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A Closer Look At DRV Fifth Wheels

A Closer Look At DRV Fifth Wheels

Are you looking for a high-end condo on wheels? DRV fifth wheels may have what you’re looking for. The luxury RVs are in a class of their own. We traveled full-time in a 2005 DRV Mobile Suites fifth wheel for 7 years before switching RVs, and we even visited their manufacturing facility in 2016. While things have changed since 2005, these fifth wheels are still known to turn heads.

Keep reading to learn about DRV Luxury Suites and what makes them unique. We also discuss who manufactures them and closely examine their lineup. 

Let’s get started!

What Are DRV Fifth Wheels?

DRV fifth wheels are luxury RVs, arguably some of the best fifth wheels on the market. They focus on quality, safety, and service. Producing their first RV in 2003, they listened to customers and made high-end fifth wheels and toy haulers.

DRV uses residential construction, furnishings, and appliances. Each unit is four-season capable, ensuring you’re comfortable in any temperature or weather. They’re built with full-time RVing in mind. 

drv factory sign in howe, in
We visited the DRV factory in 2016 for a tour of their manufacturing process.

Who Makes DRV Fifth Wheels?

​Currently, Heartland RV makes DRV fifth wheels, and Thor Industries, Inc owns Heartland. The major player in the RV industry acquired DRV in 2015. However, DRV has been around for much longer than that.

Our 2005 fifth-wheel RV was actually a “DoubleTree RV” Mobile Suites. DoubleTree RV was founded in 2002 as a subsidiary of SunnyBrook Manufacturing by David Fought with the goal of making RVs geared toward extended and full-time living. They wanted to make RVs that simulated people’s homes: more insulation, more durable furniture, and customized lighting and cabinetry to their customers’ needs.

Interestingly, in 2008 DoubleTree RV changed its name to DRV to avoid any conflicts with the Doubletree hotel chain. In 2015 Thor Industries, Inc. announced the purchase of DRV, Inc. through its Heartland Recreational Vehicles, LLC. It kept its manufacturing facility in Howe, Indiana located 35 miles from Elkhart, IN.

Who Is Thor Industries?

Thor Industries is one of the biggest RV manufacturers in the world. It owns 17 RV companies, including Airstream, Tiffin, Jayco, and Keystone. 

The company began in 1980 by founders Wade Thompson and Peter Orthwein. At the time, it purchased the famous brand, Airstream. And in 1984, it went public and acquired several more recreational vehicle companies, including DRV Luxury Suites.

Pro Tip: Want to know more about the different RV companies Thor Industries owns? We uncovered What You Need to Know About Tiffin Motorhomes.

Where Are DRV Fifth Wheels Made?

Elkhart, IN is the RV Capital of the World. More than 80 percent of global RV production is based throughout the region. ​The DRV headquarters is in Howe, Indiana, which is about 35 miles from Elkhart.

You can tour the DRV factory, as we have. Tours aren’t available every day. They schedule them on particular days and times, which may vary. So, be sure to check their website for the current schedule and to make a reservation. 

We visited the factory and shot this video of what we saw. Keep in mind this was in 2016, the year just after the announcement of the purchase by Thor. At the time, there was much speculation on how manufacturing would change under the new owners, so things may have changed since then.

Touring the DRV Luxury Suites Manufacturing Plant | VLOG 53

An Overview of the DRV Fifth Wheel Product Lineup

In the beginning, DRV made 3 models of luxury fifth wheels. The product lineup included the top-of-the-line Elite Suites, and the lower-priced Mobile Suites and the Select Suites, each aimed to attract a different segment of the fifth-wheel market.

The Select Suites was discontinued in 2012, and two new models of DRV fifth wheels were introduced: the Full House toy hauler and the Tradition. In 2014 they offered a Mobile Suites Estates version, which we believe was just a more contemporary styling of the Mobile Suites. A Mobile Suites “Aire” fifth wheel was offered in 2016 to make DRV more accessible to single-axle truck owners, but it did not survive more than three years. It was last released in 2019. The DRV Elites Suites were discontinued after 2020, and the Tradition after 2015.

The only remaining models offered are the DRV Mobile Suites and the Fullhouse. The Mobile Suites are fifth wheels, and Full House is their toy hauler model. The construction and options are fluid across all DRV products. However, the Full House toy haulers include garage space and ramps that can double as patios. There are unique floorplans within each line.

DRV Mobile Suites Fifth Wheels

The DRV Mobile Suites RV line is built on a solid box steel frame. This DRV fifth wheel is strong and reliable with a custom-engineered 15-inch triple box tube frame 101 inches wide. 

MSRP: Starting at $175,810

Length: 38’7″ to 46′-feet’0″

Dry Weight: 16,600 – 20,860 pounds

Floorplans: 12

Mobile Suites’ 12 floorplans provide a variety of options. With king-size beds and features such as washer and dryer hookups and large kitchen islands, you get all of the luxuries of home. And whether you’re traveling with one other person or bringing the whole family, there’s something for you. For example, the Manhattan floorplan has two full bathrooms. One is ensuite to the bunkroom and the other to the primary bedroom. 

Inside a 2020 DRV Mobile Suites
Inside a rear-kitchen 2020 DRV Mobile Suites

DRV Full House Fifth Wheel Toy Haulers

The DRV Full House is a spacious toy hauler with all the luxury features the Mobile Suites exudes. It’s also built on the same steel frame as the Mobile Suites model.

MSRP: Starting at $220,302

Length: All models are 46 feet long.

Dry Weight: 19,660 – 20,310 pounds

Floorplans: 3

Each of the three floorplans has electric fireplaces, open kitchen and living spaces, and a primary bedroom with a king-size bed. They also have extra sleeping space in the garage with electric queen beds and a split bench seat and bed option. 

The garage areas on the Full House are 10 feet, 12 feet, or 13 feet long. Each has a rear ramp door that can also serve as a patio.

What Makes a DRV Fifth Wheel Unique?

A DRV fifth wheel features unique elements throughout. From wood and stone finishes to lots of storage and residential quality construction, there’s little that doesn’t make the fifth wheel stand out.

DRV also leans heavily into the full-time RV lifestyle. They take into consideration who and how people are RVing. From remote workers to retirees, DRV adds elements to their floorplans and amenities that make your home on wheels exactly what you need. 

For example, the Mobile Suite Santa Fe has a large, cozy back living room that is open into the kitchen yet separate with an L-shaped couch. It’s little touches like this that make DRV fifth wheels more conducive to full-time RV living. The slight separation provides some privacy for couples or families living in a tiny space together. 

caitlin sitting on steps of drv mobile suites in lavender field
We’ve had many great adventures in our 2005 DRV Mobile Suites fifth wheel.

Things We Liked About Our 2005 DRV Mobile Suites Fifth Wheel

When we purchased our DRV fifth wheel back in 2015, it was a 10-year-old used rig. However, despite its age, we chose our RV because it was a quality build. We wanted a truly “full-time” RV made from quality materials, and 10 years hadn’t changed that. Our favorite features of our Mobile Suites included:

Thicker insulation in the walls and floor than most RVs –  R11 in walls, R19 in roof and floor.

Real hung wood walls and cabinets

Dual pane windows – this makes the RV much more insulated and quiet. When we were in our fifth wheel with the windows all closed, we hardly hear the outside campground at all.

HUGE water tanks – we had 100-gallon tank for freshwater, 75 gallons capacity for grey water and 50 gallons black water. This made it very easy to boondock off-grid for a long time.

Carrying capacity – our rig was 12977lbs dry and had a 16500 Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), meaning we had room for 2634lbs of storage after subtracting for 100 gallons of water and 60 pounds of propane, which is on the larger end of carrying capacities.

​Unfortunately, DRV Mobile Suites are very heavy and pretty expensive. Because of this, we got the smallest one we could, the “32” model, and we bought it used. While 10 years is pretty old for an RV, due to the reputation and the quality materials that went into it, these rigs held up pretty well. Ours was very well cared for and was in good condition when we got it. 

Full Time RV Living - Tour our Home on Wheels! | Mobile Suites 32TK3 | MOTM VLOG #22

What Is the DRV Fifth Wheel Warranty?

DRV fifth wheels’ warranty is a one-year limited and three-year structural. The one-year limited warranty covers the RV for 12 months from the date of purchase by the original owner. It’s for defects in materials and workmanship related to the manufacturing and assembly of the unit.

The three-year structural warranty covers skeletal framing, including wall studs, floor joists, and roof rafters. It also covers sidewalls, the roof, floors, front and rear walls, and structural components of the slide-out boxes.

Beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, they also offer 32 partner warranties that you’ll definitely what to read through prior to purchase. Additionally, you can always purchase an extended warranty. You can discuss terms and conditions with your RV dealer or through a warranty company. 

Mobile Suites Fifth Wheel Semi Hauler
This DRV fifth wheel is being towed by a semi-truck RV hauler due to its weight!

Are DRV Fifth Wheels Good RVs?

DRV fifth wheels are worth it for full-time RV living or those who are stationary for a month or more at a time. They’re truly luxury condos on wheels. Owners love the brand and typically hold on to them for a long time.

However, DRV fifth wheels are very large rigs, especially the modern ones. You’re going to need a very big truck to tow them, perhaps even a semi-truck hauler. So if you’re traveling consistently and moving every few days, it may become tiring to maneuver a large fifth wheel. Consider how you’ll be traveling before investing in a DRV. And if you want to get into national or state park campgrounds, large RVs are typically not excepted due to smaller campsites.

Do your due diligence before making a purchase to find the rig that works best for you. 

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About Mortons on the Move

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of The RVers, producers of “Go North” on Amazon Prime, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for Hwy.co and an Arizona travel guide.

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Charles Olson

Thursday 9th of May 2019

I have a question about model 36RS3. Is there a master switch that cuts the battery power throughout the fifth wheel. I'm trying to help a friend and they don't know. The batteries are charges but there is no power getting to the lights

James Clayton

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

Have them join the DRV Suite Owners group on Facebook. Lots of information and troubleshooting tips regarding all DRV models.

Darlena

Wednesday 31st of May 2017

I truly enjoyed this post! After over a year of searching we finally just purchased our full time 5th wheel, a 38' 2007 Mobile D Suites. We bought it for the very same reasons you wrote about. You could tell the difference in quality as soon as you walked in. Love the info about the factory tour and we are thinking about doing it! Thanks for sharing!