Monday, June 5, 2023


RV Review: Marathon Coach – The multi-million dollar motorhome

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. 

By Tony Barthel
I think a lot of people want to be rock ‘n roll stars and everybody has their own reasoning, but mine is so that I can get one of those Marathon coaches. Marathon is a company that specializes in building rock-star-grade coaches on a Prevost platform and really is what you’d want if you were touring the country and visiting adoring fans in cities across this great land. 

Writing this review is different than the ones I’ve written in the past. Typically I will focus on a single model in a company’s lineup, but Marathon coaches are all custom built for their customers so there really isn’t a typical Marathon RV here. Rather, it’s a collection of features, decor and amenities you long for built onto a chassis that is good for a million miles. 

With a price to match, of course.

If you’re at the RV show and wondering whether you should get a stick-and-tin travel trailer or might be tempted by one of these, there is the equivalent of a house in Beverly Hills price difference between the two. Marathon coaches sell for well over a million dollars – with some soaring into the 2-3 million dollar stratosphere. 

See, I told you you had to be a rock star. 

So what do you get for your money besides being the envy of the rest of the campground? 

Well, one of the things the company recently showed off was a new bunk system. Now when you pay a cool couple o’ mil’ for an RV you don’t open doors by hand like the peasants. Oh, no. You push a button and an air system glides the doors open for you to reveal the bunks behind them. 

In each of those two bunks is an overhead console where you can magnetically attach your tablet and lay back looking up at the tablet. While it’s suspended above you it’s also charging. Oh, and there’s a padded slot for your phone too, with a provision to charge that as well. 

But let’s say the grandchildren aren’t along on this trip and you don’t need the bunks. No worries. Another button will lower the top bunk down and a bar folds down turning the bunk space into a wardrobe. This is really a well-thought-out arrangement. 

Lead engineer Jay Graham is particularly proud of those bunks but is also passionate about a folding bed in these coaches that allows you to sit upright and watch the bedroom TV but also moves the foot of the bed a foot away from the wall enabling Marathon to build larger cabinets in the bedroom. 

As with everything in these coaches, even the pocket doors are extreme, with 2021 models featuring an improved air-powered pocket door arrangement that’s smoother and quieter and doesn’t have a header track. Yep. You don’t just open the doors – you push a button and the doors Star Trek themselves open for you.

You can also specify your coach with a “Theater Mode” where one button will lower shades, dim the lighting and drop a big-screen TV from the ceiling. 

For the tech-savvy, Marathon is exciting as well. The plumbing system incorporates a stainless steel manifold that allows you to shut off any particular run that might be giving you issues without having to shut off the entire water system. The plumbing is all food-grade stainless steel as well. 

For those of us who are bothered by the whole connection process, Marathon makes this easier as well. The dump valve lowers from the bus at the push of a button. The next button push extends the sewer hose and all you have to do is hook it up to the sewer itself. Of course, you’re only a button push away from bringing the stinky slinky back into the coach. 

Wait. If you spend over a million bucks on a motorhome is it even a stinky slinky?

 While black tank flush systems are ever more common, this coach also features a gray tank rinse. 

Oh, and if one water heater isn’t enough these coaches have two ten-gallon water heaters. Seriously.

While we’re looking at the exterior there is a 20kW Kohler generator in these coaches that is mounted on air bags and also features an air compressor on it. The generator is so quiet you can barely hear it even outside the coach. 

It’s fun to take a look at these coaches. I’ve actually been in one once which was owned by someone who was on a concert tour when I was working for a magazine at the time. To say that the interiors are absolutely breathtaking would be an understatement. 

The underlying structure of these coaches is as impressive as the interiors. The Prevost chassis is a unified blend of 304-grade (surgical-grade) stainless steel and welded to be a very, very solid unit. Hustling these machines down the road is a Volvo D13 six-cylinder diesel engine. The chassis features things like adaptive cruise control that measures the traffic ahead and adjusts the speed of the bus to maintain safe distance. Of course, there are things like tire pressure monitoring and so much more. 

But if you see one and don’t like it, no worries. Each coach is unique in virtually every way. The paint, interior materials, layout and so much more are all chosen by the individual buyer. What prompted my looking at these, aside from daydreaming, is that I saw a video show up on my YouTube feed of a used 1990s-era Marathon that was at a dealer that was in absolutely beautiful condition. 

Again, they can legitimately claim that these are designed to go a million miles. 

Almost everything in life is a series of compromises. You want lots of water storage, but you have to consider the weight. You want to have great systems that are convenient but you have to worry about system reliability. 

But then you get to this level where you just get everything. Yes. It’s expensive. But there are so many convenience features and backup systems to those convenience features. You’ll truly be riding in style without lacking reliability.

And, plus, all those concerts have to buy you something… 

You can daydream about or order a Marathon Coach here.

Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel has been a life-long RV enthusiast and travels part-time with his wife where they also produce a podcast, write about RVs and love the RV lifestyle.


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2 years ago

Why are the interiors of all US motorhomes so awful. Apart from the fact that there’s LED lighting I can’t tell that those interiors are current or from 20 years ago.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

Hey Jeff, throw down your $1M+ And you can have whatever your heart desires. Money is not everything but it sure does buy a better class of poverty.

2 years ago

You gotta know there is nothing that beats a Prevost. Or beats it’s price point. So can you explain how it scores just 4.8? If there is a 5.0 RV – this should be it!

Donald N Wright
2 years ago

I would want a driver and a tall gal to make sandwiches while we cruised along. Oh, one correction, 304 S/S is regular stainless, 304 -L and 316 S/S used to be the food /surgical grade stainless steel. I wonder how may folks have customized double decker buses into motor homes…

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

These are SO over the top – and absolutely beautiful. Now, where did I put that lottery ticket?

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