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2012 Entegra Anthem - Road Test and Review

Raising The Proverbial Bar on the Class-A Motorhome
Article Date: September, 2011


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Every now and then a motorhome comes along that simply stands out from the rest. The Entegra Anthem is one of those coaches, and it's being offered by Jayco's high-end Class-A motorhome division.

Resurrected from the remains of the Travel Supreme, Entegra Coach further improves upon a proven quality product. Entegra produces four models of Class-A motorhomes, beginning with the Insignia and moving up through the Aspire, Anthem, and Cornerstone models. We decided to check out the popular Entegra Anthem 42DL.

Construction Overview

Its 43-foot floor plan is built on Spartan's widely accepted Mountain Master GT chassis. The Mountain Master GT as used in the Anthem is a tag axle chassis with a 296-inch wheelbase and a side-mounted radiator. A 450hp Cummins ISL engine produces 1,250 lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough to move this coach down the road with ease. It passes the power to the rear drive axle via an Allison 3000 automatic transmission. The Anthem 42DL has a gross vehicle weight rating of 44,600 pounds, and stopping the coach is accomplished with front disc and rear drum air brakes. A two-speed engine compression brake provides additional stopping power and speed control on downgrades. Independent front suspension provides a smooth and stable ride. Cargo-carrying capacity is a generous 7,336 pounds.

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Stable Ride

The Mountain Master GT is a popular chassis for many quality diesel pushers, but Entegra takes it a bit further and adds some additional tweaks to provide an even more stable, smoother and quieter ride. Rough or uneven roads typically twist and rack the frame and motorhome superstructure causing those squeaks and rattles that get worse over time.

Entegra adds both vertical and horizontal X bracing to the chassis frame rails to stiffen it so that the suspension will handle the bumps, rather than allowing the frame or superstructure to twist. Further improvements are made by installing a steel hoop, similar to a roll bar, at the front of the coach to minimize any flex in the windshield area and provide an additional level of safety in the cockpit.

Hydraulic leveling jacks made by Equalizer Systems are powered in both directions. Rather than use springs to retract them, the system utilizes two-way hydraulics to power them back into place. This results in a more positive retraction and faster return times and also eliminates the clanging noise of the springs common to one way hydraulic jacks. Each of the four slide-outs are powered by a proprietary gear drive system that is the smoothest and quietest we've seen.

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Diagonal cross bracing adds rigidity to the chassis, minimizing chassis flex.

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An overhead support hoop over the cab area provides additional strength and safety.

Reducing Road Noise

All Entegra Coaches feature a 2x4 wooden floor support structure over the top of the typical steel framed substructure. Wood acts as a buffer to deaden any road noise or vibrations. It also provides more room for insulation and gives the Entegra Coach an industry leading R-33 insulation value. An in-floor hydronic heating loop ensures that the polished ceramic floor tiles remain toasty warm in cold climates. Extensive insulation is also found in the front and rear caps, which is not the normal practice in the industry.

Entegra feels confident enough in the quality of its product that it has raised the bar on customer support and includes a two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty plus a three-year platinum-level roadside assistance plan with every coach.

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Entegra's Hung Wall sidewalls offer the chance for maximum insulation.

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An extensive supply of insulation includes the front and rear caps.

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Entegra's wooden floor allows for a hydronic floor heating loop as well as enough insulation to achieve an R-33 value.

Exterior

The Anthem is a very attractive coach. Our test unit was painted in the luxurious Tuscan Sun paint scheme. The Anthem receives three coats of urethane clear for a total of 5 to 6 mm of clear coat, giving it an attractive depth to its finish. All Entegra Coaches are painted at Precision Painting in nearby Bremen, Indiana. They are known for their show quality paint finishes. An unobstructed view out the expansive one-piece windshield is complemented by low mounted chrome mirrors. These provide the optimum viewing angle, while eliminating blind spots caused by higher mounted mirrors. Large mono-blade windshield wipers are fitted to fully enclosed wiper arms that shield the windshield washer hoses from the sun's devastating UV rays. Powerful Xenon headlamps provide better than average illumination for night driving.

Better Storage

The large pass through basement storage is accessed by side-hinged doors and a generous 20-inch height clearance was found between the bottom of the frame rails and the basement floor. Details like the slide-out cargo tray provides ease of access to cargo. Power patio and entrance door awnings are standard equipment. One notable feature was the lack of any seams or joints where the front cap was attached to the side walls. The front and rear caps were molded to the body to provide an attractive one-piece look and smoother airflow, resulting in less wind noise. LED tail lights, a vertical lift engine access cover, and recessed rear camera finished off the rear cap.

Notable Features

The Anthem features flush mount windows. There are no frames to create additional wind noise or sliding windows to leak or rattle. The bottom awning window portions can be cranked out to allow airflow even in a light rain. All slide-outs as well as the entry door are flush mounted. We found the entry door very easy to open while still remaining tightly sealed when driving. This is due to a pneumatic door latch system that pulls the door tight whenever the parking brake is released.

Plus, beneath the wide power awning is a built-in entertainment center with its own 32-inch LCD TV plus a DVD-based entertainment system and speakers. An optional freezer on a slide-out tray is optional.

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An outside entertainment center provides TV Viewing in the patio area.

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Flush mounted frameless windows provide a smooth appearance and minimize wind noise when driving.

The Utilities

The Anthem is equipped with a 100-gallon fresh water tank, a 60-gallon gray water tank and a 60-gallon black water tank. For 2012, the Anthem is equipped with a full house water filtration system. A power hose reel is provided to connect to the campground water spigot. The 50-amp electrical service is fed by a power cord reel, or a 12,500-watt Onan Quiet Diesel generator, which is located on a slide-out tray in the front cap.

An Onan EC-30 Automatic Generator Start system can be energized to autostart the generator whenever shore power is not available and battery voltage is below a certain threshold, or the thermostat is calling for air conditioning. A bank of eight AGM batteries supplies 12-volt electrical power. Dual Magnum 2800-watt Pure Sine Wave inverters provide AC power for many accessories whenever shore power is not available or the generator is not running.

An Aqua Hot heating system performs dual duty. It utilizes a diesel burner or 120-volt power to provide hydronic heat to heat exchangers in two interior zones, as well as, a basement zone to provide heat for the holding tanks and plumbing. Another zone controls the in-floor heating loop to eliminate cold floors on the polished ceramic tile flooring. Its second function is to provide unlimited domestic hot water so that your shower never runs cold.

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The Aqua Hot hydronic heating system also provides unlimited domestic hot water.

All the AC needs were met by three 15,000-BTU rooftop units with heat pumps. The units are ducted and feed a series of louvers in the ceiling that tap into the ductwork plenum. The AC return air in the main living area was fed through a mirrored and hardwood trimmed intake duct to provide quiet airflow when running.

Lighting throughout the coach was controlled by multiplex lighting controllers. You can create specific scenes to your own taste and save them to allow instant recall from various locations within the coach.

Interior Appointments

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The Anthem's interior is extremely well appointed. On our trip, we visited the cabinet shop and saw first hand the Amish quality cabinetry as it was being produced. There are no shortcuts taken when producing this cabinetry and the handmade craftsmanship was evident at every stage. From the polished ceramic tile floors to the vinyl-padded ceiling, attention to detail appeared to be the order of the day.

The galley featured a porcelain-tiled backsplash with Corian solid surface countertops. Brushed satin nickel plumbing fixtures matched the hardware on the cabinet doors as well as the Fisher-Paykel dishwasher. An Amana convection microwave and residential refrigerator completed the galley workstation. Our particular coach was equipped with a distressed ultra leather booth style dinette, although a free-standing table and chairs is also available.

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Amish craftsmanship is evident in the Anthem's woodwork.

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The galley is equipped with a solid surface counter top.

The main living area was fitted with a distressed ultra leather sofa-couch. The 16-inch tile squares were complemented by 4-inch square accent tiles to further enhance the design. A second couch on the passenger side can be replaced with an optional desk with 26-inch LCD TV and recliner, or dual recliners if desired. Our coach had the light colored Bentley Black interior decor with Washington glazed cabinetry, but a darker ultra leather Kensington Place interior decor is also available, as is a Tuscan glazed cabinetry option. A 32-inch LCD TV is located in the front overhead cabinetry and a 40-inch LCD TV is located midship. The midship cabinetry also contains an electric fireplace that provides heat, as well as, a nice ambience to the attractive and spacious living area.

The cockpit area is also well laid out. A color monitor views the rear camera as well as the two side mounted cameras that auto sequence with the turn signals. A combination radio/CD/GPS navigation system is located directly above. The dash is finished with burl wood panels and the driver's side console controls the usual array of switches for the engine brake, tag axle dump, auxiliary lighting, step well cover and power shades. The parking brake is mounted on the vertical dash to prevent pets from accidentally stepping on it and releasing the brakes. The Spartan gauges and information center are easy to view through the fully adjustable Smart Wheel. The integral seat belts are fed through slits in the Flexsteel power seats, making it easy to buckle up. Adjustable foot pedals complete the cockpit area and make it adaptable to drivers of any size.

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The couch and dinette feature Villa furniture.

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The cockpit area is well laid out and the burl wood dash offers full instrumentation, as well as a rear view monitor and entertainment and GPS navigation system.

The bath area is separated from the bedroom and living area by sliding pocket doors. These doors utilize air operated locks that engage whenever the parking brake is applied to prevent doors from slamming around when driving. No more worrying about whether or not you have them latched down when leaving because it's automatic.

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The bedroom dresser cabinetry includes an overhead LCD TV on a hinged mount to allow access to the entertainment gear.

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The king bed is equipped with a Select Comfort air mattress.

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The bathroom vanity is located next to a circular shower surround and tiled shower.

The porcelain tiled shower area is surrounded by a circular glass shower enclosure with doors that slides open rather than swing out and drip on the floor. Directly next to the shower is a solid surfaced vanity with dual raised vessel sinks that are slightly recessed into the vanity to provide easy access, while still maximizing vanity countertop space. An enclosed water closet directly opposite the vanity handles those necessary tasks. Next to the water closet is cabinetry that contains a laundry hamper, linen storage and an Arriston stackable washer-drier set.

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The Anthem is equipped with a stackable washer and dryer set.

The bedroom contains a Select Comfort king sized air mattress, a solid surfaced dresser and a full width rear wardrobe. The mirrored wardrobe doors are also secured for travel via air-operated locks that automatically engage whenever the parking brake is released. The wardrobe is lined with aromatic cedar.

The Road Test

The 450-hp Cummins ISL made the Anthem move out quite briskly. With 1,250 lb-ft of torque, varying road grades were not a problem. The front disc brakes, drums on both the rear and tag axles, plus the engine compression brake brought it to a stop with ease. Maneuverability was excellent. During our photo shoot we managed to snake the Anthem down a graveled Amish buggy path and did some very tight parking maneuvers, which were impressive given the size of this coach.

I think the Anthem is the smoothest, quietest and best handling coach of this size that I've driven. The tweaks that Entegra did to the already excellent Mountain Master GT chassis offered slight improvements in handling. Body lean was noticeably less on tight turns and the coach always went where it was pointed. The most impressive differences were noticed in the ride and noise level.

The chassis stiffening, plus the wooden floor sub-structure absorbed any jolts from potholes or vibrations from the road. The suspension did all of the work and the coach body just rode along as smooth as can be. Clean aerodynamics, especially noticed in the flush mounted windows, further reduced any noise at highway speeds. Rear engine diesel pushers typically are quiet, but the clean aerodynamics and superior insulation really made this coach standout from the rest.

Granted, the Entegra Anthem is not an entry level Class-A motorhome. But in its price range, it easily stands out as an excellent value with features typical of that market segment.

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Specifications

2012 Entegra Anthem 42DL

Base Price: $405,750 (MSRP)

Standard Features:

  • Three 15,000 BTU air conditioners with heat pumps
  • Residential refrigerator
  • Living area theatre surround sound system
  • 32" LCD front overhead TV, 40" LCD mid-coach TV
  • Bedroom theatre surround sound system, 32" LCD TV
  • Flexsteel Ultra Leather six-way cockpit seats
  • Flexsteel Ultra Leather interior furniture
  • Winegard automatic in-motion satellite dome
  • VIP Smart Wheel
  • Electric fireplace
  • Corian solid surface countertops
  • Dual 2,800 watt true sine wave inverters
  • AM/FM/CD/DVD sound system with GPS navigation
  • Polar Pack insulation, R-33 floor, R-16 walls, R-24 roof, with reflective foil backing
  • Power patio and door awnings
  • Keyless entry system and baggage door locks
  • Multiplex lighting
  • Amish crafted solid hardwood cabinetry and woodwork
  • Aqua Hot 450 water and heating system with in-floor heating
  • Onan 12,500 watt Quiet Diesel generator
  • Fisher-Paykel dishwasher drawer
  • Stackable washer and dryer

Standard Features:

Gross Vehicle Weight: 44,600 lbs.
Gross Combined Weight Rating: 59,600 lbs.
Cargo Carrying Capacity: 7,336 lbs.
Trailer Hitch Capacity: 15,000 lbs.
Wheelbase: 296 inches
Overall Length: 43 feet
Overall Width: 101 inches
Overall Height: 12 feet 10 inches
Fresh Water: 100 gallons
Gray Water: 60 gallons
Black Water: 60 gallons
Chassis: Spartan Mountain Master GT rear engine diesel
Suspension: Air-ride suspension
Brakes: Front ABS air disc, rear drum
Fuel Tank: 150 gallons
Trailer Hitch Capacity: 5,000 lbs.
Engine: Cummins ISL9
Horsepower: 450 HP
Torque: 1,250 lb-ft at 1,300 RPM
Transmission: Allison 3000 series 6 speed automatic

Source

Entegra Coach
(800) 945-4787
www.entegracoach.com

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