Today’s RV review is of a Newmar Dutch Star 4081, a large Class A diesel pusher motorhome. For anyone who’s ever looked at these but not owned one and wondered how you can ask more than $600,000 for it, I think I have an answer to that. In fact, one video changed a lot of my perception of these rigs, which brings up another point I’ll share.
Attention to detail in the Newmar Dutch Star 4081
One of the overwhelming things I got when looking deeper into this coach was the attention to detail. While build quality and nice cabinets and fancy paint jobs might be why some folks buy these, the attention to detail is what might make them worth the money.
Of course, this depends on your own perspective.
I have mentioned in other motorhome reviews how I think it’s important to have a fire escape for people built like me to use. Essentially, you’re on a second floor apartment when you’re in one of these things, and the kitchen and instrument panel (dashboard) are often where fires start.
Being able to get out without going through those areas is something that is critical. Yeah, yeah. All RVs have emergency escape windows. But they’re not ones that someone of my physique can get through. Add a few years to the equation, or some physical mobility challenges, and you have a recipe for disaster.
But one of the things Newmar did in this coach was install an emergency exit door in the back that has an integrated ladder in it. You just open the door and drop down the ladder and you’re on the way to safety.
Of course, if I bought something like this and it caught on fire, I’d be pooping bricks. Which is another great reason to have this in the bathroom. Ahem.
Another area where Newmar paid attention was in the steering and handling system of this. Essentially there’s an electric motor in the steering system that helps with tighter turns but also makes driving in windy conditions more comfortable.
Obviously, you’ll want to be cognizant of road and weather conditions as you’re moving something with a sidewall this large down the road. But having the system compensate for some of the challenges of a windy road, which is something I’ve been really familiar with the past few weeks, is good.
Further, the system creates a claimed 18% tighter turn, which could really help in navigating some RV parks.
There are other areas, too, where attention to detail is evident. For example, there are charging pads for both the driver and passenger so you can just drop your smartphone on the pads and charge them.
Virtually all the 120-volt outlets in the coach also have two USB charging ports. Nice.
There is a drawer below the sink where you can put two garbage cans—perhaps one for recycling and one for trash. All the drawers are really nicely constructed and, of course, they incorporate soft-close mechanisms.
One of those drawers is in a narrow cabinet between the theater seats on the road side. That’s the perfect spot for remote controls or that sort of thing.
You can also operate all the blinds and lights from your smartphone, that one you’ve charged up on the dashboard. So you could sit in those theater seats, raise the television (which is on a televator) and just set the mood.
Construction of the Newmar Dutch Star 4081
This sits on a Spartan chassis, which is a really solid build. You can actually see the cross-bracing when you open one of the umpteen storage bays in the basement. This structure is part of the reason you can have these porcelain tile floors.
But it’s also the secret to the slide rooms going out and becoming flush with the floor. This is something to watch if you haven’t seen it before. The slide rooms literally extend and then sort of drop into place. What you end up with is a completely flat floor.
Let’s get cooking
When you see the kitchen closed up you might not realize there’s a sink there, and also a two-burner portable induction cooktop. Essentially, you lift off the section of the countertop to reveal the induction cooktop.
But, since it’s portable, you could also take it outside and do your cooking out there. One of the advantages of this is that you don’t have to worry about the wind. In fact, just this morning I was cooking bacon outside on my griddle and it was tough keeping things hot due to the wind. I should have had the induction cooktop.
Boondocking and travel access
Even though this has opposing slides, you can still shuffle through here to the bathroom while in transit mode.
Of course, these gigantic motorhomes come with gigantic tanks, so you could easily spend quite some time off the grid. You wouldn’t be worrying about power, either, with an Onan 8,000 diesel generator on board.
There were more little details that I liked about this, including the spare fuses easily accessible in the door that holds the fuse box. This is exactly what I would expect at this price point—and Newmar delivers.
There’s a lot I really like about this rig and I have to admit I’ve been more of a travel trailer guy all along, which is probably pretty evident.
Class A manufacturers could learn from Josh Winters’ video
But I have to credit Josh Winters’ video on this and hope that all big Class A manufacturers look at this video, quite frankly. It’s entertaining, but he also really shows details that I believe will make a difference.
For example, Josh actually deployed the fire escape. I have literally never seen one of those in action before.
I spend a lot of time trying to learn what I can about all these RVs, but most RV companies really aren’t very forthcoming about the details behind the scenes. But I don’t think it’s any desire to hide things; I just think they’re lousy communicators.
With the tools that the internet provides, I think there’s a huge opportunity for an RV company to tell their own story. In fact, I have an example of one who is doing so. Escape Trailer in Canada is doing just this with regular updates and videos and communication. I’m not an Escape customer, but I follow their story.
The beautiful interior details and cabinetry, fancy paint jobs and all of that really tell their own story. The opportunity to get beneath the skin and reveal what makes one RV better than the competition is really where the opportunity lies. Although, perhaps, that’s why I continue to have a job.
Maybe I should just shut up.
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtrave.coml having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping .
You can also check out his RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. 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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What with the overall negative perception of RV quality these days, I’m surprised we’re not seeing reviews justifying/or not those perceptions. By that I mean, doing reviews and if found, show the examples of poor workmanship, quality, etc.. Maybe if objective reviews were given, manufactures might take note and improve their quality (if it needs to be improved).
Our 22 Dutch Star is fabulous! This was a great review of an outstanding manufacturer!
We bought a Newmar LondonAire off the assembly line in 2017, it’s a 2018 and we love it, what sold us was the slide out steps. We were looking at the MountanAire , but the steps were not as nice. We were able to switch the paint job as well.
we need to go tour the plant.
If you have never toured the Newmar factory, it is well worth the time…can be done in person or virtually. You will likely not see a manufacturing process like it in other RV “production build” factories. There really isn’t a “line,” per se. Once the chassis is ready, it is put on air floats and pushed from station to station for build. The same people that build a Bay Star build the King Aire. No delam issues…these are built like a home with 16″ OC aluminum studs, thick bat insulation, etc.
A couple of corrections: The Spartan chassis doesn’t enable the flat floor slide. Newmar also uses Freightliner chassis with flat floor slide. My MA is the latter.
Second, “comfort drive” makes turning the steering in tight turns effortless, but it’s really the extreme wheel cut of the IFS that determines sharpness of the turn…along with passive tag steering on some models.
Nice, but It’s a box driving down the road. We have to get Elon Musk to design aerodynamic motorhomes.
Heck Walter P Chrysler did it with cars in the 1930s but few were interested in the Airflow series despite significant advantages over their contemporaries.
Don’t forget that the UltraVan was designed by an aircraft engineer in the early 1960s and took only a 2.7L six to operate due to better aerodynamics but also lighter construction. Again, not popular.
Again in the 1980s the Vixen was both aerodynamic and efficient. Again, it didn’t sell well.
Based solely on demand we seem obsessed with big, square bricks that maximize interior space over fuel efficiency. If I were in charge of things I would likely bring out a brick, too, since that’s what tends to sell well. But I totally agree with you.
In 2000, Newmar introduced a “concept RV” called the New Aire. It was much shorter in height, which eliminated a lot of underbelly storage. While still “boxy” it did have a semi-curved front and sloped back. It had a much different look. From what I see in the product brochure archives it was offered in 2001-2, then dropped.
The New Aire brand came back several years ago as a shorter length, but still fully-featured RV. Typical box shape now, but as part of their “luxury” line, it offers those who want an RV that will be able to go to National Parks, etc. the ability to do so with a fully featured luxury coach. Was originally offered in 33’…now 35′.
Might make for an interesting future review!
Why would you review any RV that does not have cargo capacity readily available for the reader? This is/should be a critical component of any RV review, IMHO.
Leonard….all I can say is the underbelly storage is cavernous and the capacity to carry it very large. As an example, my 43′ Newmar Mountain Aire with full fuel (150 gallons), water of 105 gallons, and half full grey and black tanks, plus fully loaded for travel with my wife and I in it, weighs in at approx 42,000 #. The chassis is 48,000 GVWR, so that leaves me 6000 lbs extra I’ll virtually never carry. Also, 58,000 GCWR on mine.
Upon request, Newmar will provide an off-the-line report of the production weights for your specific unit that is, to say the least, very comprehensive (mine was 1 1/2 pages) with by wheel positions, etc.
Tony always talks about mfgs hiding their capacities to carry and I completely agree! Not so with Newmar.
I do try to get this information wherever possible. I wish it were just on the manufacturer’s websites like it is with travel trailers.
I think it’s normally in Newmar’s brochures.
Correct, Bill. All of their product brochures are online from current to way….way back. All it takes is a click or two on their website and the info is there.
While we’re high-clearance truck and travel trailer folks, I’ve always wondered if these mfg’s could offer a suspension system that could raise the coach maybe six inches to offer more low speed access to some otherwise off-limit roads for large motorhomes like this. Although most of the boondocking sites we frequent (in NV) would be accessible with this palace, a bit more ground clearance would be welcome for a couple more back-desert sites.
I really like the lighter colors here too. Not the tomb-like dark colors some have. I like that there is at least a passenger door (but still – no driver’s door). The escape door is a great addition – one that could actually be used.
This would make a nice ‘second RV’ for us for heavy duty road trips. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Tommy, it would make a beautiful second HOME, not RV, for us. Problem is, we would have to sell our current home to afford it. Then it would become our only home and we would have to live in it full time. So many choices, so little time!
Know exactly what you mean, Steve.
And you would be trading an asset with appreciation potential for a depreciating asset, but you knew that.
Tommy, there are expensive after market products that can be installed to provide more flexible temporary lift.
That said, these super heavy coaches aren’t really meant for offroading. While I’m amazed at the maneuverability (you should see my drive and home parking situation) I am extremely cautious about where I take mine. Keep in mind that these things are also tall, although many 5ers nowadays are taller. Drivers need to be wary of low hanging stuff.
Like anything, there’s give and take. Unlimited boondocking off road is, IMO, a downside of owning something like this. My parents used to boondock in the Bighorns in their small 5er every summer and there’s no way I’d go where they went, though there are many times I’d like to!
I totally agree, Spike. Living in NV, our boondocking takes place on generally rock-hard dirt roads leading out into the desert. No trees in sight. My concern would not be overhanging stuff (because there IS none). It would be slight ‘bump-ettes’ under the coach. Not worrying about getting stuck in the non-existent mud. But getting stuck in some sand would be a possibility, so a pre-walk road check would be necessary.
But, this is all moot because we don’t have the ‘dream motorhome. 🙂