These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
By Tony Barthel
Toy haulers make a lot of sense for a lot of people; however, a lot of people don’t think about them and look to bunkhouse models instead. Maybe people don’t look at them because many toy hauler models are the least appealing from a design standpoint, with cold/industrial interiors.
Plus many of them are named after things we avoid rather than are drawn toward.
So, it was with great interest that Grand Design showed off their upgraded 2021 Imagine XLS 24MPR, a smaller toy hauler with a very pleasant interior and a unique take on the toy box portion in the back. And, to be fair, Grand Design calls this a “lounge” rather than a toy box.
A trailer like this makes a lot of sense for buyers who have kids, especially ones nearing or in their tweens, as it gives them a separate room for sleeping. But it also enables them to bring their adventure gear and configure the space more to their liking. If it’s grandchildren you’re bringing along, this gives you pleasant quarters in the front and them a separate place in the back, plus you can bring your own adventure gear when they’re not with you.
The front space of this trailer is what you’d expect in the Grand Design Imagine range, with typically tasteful elements. Cabinets and surfaces are nice, and there are a sufficient number of them with local placement.
The front of this unit features a couch by day but a Murphy bed by night, so you really make good use of the space. For 2021, Grand Design opened up two little cubbies by the bed with plugs so you could put your chargeable devices there overnight or potentially fit something like a CPAP.
By day, that couch is the only seating surface in the trailer, although assumedly you’re bringing camp chairs. There is a table that fits onto the couch so you have a space for eating, but that’s it. Presumably, you can use the rear room for a dining area as well.
Oftentimes in smaller toy haulers, the cargo area is a pretty austere place – but not in this one. Grand Design has an interesting layout here that features a wall cabinet with several drawers along with a sink and medicine cabinet.
This is what intrigues me about this floor plan: This could easily be a place that children or grandchildren use for sleeping and spending time, or it could also be used as an office for someone who works on the road.
The cargo area not only has its own big cargo door to load stuff, but it also has a passenger door on the side of the trailer. Interestingly, this door is on the driver side, not the passenger/camp side. It would appear that you can get to both the bathroom and refrigerator with the slide room in from the back door as well, so that’s a good thing for those mid-trip lunch stops. According to Grand Design, you cannot use the ramp door as a patio like you can with some toy haulers.
Another change Grand Design made for 2021 is reconfiguring the bed arrangement in the lounge. It is now a bunk system that can fold flat up against the camp-side wall. The top bunk folds out from the wall and has a ladder as part of the assembly. The bottom bunk folds in half to form either a single bunk or a queen.
Using that bottom bunk as a seating surface involves being very aware of the metal folding mechanism near the back of your head for the top bunk. This system does give more cargo room than last year, but I’m not sold on it. And folding it out also somewhat blocks the cabinets and the sink – unless you want to access the sink from the bed, then it’s great.
Honestly, if this were mine, the first thing I’d do is remove the bunk system and sell it at a garage sale – but I don’t travel with people who would be using that area to sleep. It would be a different story if I had little ones traveling with me.
There is also heat ducted into the cargo/lounge area, and the heat ducts are in the cabinets rather than on the floor. There are also AC ducts in the ceiling of the lounge/cargo area.
Between that cargo area and the main living area is a glass sliding door.
I think this floor plan can make a lot of sense for a lot of people – not necessarily to do the obvious thing, i.e., carry a quad or some dirt bikes or kayaks, but as a two-bedroom trailer where the second bedroom is easily configured for what it’s being used for at the moment. With some camp chairs and a folding table, that back area can serve a lot of different purposes at camp.
You could also easily turn it into a craft room, a space to work on hobbies like quilting, an office or whatever. That’s why I’m so sold on toy haulers instead of bunk models.
The one thing this doesn’t have is a place where all campers can be inside around a table – but sometimes I think that circumstance is more an ideal than a reality, as the kids are more interested in what’s on their screens than what’s around the table.