By Tony Barthel
Like yesterday’s review of the Keystone Cougar 24RDS, the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL Fifth Wheel is specifically targeted to the million-or-so people who buy half-ton trucks each year.
Once again … Small, light, half-ton?
The inference in both of these models is that they’re half-ton towable. Actually, if you look at Ford’s Towing Guide document, these are well within the capability of the most well-equipped F-150 with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 or 5.0L V8. Those have a cargo carrying capacity of more than 3,000 pounds and towing capacities of at least 13,000 pounds.
As with any towing situation you’re going to want to pay attention to how much you’re towing as well as either pin weight or tongue weight, depending on what you’re towing. My feeling about towing is never to go above 70% of capability. I always recommend taking your complete RV to a scale to have it weighed so you’re safe.
Apples and oranges
I wrote yesterday that these two fifth wheel trailers are comparable in many ways but, of course, different in others. I would say that they both appeal to the same buyer and offer somewhat similar floor plans. However, there are some key and very distinct differences that are going to sway a buyer, in my opinion.
Both offer outstanding insulation, Goodyear tires, are warranted for full-time living, have a three-year structural warranty, and have fully enclosed underbellies.
One of the things Grand Design has been exceptional at is telling its own story. They accomplish that through both a good website and also through social media. So you’ll have people who are huge fans of the brand who haven’t ever even seen one. However, the company does have a good pre-delivery inspection facility that looks over each unit before it leaves the factory. This means that, in theory, dealers see fewer issues.
More comparisons: underbellies and switches
I appreciate that Keystone’s floor ducting means that they also heat the underbelly. But Grand Design has a heated underbelly without cutting holes in the linoleum – so a huge plus there. I can see the counter to this – that there’s a bit less space in the cabinetry. But I feel it’s worth it for not having holes in the linoleum, plus vents, that you’ll be stepping on and dropping things in most of the year.
The Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL has a series of switches inside the cabin to control various functions. But there is also Lippert’s OneControl system, and there’s a touchpad in the basement storage. That means you can lower the auto level and open slides from the outside. This system also allows you to control functions from your smartphone as well – so you get full functionality inside and out.
There are a number of neat things with lighting on this trailer that are worth noting. The first is a fairly bright LED right at the dump valves. If you’ve ever had to dump late at night or early in the morning in the dark you will appreciate this light. There are also motion-sensing lights above the stairwell and in various closets and cabinets, which is nifty. Yes, you can disable the motion sensing feature if you choose.
The grand tour of the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL
Walking into the trailer, there are stairs to the upper level right as you walk in. This is pretty typical for a fifth wheel. This time let’s go upstairs first, shall we?
The first stop is the bathroom, which might be smaller than you had assumed. But there’s a reason for this, which I’ll get to in a minute. There’s a short vanity and a porcelain toilet. However, the shower is sort of apartment-sized – not at all what you’d expect of a fifth wheel. There’s no shower seat in this model. Sorry, ladies.
Like yesterday’s model, about 1/3 of the way up the bed is a big trip hazard. I realize this is structural but is there a worse way this could be handled? I don’t think so. Maybe they could build out the platform to the end of the bed or something?
Why the smaller shower in the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL
The reason for the smaller shower is that there’s a closet at the back wall of the bedroom as well as several drawers. This eats some of the space a larger shower would take. However, it makes sense as you don’t have the complexity of a wardrobe slide. Clearly, this shows a different way of thinking from yesterday’s review of the Cougar and why even similar RVs can be so different in their execution.
Back downstairs there are opposing slides to open up the main living area. There’s an island in the middle that features the sink and there is also a free-standing dinette.
There’s a bench toward the front of the trailer that is not attached to the floor. It offers storage in it and can be used with the couch at the back as a big foot rest or whatever. I love multi-use things.
There’s theater seating across from the entertainment center and an electric fireplace and a large tri-fold sofa at the rear. The TV is on a swivel mount if those people on the couch just have to watch TV too. Yesterday’s Cougar had a nifty U-shaped dinette instead of the couch.
Aside from a large pantry in the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL, the kitchens are very similar right down to the Furrion stove that features a 22-inch oven with igniter. It also has the option of an all-electric 12-volt compressor refrigerator or gas-electric RV refrigerator.
Lastly, there’s more counter space along the front wall of the kitchen as well as additional drawers and cabinets.
Looking at two trailers that compete in the same market, you can see ideological differences in how these two were designed. Also, in some ways this comparison is unfair because Grand Design’s Reflection 150 Series 260RD is much more similar to yesterday’s Cougar than this one, but we were specifically asked to take a look at the 295RL so that’s how this all happened.
What I like better about the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL
Comparing these two trailers, there are a lot of things I liked a bit better about the Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 295RL, including the upstairs closet arrangement. However, it’s important to note that that means the shower is smaller here. I do really like that Grand Design uses vents in the cabinets for the furnace rather than cutting big holes in the linoleum floor. I just think that’s a lazier way of doing things and will be a maintenance issue in a few years.
The additional five feet of length in this trailer over yesterday’s model means larger tanks, but that adds weight and that may put this right out of the league of comparison for some owners.
Logic aside, there are enough qualitative similarities between these two or even the 260RD, that it may come down to which one you prefer visually and layout-wise. Since you’ll be camping in it, there’s a lot of value in being able to make a decision based on what you like better.
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.
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