November '19

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30 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com O P E N H O U S E C O V E R A G E Coachmen Freedom Express 195RBS Meg Grierson, a sales and product manager for Forest River's Coachmen division, was touring the California RV Show last year when she spotted a Murphy bed in a Class B motorhome. Soon after she began exploring such an installation for Coach- men's laminated Freedom Express ultra-lite travel trailer line. A Freedom Express prototype first appeared at RVX in March and garnered a lot of curiosity, according to Grierson. "We sent the floorplan to our dealers to get reaction before we built one. We are very big in meeting our customers' needs," she says. The concept underwent some more tweaking before produc- tion began in earnest in June on the 195RBS, which features a 60- by 80-inch queen-size bed. "To my knowledge, it was the first Murphy bed slide-out in a travel trailer," Grierson says. The 23-foot, 4,892-pound 195RBS is easily towed by midsize SUVs and half-ton vehicles. Retailing for about $24,000, the 195RBS fills a price point gap in the Freedom Express lineup and is receiving good dealer reviews, according to Grierson. "We had a gap – plus we wanted something that was a little different than everyone else," she says. One of 13 floorplans for the ultra-lite segment, the 195RBS features the combination of Azdel Onboard RV composite panels and Alumicage Construction to maximize towability. Inside features include massive storage, a U-shaped dinette with front window, an entertainment center with pop-up TV, mid-coach kitchen and an exterior camp kitchen. Options include a power tongue jack, 50-amp service, a second AC, a ladder, a radiant barrier to give additional R-factor and an 8-cubic-foot refrigerator. "We changed the whole look (of the Freedom Express line) in April; that was great for us," Grierson says. The 10-year-old brand also dropped its traditional tan exte- rior and went back to white. Inside, Grierson and her team have added what she calls "fun" features, such as a futon and climbing blocks for the kids. The floorplan has no specific target demographic, according to Grierson. "Everybody, I hope," she says, laughing, but explains the floorplan should appeal to couples, "empty nesters" and singles. Grierson concedes the 195RBS floorplan isn't for everyone, but says she believes it will be appealing to certain segments in certain parts of the country. "Some areas of the country don't like Murphy beds. Some- times the dealer has made that decision before letting the cus- tomer make that decision," she says. "The West Coast likes smaller units; the Northeast likes large units, so it depends on where you're at." What impressed RV PRO: When the Murphy bed is tucked away, it creates a very "open" feel for an ultra-lite travel trailer. On the outside, the updated color scheme gives this unit a stylish, sporty look. And while this trailer is small, it has mas- sive storage for its size. Simply put, Coachmen's Freedom Express 195RBS doesn't feel like it had to give anything up in order to meet a lower price point or weight class. Two key selling points include massive storage for a trailer its size and the unique Murphy bed feature for a trailer.

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