…engage the cruise-control, sit back in the deep, heavy-duty, commercial-grade swivel front seats, stretch out your legs and enjoy the ride…
Introduced to the industry at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, KY, last December and now available across Canada, the new ZION from Roadtrek is the latest innovation in the Class B market. This peppy, compact motorhome is everything you would expect from a company that has been a leader in this segment for more than four decades.
At first glance – inside or out – the streamlined ZION is appealing with contemporary styling, ample storage, plenty of headroom, and camping-friendly amenities. Put these features and more to the test and the ZION offers a real deal for RV enthusiasts. We had the opportunity to test drive the ZION for a few days in the Niagara region of Ontario and regardless of the conditions – extreme rain or blasting sunshine – the ZION delivered ample comfort, on and off the road.
While the ZION rides on the Dodge Ram ProMaster Chassis, Roadtrek engineers dropped the floor to lower the center of gravity, providing optimum driving comfort and ease of handling to be quite similar of a family van. Stable and smooth, driving back country roads is a dream and cruising provincial highways is stress-free.
While care is always required when driving a vehicle of this size, it simply takes a few minutes to become familiar with the handling characteristics. Simply adjust the large side view powered mirrors to your liking and there’s no problem changing lanes or negotiating congested traffic.
The back up monitor, displayed on the large navigation screen in the cab when in reverse, makes parking or maneuvering in campgrounds a breeze. When needed, ample acceleration is very responsive thanks to the 3.6L V6 280 hp engine with FWD six-speed 62 TE auto transmission.
Adding to the smoothness of the ride are the 16-inch LT225/75R16 black wall tires and handling and stopping power is excellent thanks to the ABS four-disc anti-lock brakes. Engage the cruise-control, sit back in the deep, heavy-duty, commercial-grade swivel front seats, stretch out your legs and enjoy the ride.
Roadtrek provides an impressive Six-year unlimited mileage/km, Peace of Mind motorhome warranty, covering the manufacture of the motorhome, appliances, electronics, plumbing and EcoTrek batteries. Original manufactures warranty on all appliances will be applied first. Warranty excludes the complete chassis and AGM batteries which have a normal one year manufacturer’s warranty.
ON THE OUTSIDE
From the chassis up, a range of exterior appointments add functionality to the unit’s good looks. In addition to large windshield, allowing excellent driving visibility, we especially liked the tinted, powered windows stretching along the middle on either side of the ZION (ending with smaller side windows with screens and night shades). Add the over-sized driver and passenger windows, and everyone can share vista views no matter where they are seated.
Powered entry steps for the driver, passenger and side doors are a thoughtful touch offering easy access into the vehicle and just remember they automatically extend once the doors open. So you have to be careful until you get accustomed to this option. To keep bugs out, there’s a retractable accordion-style screen door available to use when the side door is open and illumination at night is provided by a pair of LED porch lights, located at the front and back of the unit.
Access to the ZION is very convenient with the two rear double-hinged rear doors that conveniently open flush, along side of the unit so they are out of the way. This area can also be screened-off and one of the doors has dedicated storage for the removable dining table. Overhead is a high-mount rear-view camera, and just below is the Class IV hitch and connections for the 110V, city water, and propane (that also has a quick disconnect valve for an auxiliary grill). Simply hook up the electrical system at the campground, flip the inverter on the ZION’s monitor panel and the appliances, lighting and A/C all come to life. Another exterior highlight was the 12-foot power awning that extended over our campsite, which secured easily with the extendable (and lockable) awning posts.
ON THE INSIDE
Our admiration for the interior came well before we left for Niagara. With an overall width of six feet, eleven inches and six feet two inches of headroom, there was ample space and storage was everywhere.
Roadtrek is famous for clever use of storage. No space was too small and there was room for all of the essentials. Storage can be found in the silverware drawer, cupboards below the sink in the galley, a large, wide drawer just opposite, and in the pull-out pantry and large wardrobe. Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, even tools, pet supplies, bike helmets, and additional camping gear, can be put away neatly in the four drawers underneath the passenger side lounge, three drawers below driver side lounge, or the series of cupboards overhead, on both sides of the unit. Roadtrek claims there’s an impressive 42 square feet of storage space in this Class B – and we ideally used this for a family of four.
On the road or at the campsite, the facing lounges provide a relaxing eating, living and reading area with the portable pedestal table (a second pedestal is found by the cab area). Push-in LED lights are found throughout the length of the unit and one is dedicated for each seating area.
The facing lounge electronically extends to create a queen bed measuring 74 x 76 inches. For convenience, we suggest stowing linens or pillows in the upper cupboards for easier access when needed during the night. On our ZION, there was an optional 24-inch flat screen TV with Blu-Ray player featuring an articulating swivel mount, which allows convenient, multiple viewing angles from all seating areas in the unit. The cable/satellite hook-ups plus a 12V charging port are concealed neatly in the cupboard just above the flat screen.
The permanently enclosed toilet, accessed via the double locking mirrored doors on the driver’s side just opposite the galley, features a mirror, toilet, small sink, and hand held shower. As an added convenience, the mirrors on the doors can be interchanged with plain, white panels located on the back if more mirrors are required in the bathroom. For quick wash downs of dirt or mud, an exterior shower is also featured.
In an area as busy as the galley, Roadtrek made great use of this space by offering easy access via the sliding door. With six feet two inches of headroom never once did we worry about banging our head upon entering. The galley was appropriately designed with a 5.0 cubic-foot fridge with freezer – one of the largest we have seen in a Class B – plus a large sink with hot and cold running water, a two-burner propane stovetop with cover, and a 110V 700 watt, 0.7 cubic-foot microwave just above the sink. The all-aluminum backsplash makes for easy clean-ups and the retractable leaf extension adds extra counter space and convenience when serving meals. Two 12V outlets and USB ports are also featured and there is a Fantastic Fan overhead. Overall water capacities for the ZION include 140 L for freshwater, 36 L for black water and 86 L for grey water.
We road tested our ZION during a relentless heat wave so there wasn’t a need to use the 16,000 BTU automatic propane furnace. However, to our relief, we did use the standard 11,000 BTU roof-mounted A/C. Vents for the A/C were on either side of the living area in rear and provided all-around cool comfort on demand. The automotive A/C effectively cools the front of the vehicle when you are on the road.
With its long list of standard equipment and very few options, the ZION comes well-equipped and is ready to hit the road when you are. However, an option worth considering, which we are seeing used more and more of in campgrounds, is the roof-top solar power charging systems as an alternative power source. Our test unit didn’t come equipped with this option, but the ZION is solar-ready and speak to your dealer about the highlights and benefits of this natural power source. You may also want to inquire about the under-hood 280-Amp 12V generator and Onan MicroLite gasoline generator and EcoTrek lithium power modules, which are just a few of the extras available.
With new models rolling out as 2016 approaches, our guess is that the ZION will be around for many model years to come. From the built-in navigation system and the intelligent driving Stability program to the many comfortable standards, the Roadtrek ZION is a very practical Class B motorhome for couples or young families on the move.
Exterior Length: 20’9”
Exterior Width: (w/o mirrors): 6’11”
Interior Aisle Width: 29”
Exterior Height (w/roof A/C): 9’5”
Interior Standing Height: 6’2”
Wheel Base: 159”
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating: 9,550 lbs.
Occupant/Cargo Carrying Capacity: 1250 lbs.
Gross Combined Weight Rating: 11,500 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 24 U.S. Gal.
Fresh Water Tank Capacity: 140 L
Black Holding Tank Capacity: 36 L
Gray Holding Tank Capacity: 86 L
Storage Capacity: 1189 L/42 cubic feet
Fuel Type: Gas
Price: $94,991 (Starting CDN MSRP)