By Tony Barthel
One of the complaints I read often is that there are more than a million people in the U.S. living in RVs, yet most RVs aren’t warrantied, or even built, for full-time living. It’s a fair issue, so I thought we might look at one brand of RVs that is outfitted for full-time living: the Luxe Elite.
You may not have heard of this company. I hadn’t until I ran across them in a forum for using heavy-duty trucks to haul fifth wheels. And, in fact, with the unit we’re looking at today, that’s not a horrible idea since this is a big rig with a GVWR of 24,000 pounds and an overall length of 45 feet.
Luxe is unusual in that they predominantly build units to order and sell factory-direct – so whatever you see that you like in this particular unit, or don’t, you can probably have built more to your taste. As with all fifth wheel manufacturers, there are a number of floor plans and lengths to choose from, and Luxe has more mainstream models than this 2021 Luxe Elite 44FL.
The 44FL is a front-living model that places a living room over the kingpin in the front of the trailer. In some ways being up here allows you to look down like an overlord on the folks in the lower section, which encompasses both the kitchen and, further back, the bedroom.
This kind of floor plan makes for a nice living room area, and that is even more true with dual opposing slides in the upper section, each of which has a jackknife sofa. At the back of the living room are theater seats with all the usual recline and massage functions. I love that this particular unit’s upholstery is blue.
Again, if there’s anything you don’t like here, you can alter that in your own build.
On the subject of those slide rooms, and all the slide rooms in Luxe models, they do not have an overlapping flap on the outside when closed. Instead the slide rooms fit flush with the exterior of the coach much like the door of a car. This is the first time I’ve seen that and it does make for a clean look.
The exteriors of these are painted and you can choose almost any paint colors you prefer. If you like the idea of a solid color, that can be done. If you like the swishes and swirls, that can be done too. I hope you’re sitting down for this… I actually liked the swooshy paint on these fifth wheels…!
Since these are all custom-built, you can choose the colors you want for the exterior. I saw examples in various forms where the tow vehicle and trailer were matched in color. It was a pretty impressive sight.
Back inside what caught my attention was just how spacious this floor plan feels. I guess the tremendous size of this rig explains that, but also the width of the openings between the kitchen and the rear bedroom opens up a large rig even more. It really does feel more like a house than a trailer.
All the appliances in these rigs are residential-grade and happen to be LG-brand appliances, not my first choice but that’s what you get. That brand includes the stove, soundbar, TV and refrigerator.
The drawers in the kitchen are plentiful indeed, and are all plywood on the inside and hardwood on the front surfaces. Another thing used here that I haven’t seen before are drawer glides that are under the drawers. These allow the drawer to take up more of the width of the allotted space. Furthermore, all these drawer glides are soft close, of course. It might seem like a minor detail but these are all things that caught my attention.
Another unique thing that Luxe uses is a marine-grade flooring in the slide rooms under the dinette and in the bathroom. It’s almost like a high-quality version of those carpets we all put outside our RVs. It’s waterproof and durable. The actual flooring in the RV is a panel flooring so if a panel does get damaged, it can be replaced without replacing the whole floor.
You can get a sleep number bed if you choose, which this unit had; and there’s also a stacking washer-dryer in the mid-bath. At the back end of the coach is a large, full bath, including a shower with a teak fold-down seat in it.
While I am impressed by appearance items and luxury trim, what really floats my boat is when companies go above and beyond behind the scenes. This reflects the kind of thinking that results in a better experience for the owner. Another bit of attention to detail is the number of temperature sensors inside the coach so that it’s not just a single point of measurement for the zoned climate controls.
There are access panels in the storage bays so you can get behind the water system. Under the sinks are shut-off valves so you can disable a faucet without having to shut the entire water system off. These kinds of things might sound like no-brainers if you look at your sticks and bricks house, but your RV is not likely to be built this way. These are.
I appreciate the padded walls in the Elite series trailers, not because of any personal experience in padded rooms but because the soft-touch walls add an additional layer of sound protection. There are always those noisy neighbors in campgrounds…
If you choose to be that noisy neighbor there is an opportunity to do so with a specific outdoor audio system that incorporates an AM/FM radio and Bluetooth connectivity pumped through marine-grade outdoor speakers. Yes, we’ve all seen outdoor speakers on RVs before – but this is a specific entire system just for the outdoors. There’s another audio system altogether inside.
The braking system incorporates disc brakes on all three axles and the tires are Goodyear Endurance.
There seems to be extreme attention to detail with these – and that should be the case at this price point. The way the slide rooms sit flush with the outside walls and drop into a “bin” when extended, thereby creating a flat floor, is another example.
On the downside, I am not a fan of the “disco light” effect over the front living room, the dining room and in the extensive cabinet space in the bedroom. This effect means you can set the LEDs to change colors or just be a solid color. Just seemed a bit out of place to me.
Of course you’re going to need one heck of a truck to haul one of these around. With a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 24,000 lbs., you might want a medium-duty truck – and now you’re spending even more of your kids’ inheritance. In fact, I came across these through a heavy-duty truck group with some folks re-purposing heavy-duty commercial trucks to haul around their fifth wheels.
One of the more unusual things about Luxe fifth wheels is that you get them factory-direct, so that means if you choose to have paint that matches your truck or want certain interior colors or whatever it is, there is a lot of flexibility. While there are spec units in the company’s showrooms in Southern California and Texas, which is where I found the particular example I looked at here, you can get your own custom model in about four-five months – which isn’t a horribly long wait nowadays.
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.