When I opined that the end of the diesel pusher was within sight, a lot of RV Travel readers absolutely lost their minds. And the comments on the public forum plus the emails I got were quite substantial. I think there was an assumption I was talking about the next year or two. Not quite.
If you’re looking at a diesel pusher and figure on five to tens years of travels you should be fine. And my crystal ball is a bit fuzzy, as well, so there are no guarantees on the accuracy of my predictions. With all that in mind, I thought I’d look at a very popular diesel pusher, the Thor Palazzo 37.5.
For a lot of reasons, a lot of people like these units. One of the primary ones might be the combination of the Freightliner XCS chassis with the Atlas upgrades done by MORryde.
There are benefits to this chassis system in addition to the ones stated in that video. Those include the fact that the entry door can be placed in the middle of the coach instead of at the front like a bus. The advantage of that comes into play when the cab-over bed is lowered and you can still fully use the entry door.
Since we’re at the entry door, let’s start there. Another benefit of this chassis is that you get a lower step-in than some Class A diesel pushers. Thor has also placed a little storage cubby by the entry door which could serve as a shoe cubby. This is a nice touch, as is the metal entry handle that extends the whole way up the stairs.
To the right of the entry door is a cabinet with some pull-out storage. This seems to be a theme – and a good one.
The “dream dinette” in the Thor Palazzo 37.5 has four seat belts
Across from the entry door is a “dream dinette.” This incorporates four seat belts and can fold down easily to become a table. Next to that are theater seats. They have the usual heat and massage along with power ports for phones, tablets or laptops.
The dinette and theater seats are directly across from a long kitchen counter that’s broken up into three levels. But the area closest to the entry door features a 49” TV on a lift mechanism above a fireplace.
The countertops that hide the TV and which are in front of the TV are of the same material as the rest of the kitchen counter. But they are at two different heights – which I think is weird. This could be more prep area and probably will be used as such. But it’d be better if it were the same height as the kitchen countertop.
Speaking of that, there is a two-bowl stainless steel sink and then a two-burner induction cooktop embedded in the kitchen countertop. Above the induction cooktop is a large convection microwave that serves as the oven for this unit, and that’s certainly an acceptable substitute.
Next to that is a residential fridge. I would rather see a 12-volt fridge just because it wouldn’t require an inverter to operate. In the case of this fridge, you have to have an inverter operating any time you’re not on shore power or using the generator. Bleh.
Beyond the fridge is a double pull-out pantry which offers a good deal of space for food.
Two bathrooms in the Thor Palazzo 37.5
The first of two bathrooms is just a half bath. But that’s just fine, and this one is accessible in transit. There’s certainly sufficient space in here to accomplish what you need to. I like the frosted window in the bathroom.
The 60” x 80” bed is in a slide room and offers a tilting mechanism so you can see the TV back there. But you also have to tilt the bed to the point that it becomes unusable in transit. Oh, well. There are theater seats and they have seat belts, so that’s probably a better choice anyway.
Plenty of closet and drawer space surrounds the TV that sits opposite the bed. The TV even swings out to reveal more storage. Storage of personal and edible stuff in this rig isn’t much of an issue.
Next to the TV is another closet which holds a stacking washer and dryer, a standard feature.
In the back is the second bathroom. It takes up the entire width of the coach with a shower and there’s a small sink in a large countertop.
What I really liked back here is a pull-out linen closet with a hanging bar – and lots of space. It’s a slick design.
Another benefit of this chassis is that there are small storage compartments ahead of the front axle, a usable touch. There are plenty of storage bays in this unit, each capable of holding up to a half-ton of your stuff.
Up front is an Onan 6000 generator that is fueled by the diesel fill. This is plenty of power for anything aboard this rig.
The people who buy diesel pushers aren’t necessarily gymnasts. That’s why I’m almost always disappointed that the emergency exit for the bedroom is something that is almost unusable by the majority of the people who might buy one of these.
According to firefighter friends, two things are the most likely causes of fires in these rigs: the refrigerator and the 12-volt wiring in the instrument panel. So you would have to either exit via the bedroom somehow, or walk through the fire to get to the main exit.
This is one of the biggest reasons I personally would never own a diesel pusher. There are a few, including Tiffin, who have developed better fire escapes – and I applaud that. Yes, the incidence of fires is low – but you usually don’t have to run past a fridge to get out of a travel trailer or fifth wheel.
Two black tanks in the Thor Palazzo 37.5, but not connected to dump
Also, there are two black tanks in this one. One is easy to use and convenient. The other is very inconvenient with its pull handle at an odd angle. Again, the people who buy these aren’t necessarily gymnasts. At $303,000, Thor could have spent another $10 in plumbing to join the two.
Lastly, Thor puts a 100-watt solar panel on the roof of this rig – sort of as an apology for having to use the inverter to run the fridge. News flash: That small amount of solar isn’t going to cut the mustard in overcoming the amount used by the inverter and fridge.
Still, this is a nice example of a Class A diesel pusher. One of the best things is all the storage inside and out. That is a strength of this type of vehicle in general, and a particular strength of this floor plan. Another plus is just the very open feeling of this rig when the slide rooms are pushed out. Also is the fact that there is zero carpeting at all. I can see why these are popular.
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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