I have been hearing from a lot of you lately asking me to take a look at specific RVs. To say that I am grateful for your input would be an understatement. So, I heard from Shannon M asking me to take a look at the Grand Design 300-series fifth wheels, and I took a look at a Solitude 380FL.
U should see this
The Grand Design Solitude 380FL is a large fifth wheel that could easily be a class A diesel pusher alternative. It has the same floor plan as many Class A RVs and also sports a great deal of under-floor storage.
This is one of those unusual fifth wheel floor plans where the chassis essentially forms a “U” if you look at it from the side. Of course the pin box occupies the space under the front of this “U”. But the back bedroom sits on the deck above the other raised section, and that’s where there’s storage galore in this unit.
Under that back bedroom there are large storage bays on both the road and camp side of this trailer. But then in the middle is a huge sliding tray to put even more of your stuff.
This is one of the strong suits of a Class A RV. While there isn’t quite as much storage in this rig as there is in a diesel pusher, there’s more than in many RVs – and there’s certainly plenty.
On the subject of storage, there are a few details in the storage on the Grand Design Solitude that really caught my eye. Those include the fact that the auto level controls are inside the front storage bay but mounted to the door. This means they’re protected from the elements but also right at eye level when it’s time to operate them.
Grand Design is good at this kind of attention to detail.
Attention to detail
Grand Design’s parent company, Winnebago, in general, is really good at keeping in touch with their customers and making detail changes based on the input of these buyers. So it comes as no surprise to me to see some of the little detail points in this trailer as something I think a real user would suggest, rather than some dude in the back of a hallway staring at his computer all day.
Hey. Wait. Is that me?
Anyhow, one of those is the control panels inside the Solitude. There’s a touch screen control right by the door, which isn’t unusual. But then there are more buttons and controls in a cabinet on the other side of the stairwell going up to the main living space. Having them in a cabinet means the lights aren’t annoying people if they’re sleeping upstairs.
Another detail is that on top of that same cabinet is a hinged lid for hiding little things. But you could easily stow a couple of notebook confusers up there – nobody would even know that’s a hinged compartment.
There’s also one of these in the back bedroom. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, because the stairs I mentioned a moment ago also have space for shoes in them. And there’s a vacuum there where you can sweep in debris. This isn’t unusual, but it’s just a nice detail.
While we’re here on the ground floor, let’s examine the fact that there’s a small bathroom just off the kitchen. Another detail point is that you can get to that bathroom with the slide rooms in. So this large rig is actually a decent rig for travel mode. That’s surprising. Plus, you can access the refrigerator – which is available as either a gas-electric propane model or a residential unit.
There’s also an Insignia range with four burners and an oven just like in a home. You also get a 30” convection microwave, so the kitchen can be used as a kitchen.
There is a surprising amount of cabinet, drawer and pantry space, as well.
Oh, and remember all those details? There’s a tall cabinet leading upstairs to the bedroom where the top door is hinged to provide easy access to someone from the upstairs bedroom and the bottom is hinged to provide easier access to the person downstairs.
Upstairs Number One
Up front over the pin box is the living room, and there isn’t much surprise in the layout of this. But there are some nifty details, including the fact that the accent lighting is dimmable.
Also up front in the Solitude there’s a windshield, which is nice. But there’s a televator and a large TV, so you can sit in the two couches or in the theater seats and watch something as a group.
At night if the TV is down, there is a shade that draws over the windshield that has guides where it conforms to the shape of the windshield. This is the second time I’ve seen an RV manufacturer do this and totally flies in the face of those that tell me it can’t be done. When I was a kid, we would refer to these competing RV companies as “moded.”
Upstairs Number Two
The large bedroom and master bath in the Solitude are over the raised rear deck. I liken this floor plan to that of a Class A in that there’s a big bed, but then a full-width bathroom in the back. That bathroom is very much like that in some Class A diesel pushers in that there’s a shower with a flip-up seat. In that shower is a rain shower head, a hand-held shower head and two body sprayers. Yabba dabba do – how clean you’ll be!
But I can say this would be an enjoyable shower, to be sure.
I don’t think there is anyone in the RV space who is doing a better job communicating with their owner base as well as branding their message better than Grand Design. It’s pretty rare that I encounter someone who has a negative opinion of the brand. But there are plenty of people, owners and not, who perceive it as a quality product.
Looking at the messaging on the website, you can see this being done. It should be a lesson to anyone else wanting to tell the story of their RVs. Grand Design does a superb job of consistently telling the story they want told.
Someone’s paying attention with the Grand Design Solitude
Now, I will say this is a very-well-thought-out fifth wheel with a lot of details that just show that someone’s paying attention. There are a lot of companies who make this floor plan, including ones I’ve looked at before. But I will say this is a really good adaptation of the plan.
In fact, if I were in the market for a larger rig and liked this floor plan, I could get this trailer at full list price plus an F350 SRW with the Godzilla gasoline engine, also at full list price, and still have a total rig under $300,000.
But the nice thing is, when you do need maintenance there is a Ford dealer almost anywhere you go who can perform that maintenance – no having to go to a special repair shop where you pay many hundreds of dollars just for an oil change.
They say the devil is in the details, but I don’t see much devilish about this rig – it’s actually quite heavenly.
Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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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