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What Makes The Cornerstone Stand Out?

I like Big Truck Big RV. I enjoy his videos although, for the most part, he throws softballs. I understand why. His YouTube channel is monetized and he wants to keep his sponsors happy.

He recently did a video walkthrough of an Entegra Cornerstone. He asked the sales rep what makes a Cornerstone stand out as a premium product from Entegra.

The response? A Spartan chassis, a 605 HP Cummins engine and a collision avoidance system.

Curious.

You can get a Spartan chassis and a 605 HP Cummins engine from other builders. This is not a stand out feature in the industry.

And the following statement: “this is the only coach in our industry that has standard equipment collision avoidance.”

Hmm. Let’s verify that statement. Newmar introduced the On Guard adaptive cruise and collision mitigation system back in 2018. Standard on their high line coaches.

When asked why the Spartan chassis is such a special chassis: “they over-engineer everything they do.”

Spartan makes a good chassis. Freightliner makes a good chassis. I think both of them could make a better chassis.

It was only a few years back when Spartan was ordered to pay at least $1 million in fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to launch safety recalls in a timely fashion. Between 2010 and 2014, 452 motorhomes had sway bar links that could bend or break. The defect was first identified in March 2013 but the recall did not happen until January of 2014.

Newmar recalled 600 coaches — 2017-2018 Dutch Star, 2016-2018 Mountain Aire and London Aire, and 2012-2018 Essex and King Aire — built on a Spartan Motors chassis. The ball joints on the independent front suspension modules could loosen and separate, leading to a partial loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

Entegra recalled 1,727 coaches — 2012-2013 and 2015-2018 Anthem, 2013 and 2017-2018 Aspire, and 2012-2018 Cornerstone — built on a Spartan Motors chassis. The ball joints on the independent front suspension modules could loosen and separate, leading to a partial loss of steering, increasing the risk of a crash.

Over-engineered? The Rolls Royce of chassis builders? World’s best coffee?

Entegra Coach is now recalling 88 coaches — 2020 Anthem and Cornerstone — as the steering shaft bolt may have been insufficiently tightened, causing the steering wheel not to function, increasing the risk of a crash.

Anyway, you get the idea. Marketing spin without any challenge considering the Big Truck Big RV describes itself this way:

My channel is focused on providing honest, real, and credible reviews of new Pickup trucks, SUVs, RVs, and Accessories. My goal is to give my viewers a better perspective of buying as well as owning trucks and RVs.

Entegra makes a good coach and it was one of the builders that we considered when we were making our decision. However, when a sales rep starts spinning, there should be a bit more of a focus on providing an honest, real and credible review.

Or at least a disclosure at the front of the video that tells you that this is really just an ad for an Entegra Cornerstone.

Launching A New Line Of Luxury

Jayco unveiled a new “luxury” coach at the Tampa RV SuperShow. Here is some of the press release information:

The Jayco Embark luxury coach is designed to meet consumer demand for a premium, more accessible package for younger RV buyers, as well as customers looking to drive a smaller coach, while remaining on the premium motorhome foundation. Spartan’s premium chassis features an independent front suspension with Bilstein shocks, providing the 37-foot coach with best-in-class ride and handling; it also features better serviceability, and Spartan’s extensive service and support network.

The Embark Class A Diesel luxury motorhome features:

  • Three eye-catching premium exterior paint choices
  • Choice of two stunning interior décors
  • Galley kitchen galley complete with residential refrigerator with ice maker and water dispenser, induction cooktop, 1.5 cu. ft. convection microwave oven, solid-surface countertops and stainless steel sink
  • Versatouch Lyra command center with App
  • Entertainment system including a 50-inch LED HDTV with a sound bar in the living room and a 32-inch LED HDTV in the bedroom
  • Exterior 39-inch LED HDTV
  • Industry-leading manufacturer’s limited 2-year warranty and 24-hour roadside protection plan

The Spartan K1 360 chassis features:

  • Industry first Cummins B-series engine packaged chassis with an Independent Front Suspension
  • Bilstein 46mm shocks which provide consistent ride tuning
  • Easier serviceability with Spartan’s exclusive side-mounted service center
  • 10,000 lb. towing capacity
  • Raised rail design for frame strength and basement storage
  • Rear-mounted radiator and charge air cooler, parallel air flow system with low-profile radiator with clutch to minimize noise and dust kick-up

This is Spartan’s first foray into the Cummins B-series diesel market segment and an indication that the red hot RV market sees room for an entry level diesel pusher with some upscale pricing.

Specs and features here.

I configured the 37MB model with the following options:

  • Canadian Standard (not sure what that is but being a Canadian I thought, “what the heck, eh?”)
  • Customer Value Package which includes an 8kW diesel generation, 2,000 watt inverter, 15,000 BTU air conditioner with heat pump (2), automatic leveling jacks, backup and sideview cameras, power awning, solar shades and a couple of other minor items. (Not sure why you would order a coach without most of these items.)
  • Central Vac
  • Theatre Seating
  • Winegard Satellite Dish
  • WiFi Extender
  • Slideout Storage Tray
  • Solar Prep
  • Washer/Dryer

This is the floorplan:

And this is an interior shot from their website.

Add it all up and the coach lists for $300,000 USD or about $380,000 CAD. Assuming a 25% discount off MSRP and adding in taxes and dealer prep, this coach is roughly $325,000 CAD. Seems a bit high for younger RV buyers. North of $300,000 and you can find some wonderful lightly used models albeit with a larger chassis.

And it doesn’t look all that great in the photo gallery. Seating, finishes and cabinetry don’t cry out luxury to me.

Seems like a lot for a little coach.

It would be interesting to see how it drives on the Spartan chassis. And perhaps it does fit a certain customer segment.

Either that or there is so much demand that price and value aren’t all that meaningful in the market right now. Build something as cheap as possible and sell it for as much as possible.