Today’s RV review is of the Jayco Jay Feather Volare—which is actually a prototype. This is interesting because the more I look at this (virtually), the more impressed I am. And there are things on here that I have been hoping to see on RVs and which seem to be making it to reality.
What’s exciting about the Jayco Jay Feather Volare
I’ve been beating the drum about RVs being aerodynamic disasters for some time. It’s true. You could tow the same trailer with a smaller pickup, like the Nissan Frontier that I used to use. Or tow that same trailer with a larger pickup with a much larger engine, such as the Ram 1500 that I use today.
Fuel mileage with either truck remains the same because it just takes a specific amount of energy to overcome the terrible aerodynamics of a big box behind you. Part of that includes all the things RV companies stick out of the roof of RVs such as big, bulky air conditioners.
This Volare prototype doesn’t have a bunch of stuff on the roof. The air conditioner is the Dometic Cool Cat unit, which actually is mounted in the body of the trailer. This system is a heat pump and is similar to a PTAC (packaged terminal air conditioner—ductless cooling and heating unit) system you’ll often find in a hotel—it heats and cools. And it doesn’t stick out of the roof.
Oh, and speaking of the roof. The one on the Volare is a single piece of fiberglass rather than the rubber roofs on so many RVs. Since there are fewer voids in the roof, such as no AC up there, there are fewer opportunities for leaks. That’s nifty.
In fact, the entire trailer is an aluminum-framed unit including the flooring and the ceiling, as well as the walls. This looks like an inTech Sol Dawn trailer, but that unit even has an aluminum chassis.
While looking at the structure outside, the prototype had better stabilizers on the corner. There was also a Nautilus water management system akin to what you’d expect in a fifth wheel. This comes complete with remote gate valve levers. That speaks to the exterior of this trailer having a very finished look.
What’s inside the Jayco Jay Feather Volare
There are a number of floor plans shown for this model, including one with a rear cargo door sort of like an Airstream Basecamp.
Interestingly, the kitchen of this features a single portable induction cooktop and a small round sink. The microwave and fridge on this model are rather narrow units with an adjacent open pantry. Oh, boy. Your cans of soup are going to be flying around inside of this on travel days.
But, again, this is just a prototype.
Being a trailer this small, there is a wet bath and, since the floor of showers have to be raised, your headroom in this is somewhat limited. Also, while inTech uses an exterior door with a seal to keep the water out, Jayco didn’t, although I’m sure there’s a shower curtain. I like inTech’s solution better.
Interior lighting on this is pretty cool with a sort of single rail of light that extends across the ceiling. The interior and overall build materials and finished appearance of this unit really give it a high-end feel.
This trailer comes with a surprising amount of solar and battery. There are 400 watts of Go Power! flexible panels that conform to the curved roof. Those panels charge two 200-watt lithium batteries for a total of 400 watts of lithium. This is pretty surprising as standard equipment.
But with this much power, I was also surprised that there was any propane aboard whatsoever. It seems the only thing the propane does is run the water heater, which is a tankless on-demand model, and potentially a furnace. Oh, and there’s a propane quick connect at the rear.
There’s also a suite of cameras on the prototype. Those include one on the nose of the trailer so you can see what’s happening while you’re driving. But you can also use those cameras to see what’s happening around the trailer while camped.
I also really like the “finished” appearance of the Jayco Jay Feather Volare. Most RVs look like home-built projects with all the stuff added on to the outside. This seems much more finished. Of course, many RVs are barely one step above a garage-built project—so there’s that.
Pricing will be at upper end for small trailers
While pricing hasn’t been announced yet, these will be at the upper end of the small trailer world—that’s a good thing. We have lots of Cherokees and Springdales already. Some campers want a trailer that is high-quality with premium features in a smaller package. This absolutely nails that.
According to an article from RVBusiness, the pricing for the Volare (not the old Plymouth, but the new Jayco) is expected to be in the upper-$40,000 range. This isn’t out of line with what competing models retail for, and dealers ultimately set the price of these.
I also appreciate that this has absolute standout styling—until you visit an inTech dealer. What was the point of blatantly ripping off inTech’s signature look? Phooey on you, Jayco. Leave the independent RV companies alone. I bet they could have hired a first-year student and something like the Art Center in California and come up with a design that was more aerodynamic and not a total rip-off of something else. Heck, Airstream did that with the Base Camp.
But the direction is a good one and they’ve even chosen a name from a 1976 Plymouth Volare, too. There’s so much right with the direction, build materials and appointments in this. But the ripped-off styling just makes me angry. Oh, well.
More from Tony
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Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. He also works closely with a number of RV manufacturers to get an inside look at how things are done and is a brand ambassador for Rockwood Mini Lite with his wife, Peggy.
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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