This was a beautiful coach, very well built and seemed like the perfect alternative to my Itasca Navion. After recently spending a month on the road with the Navion, my wife and I started to feel a little cramped. What we needed was something that was still compact but had a little more interior room and storage. The Breeze had plenty. I also wanted to get away from the engine and wind noise you typically hear in a class C. And I still wanted a diesel engine.
I have to say that the conditions that day were not ideal. A worn out interstate in Florida on a windy day. But I wanted to compare it to my Navion so it didn't matter. Here's what I noticed:
Very nice driving position, I felt comfortable right away, great view out the front, better than my Navion but no surprise there, being a class A. Steering felt lighter in the parking lot than my Navion, turning radius was amazing. Getting on the interstate was easy, the Breeze seemed to have decent power. Comparing it to my Navion, which is pretty quick but half the weight, the Breeze was impressive.
When we got on I4, the Breeze was nice and quiet up front but felt very loose with the headwind and the other vehicles passing. I normally cruise at 65, but with the Breeze I only felt comfortable at 55. I didn't notice too much porpoising, but the sway was very noticable even in the front, and from my wife position mid coach, it was much worse than our Navion.
I had to keep a firm grip on the wheel with both hands with the wind buffeting and from being pushed by most of the passing vehicles except for the smallest cars. For comparison, my Navion is mostly a one handed effort in these same conditions, with only some side movement when being passed by a semi or other large vehicles. There is also some play in the steering on the Breeze that made small corrections very hard to do without oversteering.
On the way back with a tailwind, things were better, the ride was slightly smoother than my Navion and I was able to cruise at 65 a little more comfortably. But it still didn't feel planted in the front like my Navion does. The Breeze feels very light in the front end at speed, and it didn't track too well at all. I wouldn't feel safe without keeping two hands on the wheel on a windy day in this coach. The brakes were very powerful though, but had a very short throw. Very touchy for someone not used to air brakes. Not sure if this is normal.
I really wanted to like this coach, it was exactly what we were looking for, but I just couldn't live with the way it handles. Maybe if you fuss with the pressure in the tires and travel with a full fresh water tank it could improve, but then the milege will suffer.
Other than the Winnebago Reyo/Via, or a small gas class A, it was the only choice for us. Buy the way, we were not impressed with the Reyo/Via's build quality when compared to the Tiffin. Not even close. Also the interior layouts that Winnebago offered made it feel even smaller that our Navion. So for now, we're keeping the Navion and waiting for something new to replace it.
My question coming away from this test drive: Why can't Tiffin move the rear wheels back on the 28 to increase the wheelbase? Isn't the engine shorter in this coach than most pushers? Maybe they have some room to work there. I will wait and see what they do.
BTS, Tiffin offers a longer version of the Breeze at 32 feet. That one might be the 'ticket'....maybe it would handle better.
A friend of mine rented a '08 View to join our RV group in Quartzsite back in January. I was very impressed with such a small package. I rode with him to get more propane and to empty his tanks (small tanks for boondocking). I was surprised at how quiet the motor was while going down the road.
I know the newer View's/Navion's offer the slideout that is longer than what my friend rented. I think in the newer ones, the kitchen is also in the slide vs. just the sofa which would open the inside even more.
Good luck on your search!
2008 Monaco Dynasty, 42.2 ft., 4 slides, 425 hp clean-air Cummins diesel
2013 Honda CR-V EXL, AWD, w/Nav, SMI Air Force One vacuum-assisted braking
The 32 Breeze is a really nice coach, it's just more motorhome than we need at this time. The 28 Breeze is actually almost 30 feet, and the 32 measures just shy of 34 feet from end to end. Coming from a Navion, the 32 would be a whole new world for us in terms of cost, storage issues and ease of maneuverability. But I'm going to test drive the 32 and see how it compares to the 28 anyway. I'm curious to see how much the extra length affects the handling. Some folks say that 34 feet is the smallest that you can go to get a pusher to handle well.
You're right that the 28 would probably perform better loaded. I drove my Navion to the dealership with the intention of trading it so it was empty as well. What concerned me was how much better the Navion handled bone dry, even with less than half a tank of gas, which isn't much, and under the same conditions. My wife and I considered the new Navions too, the larger slideout really is nice as was mentioned. But only one of them offered the separate walk around bed that we needed and all of them are low on outside storage. The 28 Breeze's bedroom is very nice and the basement storage is huge. It just seemed perfect.
This particular Breeze was new and apparently had all of the changes from the earlier ones. I looked up front for the weights that Tiffin added and sure enough, there they were, 600lb of shiny plates right over the front axle. It just seems strange to have to carry around an extra 600lbs just to get the proper handling.
Thanks for the great responses, we'll continue our search and eventually find something that suits our needs. We realize that there are always compromises is these smaller coaches. But for us, keeping things more simple and somewhat compact is the most important thing right now. When we retire, all of that will change if we can afford it!
* This post was
edited 11/28/11 02:24pm by bts1985 *
We had an Allegro 28DA for a year, but it wasn't quite big enough so we traded up to a 32 Southwind. The Allegro was a wonderful unit, but we noticed the same handling problems you noted. Once fully loaded, the problem continued but to a lesser extent. One thing that really made a difference was completely filling the fresh water tank and keeping it full while driving. Yes, it was an extra 600 pounds total weight, but the tank was positioned directly in the middle of the chassis and the weight prevented all but the heaviest winds from pushing us around. If the tank was only half full, I noticed that the water sloshing back and forth in the tank kept up rocking after large trucks passed us. It only dampened the rocking if the tank was full. Give it a try and see what you think.