slideout section), a 6-cubic-foot absorption refrigerator sits alongside a built-in pantry; all are within easy reach for any busy gourmet cook. An optional ice maker is available inside the refrigerator.
Further rearward, the lavatory sections are opposed, with the toilet and lavatory sink located on the passenger side and the one-piece molded fiberglass shower enclosure (with skylight) located on the driver’s side. Basic in design, yet fully equipped, the lavatory features a solid vanity countertop, a medicine cabinet, and a Fan-Tastic Vent exhaust vent. Again, in deference to the shortened length of this motorhome, the lavatory sections may seem sparse to some, but the vast majority will find them truly practical and sufficient.
The demure rear bedroom is separated from the rest of the motorhome by a non-pocket sliding panel. The queen bed is centrally positioned on the rear wall, with matching wardrobe closets and nightstands on either side. Plentiful storage exists under the bed itself in the form of four large and very functional drawers that are built into the bed pedestal. Additional storage is provided in cabinets across the width of the back wall above the bed, between the wardrobes. Large windows on either side of the bed help to open up this area, and an optional 22-inch television mounted on the back of the shower enclosure wall makes wise use of the limited space.
Although it’s personal preference, I would have liked to have another slideout in the bedroom. For example, a queen-size bed mounted in a slideout on the passenger side could create a much larger space with sufficient room for a full-width wardrobe across the back of the coach, all without requiring more length.
That said, the design elements that allow all the accoutrements to fit into the shortened interior are the key to what this motorhome is all about. The shortest diesel-pusher Type A motorhome by Tiffin Motorhomes, the Allegro Breeze should indeed enjoy much success. It simply fits a niche not served yet by any other manufacturer. And to top it off, the build quality is quite up to the standard we’ve come to expect from a Tiffin coach.
AT A GLANCE
Tiffin Motorhomes Inc., 105 Second St. N.W., Red Bay, AL 35582; (256) 356-8661; www.tiffinmotorhomes.com
AVAILABLE FLOOR PLANS
(1) — 28 BR
Tiffin PowerGlide chassis; Navistar MaxxForce 7 engine, 215 horsepower @ 2,600 rpm
29 feet 7 inches
6 feet 6 inches
11 feet 2 inches (with roof A/C)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 50 gallons;
black water — 30 gallons
20 gallons (filled to maximum 80 percent capacity)
(1) Suburban 35,000-Btu furnace/(1) 13,500-Btu low-profile roof A/C — front
unitized construction — 10 years;
lamination — 5 years;
remainder of coach — 1 year
BASE MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE