Safari vs Newell

On another page, I listed some of the changes, both advantages and disadvantages, when we moved from our Airstream travel trailer/Ford Club Wagon to the Safari Motorhome/PT Cruiser. After we changed from the Safari to the Newell, several people asked what has improved and what we miss after going to a significantly larger, heavier coach. It is truly unfair to compare the Safari with the Newell Coach. They are vastly different in size, weight, features and price.

What we miss:

Lighting: Although the Newell does have a few 120 volt lights, the Safari used a greater number of bright 120 volt lights.

Ease of getting into Smaller Places: 44′ is a lot of motorhome to maneuver and park; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. At least in the western U.S., finding private RV parks is typically not a problem, but most State and Federal Parks will not accommodate such a large coach. You do need to carry a copy of a campground directory specifically for big rigs. Be careful that you do not pull into an area that is too small for maneuvering. Since the Newell sits lower to the ground and has a long wheelbase, you have to watch for drive approaches that might drag the rear of the coach or even worse, drag high center. I am now much more conscious of tree limbs due to the significantly larger turning radius. Older, wooded RV parks with narrow winding interior roads, lined with trees, can be a challenge to avoid scraping the coach or the roof.

Fuel Economy: The Safari got almost 10 mpg. After about 26,000 miles, the Newell is averaging about 6 mpg including extensive use of the 12.5kw diesel generator which uses about 0.6 gallons of diesel per hour. With diesel prices at the level they were just a few years ago, an $800 fill up is not out of the question.

Inverter Power: The Safari came with a 2000 watt inverter which I had upgraded to a 2500 watt inverter. The Newell had a rather wimpy 1200 watt inverter. I upgraded the inverter in the Newell to a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter to allow running the microwave at full power or running a hair dryer at full power without starting the 12,500 watt diesel generator. Note that newer model Newells use a pair of 3kw inverters and a 20kw diesel generator.

Large Desk: Finding a motorhome with a large desk is difficult. The Safari was easily modified by removing a free standing end table and a chair to allow room for a full sized desk. One of the reasons we chose the Newell was the built-in desk. With two fewer file drawers and a small work top area, many of our files are less conveniently located in large file drawers we placed in the bay.

What we gained:

Improved Access to our “stuff”: The storage bays of the Safari were large. The storage bays of the Newell are HUGE. One of the bays has an air powered slide out for the exterior entertainment center. I have put my heavy tool box on the slide behind the TV to avoid having to lift it in and out to access my tools. The bays are taller, allowing more flexibility in storing ‘stuff’. One bay has two pull out drawers to make it easier to store and access loose items. I have installed large file drawers in one of the bays. The amount of available bay space is truly amazing.

Power: The big 736 cubic inch Detroit Diesel engine turns out 500 HP and 1470 lb-ft of torque. Even with the increased weight of the coach, it accelerates very nicely and climbs mountain grades with ease.

Stability: The added weight and the air suspension smooth the roads and significantly reduce the affects of cross winds and passing trucks. The coach tracks straight and is a pleasure to drive.

Ride: The phrase ‘floating on air’ truly applies to the Newell with its 12 airbag suspension.

Interior Space: As you might expect, adding 9 feet of length makes a tremendous difference in the interior space. Additionally, the ceiling height is 4″ greater in the Newell.

Increased Weight Carry Capacity: The Newell is a much heavier coach but has a significantly greater weight carrying capacity than most motorhomes. With full fuel and propane tanks, the Newell still has over 5,000 pounds of carrying capacity and can tow an additional 20,000 pounds.

Large Water Heater: The 20 gallon electric marine water heater works well. When driving, engine heat is used to provide heat to the rear bedroom, the water and wastewater bays and the water heater. You arrive with hot water and in cold weather, warm bays and a warm bedroom.

More Seating Area: The Safari allowed 5 to comfortably sit and talk in the living room. The Newell easily allows 7 to sit and talk in the living room.

Huge Tanks: Everything about the Newell is large, including the tanks. The main fuel tank holds 235 gallons of diesel. The auxiliary diesel tank holds an additional 85 gallons. The fresh water tank holds approximately 170 gallons and the wastewater tank holds over 180 gallons.

The Little Things: There are so many little ‘touches’ that make a difference in the Newell that all I can do is list a few: Instant Hot Water faucet (steaming hot water in one second), garbage disposal, air operated cover for the step well (keeps Patrick from accidentally falling into the step well as we are driving), built in vacuum cleaner, full size 4 burner residential 240-volt electric cooktop, the outside entertainment center, bedroom ceiling fan, separate propane heaters for the front and rear of the coach, electric baseboard heaters in the living room, bathroom and bedroom, automatic lights in all the closets, burglar alarm (including panic button in the bedroom), electric lift to access storage under the bed, intercom system with door bell, zoned air conditioning system with four basement air conditioners, large ‘attic fan’ venting system, automatic lights in the bays, large diesel generator on an air powered slide out, and literally hundreds of other items that make it a pleasure to live in and travel in.

Factory Support: While the Safari tech support group was very helpful, I have never previously experienced the quality of technical support offered by Newell. They offer owners a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week hotline to obtain technical support. Their technical support staff is extremely knowledgeable and can either help you troubleshoot the problem over the phone or provide assistance in locating a repair facility in the area you are traveling that has been recommended by other Newell owners.