Jayco Seneca HD 35GS . Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Howard Elmer
Jayco Seneca HD 35GS
Unit provided courtesy of Sicard RV, Smithville, Ontario
The Class C motorhome has always been the poor cousin to the “A.” It was designed to carry as much motorhome as a chassis could stand – on a platform that frankly was designed for box vans carrying cargo – not people. This typical Class C was invariably gas-powered and (if I flip my viewpoint) was as much motorhome as someone who couldn’t afford a gasoline-run Class A (let alone a diesel) could expect. Champagne tastes; beer budget – something like that.
But, there is a new option emerging – one that not only offers a better chassis for the Class C but also the benefits of a diesel engine: the GM C-series. Re-introduced in 2003, these medium-duty trucks are a trucking mainstay, carrying everything from your daily newspaper to the pop you drink, but GM (right from the start) recognized the potential in the recreational market, first offered as a fifth-wheel hauler and now as a solid platform for the motorhome builder.
The C4500 has gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) of 16,500 and 17,500 pounds, while the C5500 will handle 18,000 -19,500-pounds, both of which are spot-on to handle many of the new fifth wheels that are being built. But for the Class C market, the C5500 can offer 22,000 lb. of carrying capacity and that is what attracted my attention to the Jayco Seneca.
Despite its size, the inside layout of the C-series is pickup-like, with a regular size steering wheel and the usual power-assists. Also, with the sloping hood, drop-away fenders and large glass area you get excellent visibility and you’re not overwhelmed with the truck’s size. In addition, the C-series has a 53-degree wheel cut that allows a turning diameter as low as 14 metres (47 ft) while the sharply sloped hood gives the driver the ability to see objects on the ground as close as four metres (13 ft) in front of the truck (as measured from the front bumper).