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RV Review: Coachmen RV Nova 20RB – a top notch Class B

I have to hand it to the folks who make Class B motorhomes. There are so many different floor plans and ways to package things, it’s impressive to see what can be done in such a relatively small space. But, by the same token, Class B motorhomes almost universally have lousy bathrooms. So it’s particularly refreshing when you find one that actually has a pretty good bathroom. That’s what we have in the 2022 Coachmen RV Nova 20RB. 

Ram Promaster

Based on the Ram Promaster chassis, which is the Fiat Ducato to the rest of the world, this platform has the unusual distinction of having front-wheel drive. You might not be surprised by this as it’s common in passenger cars and crossovers, but in trucks that’s another story. 

But there are advantages to this which mirror the advantages found in cars. By packaging all the running gear up front under the hood, you leave more space in the back for stuff. However, the disadvantage of front-wheel drive in a truck is that you carry the weight in the back but the drive wheels are on the front. I’m making it a bigger deal than it is from this standpoint. 

What this does allow you to accomplish is things like slightly larger holding tank sizes (than other Class B RVs, not larger than anything else). You can also hang the Onan QG 2800i generator underneath the motorhome so it’s sort of out of sight. 

Oh, and there were other front-wheel-drive motorhomes in the past including the GMC Motorhome of the 1970s and the Clark Cortez of the 1960s. Yep, the Clark forklift company made motorhomes!

Coachmen RV

What Forest River’s Coachmen RV division has done with this platform is pretty impressive as far as Class B RVs go. 

The cornerstone of this floor plan are the two twin beds along the walls in the back of the main living space. These beds afford seating for up to six while dining, but then also lounging space and, obviously, sleeping space for two at night. 

With the Lagun table mounted on the camp side of the cabinetry, this allows you to swivel the table into place between the beds/couches but also use it in a variety of ways. That includes where you can lounge against the rear wall of this space and literally sit and work or sit and lounge. This whole configuration really makes the most of the space. 

Above the beds and the galley are cabinets along the entire length of the ceiling in the main living space. There’s also some storage above the cab area. Further, there are drawers and even a garbage can in a cabinet. 

The galley in the Coachmen RV Nova

On the road side is the galley with a single induction cooktop along with a very small refrigerator. There is a microwave oven mounted low, under the countertop. There are nice surfaces here, and there’s a round bowl sink. 

It’s a very usable space, although I personally would prefer if they somehow used a 12-volt cooler-style fridge instead of the small bar-sized fridge. But it’s not that much of a deal. 

Up front both seats swivel around to face the living space. However, the driver seat is right up against the galley cabinetry. So if you have dreams of reclining this seat, as they say in some stereotypes, faggeddaboudit. However, the passenger seat fully reclines. 

Typically, Class B motorhomes have the galley on the camp side with a portion extending into the space left by the van’s sliding door. I like this arrangement better. I also like that Coachmen figured in a sliding screen door to cover this space that’s much easier to use than many I’ve seen in Class B’s. 

Out back in the Coachmen RV Nova

But where Coachmen has really come through is out back in this rig. 

There’s a screen that pulls down like a shade. That means you can leave the two swinging rear doors open and pull down the screen, allowing for air flow. 

The bathroom occupies the whole width of the rear of this coach. But part of that space is taken up by cabinetry on the camp side. 

On the road side is the toilet, which is a porcelain model – something you almost never see in Class B’s. Further, the amazing thing is that it actually has enough space so you can accomplish what you came back here for. 

That toilet is part of a wet bath. The shower head, on an extendable hose, is both the faucet for the sink and the shower head. But that sink is nifty in that it flips up against the wall when you sit down to solve the world’s problems back here.

I also like the sliding roll-up door for the bathroom. It’s just a very-well-done design – possibly the best bathroom I’ve seen in a Class B van. To add to that, this unit comes with a Truma Combi which both heats the living space and is also a tankless water heater. 

To air is human

There’s also a high-performance vent fan in the bathroom, but Coachmen also put one in the main body of the coach with a remote. Nice. 

This works well with the European-style Lexan flip-up windows that have integrated screens and shades. I really like these and don’t see them very often in Class B vans. 

In summary

If you’re looking for a Class B van where you can actually kick back and relax without having to reconfigure this and that, this Coachmen RV Nova might be a great choice. It’s an extraordinarily well-designed interior that has good storage space but a very usable design, not something that’s typical in Class B vans. 

One bummer

The one bummer is that the driver seat really has limited range of adjustment due to the galley cabinetry. There are also two dump points, a black tank and a gray tank, and this is inconvenient as well. 

But, overall, this is a really well-thought-through offering from Coachmen. The price is right, too, coming in much less than so many Class B’s where the price hovers around $200,000. 

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.

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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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Bathroom design/space
Interior layout
Two dump ports
Driver seat adjustability

SUMMARY

The Coachmen Nova 20RB is an affordable Class that is almost magical in interior design space and usability.

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Steve
8 months ago

If the wardrobe were replaced with a “dry” shower and an inverter sized to run the microwave and induction cooktop were added, this would be a perfect “travelers” (as opposed to “campers”) RV. OK, every Class B is now designed for millenials, but many boomer couples (and singles!) are also looking for a compact, easy to drive and park without need of a toad, dry-bath Class B. If we never stay in one place more than two nights, tank size is unimportant. But, if we seldom eat out, a useable oven-cooktop is very important, especially when actually boondocking or Wally-docking (who wants to eat dinner at Walmart or Love’s?).

Roger V
8 months ago

Coachmen did a nice job of copying the Winnebago Travato 59K here – a floorplan that came out in the ’17 model year. My ’17K has been great. This floorplan is the main reason we bought it. Thor was one of the first to copy the Winnebago Travato K, but I think I like the Coachmen copy a little better. I’ve since replaced the AGM batteries with Battleborn lithiums, a 3K W inverter and several other upgrades. 80K now, several cross country trips for months at a time and after 5 years, it’s still going strong!

Last edited 8 months ago by Roger V
Vickie L McClellan Benson
8 months ago

This Class B has some real negatives, in my opinion. Anyone who actually cooks would have to run the generator to do so. What is the advantage of putting the stove, etc. behind the driver’s seat? For a wider open space at the side door? I can do without that. Putting it where it is in this van will enable grease & water to splash all over the couch/bed and the driver’s seat. Also disallows the driver’s seat from fully recline/turn around. If it doesn’t have a place for hanging clothes that doesn’t wrinkle the last foot of said clothes, it’s a no buy for me. I swear that designers of these rigs should have to load them up with everything they need for a weeks travel & cook, shower, dress & live in it. I’m also not a fan of standing on my head to get anything in and out of the microwave. ?? When will they start putting full size refrigerators in these vans? They may as well not have one at all if you have to pack coolers for actual food storage anyway.

Vickie L McClellan Benson
8 months ago

OOPS, went to their website where it shows a full floorplan. Apparently it does have a wardrobe. Tony didn’t mention that, so I don’t know if it’s full length for hanging clothes or not.

Roger V
8 months ago

We travel for months at a time in our 2017 Winnebago Travato K model – the same floorplan as this Coachmen. The water/grease issue has never, ever been a problem for us. You’d have to be mighty careless for it to splash like that. The driver’s seat turns about 2/3 of the way around, and the passenger seat (the one we actually use like that) turns all the way around. Another non-problem. As for hanging clothes, why hang clothes? We’re camping. Anything that can be hung can be folded, and much more efficiently in terms of storage by the way. Yes, Class Bs have negatives (small tank sizes for one), but so does every other Class of RV.

Last edited 8 months ago by Roger V
Vickie L McClellan Benson
8 months ago
Reply to  Roger V

Roger: I’m sorry but if I am traveling from point A to point B, and I am doing a job interview at point B, I need clothes that are not wrinkled. What’s more, my coats do not fold well. I have yet to cook anything that requires a frying pan that does not splatter (even with splatter guards on the pan). Glad you don’t have that problem.

Don
8 months ago

Good use of very limited space, but an induction cooktop, in a Class B?? I guess you’ll just have to run the genny to cook unless plugged in… And I’m totally unimpressed with separate dump connections for black & grey. Yuck! Don’t they realize that you use the grey water to flush out the black from the hose?
I’m also astonished that they learned nothing from Chevy’s experience with the Nova name. Spanish is increasingly the second language both here and in much of the rest of the world. Naming a vehicle “No go” just seems to be shooting yourself in the foot. 🙁

Roger V
8 months ago
Reply to  Don

Our Winnebago Travato Class B has an induction cooktop. I removed the old gas cooktop after installing several Battleborn lithium batteries. Except for AC, we almost never have to run the generator any more. My wife much prefers it over the gas cooktop, and I can’t remember the last time we had to buy propane.

Last edited 8 months ago by Roger V
Tommy Molnar
8 months ago
Reply to  Don

Good comments, Don. Especially your last sentence – 🙂

RV Review: Coachmen RV Nova 20RB – a top notch Class BThe Coachmen Nova 20RB is an affordable Class that is almost magical in interior design space and usability.

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