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Old 06-09-2014, 12:37 AM   #1
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2015 Solera 24R New Owner Observations

Hi all,

We purchased a new Solera 24R about 6 weeks ago and finally took her out for a weekend trip to a local campground. Here are our observations on the Solera as first time RV owners.

1) The Solera is pretty small if traveling with more than 2 people. Our family consists of my wife and I, a 3 year old and an infant. While we like the Solera, we think that if you have kids and are doing any extended traveling or camping a larger motorhome would be much more comfortable.

2) The propane tank is too small. I realize this small tank is based on saving weight for passengers and gear. If you have a propane generator and plan on using it while driving to run the house A/C, plan on stopping for propane a lot. Of course diesel generators are now an option again so if you plan on using the house A/C you might want to give the diesel generator some consideration.

3) The MB Sprinter driving experience is awesome! We drove just about everything before choosing Solera. The Ford F350 & F450 Class C gas models seemed too bloated although offered more room on a larger chassis affording more weight but sacrificing mpg. We also drove some gas and diesel Class A's. We really liked a few of the diesel pushers but their larger size kept us coming back to the Class C. We like to drive our Solera on the weekends for family outings in place of our car because with the Solera you get your own bathroom, refrigerator, etc. and more space than even the largest of SUVs. If we were just buying a motorhome for traveling long distances or weekend camping we probably would have gone with a larger RV.

4) The quality of the Solera seems pretty solid. Our friends have a expensive diesel pusher and it seems thar FR has done an excellent job incorporating finishes that you see on much more expensive units such as full body paint, ducted A/C vents, Black water tank flush and many more.

5) Sleeping with a family. I think the Solera 24R does a good job giving everyone a place to sleep for a mini motorhome. I really love the queen size mattress in the rear although my wife and our infant took it over this past weekend! I slept in the over cab bed with our 3 year old and was fairly comfortable even being 6'1". The length and width of the bed was acceptable however the foam cushions weren't that comfortable. Maybe getting a 3" memory foam topper would help. I think as our kids get older we will be able to put them in the over cab bed or the dinette and I'll get to sleep on the queen sized bed with my wife. We also considered setting up a pack and play for our infant on the floor but that would have made getting to the bathroom a little difficult at night.

6) MPG has consistently been in the 13-14 mpg range. I heard as a diesel engine breaks in MPG improves but I'm not counting on it. I'm satisfied with this MPG and am aware that keeping highway speeds around 60-65 mpg keeps you going longer between fuel stops.

I look forward to any comments or suggestions from other owners.

Brian
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:48 AM   #2
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I'm not sure of your camping style, so it depends on what your idea of the "RV" expierence your after with your family. Some of the best features are maneuverabilty and fuel econmony. One suggestion is set the cruise to right around 59 mph when on interstates, and you will gain almost 1 mph in fuel economy or about 7%. I have found that is the optimal fuel efficiency range for my MB Solera. Also, doing a little math you will discover how much you really do not gain time wise, by traveling at 5 mph faster. Also, it requires much less lane change issues, and a much more relaxing drive.

Did you try just using the MB air cond to cool the coach when in flight, that will stretch the propane. Never has been a real issue for me, just an adjustment.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:57 AM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion on the speed on the interstates. We live in Louisiana and the summers here are pretty hot and humid. I guess I just want my kids to be comfortable like I'd like to be.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:04 AM   #4
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Yeah, I agree. Wonder what people did back in the late sixties and early seventies before A/C.But maybe it would build "character"!
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:50 AM   #5
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I too purchased a new Solara just 45 days ago.
I have a 3 year old and an 8 year old. We have had 8 different RV's but this is our first Motorhome. We have had 35' 5th wheels, a couple of tent trailers, a bunk house trailer, and a cab over truck camper. Our favorite before the Solara was our Lance Cabover truck camper.

We decided on the 24S because we knew it would be tight for a family of 4 to hang out inside. The bed is not comfortable even with a 3" memory foam cover. I'm 6'2" and that little bed is a little too small for me and my wife. It's a sacrafice I was willing to take to get the extra room. I have slept over the cab a number of time and I sleep great up there. When we are traveling to our destination we usually like to stop along the way if we see an attraction the kids like. The Solara makes this possible just like our Lance did. When we are camping, I want to be outside. When I had a huge 5th wheel, my wife would hang in there watching movies with my daughter ( only one at that time). To me camping is about exploring and being outside. This is just another reason that the Solara is perfect for our family. A quelity camper that has everything you need in a compact package.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:56 PM   #6
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In my previous MH (Jayco Granite Ridge) I had to run the generator/ house ac to cool down the coach while driving. In my opinion not necessary in the Solera - plenty of cold air from the MB! And I am talking down in most southern part of FL.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:36 PM   #7
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Keep them coming

I'm really enjoying reading your posts. Keep them coming.

We pick up our 2015 24R July 1st. I'm ready...
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:12 AM   #8
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Congrats on the new MH. We have driven our Solera every weekend except one where it rained literally all day and night. We do a lot of exploring and it's great to just get out on the road and be prepared for anything we find interesting. I keep the Solera plugged into a 15 amp outlet while at home so I can leave the fridge stocked and ready to go. I also bought a AC voltage meter
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So that I could quickly see that I am getting shore power and not running the fridge off of propane.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecopco View Post
Thanks for the suggestion on the speed on the interstates. We live in Louisiana and the summers here are pretty hot and humid. I guess I just want my kids to be comfortable like I'd like to be.
Ecopco
We also live in Louisiana and are blessed with the oppressive heat and humidity. We usually start our trips with the house AC on in the summer but once out of town and up to speed on the interstate we are able to turn in off. The MB AC works really well and keeps my wife wrapped in a blanket and the kids comfortable in the back.

PS. make sure the vents on top of the dash are closed.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:41 PM   #10
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Guage

Ecopco: Thanks for the idea on the guage. Lots of great ideas here. - Gary
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Borrowing from Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee": Freedom is just another word for... RVing in a Solera.
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