By Tony Barthel
The photo was beautiful, as it should be. A friend of mine who’s a photographer sent me a shot of her motorhome in the middle of the desert with an incredible sky over it as she and her family enjoyed some peace while boondocking. It was magnificent but, since she’s in the business of selling her photos, I can’t share it without buying it. That’s why you’re not seeing it here.
But what I can share is that I was surprised that someone I hadn’t spoken to in a very long time reached out because she’s been following my podcast and such. Also, she is an avid RVer, which I didn’t know. This got me wondering more about Class A gas-powered RVs. So today we are looking at the 2021 Thor Hurricane 34J.
Thor’s entry-level Class A motorhome is the A.C.E. I’m surprised I haven’t written a review of those yet – but I’ll fix that. Next up their ladder is the Hurricane, which is really much more of a traditional Class A. In this case, it’s sitting on a Ford chassis, which means motivation comes from the big Godzilla 7.3L V8 pushrod engine delivering power through a ten-speed automatic.
A gasoline-powered Class A can make a lot of sense in that it’s far less expensive than a diesel and it requires less maintenance. The advantage a diesel engine has in fuel efficiency isn’t that great once you get something this large. However, what diesels do have is torque, and lots of it. Ford has been working to address that with this big momma V8 able to deliver 475 lb-ft of torque at its peak.
Compare that to Thor’s least-expensive diesel Class A, the Palazzo, which is powered by the Cummins® ISB 6.7L diesel, which has a minimum of 65 lb-ft of torque. The least expensive offering in that line starts at $244,350, which is a big price jump. You can buy a tremendous amount of any fuel for $80K. The Thor Magnitude RB34 we’ve looked at in the past comes in around the same price and features Ford’s 6.7L diesel engine.
I’ve mentioned before that you’re going to see a rapidly declining number of diesel offerings. This is not because of customer demand, per se, but because of legislative pressure in the wake of the VW diesel emissions cheating scandal.
Speaking of the Thor Magnitude RB34, this shares the same floor plan.
While there are similarities between these two in many ways, the disparities do make a difference. The first of these is that this rig is not available in four-wheel-drive, for example. On the plus side, being a Class A, you get a more open feel with the cockpit essentially being part of the main living quarters.
That also comes in handy with seating as the cockpit seats swivel around so that they can be included in the living area. Another thing Thor has done is they’ve provided a table that sits on a pole between the two chairs in the cockpit for when the rig is parked.
There’s also a functional table that swings up toward the co-pilot that would make a great desk or dining table on the road. This is great for putting your digital or real maps and telling the driver where to go. So to speak.
Furthermore, that space above the cockpit is where a large bed resides on a lift mechanism. It’s capable of sleeping two campers with a combined weight of up to 500 pounds. I also like that they put safety netting around three sides of the bed.
Grand tour of the Thor Hurricane 34J
Before we go inside, know that almost the entire road side of this rig is a slide room. From just behind the driver cockpit to almost the tail end of the rig is a slide.
Even with this slide in, however, you can access everything in the coach – from the king-size bed at the back to the bathroom to everything in the kitchen. There will be some inconveniences, of course, such as getting to the far side of the bed. But still, you could use this for overnight stops on a long journey without opening the slide.
Going through the main access door, there’s a jackknife couch just to the right of the door that is fitted with three seat belts for use when driving. Across from that is the dinette, which is fitted with seat belts in the forward-facing seat. Both of these also make into beds.
Oddly enough, the TV on this rig is where you might expect the windows to be for the dinette. It’s mounted flat against the road side wall, although there are windows on either side of it. Basically, your optimal place for viewing is from the jackknife couch – as long as diners aren’t using the dinette.
The kitchen in the Thor Hurricane 34J
The kitchen in the Thor Hurricane 34J has sort of a wedge-shaped solid surface counter with a traditional RV three-burner stove with 22” oven. The sink is a two-bowl model with a split cover. Cabinets reside over the sink and a microwave is over the stove top.
Across from this on the camp side is a refrigerator Thor refers to as a residential refrigerator in the literature. However, in actuality it is a 12-volt RV refrigerator. Kudos on implementing this. In the Magnitude 34B it was a 110vac refrigerator, and you had to run the inverter if you weren’t on shore power, which is not good. This solution is good.
Next to the fridge is a decent-sized pantry with a couple of drawers hidden behind the cabinet door. Next to that is the bathroom, which is surprisingly roomy for a bunk model motorhome.
Across from the bathroom in the Thor Hurricane 34J are the actual bunks that make this a bunkhouse. The top bunk flips upward such that you could also use this space as a big closet. I like to encourage people to think outside the prescribed use for things. You could buy this rig and only be a couple and repurpose this space as a huge closet. In fact there’s a closet rod in the top so it’s not like this is a revolutionary idea on my part.
Of course, you could also have folks sleeping here and each would get their own 110vac and USB plugs. Plus, there’s a place to mount a TV but, apparently, people are using this more for iPads and such. Makes sense to me.
The Thor Hurricane 34J can sleep nine people maximum
What doesn’t make sense is the “storage” across from the bunks. I have no idea what you’re going to use this space for because it’s only a few inches deep. It just makes no sense whatsoever. This means that, if you do camp with a bunch of people, the only logical place for them to use for storing their clothes is the bedroom.
There is a full wall of storage in the bedroom on the road side, including six decent-sized drawers, three closet doors and even a pretty decent amount of space behind the TV, which lifts up on a gas strut.
Furthermore, there’s a closet on either side of the bed. The night stand features a little drawer on each side, as well.
Unless you need that four-wheel-drive, I would go with the Thor Hurricane 34J over the Magnitude. You get more interior space and a bit more storage underneath. In addition, the over-cab sleeping space is better.
Like in the Magnitude, the wet bay just looks unfinished. Also, the company provides almost no information on their website for buyers. There is no video about this model and no photo gallery. It’s as if it’s a ghost model of some sort. There are third-party videos, of course. But you would think a business would want to manage the messaging about their products. But … whatever.
I do think this could be a great choice for some families or even couples who are wanting some flexibility in the floor plan. Thor has recently upgraded their warranty to 12 years on the structure and six years on the lamination, which is significant.
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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