After spending two days with Entegra Management at its headquarters in Middlebury, Indiana, I can sum up my opinion about this relative newcomer to the motorhome world in one word:
While its parent, Jayco, Inc., recently celebrated its 50th birthday and announced the shipment of its 1,000,000th RV, the eight year old Entegra brand is well on its way to earning its way to respectability and notoriety. This is not an easy feat over this relatively brief timeframe. I’ll note Entegra is not shy about stating its products are far from perfect and while its customer service has received high marks from users, quality control as room for improvement. As Chuck Lasley, Vice President of the Jayco Motorhome group states, “You can’t inspect in quality, you have to build in quality.”
Having been involved in the new products industry for a few decades, I have quite a bit of respect for manufacturers who realize that while the current product is selling well and gaining the acceptance of new buyers, there’s room for improvement. Trust me, not all companies think this way and it’s that operational mentality that speaks of a well operated company with progressive management.
While I still have a lot to learn about the motorhome industry and there’s more models on my list to tour and drive, from what I’ve experienced to date, I’ve formed the initial opinion that Entegra has created a strong lineup that compares well to other brands and truly delivers a lot of bang for the motorhome buying buck.
A few bullet points:
- Are the various Entegra models the most luxurious motorhomes on the market? No.
- Are Entegra’s models comfortably equipped to deliver innovative features that should satisfy the needs of potential buyers seeking a mid-level price Class A luxury motorhome? Absolutely.
- Does Entegra offer customization options outside of the standard selections? No
- Are Entegra models priced to compete favorably in the motorhome world? Yes, if you don’t look at MSRPs and focus on selling prices.
While this is a subject for a future post, I have come to the opinion that motorhome MSRP’s can be confusing, especially to new buyers. As evidenced in a newly released report by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 90% of buyers conduct research online and 80% of buyers utilize YouTube. With those numbers in mind and understanding it’s not that difficult for buyers to go online to learn the wide variance between MSRPs and dealer selling prices. All I can say about this topic at this point is if you’re shopping for a new motorhome, take the time to visit the factory. If you like what you see, then spend time at various dealers to find one that offers services that suit your needs. If and when you become serious about buying, you’ll most likely find that Entegra does deliver a strong value proposition and warrants consideration by serious Class A luxury motorhome buyers.
Having taken a brief test drive of a 2017 Cornerstone, I can state the noteworthy features are its cab forward design, En-Telligent cruise and safety features and blind spot monitoring as well as smooth, comfortable and quiet ride. The En-Telligent feature set seem to be exclusive to Entegra at this point and, in my opinion, gives them a strong competitive edge.
However, while the features are cutting edge, the interior styling is traditional. In this video I asked if Entegra has considered adding a modern style interior option and the answer is addressed in detail in this video. As you’ll see, I did state I would seek comments on this subject and think it will be interesting to get the opinions of others. Feel free to cast your vote in this poll and place your comments below or on your favorite motorhome forum. Here’s the poll question:
Would you like to see Entegra offer the option of a modern style interior?
So, the bottom line: Is an Entegra Cornerstone in my future?
While I would like to reach for my checkbook and say yes, at this time I can only say, maybe.
I find value in the Cornerstone’s unique cab forward design, blind spot monitoring and En-Telligent cruise control features and see this company on the path to become an innovator in terms of incorporating future and possibly autonomous technologies.
While there’s many reasons for me to pull the trigger on a Cornerstone, since Entegra does not offer a level of customization over the five pre-designed floorpans and exterior and interior color schemes, if I went this route, I would need to take an existing floor plan and modify it to my needs. Either I would need to get a bunk floor plan (which is not yet offered on the Cornerstone) with slight modification or take an existing traditional layout such as the 45W, remove a sofa, add a home theater-style dual recliner to create a layout that suits my current needs.
So, why am I considering a Cornerstone? Simply stated, I’m sold on the integrity and sustainability of Entegra as a well managed company and the financial stability of it’s parent, Jayco, Inc. I have no doubt that when the cyclical economy takes another dip and when interest rates and fuel prices rise, they will emerge on the other side intact if not greater. I find value in its unique cab forward design, blind spot monitoring and En-Telligent cruise control features and see this company on the path to become an innovator in terms of incorporating future and possibly autonomous technologies. My decision at this point comes down to floor plan and interior design styles.
Sadly, while Entegra offers five plans for the 2017 Cornerstone, none of them will work for me without modification. Entegra seems to incorporate lean concepts in its manufacturing and having modifications made during production is simply not something they offer at this point.
Also, while the Cornerstone models are well appointed, I’m not a huge fan of the traditional designs currently offered. As you’ll see in the video, when discussing how Entegra Management makes the styling decisions by speaking to current owners, I offered to start a poll asking others if they would appreciate a more modern style. While I placed the poll earlier in this post, I’ll insert it below. So, here’s the one-question poll…feel free to cast your vote!
I’ve also added larger views of each Cornerstone floor plan at the bottom of this post.
Here’s The Video:
If you’re considering a 2017 Cornerstone, there’s five floor plans, four interior design packages and seven exterior color schemes to choose from. While they are available for viewing at the Entegra Website, for convenience, I’ve included them below.