Good day. We're pretty much brand new to Class C RVs, though we have camped in travel trailers for quite a long time. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't know how much better a Class C was than a travel trailer a long time ago because it would have changed some major decisions in my life.
We bought our 2016 Freedom Elite 23H just a little over 2 weeks ago and immediately took it on a 4,200 mile trip from the mountains of North Carolina to the southern Texas coast, up to Pierre, South Dakota and back to our home in the Smoky Mountains.
The coach performed flawlessly. Before purchasing the RV we did a lot of research and found some reviews that painted the Freedom Elite line of coaches in a fairly unfavorable light. However, reading a little deeper it seemed a great number of those unfavorable reviews were based on the writer expecting a lot more than (I though) they should in an entry-level motor home.
Based on that, we decided to purchase the Freedom Elite from our nearby Camping World in Hendersonville, NC, south of assville. The folks there were great, very professional and made the entire transaction mostly seamless. They even worked hard to get the coach to us a day early because of forecast thunderstorms on the scheduled delivery day.
Of course, as with any vehicle, there were a couple of burps, but nothing worth excessive griping. One piece of trip below and behind the driver's door was not screwed on properly, but fortunately it did not fall off until after we returned home. It was easy to replace and I even added some silicone sealant to seal the exposed wood. I had read another posting regarding a gap in the rear wheel wells that would allow water intrusion when driving in rain, so I filled and sealed that gap. A single screw fell out of the counter side table, but was easily replaced, and on the retractable awning, one of the pistons seems a little more "aggressive" when it comes to lowering the arms to put a tilt on the awning. One side just doesn't want to stay down, but that may ease a bit with more use.
There was one quality control issue that came up before we departed on our trip. My bride noticed the passenger-side backup light was not working as I backed down our driveway. I unscrewed the backup light cover and found quite a bit of condensation in the fixture. Upon further investigation I found the foam gasket that sits between the light fixture and the fiberglass had been torn in installation and did not seal the light fixture. After removing the entire fixture from the coach I found water had intruded into the wood under the fiberglass as well. The backup light was not working because the wires on the bulb had corroded. I pulled all the lights out and used a wire brush on them to remove the corrosion, replaced the bulbs and everything worked. I took the brand name and model number from the light fixture and called Command Electronics to request a replacement gasket. Even though the gasket was obviously torn during installation and it was not their fault, they were kind enough to send me a replacement at no charge. It was waiting for us on our return. Kudos to Command Electronics!
On our trip we encountered hills, some mountains (small - not the Rockies), some stop-and-go traffic, highways and back roads. We were in headwinds seemingly everywhere we went, but that's just my usual luck. Part of the time we were driving in 90-degree heat, and part of the time we were driving in the 40-degree range. We almost never ran the truck air conditioner, and only ran the generator while driving to power the coach AC for about half of one day. Over our 4,200-mile trip we averaged just about 8.8 miles per gallon at an average speed of 60 miles per hour.
Both times I have communicated with Thor Industries have been fantastic. I e-mailed their customer service and gave them my VIN number, and they then e-mailed me engineering drawings and wiring diagrams of my coach. Not sure if I will use that, but having them makes future decisions and trouble-shooting a lot easier. I also received a call from our "personal concierge" who gave me contact information and helpful numbers in case something goes wrong.
One thing I would like to have received with the Freedom Elite would be a spare tire. I fully understand the arguments against trying to change an RV tire by yourself, but even if you're not doing that, you have to have a spare in order to use the TIRE CHANGE service from any of the Roadside Assistance programs given/offered by Camping World, Good Sam or Ford. So, I'm looking for a spare tire/wheel combo to carry.
So, you can put us down as satisfied customers at this point. I'm sure enough of the coach that we have discussed taking it across Canada over to the great northwest, and then back across the northern states to our home, avoiding California at all costs.
And to be clear, I have no financial interest in Thor. This review contains just our first impressions and I understand anything can change on our next trip out. If that happens, I'll update, but for now, even with the understanding this is an "entry level" motor coach, we couldn't be more pleased. If you have any specific questions, I'll be happy to answer them. Thanks for letting us into your group.
Fines Creek, NC
P.S. Oh yeah, one thing I'd like to change. Can anyone find a way to get me 25 miles per gallon in this thing?