By Tony Barthel
As I write this I am surrounded by an untold number of acres of the Southern California desert. Here, there are almost limitless places to camp when the weather just scoffs at the northern half of this country. There’s disbursed camping just a bit off the road where I saw Toyota Camrys scraping their plastic bumpers on the rocks.
If you really want to get away you might want something more capable than that. Perhaps the Thor Magnitude RB34 might be a choice.
Based on the Ford F-550 platform, the Thor Magnitude features four-wheel drive, a 6.7-liter diesel engine and some capability to find adventure. While there are RVs that are better suited to really explore the deepest depths of this area, the Thor Magnitude would certainly be capable enough to find a spot a little deeper in the desert.
This might also be even better suited to being an accomplice on snow vacations or would even be a good choice if you live where the snow comes right to your front door, knocks and says hello.
While I wouldn’t really call anything this big that wasn’t based on a Unimog a true “off-road” vehicle, it certainly could get you out of trouble if you find a softer sandy patch. It’ll probably even keep you a little safer on slippery roads too.
The Ford chassis on which this is based does have a number of safety technologies built in including pre-collision braking assist, lane departure controls, forward collision warning, and cameras on the rear and sides to help see what’s out there.
As for the motorhome portion of the rig, you are greeted by a dinette on the camp side as you enter the motorhome. Immediately to your right, you can opt between theater seating and a couch.
Above the cab is a large bed and there’s a TV up there on an arm, but that arm only comes out to face the interior of the coach so it’s perpendicular to both the dinette and the theater seating. At least it won’t be a mystery when your chiropractor asks you what caused the neck injury…
Oh, and speaking of neck injury, you’re going to want to brush up on those contortion lessons to get into or out of the cab of the truck. None of this cab-is-level-with-the-floor nonsense of a Class B van. You’re deep in a well, son.
Main living area
I like the L-shaped kitchen with a dual-bowl stainless steel sink covered with pieces of the solid-surface countertop. On the camp side you’ll find a two-burner propane stove and also a single induction burner, so there’s a choice. While there is no oven, there is a generous induction microwave. The place where you’d expect the oven offers plenty of drawer space including a nifty divided drawer that’s ideal for pots and pans.
Opposite the prep area is a residential refrigerator, that requires 120vac to operate. Yes, there’s an Onan RV QD 6000 Diesel Generator, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to put in a 12-volt refrigerator so you don’t have to hear that diesel generator just for some cold beer?
It seems that almost the entire camp side of this rig is a slide room from the dinette at the front to a wardrobe at the back, which is actually prepped for a washer-dryer combo.
Between the kitchen and the back bedroom is a bunk closet, of sorts. This actually is kind of nifty in that there are bunk beds – but they swing completely up and allow you to use the space as a nicely sized closet instead. There are even sliding doors so you can either keep people from seeing your clothes hanging or seeing your kids doing whatever they’re going to get into trouble later.
Finally, there’s a queen bed and a pretty generous amount of storage all around, in the kitchen and in the bedroom. The bathroom is rather spacious, too, but the toilet is on a pedestal for some reason, so it’s a little odd.
The whole motorhome is essentially accessible with the slide in or out, although you’ll have to use the bathroom to access the back bedroom and you can’t open all the drawers. Still, at least potty breaks don’t require you to open the slide. When I saw this I was “throne” for a loop.
Outside this rig is all paint, rather than stickers, which might be a factor in Thor’s 12-year structural/6-year lamination warranty.
In addition to the egress/ingress between the cab and motorhome, I also noticed that it looked like someone forgot to finish the wet bay. There were the tanks and valves, and I’ve gotten so accustomed to seeing those Nautilus wet bays, good or bad, that this just looked unfinished. At least if you want to work on the wiring for the tank monitors, it’s right there in your face.
I just can’t get over the refrigerator thing. I can’t imagine that a 100-watt solar panel will make much difference in having your inverter turned on to run your fridge. That and the bad placement of the TV and a few other things make me wonder if the folks who designed this rig actually had spent any time in it actually off the grid. I’m guessing that would be a hard “no.” But Thor knows where they can find me if they have evidence to the contrary.
Another thing – I’ve looked and looked and can’t find the UVW for this rig. It makes me concerned about cargo carrying capacity.
As usual, this rig has one of those digital control panels that lets you operate many of the features in this motorhome with your phone but no redundant switches. I can just see the day when your quarter-million-dollar motorhome isn’t compatible with the latest update to your smartphone and you’re sitting in the dark wondering what to do now.
One of the clear reasons one might choose this rig is that six-wheel drive. (They say it’s a 4X4, but there are dual rear wheels after all!) Another might be the 10,000 lb. towing capability in this rig. Their website shows folks with horses, so I can imagine this might be a choice for folks wanting to tow their horses, perhaps, though all the horse folks I know have fifth wheels with small campers in front and horse quarters in the back.
With the six- … er … four-wheel drive and some useful features, I can see this checking some boxes for some folks, without a doubt. But I know where those buyers are going to find their frustrations. Replace that fridge with a 12-volt compressor fridge, put some switches to complement the touch screen, and just get a different arm for the TV and you’ll be miles ahead.
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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