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RV Review: Jayco Seneca 37K – A bigger hammer

Today’s review is of the Jayco Seneca 37K, a large “Super C” motorhome built on a Freightliner chassis and powered by a Cummins diesel engine. A while back I wrote a piece about how many RVs, and particulary Class C RVs, tend to be so close to the maximum capacity of the chassis that adding a driver, a passenger and a bit of spare underwear would tip the scales against these poor rigs. You can read it here. 

In fact, the more I’m seeing Class C RVs based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit chassis, the less I like them for this reason alone. There are two ways to fix the problem. One of those is to simply reduce the weight of what the RV companies put on there. (Oh, my, gosh. Not use wood as a construction material for a vehicle?) Or increase the capacity of the chassis. 

Bring a bigger hammer

That last one is what Jayco did. Instead of using a lower-capacity chassis, they just went into the big dog territory and stepped up with a real truck chassis. So a lot of prospects might wonder, how the heck does something like this ride? 

To be honest, I haven’t driven one. But, my friend Josh from Bish’s RVs has (see attached video). He says the thing is an absolute dream to drive. The combination of an air ride rear suspension and the Bilstein front shocks made for a very smooth and controlled ride. So, while the perception might be that this rides like, well, a moving van, the changes Jayco made to the suspension really do make a difference. 

More than cargo

Another advantage of having a frame designed for a moving van is that you can tow things, too. Imagine if you want to bring along your ’62 Corvair Monza Spider or ’67 Mustang GT fastback to a car show a couple of states over. But you’d like them to ride inside so that the $10,000 paint job (I know that’s on the low side) doesn’t get all scratched up. 

This RV is easily able to tow an enclosed trailer capable of bringing along a classic car. Yes, even if that car is a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz with the tri-power and magnetized shot glasses. I’ve always admired those. 

Of course, if you’re into horsing around you can bring your old nag, the horse that is, and its friend along in a horse trailer and have enough capacity for making hay as well. Boy, that sentence has a lot of silliness in it. (Please don’t nag me about it.)

What’s inside

There’s a lot to like about the interior of this rig, as you would expect for more than $300,000. Surprisingly, the thing I liked best was the light “halo” around the sinks which makes a great night light. Sinks. 

Oh, yeah. there are two sinks because there are two bathrooms. If you’re bringing along a jockey or someone of that stature, or maybe grandkids, there are also a lot of seat belts in this rig as well. 

Jayco has a seat belt for each seating position—which is good, although those are lap belts. They are pull tested to more than is required by law but there isn’t a provision for a child safety seat at this point. I also lost a sale on a Class C motorhome when I was selling in California because people under a certain age have to ride in a forward facing position. Although that would be in the dinette, so you’re covered there. 

Get cookin’

Owing to the smooth ride of this rig, I’m less bothered by the residential fridge. But you can also get a propane-electric RV fridge instead. You’ll also be cooking on an induction cooktop here—which I really like. It’s nice not to have propane inside the rig except for heating water and the space. 

Your baking will be done in a convection microwave, as there is no oven. But this is certainly a suitable replacement. 

Complaint department is open

But it’s also good that there’s no propane cooking in here because, despite this being over $300K, they don’t bother to put in ceiling vent fans that are worth a tinker’s darn. Yep, cheap little vent fans for you. 

And while I’m kvetching about things, the wood cabinets in here feature a photo surface. Come on, for $300 grand I would want what you could get in the RV I reviewed yesterday—real wood. 

In fact, how about real wood, a good vent fan and perhaps take out that carnival float paint job and we’ll call it good, eh? I admire the skills of the painters but, for stink’s sake, why are we getting this kind of cabinetry and cheap vent fans and yet an elaborate paint job like this? 

Now you see why Airstream products retain their value year after year. No disco paint jobs. Ever. 

One more thing. When I saw that the counter extension on the Hoosier Custom Cruiser matched the height of the kitchen counters, I was pretty happy about it. That’s another area where this motorhome falls short. The counter extension, which is puny anyway, is below the top of the kitchen counter. This is actually pretty typical, but it shows how much thought went into that Hoosier Custom Cruiser. 

I don’t know how you all feel about this, but the bed in the master bedroom is a king-sized bed. I know a lot of folks like those. But the only way to get the slide room in is to elevate the head of the bed. 

Now it’s cool that the head of the bed elevates, but I’d rather not have to do it. But it’s not that big of a deal. 

Boondocking and travel access

However, if you want to get into the main bathroom, which spans the width of the rear of the coach, you can’t do so with the slide room in.

That’s okay, though, as you can get into the guest bathroom. So you won’t be doing “the dance” while you wait to open a slide room so you can go when you’ve stopped.

There is a lot of tank capacity here, as you would expect in a larger rig. The black tank features a macerator system—which is essentially a food processor for the food you’ve already processed. It grinds up and pumps out the contents of the black tank.

While the included solar panel isn’t much to write home about, there is an Onan 8000 generator on board if you need to crank the two air conditioners or run any other electrical item in the coach.

Even so, there is 220 amp hours of AGM batteries aboard, and a 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter as well. Up on the rooftop is 190 watts of solar, but you can upgrade this. Oh, and that roof is a one-piece fiberglass arrangement. Nice.

In summary

The price of something really determines how annoyed I get by little things, honestly. I would suspect that’s true of many people. 

For example, if this were a $18,000 single-axle travel trailer, things like lousy roof vent fans and cabinets made of anything but solid woods wouldn’t really bother me. In fact, I’d expect them here. 

But knowing that someone’s paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for something, the little things become bigger things. 

This is a nice rig, overall, but my judgment was very colored by yesterday’s Hoosier Custom Cruiser and what that company can do with about a third the money. Yes, yes, the Freightliner chassis alone is probably more pricey than that whole motorhome. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for being able to tow as much as this rig does. 

Jayco has a great warranty

Further, Jayco has a great warranty. And the ride quality and overall feel of this rig are something to write home about. Remember, also, that the price for this rig is the MSRP, whereas the price of the Hoosier Custom Cruiser is the price as they’re selling them directly. So that’s another factor. 

I do like this rig and the layout, and those light-up sinks are a really nice touch. There’s other stuff to like about this, too. But I am rather sidetracked by the things I don’t like about this rig at this price point. 

What do you say? 

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.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 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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Towing
Warranty
Light-up sinks
Photo board cabinets
Cheap vent fans

SUMMARY

The Jayco Seneca is a Super C motorhome that offers the advantages inherent in his sort of rig including a huge amount of towing capability.

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John Boy
6 months ago

All I can say is our 2017 Seneca 37ts is the last good year the Seneca was produced. We have all real wood on all the cabinets no peel-and-stick cabinets. I’ve done many or had done upgrades to the Seneca such as re-calibrating the engine and transmission for better shifting points, HP, & torque. Now they have a Seneca Prestige, give me a break!! The Prestige is basically the same as the 2017 model with a few minor changes. IE we have valance on our windows you can only get those on the Prestige model now. Not sure if they are an option on the Non-Prestige model. Also our entertainment center is over the cab with huge amount of storage to boot. Still have a pull out bed there as well but we use that for storage. That was an option in 2017 I don’t think it is now. Oh, and full body paint on the entire slide not the gray,white or whatever color on the slides now.
Too {bleeped} bad Jayco, a family company sold out to Thor.

Lil John
6 months ago

Tony! You bring back my memory to the hundreds of Detroits I worked on over the years. The simplest engine ever made to work on. Lots of power vs. cubic inches. Would ruin your hearing in a month, but what a sound and what reliability! The only drawback of course is their dirty, dirty, dirty exhaust. Thanks for the memories!

Terry
6 months ago

The new Entegra Esteem Class C by Jayco subsidiary is also a disappointment on there interior finishes. Cabinets although real wood have a horrible finish. This appears to be one coat of lacquer and then used plastic trim molding. No hand sanding between coats.The windows are frame trimmed in wood of lower quality that again has a poor finish. Towel hook in bath is as cheap as it gets. Behind the range is a cheap, thin fiberboard appliqué to look like tile. Shades are the cheap roller blackout that sometimes work. The flooring is a thin cheap grade of vinyl. Upolstry and material is a very cheaply constructed and poor quality. Mirror wardrobe doors are constructed poorly. The driver and copilot seats are again poor quality and operate manually. No outside temperature at the dash and no radio controls on the steering wheel. For over $178,000 MSRP, Thor is laughing all the wy to the Bank!

Steve
6 months ago

Look on the bright side, Tony. At least those peel-and-stick cabinets could easily be changed from UGH gray to a nice cherry or maple photo image at the push of a color printer button! Just joking, of course, but not using real wood cabinets may show the influence of Thor bean counters since Jayco’s sale.

I fail to understand the folding/tilting bed work-around. Older motorhomes just had the flat bed platform fit over a window seat or short cabinet or under a dressing table/desk when the slide was closed. This Super C’s king bed could do the same, especially with a 102″ outside width. RV designers reinvent the wheel just to be “original” when the old designs work perfectly.

I have a Cummins diesel with a 6-speed in my Ram truck and love it. But then I’m not hauling 31,000# of motorhome and towing 12,000# of horse trailer either!

Tommy Molnar
6 months ago

The pictures looked more like drawings than pictures, kinda like the car brochures of the 60’s.
Amazingly, the Hoosier Custom Cruiser looked like a much better built motorhome and at a much more affordable (relatively speaking, of course) price. At least Jayco still has a two person bed instead of two beds (like Lucy and Desi slept in – ahem).

Don
6 months ago

No UVW? Seriously?? I’ve got to wonder what they’re hiding. It’s fine to brag on this thing being a “real truck”, but a buyer needs to know how much it will carry! As to the dings, Tony: it’s made by Jayco. What did you expect?

Snayte
6 months ago

Pictures do not match that floor plan at all.

Juls
6 months ago

I have always said, if I were to go motorized, it would be a Super C. Seneca started that for me the first time I saw one. The freightliner chassis, powerful diesel engine and plenty of space inside make you forget it’s anything related to a class C.

I am bothered by the cheap cuts they made, as you indicated. What a shame. I have to say, having gone from a Rockwood travel trailer to a Grand Design Solitude, I have the same thoughts about cabinets. Our Rockwood had beautiful solid wood cabinets where the ones we have now are either cheap frosted (easily scratched off “frost”) or thin, cheap board that may not even be wood. I understand weight but they could have done better.

One note: the images you posted of a Seneca do not match up to the floorplan. I see 2 baths in the layout but not in the images. It would be nice if the visuals matched. Otherwise, good review.

Bob p
6 months ago

I have often wondered why manufacturers of super Cs especially Freightliner chassis don’t use a Detroit Diesel. As an ex truck driver who has driven every Diesel engine I know DD are the most economical diesels on the road. Next would be a tie between Volvo and Cummins then Caterpillar, however Cats are more powerful. Just wondering, maybe an expert could answer that. Thanks.

RV Review: Jayco Seneca 37K – A bigger hammerThe Jayco Seneca is a Super C motorhome that offers the advantages inherent in his sort of rig including a huge amount of towing capability.

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