RVing: 2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PA

RVing: 2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PA

2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PAStory by Howard J Elmer

Ask non-RVers to describe a Class A motorhome, and they might reply: “it’s a bus with beds.”  Ask someone who owns a Class A motorhome, and they’ll take up your whole weekend describing the minute details and differences between brands. These varied descriptions are both right. But what both of these groups may have in common is that they dwell on the visible physical features of the coach. In other words they’re describing the things they can see.

However, having driven many coaches, across a very wide price range, I’ve found that the higher the retail price the more likely it is that what you are really paying for is something you can’t see – and that’s the chassis and powertrain.

Tiffin Motorhomes of Red Bay, Alabama, builds the higher-priced coaches I’m talking about, but the construction of the chassis, they leave up to Freightliner. So, when I recently had a chance to take a 2018 Allegro Red out for a drive, I ended up spending about the same amount of time researching the chassis as I did driving and doing my walk-through.

Before I get into the specs involved in building a superior chassis, let me answer a question you might be asking about now – “how do you know how good a chassis is – especially when all the bits are under the coach?” Good question.

Straight answer – the quality of the ride. With this Freightliner, you feel the road-confidence of the chassis. Slip it into gear and it powers up smoothly with a supreme sense of confidence. At speed, it glides down the road, without any grinds, whistles, creaks or groans. As you pull through curves, you can feel that the centre of gravity on the coach is low and planted – there is simply no swaying of the body despite its height. The steering feels connected, yet it’s gentle on the hands and gives no rough feedback. In the case of the Allegro Red, the rear diesel engine design also offers a very quiet interior and the power comes on smoothly – there is no drive-line shudder or transmission noise. The air suspension supports the coach softly and firmly, while the set-back front axle offers short turning circles and easy steering.

2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PAFreightliner Custom Chassis is part of the Daimler Group which includes Mercedes Benz and Western Star trucks. These companies have a reputation for engineering leadership, a decent pedigree for FCC which builds what drives and supports the Red, but unlike some other cookie-cutter chassis makers, they customize each and every chassis to the specifications of each brand, model and respective floorplans. No manufacturers get the same chassis. This fact is key to achieving the quality of the ride I felt the first time I drove the Red.

So, while Freightliner finishes the chassis, there are a few other well-known name-brand suppliers that are integral to this chassis’ construction. Cummins supplies a 6.7-litre turbo-diesel engine (360hp – 800 lb-ft torque) that pushes power through a six-speed Allison automatic transmission. Michelin XZE2 22.5-inch radial tires on aluminum wheels turn on Detroit I-Beam axles while Bendix air brakes provide stopping power. Sachs shocks by Rolls-Royce and Neway air suspension support the body, and the electricals are made by Delco. All this is supported on 9 x 2.75-inch high-strength steel frame rails that run the full length of the coach.

Inside, the driver’s cockpit is designed not only to be functional but also comfortable for the many hours you’ll be spending in that powered leather seat. All the controls are plainly marked on rocker switches and easily within reach. The main three dashboard gauges provide all the vital engine data at a glance, while the push-button transmission and auxiliary controls are on the left. Fans, power blinds, cruise control, tilt wheel, outside feeds from three cameras and panoramic visibility through the tinted glass all combine for one nice driving experience.

The floorplan in the Red is new this year. It features four slideouts – two on each side. The bedroom slide also pulls out the bathroom wall with its double sinks. The 72×80-inch King-size bed is housed in the other slide – this one also has windows (when open) for a nice cross-breeze.  The salon and kitchen slides open up a ball-room sized space in the front of the coach, all the better to show off the ceramic tile flooring. With all this space, the L-shaped sofa and lounge recliner look right at home. The focus of this seating is the television over the fireplace set amidships. This large flat-panel TV (like the one in the bedroom) is connected to surround-sound system and can be fed by cable, antenna, satellite (or optional in-motion satellite dish).

2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PAMy test unit featured a small workstation table with two chairs – this would double as the eating area. However Tiffin gives you the option of a booth dinette or U-shaped dinette. Your choice. It’s about how much company you expect – or want. The kitchen itself is a study in elegant efficiency. The classic cabinetry is all made of lacquered hardwood, the drawers slide on ball bearings and are a slow-close design, while the countertops are textured solid surfaces. Note that the three-burner gas range and the sinks both have matching covers. The residential size double-door refrigerator features a freezer on the bottom while built into the cabinets is the convection/microwave. For cleaning up, there is a standard plug-in central vacuum system installed.

The bedroom slides I mentioned open up a soothing space with windows, fans, mood lighting, built-in wardrobes and a huge hanging closet that can also house a washer/dryer. A pocket door closes for privacy, though a second door gives night-time access to the bathroom. The bath itself also has a ceramic tile floor and a porcelain toilet with lots of space around it. The double sinks feature a deep, long, hard-surface counter with dual mirrored medicine cabinets above them. The oversize shower has a built-in seat, towel bar, overhead skylight and sliding glass door. The accent and direct lighting in here is nicely designed.

It’s worth noting that when the slide-outs are closed, they preserve a passageway through the coach so that everything (bedroom and bathroom) are still accessed while in transit or at a quick lunch stop.

The HVAC system in this Tiffin is designed to provide comfort in any weather – quietly. It features two low-profile roof-mounted A/C units that work with a 15,000 BTU heat pump.  Heating and cooling are diffused through a series of directional ceiling vents. Along with thick windows, ample insulation, heated tanks and heavy duty electrical, the Tiffin Red is four-season capable.

Storage inside the Red is designed into every available space to carry everything from soup to nuts. But under the bus, you’ll find another 119 cubic-feet of basement storage. These spaces are accessed through several latched doors all along the body of the coach.

A standard 8.0 KW Onan generator provides power when you’re not plugged into shore power. It’s diesel and draws off the coach tanks, so it could run for hundreds of hours if needed. If you do find yourself boondocking with the Red, you’ll relax knowing that you also carry 90 gallons of fresh water and 24 gallons of propane.

2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PAMany owners of Class A’s opt to take a car along with them on longer trips. Here, again, the Freightliner chassis and Cummins/Allison powertrain combine to offer up a 10,000-lb tow rating. More than enough capacity, even for a large tow-behind.

A purchase aspect of higher end coaches I should mention is their ability to be personalized. It follows that the more money you spend, you more inside perks you can afford. Tiffin caters to this want with a list of optional interior appointments that I couldn’t even start to list – there are just too many. But, often, along with that, buyers want something that is unique – on the outside. To scratch this itch Tiffin offers six unique exterior paint schemes. This is full-body paint, not decals. They use premium grade paints and seal them with four layers of super-clearcoat for ultraviolet protection. They then add an additional layer of scratch-resistant plastic coating which protects the front of the coach, stairwell, and entry door lock.

While only a small group of RVers will ever own a Class A coach of this caliber, it’s fascinating to see how all these components can be combined to create not only an opulent coach, but one that drives better than most passenger sedans. Frankly, this was one unit I had a hard time returning. If you’re in the market, you’ll want to experience the Tiffin Allegro Red for yourself.

2018 Tiffin Allegro Red 37PATechnical Specifications:

Chassis:                                 Freightliner

Engine:                                   Cummins 6.7L turbodiesel

Transmission:                       Allison 6-speed automatic

Wheelbase:                           252 in.

GVWR:                                  32,000 lb

GCWR:                                  42,000 lb

Length:                                   39 ft 2 in.

Height (with roof A/C)        12 ft 10 in.

Width:                                    101 in.

Fresh water:                          90 gal

Black water:                          50 gal

Gray water:                           70 gal

LP gas                                     24 gal

Price as tested: MSRP $369,075.00

Unit supplied courtesy of McPhail’s of Harriston,  Harriston, ON.

Categories: Features, RVing, Trucks Plus