2011 Fleetwood Discovery 42A Review

By Jim Brightly, Nov. 17, 2010, Photography by Fleetwood RV
Fleetwood RV Inc. is a leading manufacturer of Class A and Class C motorhomes and has been for several decades. Fleetwood boasts some of the industry’s most recognized brand names such as American Coach, Bounder (the gas-chassis coach that introduced basement storage), and Expedition. Fleetwood is headquartered in Decatur, Ind., which is also its principal manufacturing location.

Fleetwood launched its 2011 Discovery Class A diesel-pusher motorhome recently during the company’s National Dealer Meeting in Ft. Wayne, Ind. The 2011 model year marks the 15th anniversary for the popular diesel brand, which now features two 42-foot tag axle floorplans built on the Liberty Chassis platform.

The 2011 Discovery 42A is a 42-foot, two-cabin, bath-and-a-half, mid-coach floorplan with a rear bunkroom—accessible through the master suite’s bathroom—which features two 32-inch LCD TVs (it has four slides, seats ten and sleeps eight. The Discovery’s 42C model is a 42-foot side-aisle floorplan with a forward-facing “gourmet galley” with a standard residential refrigerator and three-burner range. These 42-foot tag axle models are built on the latest generation of Liberty Chassis, which features taller basement storage, side-swing luggage doors and a more intuitive service center; as well as one of the best rides in the industry.

“This model year we focused on adding features and innovations to Discovery—including the introduction of our first two-cabin floorplan—that would really raise the bar,” says John Draheim, CEO of Fleetwood RV Inc. “The best part is that we were able to accomplish this goal and still offer it at a great value to our dealers and customers. I think they will be impressed with the host of standard features that we offer at this price point.”

Key standard features on the 2011 Discovery include a 380-hp Cummins 8.3L engine, full-body paint, dual dash monitors, Sony electronics throughout, ceramic tile floor from galley to bedroom, day and night pleated shades by MCD, hardwood cabinet doors and drawers (with deluxe roller bearing, full-extension drawer guides and transit-ship locks), 84-inch interior ceiling height, 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter with remote, and a 8.0-kw Onan Quiet Diesel generator.

The 2011 Discovery is available in five floorplans: a 36-foot quad-slide floorplan (36J); a curbside, full-wall-slide floorplan with optional bunk beds (40G); a triple-slide, mid-coach TV floorplan (40X); as well as the two 42-foot models described above. Discovery’s 36-foot and 40-foot models are built on the Power Bridge chassis.

Each of Fleetwood’s diesel-pusher Discovery coaches is very distinctive, and when your Discovery 42A rolls into camp, everybody notices. And it’s not just Discovery’s commanding presence. When you pull in people know the celebration is about to begin—especially when you slide out the optional exterior grill and kitchenette—share the fun with family and friends.

2011 Fleetwood Discovery 42A

Before we cover the “house” features of the distinctive Discovery 42A, let’s sit down in the cockpit and go over some of its road features. First of all, it’s CB radio ready, and has dual dash monitors, auxiliary start circuit, battery disconnect system, cruise control, and a driver’s side manual pull down sun shade. Both captain’s chairs are soft touch vinyl from Villa International with reclining back and slide controls. Both seats are powered and the passenger seat has a powered footrest. The passenger seat’s armrest has an integrated magazine rack and there’s a powered entry step cover beneath the seat’s powered footrest. Both front seats also enjoy powered sunvisors.

In the dash, you’ll also find a Denso high-output automotive A/C and heater combination, a snack tray, a 110-volt power outlet and two 12-volt power outlets. The Discovery’s radio is equipped with a built-in GPS and monitors for the color back-up camera and mirror-mounted side cameras.

A casual stroll around the exterior of the distinctive Discovery quickly reveals its four-point automatic levelers and 50-amp service. Its 8.0-kw Onan Quiet Diesel generator sits on a manual generator slide, and if you can jump really high—or take the time to climb the rear-mounted ladder—you’ll see the DSS auto-locating satellite dish (covered) and the solar electric power-gathering grid. A fiberglass cap adorns the front; there are fiberglass front quarter panels and fiberglass wheel well trims, and a fiberglass rear cap with high-mounted taillights.

Beneath the Weather Pro power awning, which includes a wind sensor that automatically closes the awning should the wind speed exceed a certain speed; you’ll find an exterior entertainment center with a Sony 32-inch LCD HDTV and AM/FM/DVD sound system. Optionally, there are also an exterior pull-out grill and kitchenette unit along with a window awning package.

2011 Fleetwood Discovery 42A

In the rear, hanging below the engine, Fleetwood has installed a 10,000-lb. rated weight-distributing hitch receiver with a seven-pin electrical connection. Discovery also has dual fuel fillers (one on each side) to ease refueling. Fog lamps, mud flaps, and the remote keyless entry ease loading chores. Windshield wipers with wet arms (washer fluid is applied along the length of the wiper) and heated chrome power exterior mirrors with turn signals ease traveling. And a diamond shield clear front protective mask protects the fiberglass front cap.

2011 Fleetwood Discovery 42A

Now, before we step inside, let’s take a look at the pass-through storage with its large side-swinging, insulated aluminum luggage doors and lighted luggage compartments. You won’t be able to verify the body structure, but the distinctive Discovery has aluminum interlocking floor, wall, and ceiling framing with a Tuff-Ply roof and vacu-bond floors, walls, and ceilings. It also has ducted AC and heated water and holding tank compartments.

We’ll now step inside and examine the GE 1-cu.-ft. convection microwave oven (with built-in range hood and light), which is above the three-burner, high-output cooktop. The huge Dometic 12.2-cu.-ft. residential-style four-door refrigerator (with ice maker and cold water dispenser) will feed the discriminating family for days—even the huge crowd a Discovery can carry. The galley sink has a window and a pullout sprayer. The countertops, sink cover, range cover, and dinette tabletop are protected with Corian. And just like at grandma’s house, the dinette has drawers with latches.

In the living room of the distinctive Discovery, Fleetwood placed a Sony 32-inch LCD HDTV in front overhead and another Sony 32-inch LCD HDTV in the rear bunkroom. Attached to the front TV is a Sony 5.1 home theater system (with built-in AM/FM/DVD and surround-sound speakers. With all this entertainment, you’ll want comfort in which to enjoy it, and Villa International has provided residential seat styling in the two sofa-beds and dinette.

2011 Fleetwood Discovery 42A

For sleeping, Discovery provides two fold-down sofa-beds in the living room, a fold-down dinette in the dining room, a king- or queen-size bed in the master suite bedroom, and bunk beds in the combination rear bunkroom and laundry room. A Sony 22-inch LCD HDTV is in the fully carpeted bedroom along with overhead cabinets in both bedroom slideouts and a coffer ceiling. Regardless of size, the bed is a deluxe pillow top innerspring mattress.

Perfect for full-timing or all-year recreation, the distinctive Discovery is equipped with dual furnaces (25,000-btu in the rear and 34,000-btu in the front) with three 15,000-btu ducted roof air conditioning units. And the 16-gallon water heater allows long, hot showers after a day on the ski slopes. You’ll be able to clean up the mess with the washer and dryer and the central vacuum system. Throughout the coach you’ll find crown molding and a whole-coach water filtration system.

Oh, by the way, you may have missed it, but a 2011 Discovery recently appeared on the Fox News Channel’s popular morning show “Fox & Friends” on Friday, November 12, 2010. The segment also featured an interview with RVIA president Richard Coon, who took the show hosts through Fleetwood’s Class A diesel motorhome.

For more information about Fleetwood RV and its full-line of Class A and Class C recreational vehicles, call (800) 322-8216 or visit FleetwoodRV.com.