Coachmen Pursuit 33BH Review: Dated design but powerful features for the price

class-a

Right now, I’m in the process of purchasing a Class A RV, I’m writing a series of articles as a buyer’s guide to RVs to share the things I’m learning in the buying process.

The Coachmen 33BH is one of the RVs near the top of my list right now, so I want to write an in-depth review of this coach to tell you some of the things I noticed while researching, driving, and inspecting a few different Coachmen 33BH’s.  I hope you find it helpful.

Summary: Benefits and Drawbacks

Some of the benefits of buying this coach are:

  • Reasonably priced at around $85,000 to $90,000 new (after negotiating down the price from the unrealistic MSRP)
  • The bunks and drop-down loft provide set-up sleeping areas for the kids so you don’t have to set up beds each night
  • Great length for being easy to drive.  Even for a newbie like me, it was not intimidating to drive this coach

Some of the drawbacks to consider before buying are:

  • The interior design leaves something to be designed for most buyers.  The dated checkered flooring, crazy prints on valances and pillows, and the cheesy headboard will be deal-breakers for some buyers.
  • The coach does not have slam latches on the basement storage bays, which means you have to fight to keep those latches closed.  I have those twisty locks on my current RV and it is really really annoying to get in and out of the compartments because of it.  I really wish Coachmen would have invested a whole $50 in the parts to buy slam latches instead.  Who wouldn’t pay the extra $50 to get slam latches?!?!?
  • The awning is quite small
  • The coach is quite loud when driving down the road

Exterior Features

The 33BH is the largest RV in Coachmen’s Pursuit line, at 32′ 7″.  That is a really convenient size for balancing spaciousness inside the coach with still being able to fit into national park service campgrounds.  This RV, according to that article, fits into 81% of all National Park campgrounds in the United States.

The dump pipes are fully insulated on the Coachmen Pursuit 33BH, which is absolutely essential for winter camping.  Many class C RVs have the pipes exposed on the bottom, which will obviously lead to freezing.

This is an example of the poor job of interior design they did with the Coach. The headboard looks really cheesy. Like a teenager wrapped some vinyl around a semi-circle of cardboard and stapled it to the wall behind the bed!

This is an example of the poor job of interior design they did with the Coach. The headboard looks really cheesy. Like a teenager wrapped some vinyl around a semi-circle of cardboard and stapled it to the wall behind the bed!  NOT what I’d like to see when I’m dropping $90,000 on a purchase.

Interior Design

The Coachman’s achilles heel, as far as I’m concerned, is the design of the coach.  The several models I spent time looking through all had very dated checkered linoleum floors and a very unattractive seashell-shaped headboard.

When the loft bed lowers all the way, it hits the tops of the driving seats and they need to be moved out of the way.

When the loft bed lowers all the way, it hits the tops of the driving seats and they need to be moved out of the way.

Floorplan

The floorplan of this motorhome has space to sleep 8 people: 2 on the queen bed, one each on the two bunks, two on the dinette when folded down, and 2 on the cab-over loft.

My favorite thing about this floorplan is that the dinette and the sofa are on opposite sites of the RV from one another.  This makes it more natural to carry on a conversation with multiple people.  Generally, the dinette and sofa are on the same side–right next to each other, which makes it difficult to converse.  You could easily have a conversation with a large group of 3 on the couch, 4 people on the dinette, and two on the driving chairs.

I also like that the bunks on this model are on a slide that extends to the master bedroom closet.  This takes the area in the back with the bathroom and bunks and opens up the hall significantly.

One thing that new RV buyers often fail to consider is to check the floorplan when the slides are closed.  When I closed the slides on this model, I found that it was still possible to sneak back to the bathroom without too much trouble.  This is important for making a quick sandwich in the kitchen or going to the bathroom when pulled over to get gas or at a rest stop.

Gas tank on the back so that you can reach it with a pump on either side; however it'd be a bit of a stretch to reach with a pump on the right side.

Gas tank on the back so that you can reach it with a pump on either side; however it’d be a bit of a stretch to reach with a pump on the right side.

Features

  • The interior TV is 32″, which I consider to be pretty small for enjoying a movie or sporting event, but adequate for watching my wife’s romance movies which I’ll sleep through anyway.
  • This coach comes with a 5500 Onan generator and 50 amp service, which should be adequate for firing up just about everything on the coach at once.
  • Gas tank is on the back of the coach so that you can fill the gas from either side.
  • One touch auto leveling!  YES!  This is awesome!  My current RV doesn’t have this and it’s a real pain; however, just about any Class A made in the last 3 years will have auto leveling.  It’s considered a standard feature by most manufacturers now.
  • Backup camera (no audio) and side-view cameras that pop up automatically when the turn signal engages.

Under the Hood / Specs

Not surprisingly, this coach is built on the Ford V10 Triton chassis and engine, like nearly all gas powered RVs.  There are benefits and drawbacks to gas powered RVs, but at this length and weight, the drawbacks shouldn’t be too severe.  It’s the extremely long and heavy gas RVs that run into trouble with not having enough power.

  • Wheel base – 208″
  • GVWR – 18,000 pounds (This is the maximum weight of the RV completely loaded with water and gear.)
  • GCWR – 23,000 pounds  (Max combined weight of the loaded RV AND towed vehicle.)
  • GAWR Rear – 12,000 pounds (Gross axle weight.  This is how much weight can be put on each axle of the RV.)
  • GAWR Front – 7,000 pounds (Don’t put more than 7,000 pounds on the front axle.)
  • Fuel capacity – 80 gallons (This means you’ll be able to drive about 560 miles on each tank of gas.  Most class A owners report about 7 miles per gallon, but I don’t know exactly what this model gets.)
  • Exterior total length – 32′ 7″
  • Exterior height – 12′ 0″
  • Exterior width – 102″
  • Fresh water – 50 gallons
  • Gray tank – 40 gallons
  • Black water – 28 gallons
  • Awning size – 12′ (This is small for the size of the RV.  Coachmen makes a 22′ awning for the much smaller 27KB model.  A 12′ awning doesn’t cover much when the sun is at an angle.)

The Company

Coachmen has a good reputation in the RV market.  It is not the most high-end coach by any means.  Most people recognize Coachmen as a low to mid-grade manufacturer who stands by their products and does its best to create a good product.

Coachmen is a long-respected company in this market.  It has been producing RVs since 1964.  In 2008, Coachmen was purchased by Forest River, one of the largest companies in the RV manufacturing market.  Forest River is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, but I’m not sure how relevant that is.

Pricing

The MSRP of a new Coachmen Pursuit 33BH is $112,643, which is extremely reasonable for a Class A of this size.  Generally, new RVs sell for 25+% lower than the MSRP, so you could probably expect to pay about about $85,000 or $90,000 for this coach brand new.

A review of this model coach for sale from previous years, and our in-depth article on RV depreciation, would suggest that it would lose about 21% of it’s value after it is used for two years.

This is a very reasonably priced coach for the features that it includes.

Comments

  1. Just bought a new 2017 for 79,900 from Motor Home Specialists, in Texas. Here is what we like:
    1. Bunks will be a place for dog crates.
    2. A decent sized shower
    3. The coat closet has space for brooms
    4. Agree that the dinette and sofa being across from each other is great for visiting.
    5. We like the cabinets above the drivers can. Our other coach didn’t have that.
    6. The interior is on par with most other entry level motorhomes. The ultra cool Winnebago style interiors are on way more expensive units.

    What we don’t like very much:
    1. Poor entertainment center: no HDMI cable hook ups, no Bluetooth connection to the camera monitor, no many USB ports, no 110 to plug the computer in, up front.
    2. No lights in outside storage compartments
    3. Passenger seat can’t completely swivel around.
    4. Outside tv needs a swivel stand to turn it.
    5. Can’t open the bedroom window and no vent.
    Overall, a great coach for the money.

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