By Tony Barthel
The band Barenaked Ladies sings a song about having a million dollars and all the things they’d do with it. They’d buy a K-car, a monkey, and eat more Kraft dinner (we call it Kraft macaroni and cheese in the U.S.). But nowhere do they mention wanting a motorhome. Perhaps their paltry million bucks just couldn’t cut the mustard if they were having dreams of a Newmar King Aire motorhome, which starts at a base price of $1,321,680.
I often refer to value when I write these stories. To me, that’s a fluid term. For example, a $14,000 trailer that’s built terribly doesn’t really have much value. It’s just cheap. But a $20,000 trailer that incorporates many quality features would have value because the people who buy it will enjoy using it and be able to do so for a long time. Value is far, far more than just a price.
Value is a moving target.
When you start talking about RVs that are more than a million bucks, value is a whole different equation.
In fact, at this price point, the buyer isn’t as much looking for fancy features as quality materials and a great ownership experience. We all know that a Lincoln is basically a Ford with a nice leather package. But, more than that, the service experience with a Lincoln is much better than you get with your Focus. They come and pick up the Lincoln and service it and then bring it back, for example. So the value proposition isn’t as much the leather as the whole experience.
That’s the case here, too.
The value in the Newmar King Aire is the whole experience
For example, one of the things that caught my attention was the fact that you have tank level indicators on both the monitor panel for this coach and in the wet bay. No more yelling to your spouse to see if the tank is empty. It’s all about the user experience.
That wet bay, too, doesn’t have that unfinished sloppy look of the two Thor motorhomes I reviewed recently. Instead, it’s all stainless steel with push-button tank valves. The way this is plumbed is with a manifold. This means that if a fixture in the coach develops a leak you can shut off the plumbing to that fixture from the wet bay so you still have use of the rest of the coach.
Chances are you won’t have an issue because rather than the lousy plastic plumbing fixtures you get Hansgrohe faucets.
What’s inside the Newmar King Aire
Before we go inside let’s test out the keyless entry. It has a camera and, of course, a doorbell. Seriously. And if some ding dong rings the ding dong you can actually pull up the camera on your smartphone or the included Samsung Android tablet, as you can with any of the exterior cameras on this rig. Oh, look, it’s people who want to sell you a vacuum cleaner. Pass.
If you’ve seen previous King Aire models you might catch wind of the fact that the upholstery that comes with these now is all Italian leather, no more ultra leather. Even the instrument panel is covered in leather.
No worries, though, if you made your millions selling vegan cookies. Newmar is pretty receptive to making your King Aire your unique King Aire.
Assuming we’re looking at the 2021 King Aire 4533, you’ll enter all the way at the front and catch a view of those cockpit seats first thing. That little remote that comes with them not only adjusts the seats to your liking, but can turn on a heating or cooling function. It even lets you fiddle with the massage settings.
The main living area
There are a variety of configurations in the main living area, but the stock setting is dual opposing couches, also covered in Italian leather. No worries if it’s chilly outside because your tootsies will be nice and warm as the porcelain flooring is heated. Meanwhile, the heat pumps can keep the air at the temperature of your liking and do so almost completely silently and with no visible vents whatsoever.
If your previous King Aire experience left you a bit chilly don’t worry. The 2021 upgrade includes an 85,000BTU hydronic heating system, significantly larger than any the company has used before.
But what’s that sound, even though the heater and climate control are running? There isn’t a sound. You’re running on the included dual 1,260 amp-hour lithium batteries through two 3,000-watt inverters, which absolutely can run the climate control system.
Just in case you’ve used up the energy in those batteries, there’s a 12.5kW Cummins Onan diesel generator to keep you charged up.
Everything you touch in the Newmar King Aire says quality
In the King Aire you really notice the high-end materials. That includes the appliances, which include a Viking refrigerator and convection microwave and a Wolf induction cooktop. If you didn’t see the microwave when you first stepped in, you’re forgiven. It’s behind a cabinet that opens at the touch of a button. But it doesn’t open with just ordinary springs or any such plebeian thing – it’s power-operated.
There’s an ice maker in the fridge, of course. It and the little faucet on the sink both use water filtered by a UV water filtration system.
If you felt cramped in last year’s King Aire, you’ll be glad to know that structural changes have allowed the company to raise the roof, quite literally. There’s now 7’2” of interior ceiling height front to back.
Opposite the fridge is the first of two bathrooms in this rig. It’s good to know that if you and your fellow campers have filled the tank to capacity, you can just open a dump valve remotely. Yep, they’re power-operated.
Three TVs in the King Aire
Beyond the main living space is the bedroom, which has a huge wall of cabinets with the third TV in this rig on the road side. There is a king-sized bed in a slide out on the camp side. Oh, you didn’t see the other two TVs? One’s there above the cockpit and the other is on a televator on the camp side behind the couch along with a Bose soundbar with a separate subwoofer.
Keep moving back in the coach and you’ll come to the rear bathroom, which is as big, I believe, as my whole travel trailer. Inside that bathroom is a shower with hand-laid marble and a rain shower head. Take note here of the Bosch washer and 220-volt electric dryer. The sink in the back bathroom is almost washtub huge.
Lastly, there’s a cedar-lined closet that even has a safe.
If you’re driving this rig, know that there are two larger screens on that leather-wrapped instrument panel. One of those gives you access to the Rand McNally navigation system. That system is aware of the size of your rig and plans routes accordingly – so you don’t end up on YouTube’s Fails channel.
The other screen varies depending on what’s happening. It can show you the numerous cameras around and also displays other safety information, as does the instrument cluster in front of you. There is a ton of safety technology in this big rig, including adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring technologies.
If you’re concerned about all these screens and all this tech distracting you, no worries. If you veer out of your lane your seat will vibrate to let you know that you’ve done so.
There is just such an aura of quality to the Newmar King Aire in every single place. There’s also a lot of attention to detail. It would take three of these reviews just to cover all the clever and useful features they’ve put into this machine.
But let’s not forget that there are two big metal trays outside for all that stuff you might want to bring, and there’s also a two-compartment 12-volt Dometic cooler. You can set both compartments to keep beverages cold, or set one to freeze and keep the other at refrigerator temp. This is the cooler I’d like to see instead of any 110vac bar fridge in an outside kitchen.
When I was a young lad I happened to land a job that paid me very, very well. No worries – I ultimately got fired, of course. But not before I had bought a car that was way too fancy for a punk to be driving around.
The point of this is that that car was more a burden than a blessing. I didn’t want to leave it in a parking lot, I was always worried about it getting scratched or stolen. And when something broke, and it did, it was expensive to repair and parts were difficult to come by since it was rather uncommon.
I wonder if the owners of something like the Newmar King Aire also feel odd about boondocking or just going to your average RV park for the night? I have no idea, of course, but it’s something I think about. Is having a motorhome that’s worth more than all the rest of the motorhomes in your row put together a blessing or a burden?
Why is the Newmar King Aire painted like a Mardi Gras float?
One other thing. Look at the kind of car or house you might find someone with this kind of budget buying. Chances are they’re tastefully painted to accentuate beautiful lines and flowing shapes. So why, why, why is every paint option on these disco swirls that were tacky even in the 1970s? Why can’t you buy a million-plus buck motorhome and have at least one paint option that doesn’t look like a Mardi Gras float?
I respect that some people actually like this, but why are you forced to only have disco swirls? And the inside is so beautifully tasteful.
This is a fantastic coach in every way. The attention to detail, the lavish interior and the build quality are exactly what you’d expect at this price level. There are also options to make this coach even more your own, of course.
I’m also really pleased that, finally, I see an RV that doesn’t have Samsung appliances. Now if we could get out of the disco era in the paint booth, I would be even more impressed.
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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Apparently the author isn’t aware that Newmar offers a “Contemporary” paint finish as well as the traditional on the King Aire line. The contemporary doesn’t have the “disco swirl” as he put it. Protect the paint? You bet! Doesn’t it seems a waste to put lithium batteries in one? People paying $1m+ for a RV aren’t likely candidates to go boondocking. However it is nice having two ACs that can run off the batteries.
Very nice. I would have the entry door moved behind the front wheel, a wheelchair lift, a driver so I could enjoy the view, and a French maid who could ….make me sandwiches.
Newmar does have a wheelchair lift available in every line they make. You have to find your own French maid – may be one who can drive?
I hope Newmar gives you several interior color options. If I were a full-timer, I might shoot myself after a few months in that monochromatic, prison-gray “decor”! I was in the Army, then worked for Federal and state government agencies. If I ever had to sit behind a battleship-gray metal desk with a gray file cabinet on one side and a gray metal bookcase on the other, I would quit my job, take my Social Security check, buy an old van, and boondock the rest of my life! Wait, maybe that last part isn’t such a bad idea!
Of course you can get a different paint job. Just not from the manufacturer. At that price point you can (hopefully) afford a totally custom paint job. Just sayin’ …
Very nice!!! I was wondering if you get any type of a discount if you buy two of them? Hahaha
I’m curious as to the drive off the dealer lot depreciation on a vehicle like this is.
Traveler, as the old saying goes, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
Tony, you are as hung up on “swishes and swirls” as I am on single axle trailers . . . 😉
I hate to say it, but I enjoy looking at these unaffordable motorhomes (for me anyway) more than many of the trailers you review. And, it always reminds me that I need to run out and get a lottery ticket.
The one thing I wonder about is the massive freshwater storage. Since I’ve never seen anything LIKE this at any of the places we boondock, what is the reason for all that fresh water if you’re going to be hooked up everywhere you go? But then, a full freshwater tank like this would have come in handy recently in Houston where RV parks were rendered helpless with no power, no water, and no propane (sold out). But my guess is most motorhome owners would not have had full water tanks anyway. Why would they?
Well that’s sort of what I was thinking when I wrote the conclusion. I wonder if many of the buyers of this kind of rig even use a fraction of the capability for boondocking?
I enjoy looking at things like this as well – it’s amazing how different so much of this coach is than your average RV.
As for the swishes and swirls, I wouldn’t be so harsh on them if there were at least one tasteful option in the catalog. Any basic architectural or design student knows that you accentuate a shape with color. I just wonder if ANYone at ANY RV company has ever had even a basic design course other than watching those home makeover shows.
Interesting your comment on the fresh water storage. It says 105 gallons, unless I missed another one. We have a 2002 (19 yrs old!) Newmar Dutchstar. It has 100 gallon fresh water tank. What I do like is the 80/60 grey/black capacities. Ours is 60/40. My husband’s and my first thoughts on this coach….whoa….more things to go wrong….lol! We’ll keep our 02.
I think like everything else, the newer it is, the more ‘technology’ is on display, and like you said, “more things to go wrong”. And with that, more things that we cannot DIY fix. Heck, our 2012 Arctic Fox has stuff I don’t understand!
When we’re in a park and they are predicting any weather advisory that could result in power outages, we fill our water tank as a precaution. If a campground loses power and has a well, you may be without water as well. We also fill if it is going to get cold so we can store the hose. Heated tanks.
Totally agree, Roy. We never travel without a full water tank. Ya just never know. On those rare occasions when we’re staying in an RV park, we make sure our water is filled up. We usually hit RV parks to fill fresh water, dump grey and black tanks, and maybe wash clothes.
Average is about 20%, or more than $264,000 in this case. That’s 10 times what I paid for my entire house in 1973! 😯 Have a great day, Traveler. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com