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Renegade RV's Villagio coach

Renegade RV’s Villagio coach

Editor’s Note: The following article, authored by Mark Quasius for the March 2015 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, offers an overview of Renegade RV’s Villagio B-plus motorcoach. The magazine is published by Cincinnati-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA). For the full story click here.

Since the company’s inception in 1997, Kibbi LLC — better known as Renegade RV — has continued to cement its footprint in the RV world. The Bristol, Ind., manufacturer currently builds custom vehicles, including motorhomes that bear names such as IKON, XL, and Classic on Class 8 heavy-duty truck chassis, as well as the Explorer and Verona on Class 7 business-class truck chassis. They can be custom-built to serve a multitude of purposes, from specialty vehicles and race car haulers to luxurious palaces on wheels. These big-boy Super Cs can haul most anything as they travel down the road in style.

Renegade also makes the Villagio Type B+ motorhome — a “little brother” by comparison. But being smaller doesn’t indicate lower quality. The Villagio is perfect for someone who wants to downsize from a Type A motorhome but doesn’t want to sacrifice anything but length and width. It’s targeted to the RV owner who isn’t just a weekend camper, but who wants to spend serious time living and touring — just in a compact vehicle.

During a recent visit to Renegade’s production facilities, I had the opportunity to examine a Villagio 25HAB, one of four floor plans available in the line for 2015; all are 25 feet long and include one or two slideouts. The 25HAB comes with one street-side slideout, which houses a sleeper sofa with an all-foam sleeping surface.

Chassis

Unlike Renegade’s larger motorhomes, the Villagio is built on the Mercedes-Benz 3500 Sprinter chassis. This compact platform uses a Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC 3.0-liter diesel engine and a five-speed automatic transmission to power the 11,030-pound-rated motorhome smoothly and economically. Towing a vehicle is accomplished via a 3,500-pound hitch with a seven-way plug.

The cab area is comfortable. When seated behind the wheel, one is reminded more of a big SUV than a motorhome. Plus, the motorhome’s 25-foot length enables drivers to park in places where larger vehicles just won’t fit. The cockpit area contains a “media center” with an AM/FM radio, DVD and CD players, and a rearview camera and GPS. It also has its own climate controls. Cab-over storage is accessible via large cabinet doors.

The 215/85R16 all-season tires on my test unit were mounted on optional polished aluminum rims. When I filled the 26.4-gallon fuel tank and the 34-gallon fresh-water tank and ran the Villagio across the scales with two persons aboard, it registered 9,960 pounds. In my opinion, the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 11,030 pounds and the cargo-carrying capacity of 1,070 pounds are more than adequate for this motorhome. The front axle is rated at 4,410 pounds, with an actual weight recorded at 3,680 pounds. The rear axle was rated at 7,720 pounds and weighed 6,280. Thus, the weight was distributed evenly across both axles.

Construction

Renegade employs “green” methods when building the Villagio. In fact, its manufacturing practices have been certified green by TRA Certification, an independent third-party company. Rather than using wood in its construction, as is common in many smaller RVs, Renegade designers work with various composites, such as Fortis, Cosmolite, and Azdel.

These man-made materials are said to be 50% lighter than wood; to offer three times higher insulation values; to emit no odors or formaldehyde gassing; to better absorb sounds; and to be impervious to rot, mold, and water damage. The Azdel material sandwiches both the inside and outside of the aluminum-framed, laminated sidewall, resting beneath the exterior fiberglass panels as well as the interior décor panels.

For the full story click here.