By Tony Barthel
The best-selling vehicle in the U.S. is the half-ton truck with well over a million units sold every year. So, it makes sense that Grand Design has a line of fifth wheels that are specifically designed to be towable by these ultra-popular vehicles in the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 240RL Fifth Wheel.
Before the Tow Police get on me about how a half-ton truck isn’t a good fifth wheel tow vehicle, let’s be clear that no matter what you’re towing, my personal belief is that you shouldn’t exceed about 70% of the tow vehicle’s capability. This leaves you with capacity but is also realistic about the fact that you forgot to weigh that cast iron cookware set when you did your calculations.
Looking at my own pickup, a Ram 1500 with the Hemi V8 and 3.92 gears, that vehicle is rated to tow 9,910 pounds but the cargo carrying capacity is 1,780 pounds. Add two passengers and some stuff to the cab and now you’re down 500 lbs. That’s 1,280 lbs. of cargo-carrying capacity. The pin weight on this fifth wheel is 1,222 lbs. dry weight, so I would not recommend towing it with this combination in the real world.
You really should look at the numbers before you make any buying decision on a vehicle. So is this half-ton towable? Perhaps. But not all half-ton trucks are the same.
With all that in mind and the Tow Police somewhat satisfied, let’s look at this fifth wheel because Grand Design has done a neat job packaging it.
First of all, the camp-side kitchen in this is well done with a countertop that goes about half the length of the main body of the trailer. Grand Design has put a number of windows along that countertop as well as a huge window in the rear and then windows along the road-side in the slide room. In that slide room, there’s a pantry and a U-shaped dinette.
When you’re at the back of the trailer, one of the seating choices offered is dual reclining theater seats with heat and massage. Those seats sit opposite a 50” TV, which means you won’t be calling your chiropractor just because you caught “Jeopardy” while camping.
Funny story: I had a customer who bought a travel trailer with a similar layout but it had a tri-fold couch in the back instead of the theater seats (which, by the way, is also an option here). He took the couch out so he could put a chest freezer in the trailer as he loved deep-sea fishing. We each have our own vision of camping.
He could have definitely made a meal of his catch with this rig as there is a full 22” Furrion oven along with a three-burner stovetop, and a large convection microwave.
If you’re worried about cabinet space this might also be a good choice as there are 11 cabinets and drawers just within reach of the kitchen/prep area. Then there are five more drawers, and five more cabinets, surrounding the entertainment system.
In one of those drawers, below the fridge, is a removable dog bowl with two bowls for Fido or Mr. Meow Meow or whomever you bring with you. The dog bowl is easily removable if you just want more drawer space. That’s true of the wine drawer right above it which has a plastic insider that will hold four bottles of wine.
Even though the cargo-carrying capacity of this unit is 2,304 lbs., I could see how you might approach that just with the amount of cabinet space, and we haven’t even gone upstairs yet…
Before we do, let’s talk about usability. This entire trailer is fully accessible, with the exception of some of those drawers and cabinets, with the slide room in. So if you stop at a rest stop and want to make a meal or hit the restroom or even catch some shuteye, it’s no problem. The theater seating isn’t fully accessible, but so what – you can go upstairs and take advantage of the Serta queen-sized mattress.
Being a fifth wheel, the bathroom is larger than in many travel trailers – which is one of the reasons you might want this as opposed to a travel trailer.
This features Lippert’s “Turning Point” hitch where you can remove several bolts and change the turning point on the hitch to be more friendly to short-bed trucks. There is also a full auto-level – and you can control that and most of the major features of this trailer with your smartphone, if that’s your preference. Grand Design has provided regular old-fashioned switches as well.
On the auto-level, there’s a memory feature to remember the height of your pickup box so, when it comes that sad day to leave camp, at least you only have to touch one button to get ready to back onto the hitch.
As for build features, I like that Grand Design is using E-rated Goodyear Endurance tires with a nitrogen fill. There’s also a 2” receiver hitch at the back with a four-pin wiring harness in case you want to tow something there.
Another reason I’ve heard for going the fifth wheel route over travel trailer is that fifth wheels tend to have much more storage. That’s true here, too, with a large pass-through that’s significantly larger than what I see in most travel trailers.
I think some folks are going to get hung up on the fact that Grand Design has advertised this as half-ton towable and, technically, it may be. Ignoring that, though, this trailer is a well-packaged unit with a lot of cabinet space, very usable features, and a nice design. And that’s, really, what makes it Grand.
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.
I call them the “tow nazis”. Very annoying.
I’ve always had one disagreement with Grand Design. While it might offer multiplex function control on a cell phone app, it steadfastly refuses to install a touch panel in the interior cabin of its rigs. Instead, GD places the touch panel in the basement passthrough. Can it really be that much more expensive to place the touch panel in the cabin? I guess it must be because when I tried to discuss this with GD Customer Service, the rep was patronizing and rude. He preferred to have an argument rather than explain the reason why GD won’t put the panel inside the cabin. Keystone (Cougar), Jayco (Eagle) and other GD competitors don’t seem to share this problem. Like the old Tareyton cigarette advertisements (back in the day), it seems Grand Design “would rather fight than switch.” Otherwise, GD seems to build a pretty good product. I’m unaware if GD has changed this policy in the meantime.
Small point. The side profile picture is not the 240 but the floor diagram and interior are.
If you go to the website and look at the 360 view, it looks like most of the counter space to the right of the sink is inaccessible due to the couch being right there next to the counter top. And if someone is lounging in the recliner, you can’t even get to the sink! I’ve actually liked the Grand Design trailers we’ve seen and toured in RV parks, but this configuration in the kitchen area is points off with wifey and I.