Plenty of living can be enjoyed aboard this compact yet amenity-filled gas-powered Type A motorhome.
By Bob Zagami
The first three letters of Winnebago are “w-i-n,” and the company has created a real winner with the Itasca Sunova 30A, a compact yet fully featured 31-foot-1-inch motorhome. As the industry continues to rebound from the economic challenges of the past few years, some manufacturers have focused new product initiatives on smaller, more fuel-efficient motorhomes. The Sunova fits in that category, and it is a real gem.
During a recent product review, my wife and I had the opportunity to travel in a 2012 Sunova 30A. We found this coach to be a masterful example of engineering efficiencies that manage to pack all the features of a much larger motorhome into a compact and beautiful house on wheels.
Even with a shorter footprint than many Type As, this motorhome measures 101.5 inches wide and has the height and amenities of a larger motorhome. We found it to be an excellent size for two adults.
The 30A is outfitted with two slideouts. The curbside slideout incorporates both the galley and bedroom; the shorter, street-side slideout accommodates the dinette. This unit offers plenty of interior and exterior storage.
The Sunova’s optional Sandalwood full-body paint treatment caused eyes to follow us as we pulled into campgrounds, rest areas, and parking lots. The paint scheme is complemented by smart-looking 22.5-inch stylized aluminum wheels.
The coach was a joy to drive. I found it easy to maneuver through traffic as well as shopping center parking lots. The Sunova is powered by the proven Ford combination of the F-53 chassis with the Super Duty V-10 SEFI Triton 6.8-liter, 362-horsepower engine, coupled with a TorqShift five-speed automatic transmission. This appears to be an excellent pairing for cruising down the highway and having sufficient power to pass other vehicles. We averaged 7.8 miles per gallon with this brand-new coach over approximately 500 miles on the road. Our test route did not include any challenging hills or steep grades, but I did get the feeling that the Sunova could handle such terrain with good road manners.
The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) for the Sunova 30A is 22,000 pounds, and with full water, propane, and gas tanks, as well as two adults in the unit, it weighed 18,420 pounds on a certified CAT scale. The front axle rating is 8,000 pounds and the rear axle rating is 15,000 pounds; it weighed 6,200 pounds and 12,220 pounds, respectively.
The Sunova boasts a very livable floor plan, which did not leave us feeling cramped, especially for a 31-foot motorhome.
Sitting in the cockpit, you will enjoy driver and passenger seats that are covered with Ultraleather and rotate to become part of the living area when entertaining guests. They are equipped with armrests, lumbar supports, and multiple slide/recline/swivel options to provide great viewing of the large television located just aft of the U-shaped dinette.
The evenly distributed defroster venting system at the front of the dashboard console, coupled with the optional defroster fans, worked great. All controls are well placed and easy to use. We liked the convenience tray at the top of the console in the center of the dash, within easy reach of both driver and passenger. This area also includes a 12-volt charging receptacle.
My wife appreciated the dash computer workstation positioned in front of the copilot’s seat. The workstation provides additional storage space when closed. Nearby is a 110-volt electrical outlet, for use if power is needed from the generator or when hooked up to a landline at the campground. Another 12-volt receptacle can be found at the right side of the workstation.
Resolution on the rearview color camera system (which included one-way audio) was terrific. Convenient map lights, a full window-width powered sun visor, and an easy-to-deploy wraparound curtain all worked flawlessly during our trip.
The coach is equipped with a Power Gear auto-leveling system with well-located controls just to the right of the driver. Another 12-volt charging receptacle is positioned immediately to the right of the leveling system, along with the reset controls for the driver information system.
Behind the driver in the street-side slideout is the aforementioned U-shaped Ultraleather-covered dinette, which in the Sunova line is available only in the 30A floor plan. It features extendable sectional seating and a table extension that will accommodate six people very comfortably. At the end of the day, you can convert this area to a 49-inch-by-74-inch bed. While not quite a queen size, it would provide additional sleeping accommodations for guests or children. Opposite the dinette, just aft of the entry door and right behind the copilot’s seat, is another recliner.
Clever engineering shows through with the large — make that very large — 42-inch LCD TV, mounted midcoach, which is easily viewable from the dinette seating or the cockpit chairs. I chose the latter seats for a great TV experience. The mounting mechanism of the television set allows it to be slid toward the interior of the unit even if the slideout has not been extended. We enjoyed this feature when taking a quick lunch break on the road. The entertainment systems (inside and outside) were integrated with a new amplified digital HDTV antenna system that was a real step up from traditional RV antenna systems.
The galley is located in the curbside slideout, as noted (angled sink, cooktop, refrigerator, and pantry). The Corian solid-surface countertop and sink cover provided plentiful work space. In addition to the standard microwave oven, the kitchen in our test coach included two upgraded (optional) appliances: a three-burner range with oven and a large-capacity two-door refrigerator with ice maker and water filter. Plenty of drawers in the kitchen area and a large area under the double sink made for abundant storage. Here, as elsewhere, the coach featured maple cabinetry.
Walking down the center aisle toward the rear of the motorhome, we find the switches and controls located in one panel on the street side, just opposite the kitchen area. This is a great location, and having everything in one place is really convenient to monitor all coach activity and systems.
Carpeting covers the floor in the cockpit, in the bedroom, and under the dinette. Easy-to-clean vinyl flooring appears elsewhere.
The street-side bathroom is reached just before you enter the bedroom. We appreciated the bath area’s excellent design, which offers plenty of counter space and storage, especially given the size of the motorhome. Plus, the shower handled my large frame without any discomfort on my part.
The master bedroom suite, at the rear of the coach, features a double sliding door that separates this area from the rest of the vehicle. The head of the queen-size bed is nestled in the curbside slideout, flanked by nightstands. Well-placed electrical receptacles above both nightstands were very much appreciated, as were the two lamps above the headboard.
Across from the bed is a mirrored wardrobe and a large chest of drawers. Our test coach also included an optional 26-inch LCD television in this area. We found the bed to be incredibly comfortable for a motorhome in this price range.
And speaking of price, our test coach had a list price of $122,510 and was equipped with options totaling another $16,254, bringing the suggested list price to $138,764. The most expensive option was the Sandalwood full-body paint at $6,398. (Full-body paint has decreased significantly in price the past few years as manufacturers offer this option on an increasing number of models and technology continues to improve the paint process.) Other optional items not already mentioned included a powered front shade, a 1,000-watt DC/AC inverter, auxiliary defroster fans, and dual-pane windows.
One optional feature we really fell in love with was the MCD American Duo solar/blackout roller shades, which allowed us to control the amount of light and privacy regardless of the time of day. MCD Solo blackout roller shades come standard.
Outside storage compartments, with side-hinged doors, are large and well-lighted. Our test coach also came with the optional exterior entertainment center, which included a 32-inch LCD TV, a CD/DVD player, an AM/FM radio, and two speakers in a lockable compartment.
The motorhome was equipped with a second, optional electric patio awning over the entry door. This proved very convenient when we encountered some rain during the trip.
We also appreciated the well-configured waste management compartment, which featured a swing-up door and fittings that allowed us to put the sewer hose through the floor and to close the door. The compartment also included an outside shower, a water fill, an additional switch for the water pump, and a 3-inch gray water piping system (I believe that every RV should be equipped with the latter). I applaud Winnebago Industries engineers for this important and well-designed compartment.
Overall, the Itasca Sunova 30A is another winner from Winnebago Industries. If you are moving up from a Type C or moving down from a larger unit, it should be given serious consideration. At the very least, visit a dealer and test drive this compact and complete motorhome!
Winnebago Industries, 605 W. Crystal Lake Road, Forest City, IA 50436; (641) 585-6731; www.winnebagoind.com
2012 Itasca Sunova
Ford Super-Duty V-10 SEFI Triton, 6.8-liter; 362 horsepower @ 4,750 rpm; 457 pound-feet torque @ 3,250 rpm
TorqShift 5-speed automatic with tow haul
5.38 to 1
Hydro-Max power brakes, four-wheel ABS
tapered multileaf, front and rear
Bilstein, front and rear
coach — (2) deep-cycle, Group 31
chassis — (1) 750-cca
1,000 watts, optional
50 amps; 55-amp convertor/charger
Cummins-Onan Marquis Gold, gas, 5,500 watts
31 feet 1 inch
12 feet 6 inches
6 feet 8 inches
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 8,000 pounds;
rear — 15,000 pounds
(weighed with full water, gasoline, and propane tanks; two adults and personal items)
front axle — 6,200 pounds;
rear axle — 12,220 pounds;
total — 18,420 pounds
OCCUPANTS AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
combined weight of occupants and cargo should not exceed 4,825 pounds
steel and aluminum SuperStructure
fiberglass, high-density block foam
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
86 gallons (includes 6-gallon water heater)
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 53 gallons;
black water — 38 gallons
6-gallon 110-volt/LP-gas water heater with Motoraid auto heater
35,000-Btu low-profile ducted furnace
(2) high-efficiency roof air conditioners with energy management system
2-door, large-capacity 9.5-cubic-foot Norcold refrigerator/freezer with ice maker and water filter, optional; 2-door, large-capacity 7.5-cubic-foot Norcold refrigerator-freezer, standard
Aqua Magic V with foot pedal
coach — 12 months/15,000 miles;
structure — 36 months/36,000 miles, limited;
roof skin – 10 years, limited parts and labor;
chassis – 36 months/36,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED