By Tony Barthel
At one point I made the mistake of mixing up Tiffin with another brand, saying that Tiffin was a Thor product. It was a simple mistake but you would think that I had said that space aliens were coming to take your pets away, based on the absolutely vitriolic response I got on that web forum. People were angry, saying, “Bob Tiffin would never sell out to Thor.”
Well, who’s laughing now? Or, perhaps, they’re crying with the announcement that Tiffin was bought-out by Thor, the world’s largest RV manufacturer.
In that forum, people had spoken with Bob Tiffin or met him at RV shows, and felt a kinship as much to him and the Tiffin family as they did to their very fancy motorhomes. This wasn’t just another motorhome company – if you bought one of their products you were in the Tiffin family. At least based on those posts.
One of the products that Tiffin is absolutely known for is the Tiffin Allegro Bus. Looking at these things, they’re just stunningly beautiful inside and out.
Tiffin builds their own chassis right there in Red Bay, Alabama and much of the rest of the coach is their doing as well. The upholstery, cabinetry, exterior detailing and features all reflect the fact that the company is focused on building a standout luxurious RV. They’re not simply repackaging the high-end stuff out of the Lippert catalog, but using whatever the best component or material they can get their hands on.
Lots of times I look at what is described as “luxury” vehicles and see a package of decent-looking cabinets surrounding the same RV parts you’ll find in everything from a low-end stick-and-tin trailer to a “luxury” fifth wheel. Let’s be honest: Airstreams are nice and all, but it’s still a silver package around a Dometic stove, refrigerator and AC unit – and that company uses plywood floors and had to copy their suspension sourcing from Rockwood.
Step into one of these Tiffin Allegro buses and there is absolutely no doubt that you’ve suddenly been surrounded by luxury. Everything reflects the feeling of premium components, from the polished tile flooring – which conceals an optional heating system so that you can walk barefoot on this polished surface in the winter – to cabinets available in seven finishes, all of which absolutely reflect an aura of quality.
And that’s what you’d expect in a vehicle that costs more than the average house in the U.S. Tiffin has clearly paid attention to a lot of details in these.
One example is that the company listened to owners and raised the height of the basement of the chassis in 2019 by 6”, thereby affording more storage space. And in the main bay, there is a power sliding tray that is capable of holding half a ton of your favorite stuff. If you want a second power sliding tray in the adjacent bay, that’s available. None of this moving the trays by hand business.
Down here in the business end of this machine it’s clear that someone at Tiffin also listened to the folks who keep these things running in over 300 authorized repair centers across this great land. Access to almost anything that needs maintenance is well thought out and simple. Again, more attention to detail on every level.
That goes into the functionality of the coach, as well. For example, you can get an emergency exit in the bedroom that includes a ladder. This makes sense when you consider that most of the folks who pony up the bucks for something like this aren’t likely acrobats who can jump from the bedroom window and land in the splits while doing the “ta-da” motion with their arms in the event of a fire or whatever.
One of the so-many things I love about the kitchen is the flat induction cooktop that is hidden beneath a folding section of the countertop. Induction cooking is an incredible way to heat up your grub. There’s a reason most RVs don’t feature this though – there isn’t a 10,000kW generator aboard most RVs.
It’s almost as if shore power, to a Tiffin owner, is that owner providing power TO the campground, not vice versa. Well, okay, that’s an exaggeration… but still.
If you’ve got the scratch for one of these you’re either going to buy one or you’re not. I can’t imagine something I tell you that will encourage or dissuade the decision to buy a Tiffin Allegro Bus. It is so much better than most RVs on so many levels that it really is in a class by itself. That’s not gushing at all – that’s just fact.
I was going to look to the future and see what the Thor acquisition of Tiffin means for the company, but the special window cleaner I use on the crystal ball I have is currently back ordered, so I can’t provide any guesses.
What I can say is that, to me as an observer, I do not like the increasing consolidation in the RV industry. While I understand and respect that these large RV manufacturers give their individual brands a great deal of autonomy, it’s still troublesome.
People complain about the RV industry and the quality of products continuously. I have to ascribe some of the legitimacy of those complaints to the fact that fewer and fewer companies are working to provide innovative and competitive products since they’re now part of a bigger company that also owns the people who used to be competitors.
People point to Airstream as an example of a company that has maintained its core values and they, too, are a Thor product. They have been since 1981. So maybe all will be well.
But I wonder how long those Tiffin aficionados will still be willing to stand up and defend the family behind the name when it’s no longer the name of one passionate individual and his family, but a name that builds everything from the Coleman campers sold only at Camping World to Airstreams.
With some of the cache of being in “Bob’s Family” gone, I wonder if soon some MBA is going to point out how Tiffin could be more profitable if they used the same this-or-that as Thor can buy at a big discount, thanks to that widget being in every other Thor product? I’m sure there will be at least one person who knows all the hip marketing words who will write and complain and insist that Tiffin will still be Tiffin. But I can tell you that Disneyland isn’t the same without Walt, and Apple isn’t the same without Steve.
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.
I love my Tiffin Allegro 31ft RV 2014 but the fake leather look furniture sucks seems like when you spend that much money for an R V the furniture shouldn’t flake off when you sit and I’ve owned it since 2018
This review has absolutely nothing to do with the allegro bus
It’s nice. Is there a separate bedroom & bath for the maid and the driver?
This is the beginning of the demise of a great product and company. If a Zebra can’t change it’s stripes, can a skunk change how bad it stinks? Thor is Thor and will NEVER change it’s business model. We own a 2006 40QSH and will never down grade to what is coming down the line. The only thing up for grabs is when and how Thor will ruin the product and company. Probably by moving the Tiffin family out the door one way or another.
Quote from Thor which sounds onimous!
“While Tiffin’s motorized gross profit margin and operating margin have, in recent years, been lower than our North American Motorized gross profit margins, our experience with prior acquisitions leaves us confident that, in a relatively short period of time, the Tiffin Group margins will become more reflective of our North American Motorized segment for similar products “
This is kind of an old thread but we recently upgraded from a 2014 Phaeton 40QBH to a 35CP Allegro Bus and are truly regretting it. Bob sold out his loyal customers. But what does he care he got his family 300 Million.
Wait! What? I’ll bet there is no 10,000 kW generator in any Tiffin Allegro Bus either. 10 kW maybe, or 10,000 W maybe. But 10,000 kW? No way, Jose’.
You lost me at Georgia … if you have not owned a Tiffin, been to Red Bay (we call it the mother ship), talked to other Tiffin owners, had a conversation with Bob in person, then it would be hard to understand our loyalty. I purchased mine used but when I arrived at the service center they treated me like I had just purchased a new coach. Great people, nice little town and oh by the way they also make very nice motorhomes.
How long ago was that? Before they changed the rules how old your coach can be to get 3 hours of service. No doubt people are friendly, but we were there 10 days before we even got on the list! You really need to take a good look at the product Tiffin is rolling into the dealers. We backed out of a 2022 Red 33AA and got our deposit back. Decided to trade up instead. Should have backed out of the 35CP Bus we put a deposit sight unseen on as well. Really didn’t want to tell our salesman we changed our mind again. What a fool I am, kicking myself now!!
I enjoy reading the articles about new RV’s, whether it’s something I would, or could, consider buying or not. But this one is way too much editorial, with little detail. How about a “Part 2” with some words on the features, power, electrical, drivability, length, width, weight, capacities. You know, some of those meaningless details.
Yes, always list specs, including OCCC!
Anyone that knows anything about Tiffin knowa they are built in Red Bay, Alabama not Georgia. You need to make sure your facts are accurate before you publish anything! Makes me wounder what else you wright about is correct.
Knows not knowa. Wonder not wounder. Write not Wright.
It sounds like he is writing from a sales brochure, I have made this observation before.
Where’s the specs list or is this something you thought up while sitting in the on the throne?
The review of the Tiffin Allegro Bus was disappointing. I expected Mr. Barthel to give an overview of the attributes and any shortcomings of the Allegro Bus. There was very little of that compared to his reviews of other RV’s. Instead he focused a great deal on the recent sale of Tiffin to Thor. There is a lot of information on that sale, and if I want to read more, I’ll look for that. However, in this article, I was looking to read about this one specific model of motorhome produced by Tiffin. The article simply did not do a very good job of reviewing specifically the Allegro Bus. I enjoy this newsletter and I enjoy Tony’s reviews, but he missed the mark on this one by drifting way off topic.
Agree completely. Getting the specs and pros/cons are what I open these reviews to see. Today was a disappointing surprise.
I appreciate the input. This was basically a look at the product line as a reflection of the company and its sale to Thor.
These are truly exceptional vehicles and I’ll delve deeper into one as I expect to be able to look one over in person in the next few weeks. Thank you for your input and the point is well taken.
“Tiffin builds their own chassis right there in Georgia and much of the rest of the coach is their doing as well“
PS Tony, Tiffin motorhomes are proudly built in RED BAY, AL…
That was my observation as well. Mine has the letters Made by Tiffin in Red Bay Alabama!. I thought I missed something!…….
Yep. Apologies, I’m not sure what the heck I was thinking other than I had been doing some looking at Georgia as a destination and got my wires crossed.
I have throughout the years that if I concentrate on one thing at a time I make fewer mistakes.