Pros: Exceptional interior visibility and comfort. Good value for the money.
Cons: Insufficient interior space for families.
I recently purchased a 2000 Itasca Sunrise SE 31T. As the model number indicates, this particular unit has a length of
approximately 31 ft; The Sunrise line offers several shorter lengths as well. This motor home was a trade for a
2000 Itasca Spirit 31T (class C); I recommend you read my related review on this model prior to continuing, as I reference the Spirit from time to time. As you read this review, please keep in mind the following: This RV is primarily used by my wife and I along with a large dog. We are not "full timers", and use the unit solely for vacation/weekend recreation purposes averaging 8,000 miles per year. I have never towed a vehicle with this RV.
Lastly, please keep in mind that this is a "lower tier" Class A motorhome... well in keeping with my intended use. My comments and opinions are tailored accordingly.
I chose the Sunrise SE 31B due to the following, by priority. Price, layout, quality of furnishings/appliances.
(This particular model would probably not be a good choice for families with children; It is great for two adults -maybe with one kid - but any more would exponentially decrease your enjoyment of it.)
PROS: When it comes to the quality of motor homes, the axiom "you get what you pay for" is certainly true. After looking at several other brands/models which had somewhat of a "cheesy" feel to me, I felt the Itasca had a better layout and used higher quality furnishings. I particularly liked it's interior lights, including small wall lamps with shades. Interior furnishings (table, counters, sofa, chairs) also are higher quality, and give the Sunrise much greater appeal.
Overall, this model has a more luxurious feel to it as opposed to the more basic camp-like interior of the Spirit. The bedroom is well laid out, and has a hanging half-closet on each side of the queen bed. There is an additional full-sized wardrobe closet with (3) sliding drawers in the hallway. The shower is decently sized, and separate from the bathroom... a feature we like. The bathroom is satisfactory as well, and is large enough for one to enter, turn around and exit without bumping into the walls. The galley area is laid out well, and all appliances are easily accessible. The sofa and full sized chair in the living area are comfortable, of good quality and of sufficient size. The driver and passenger captains chairs are very comfortable as well.
This unit is built on a Workhorse chassis, and is powered by a 454 Chevy 7.4L Vortec engine. It is mated with a good transmission, and has more than enough power for anything I have needed. Unlike the Spirit, which was a light truck/van chassis, the Sunrise has larger, almost bus-sized Michelin tires. These give it a much smoother and quieter ride.
Interior/Occupant visibility is OUTSTANDING in this model... this is one of the things that is most important to us. We have found that a motor home with large, panoramic windows and a full bus-like windshield is MUCH more enjoyable; this is the primary reason we decided to go from a class C to a class A. We particularly like the fact that there are large windows on both sides of the vehicle; This allows you to sit at the dinette and look out at your campsite or the surroundings instead of staring at a wall. The particular furnace and A/C units have proved to be adequate for our needs. The front mounted 19" TV and VCP work well, and there are speakers mounted throughout the RV for better listening.
The generator (an Onan Emerald) works well thus far, and can be turned on/off both from the stove hood AND the driver's dashboard... a feature I have come to appreciate more and more. No problems with the awning to date, and exterior storage compartments are excellent and adequately sized. The LP system works well both for heat and appliances (stove and refrigerator.)
CONS: I don't particularly like the driver and passenger seat layouts. They don't provide the best legroom, and I have found the steering wheel/seat/pedal "body angle" is
just slightly uncomfortable... not enough to make this a big issue to me, but perhaps it is important for you to note.
This model does not have a slide-out, like the Spirit had. Therefore, when you stop and/or are in a campsite you don't have as much interior space. This was a major consideration for us and was probably THE one thing that made us hesitant to trade. In the end, though, we were willing to give up the Spirit's slide-out space for the many other things we liked better about the Sunrise.
This model does not have built-in hydraulic levelers, which
would frequently be useful for campsites. These are apparently included only on higher priced models.
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONS: There are many accessories you could add, but I will specifically mention two that I have found the most beneficial.
1. Roof vent covers allow your vents to remain open during inclement weather and while driving.
2. Tire valve extender hoses for the rear wheels (the kind which are affixed to the rim by a clamp or tack weld), made of a heavy grade mesh-like material, make checking/adding air to tires MUCH easier. This is is an almost impossible task on the inside dual wheels. I tried several cheaper alternatives such as conventional stem extenders... they didn't work well and were a waste of money.
GAS MILEAGE: averages around 8.5 mpg at 60 mph.