Much like our Dutch Star, we love this motorhome. The Essex is based on a Freightliner SL600 chassis, which features all disc brakes, independent front suspension, a Cummins 600 HP 14.6 liter ISX engine, Comfort Drive and tri-mode exhaust brakes. In addition, this chassis has a passive steer tag axle, which means the tag axle steers in the opposite direction of the front axle to achieve a tighter turning radius. We bought our Essex, floor plan 4519, off the lot so we did not get to chose options.
Things We Like
- That it seems like a house and not just an RV. Here are some examples:
- Large shower that measures 50” x 34”. That is larger than in some homes I’ve lived in.
- Double sink vanity in the master bath. The storage area underneath is one of the largest in the RV, plus the expansive vanity top is handy for holding bathroom items.
- We like the interior aesthetics, which is not something we can say for most motorhomes we’ve looked at. The tile floor (an upgrade borrowed from the King Aire) looks modern, as does the lack of valances in the living room. Even the wallpaper doesn’t look circa 1950s.
- Sufficient closet space for full timers. In the bedroom, Karla loves the full length wardrobe with shelving and shoe cubbies, in addition to all the drawers and cabinets. And in the kitchen there is a large, double door pantry that easily holds all of our dry goods. Other drawers and cabinets hold everything else.
- Large exterior cargo capacity. Newmar does not publish this number, but I’m guessing it’s around 180 cu ft. We loaded tons of stuff (including bulky items such as 2 folding bikes, backpacking gear, a bike carrier, and 125 pounds worth of hiking guides/maps) and we still have plenty of room.
- Electrically heated floors. They put out even more heat than in our Dutch Star. The other night the low was 24F and the interior temp dropped to only 64F using just floor heat. A side bonus is they radiate heat into the cargo bays. Our wet bay never dropped below 50F.
- 220V dryer vs. standard 110V. Important note, the difference in power is actually triple because the 110V dryer is 20 amp (2200 watts) while the 220V dryer is 30 amps (6600 watts).
- Tire pressure monitor system. I’ve yet to lose signal from a tire sensor, unlike the aftermarket wireless systems I’ve used. Both pressure and temperature are displayed for each tire.
- ISX engine. 1950 lb-ft of torque @ 1200 rpm sure gets 50,000 pounds of RV moving quickly.
- Silverleaf monitoring system. One central place to monitor and control most features on the coach. There are two monitors (one above the drivers seat and one in the bedroom) in addition to an app that runs on the included Sony tablet. Example uses: turn on/off AC or heated floors in any zone from the comfort of the sofa; ensure the entrance door is locked from the bed; or open all the awnings while sitting outside your RV.
- Autofill fresh water system. This just means you click a button when connected to city water and your fresh water tank fills to 100% and then stops. No more checking the water level every minute and then running out to turn off the water supply.
- Manabloc plumbing system. Manabloc is a “home run” type plumbing system where all PEX lines go into a single manifold with shutoff valves for every zone. If you develop a water leak in, say, the line to the refrigerator, you turn that zone off and continue your trip. Without Manabloc, if you can’t find and fix the leak, you turn water off to the entire coach.
Things We Don’t Like
- The U shaped booth dinette with powered table. Three problems here: 1) It it so wide there is no aisle when the slides are closed, meaning you have to jump or crawl over it to gain access to the middle and rear of the coach; 2) there is very little clearance for ingress into the booth, unless you are skinny, which we are not; and 3) The powered table is kinda useless and just seems like it’s waiting to break. To be fair, the booth dinette is very comfy once you squeeze in.
- No floor heat in the slides. This is only an issue because of the tile floor, which is shockingly cold to bare feet compared with the heated portion of the floor.
- The refrigerator is smaller than our Dutch Star (19.7 cf vs. 23 cf). Not a big deal given we also have an exterior 4 cf freezer we didn’t have before.
- Less kitchen counter space than some of the other floor plans
There aren’t a ton of options on an Essex, but I thought it would be handy to list the options we have and whether I thought it was worth it. You can find the dealer order forms for a 2018 Essex here.
- Ginger Glazed Cherry Hardwood Cabinets With Raised Panel Doors-Ultra High Gloss. $10,000. It’s hard to justify this vanity upgrade, but they do look very nice.
- Electric Radiant Heat Installed Below Main Floor Tile. $6300. If you read my article on why we chose Newmar over Entegra, you already know my love of electrically heated floors. I can’t think of any reason to not get this option.
- 30″ GE Profile Advantium Microwave. $1200. Everyone on the forums loves this microwave over the standard Whirlpool. We’ve had both and I struggle to note any difference.
- All Electric With Flush Mount Induction Cooktop & 2 Extra Batteries. $1300. No brainer. Why is this even an option?
- Dishwasher In A Drawer Located Below Cooktop. $1700. Nice to have but takes up valuable kitchen storage space. We think the tradeoff is worth it.
- Exterior Entertainment Center In Sidewall With Sony 40″ Led TV & Soundbar. $3200. We have never used an exterior TV in 5 years of RVing, yet all the RVs we buy off the lot have it. I guess other people use it?
- Sony 40″ Led TV In Front Overhead. $1000. We use this TV more than any other, so worth it for us.
- Winegard Auto Open Face Swm Sat. Dish -For Direct Tv Std/Hd & In Motion Direct Tv Std, Dish Std/Hd. $5200. We don’t need two satellite dishes. Does anyone? I would save $3000 and just get one dish.
- Sofa With Air Mattress/U-Dinette Ensemble. $5200. I like the standard table dinette the best, but any of the kitchen options are personal preference.
- Large Storage Tray With Access From One Side. $500. A slide out storage tray is very handy, but keep in mind it takes up a few inches from your cargo bay height.
- Power Pass Through Storage Tray With Access From Either Side. $1900. You can’t beat not bending down under a slide to access your storage. Just click a button and there you go.
- Hot Water Line To Generator Area. $200. Hot water is nice for getting bugs off the windshield.
- RV Sanicon Turbo System. $1200. I never use it. Even the turbo is slower than the tried and true gravity dump.