For reasons that are obvious to followers of this column, I was in Indiana recently. I was picking up my own trailer but was invited by my friends at Lippert to attend a rally of Alliance RV owners. It was interesting talking to owners of these large fifth wheels as Alliance has really been good at listening to them. So hearing firsthand what their experience has been really reinforced what I had been hearing in general.
The specific model we’re looking at today is the Alliance Paradigm 370FB. It’s a very large, very livable fifth wheel that would be very much something you could enjoy full-time.
Alliance started with several longtime players in the RV industry who sought to make different rigs than were already out there.
The entire Paradigm line was developed after polling some 3,000 fifth wheel owners to see what they prefer in a floor plan and what features and components are important to them. As a result, you see some of that voicing in things like a fold-down wooden seat in the absolutely huge shower in this trailer. Also, there’s a true residential-sized oven (3.73 cubic feet)—where you can actually cook an entire Thanksgiving turkey.
But in setting themselves apart, Alliance road tests every one of the units that rolls off the line in a set course. That means the first person to do so isn’t the delivery driver bringing the rig to your dealer. That also means they can address things that might shake loose. Of course, the company builds things so they don’t shake loose in the first place.
Warranty on the Paradigm 370FB covers full-time use
In fact, the company itself recognizes that the unit is so livable, the warranty covers use as a full-time unit. Alliance actually fills the holding tanks and then takes the fifth wheels for a drive on a test course to make sure everything does what it’s designed to do. When it returns to the factory, the unit is thoroughly tested once again. If anyone else is this thorough in their pre-delivery inspection (PDI), I have yet to hear of it.
The tank valves themselves are in the heated underbelly of the rig rather than exposed to the elements. But the levers for the tank are located centrally in the water center, so you don’t have to be a contortionist to dump your tanks.
What I think is most impressive is how the company tests each unit before it is delivered to the customer. And quality is something you hear associated with the products in many ways.
This is a big momma of a trailer with four slides. Often rigs this big might not get much road time, but they have to get where they’re going. So, one of the things I like about all the Alliance products is that they have high-quality suspension systems. I know so many people who have a very popular brand of fifth wheel that they swear up and down is such a great thing. However, sooner or later, they’re upgrading that cheap suspension.
The real highlight of the Paradigm 370FB is above the pin box. That’s where there’s an absolutely huge bathroom in the nose cap and an equally large bedroom, thanks to opposing slides.
Master suite in the Paradigm 370FB
While I rarely see RVs where the term “master suite” truly fits, it does here, to me. That upstairs bathroom really is a place where you could change clothes or actually towel off after luxuriating in that large shower.
This rig is available with either a king- or queen-sized bed. But the king-sized bed really consumes much of the bedroom space, so there really aren’t proper side stands here. I believe I saw an American Coach where they built a cabinet over the bed specifically designed for a CPAP machine. That would be a nice touch here.
Alliance has really done a great job, otherwise, with the upstairs space.
Since the main bathroom is through the bedroom and you might not want your guests traipsing through your bedroom to resolve tonight’s not-well-cooked tacos, there is also a guest bathroom in this trailer that has everything those guests could want.
I’m not sure what line you have to cross, yourself, to move from “nice” to “luxury” in your own mind. But the kitchen and upstairs bathroom put this in the realm of “luxury” to me. A big oven, big stove, optional dishwasher, beautiful countertops, convection microwave, and just the detailing on the cabinets are things that work for me to push this up a notch.
There are also a lot of windows in the main living area of the Paradigm 370FB. They take this 101”-wide fifth wheel and make it feel even larger.
The walls in these units are fully vacuum laminated using Azdel substrate and framed in aluminum. The roof itself is a PVC product which requires zero maintenance but can be repaired with PVC cement from the local hardware store. It’s also warrantied for 15 years.
There are valves in the plumbing system that let you isolate sections of the trailer if there is a plumbing issue, rather than having to shut off the entire unit.
As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I’m a big fan of traditional buttons to control everything. Alliance seems to agree with that by having actual buttons to open the slides and awnings and turn on the lights.
I also like that these units are wired like an automobile, so a specific wire in this unit is the same as the one in another unit. That’s not always true in the RV industry.
Details in the Paradigm 370FB
The surfaces and cabinetry in this rig also set it apart. Somehow, so many RVs have cabinet designs that can best be described as “flat.” In the Paradigm 370FB, the cabinets and even upholstery have a depth to them more like what you’d put into your house—or at least what I’d put into mine. There was really a quality feel to everything.
Further, the slide rooms are carpet-less, and the flooring that the company has used works nicely.
Inside the coach there are storage cubbies where others might not have them. Those include a storage area behind the electric fireplace that seems large enough to hold the bedding, if someone’s sleeping on the couch. Many of the interior lights are on dimmers. Those will be much appreciated, as modern RVs are well-lit but sometimes a bit too bright.
These have three newer Coleman AC units that use about 10.3 amps apiece. That means on a 50-amp service, all three of the AC units can run at full speed. Furthermore, you can actually use two of the Coleman units on a 30-amp service if you happen to have a site like that. The AC in the bedroom is not ducted into the main body of the coach, so those who like to sleep cooler or hotter can do so.
I also liked the Epoxy counters throughout the coach—they add a nice touch. In fact, all the components seemed like they were chosen by someone who was going to use the rig, rather than the low person in the accounting department who hates the customers anyway.
I had mentioned previously that the Brady family is sort of RV royalty. They are Brian Brady, best known for helping to launch both Damon Corp. and Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC prior to his 2012 retirement as president and CEO of Heartland, and his sons—both former Heartland executives. They say the idea for their new company emerged over a Christmas dinner when they realized that they shared a collective urge to start a company that would enable them to do things their own way—as so many industry entrepreneurs have done before.
To me, it also speaks volumes that Alliance was the only manufacturer to send one of their factory representatives to Quartzsite. While I know a lot of folks are in Tampa, there were also a lot of folks buying rigs in Quartzsite. Speaking with Curt Curtis of RV Country Sales, they were on a tear with a lot of people from all over the U.S. there shopping. Many of them were existing full-timers and some soon-to-be full-timers.
I don’t know if I would ever get a rig like this for myself. However, I have plenty of friends who have larger fifth wheels and love them. If I did, though, the first stop before picking up the rig would be at a place that sells commercial trucks, as I would want a much larger tow vehicle such as the Volvo VNL that I wrote about in the past.
Hearing stories about how much owners are really happy with their units at the Alliance rally made me happy. Now, were these perfect rigs? Absolutely not. There were repairs that needed to be made and people had changes and customizations and issues as well.
High quality throughout speaks volumes
But the attention to detail and caliber of how things are done really speaks volumes. I could live in this, but I might personally prefer one of their smaller Valor rigs if I were doing a lot of traveling. Or just say “chuck it,” and get the Volvo VNL and a big momma fifth wheel. Why not?
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson—me!
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. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has an 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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