Originally Posted by Nighthawk65
Just retired was looking at Class A's Thor, but now leaning toward Class C and Jayco, they seem to be a bit higher quality. Would like to make my first buy like most 3rd buys.....
Your thoughts and input would be appreciated
Nighthawk - I'm in a similar situation to you; also retired less than two years ago and was considering the Melbourne and other brands based on the MBS Sprinter chassis. After test-driving the Melbourne, a Redhawk 23XD and a 26X1, I decided to go with the Redhawk 26X1. Jayco's 2 year warranty also factored largely into the decision.
As I began this search, I was most concerned with the "driveability" of the coach. I then came to realize that the "livability" of the unit was also important. The 26X1 will have space to relax, walk around, and cook (although that is low on the list) in the unit. The smaller units would require lounging at the dinette, and only from one side for TV viewing. The 26 has the couch to make for easy TV viewing and allows others to use the dinette for work space or laptops.
In driving the three units, the Melbourne felt more like an SUV; very easy to drive and pretty responsive and maneuverable. The 23XD felt a little more truck-like but I still felt comfortable in pretty short order. The 26X1 (this is the V-8 Chevy chassis) was more comfortable to me than the Ford. The steering felt tighter, suspension seemed less stiff, and the overall ride was smoother. Acceleration on the bigger 26X1 was just as good as on the smaller 23XD and I felt that I had the swing of the tail end during turns pretty much under control after a few miles.
The 26X1 also had a more attractive price than the other two units. The dealer was asking $5k less than for the 23XD and $15K less than the Melbourne. Although the diesel Melbourne would get better mileage, I estimated that the fuel cost per mile on the 26X1 would be $0.09 more per mile than the Melbourne. The break-even between the Redhawk and the Melbourne translates to almost 90k miles before the initial lower price is offset by the higher fuel consumption costs.
Picking up the new Redhawk next week after the dealer adds slide covers, spare tire and bumper mount, and a few other options. Like you, this is our first RV so I hope we've made the right decision.
Welcome to the forum!