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As an RV shopper, you are probably looking for all the “Reviews” about various RVs that you can find. You want to know what actual owners have to say about any particular Year, Make and Model of RV that you might be thinking about buying.
And, with good reason.
Owners will often “tell it like it is,” about products they’ve purchased. And, that’s what you as an active RV shopper, really want to see.
So, here’s a look at the Top 5 Consumer-Reviewed Travel Trailers — All Years.
NOTE: If you would like to WRITE a Review for a unit that you own, please feel free to do so here: Review Your RV
The fifth most Reviewed and highly ranked RV is the Coachmen Apex. It is a lightweight trailer that is spacious and also elegant. Consumers often purchase it for its large shower/bathroom and compact floor plan. On top of all that, it is also easily tow-able.
Donna from Texas shares her ownership experiences with would-be buyers at RVT.com’s Reviews section. Here’s what Donna has to say …
“This RV has all we were looking for in a small RV for two. Queen Bed, Full size sink, Three burners on stove, Large Refrigerator, Shower without tub and Outdoor Shower! It is also lightweight enough to pull with an SUV!”
– Donna, Texas
Coachmen Apex Reviews by Model:
These Models are reportedly built with high quality material so choosing between these Models can be quite tricky! If you’re considering buying this unit, we highly recommend that you read through Reviews on RVT.com for each Model and decide which one will best suit your needs.
The Jayco White Hawk Ultra Lite is a beautiful unit and highly rated in Consumer Reviews at RVT.com/rv-reviews. This unit combines functionality and style with conservation of space, while it manages to stay in the “Ultra Lite” family. In fact, many owners have sought this unit out for its great utilization of space, as some have commented in their Reviews.
Albert from Arizona states, he would recommend this trailer to anyone looking.
“Well built, good use of space, tows great. Looks and shows up scale quality of a more expensive model. Would definitely recommend this trailer to anyone.”
– Albert, Arizona
Jayco White Hawk Reviews by Model:
Next, we break down the Jayco White Hawk Reviews and show you how each particular Model has been scored by consumer owners.
You can see that the Model # 28DSBH is the most often Reviewed and the highest ranked Jayco White Hawk Ultra Lite. As Ken from Alabama notes in his Review, this Model features:
“Large beds for kids, friends. Power awning with led light. Outside fridge. Plenty of storage both inside and out.”
Next on our list is the Coachmen Freedom Express. This unit, like the last, is a very spacious RV while still incorporating both comfort and style. It comes complete with many “hidden” storage compartments, as noted by Julie from Ohio.
“We love all of the hidden storage to help with a clean homey feel. Pulls great with the stabilizer package on it, never had one problem with it since owning it. We loved having it as our first RV we have owned!”
– Julie, Ohio
Furthermore, the Coachmen Freedom Express has been tried and tested by Jason and his family from Delaware, and they have nothing but great things to say!
“Very spacious especially with kids! Three kids two adults still have room. A baby pack and play fits great under slide out in bunkhouse bunk. We also had room for a electric baby swing! One of the best bangs for your buck! Great family camper! … For the money numerous options come with it! … Very pleased. Recommend to anyone especially with kids!!”
– Jason, Delaware
Coachmen Freedom Express Reviews by Model:
As you can probably tell from the stats above, the Coachmen Freedom Express 231RBDS has the highest number of ratings by consumers, which gives it highest numerical rank (score out of 5) in the Coachmen Freedom Express family of RVs. Other Models follow close behind.
It would be hard to decide exactly which Model really wins the competition, so it comes down to your personal preference. Be sure to read the Reviews, do your shopping and decide for yourself!
Northwood’s Arctic Fox appears to be an extremely well built RV which incorporates high quality materials, all at a reasonable price, or so say the consumer owners. I couldn’t explain this unit better than Nicolai from California.
With out a doubt, definitely the most well engineered and built trailer we have ever walked through. Rugged construction, solid craftsmanship and eye pleasing design. Higher price point than most, but once you check out an Arctic Fox, you will see the difference.
– Nicolai, California
Northwood Arctic Fox Reviews by Model:
Looking at the chart above, you can see that the Northwood Arctic Fox 25R is the most Reviewed unit and scored a very solid average of 5 out of 5 stars. As William from Michigan notes in the simplest terms possible,
And, that brings us to the winning travel trailer. The Heartland North Trail RV is the most often Reviewed travel trailer and it consistently scores the highest ratings.
The Heartland North Trail is a 5,200lb travel trailer and really packs a punch according to its many raving consumer Reviewers. Coming in many different models at many different price points, this RV likely has a Model to meet just about any budget.
The two doors are perfect for families or large groups who fancy that extra bit of privacy. Like many of the previous travel trailers on this list, this unit is fully insulated which helps provide the perfect temperature for almost any weather conditions. Richard from Oklahoma describes it here:
“Perfect for small family! Easily pulled behind SUV or 1/2 ton pickup. Large bathroom and shower. Comes with outside shower and many extras. 2ft. slide on the rear for generator and bicycles. Max Air covers for vents allows vents to be open even in the rain. Well insulated for summer or winter camping.”
– Richard, Oklahoma
Heartland North Trail Reviews by Model:
Heartland’s North Trail 21FBS came out on top, with the most consumer Reviews plus a steady 5 out of 5 star rating by owners. Owners seem to really like the added features you do not always find in other RV Makes and Models. Some of these features include, but are not limited to:
“… power awning and leveling jacks. Also Corian counters and a porcelain potty. It has a horseshoe slide out dinette. …”
– Charles, Pennsylvania
And, by way of information, here is a short video by the Regional Sales Manager for Heartland RVs, John Hawkins. This video gives you a full walk through where John points out a number of great features that you may not have known come standard on the 2018 Heartland North Trail 25 LRSS.
2018 North Trail 25 LRSS Floorplan Walk Through - YouTube
Last fall, RV Business magazine handed its “2017 RV of the Year” award to the Winnebago Horizon, an ultra-contemporary upscale Class A diesel. Long-time RVers Don and Terry Cohen spent 10 weeks in this radically new motorhome, testing it for livability. Here are highlights from their review:
Terry and I have lived in several homes over the decades, and with each space, our interest in design has grown. We’re appreciative and critical. It’s why we we’ve owned two Winnebago Class C Navions—because of their simplicity and clean, Euro-styed interiors. So an invitation to leave our Colorado winter behind and review the ultra-modern new Horizon at a resort in California was truly a lottery win.
The Horizon comes in two models and floorplans: the 41’1” 40A, and 43’3” 42Q.
Terry and Don Cohen host a video tour of the award-winning luxury Horizon:
The 2018 Winnebago Horizon - YouTube
With the clean lines of a luxury yacht, the Horizon redefines the modern motor coach. It starts with the refreshing disappearance of exterior swirls and swoops that have defined RVs since the early 1990s. This is a design that will appear less dated as the years go by.
I marvel at the level of assembly precision and sleekness of this coach. The daily living difference is profound, and it isn’t about the move from a Class C to a Class A. It’s about environment. The reason the Horizon won the RV Business 2018 “RV of the Year” award is simple: design, both inside and out.
The interior is open and light, with a sophisticated, contemporary feel.
When RV-savvy visitors walk into the Horizon, there are two universal comments: The first is how open it feels. That’s due to expansive windows that aren’t separated by mullions or screens. The second is ambience. A slim center canopy drops slightly from the ceiling with embedded LED lighting. Gone are the mirrors and wallpaper, filigree wood and cut glass, and pedestrian hardware that confuse ornateness with class.
Instead, lighter fabric and porcelain and sleek Italian Tecnoform cabinetry give the interior a sophisticated aura. On the galley side, fashion-forward counters and liberal use of stainless steel amp up the modern feel.
The Horizon interior has the clean lines of a luxury yacht, and the functionality of an urban loft.
Yet there’s another side of the design coin: floorplan. Looking pretty and being functional are two different things, and I’m here to tell you that the Horizon absolutely lives as well as it looks-—both floor plan options. They make sense, and they make extended or full-time living exceedingly comfortable.
The roomy kitchen island offers a lot more space than competitive galleys, and the uncluttered open space of the living area is very, very flexible, thanks to smart furniture. By pulling a lever underneath the “Glide and Dine” table, for instance, you can slide it a couple feet to the left or right. Lift two extension leafs in place, and there’s comfortable seating for four.
The kitchen excels, not only with an island, but with a coffee bar and practical cabinet stack.
Underneath the couch are sturdy steel rail frames that pull up and lock firmly in place to become rock-solid ottomans or sleeping extensions. During the day, they slide back under the sofa, to remove the awkward tripping hazard. An optional fireplace completes the urban comfort.
A steel-frame ottoman/sleeping extension tucks under the sofa when not in use.
This 40A floorplan has a single bath, but two entries (hall and bedroom) create great pass-through access. There’s never a traffic jam and the dual flow make a lot of sense. The bedroom is very maneuverable. We’re fans of Tempur-Pedic, but the adjustable firmness of the Ideal Rest king mattress makes it a pleasure to fall asleep and wake up on every morning.
The 42Q floorplan has a half bath and master bath; the 40A has a single bath with entrances from hallway and bedroom.
Coming from our Navion, we were immediately struck by the smoother ride and much quieter cab noise at freeway speeds. The six-speed Allison transmission is fully electronic and controlled by push button. A nifty switch immediately engages the downshift mode when descending steeper grades. A high-def camera built into the Xite infotainment system gives the driver a view of blind spots.
A high-def camera built into the infotainment system gives the driver a view of blind spots.
As I write this review, I’m sitting in the living room lounge. Winnebago has clearly broken free of the gravitational pull of traditional design, and we know it won’t be for everyone. But at least now, in the diesel pusher segment, there’s finally a modern choice.
Feel free to use the shopping links provided under each unit to jump start your 5th wheel search on RVT.com.
5. 2018 Grand Design Reflection 303RLS
Grand Design is a very fast growing company. They have continued to amaze their customers with high quality yet fairly priced RVs since they were founded in 2012. Since it’s acquisition by Winnebago in 2017, their reputation has stayed steady among RV enthusiasts. Coming in at #5 most views on RVT.com, check out the 2018 Grand Design Reflection 303 RLS.
With it’s extra-functional exterior and spacious yet appealing interior, this RV is exceptional.
The master bedroom comes complete with a king sized wardrobe, side tables and enough storage for all your travelling needs.
The spacious living/galley area is great for all sizes of families.
This unit also features many wide windows. So whether you love the sun or just want to sit back, relax and listen to the rain drizzle on your windows on the down days, this feature is a must! Accompanied with the fireplace and TV, there’s no cozier setting for bundling up and reading a good book!
Winnebago RV’s have been a top choice for many. The reason being is they are feature rich while still being fairly priced and very reliable. Winnebago has been setting the standard among the RV community since it was founded back in 1958.
The exterior of this unit is both visually appealing and highly functional. It comes with 3 separate slides which are sure to maximize your experience inside all while making your campsite neighbors look twice!
The common area comes complete with all leather furniture and over-head storage.
The compact interior kitchen has a great layout that will make you feel like you are in a large kitchen with everything you could need right at your fingertips.
Exterior kitchen, and speakers
Freestanding table and chairs
This mid-profile 5th wheel is sure to give you a seamless experience whether you’re outside or inside!
Founded in 1968, Jayco was known for it’s game-changing folding trailers. Although they were founded almost 10 years later than Winnebago, it didn’t take them long to make a solid name for themselves and gain an exponentially growing customer base. They didn’t just stop with the folding trailer market, and eventually worked their way into travel trailers, 5th wheels, and much more!
The exterior of this unit comes in a few different flavors. The one pictured here is the standard graphics package, and even though this is the lowest package you can get for the exterior, in my opinion, it’s a real “head-turner.” This unit isn’t just about style either, and although most people think it’s a trade off between style or functionality for the price, Jayco has proven that this may be just a myth.
Like a few other models on the list, this unit also has lots of windows to provide more than adequate lighting during the day. It is also is equipped with many lights, which allow you to get as much, or as little, light as you wish. Who doesn’t enjoy the option for mood lighting?
As you walk around this home-away-from-home you will notice the amount of detail Jayco put into maximizing space, high ceilings, open common area with plenty of seating to give it that “at home” feel.
From destination trailers to toy haulers, Keystone RV makes a wide variety of RV’s, floor plans, and lengths at different price points to meet everyone’s personal camping preferences. They were acquired by Thor Industries back in 2001. Thor has a great reputation of not drastically changing its subsidiaries, but instead treating them like they are all equals in the Thor family of RVs.
This model is one of the first of its kind. As you can see in the photo above, it features a large window on the front of the unit which is located directly behind the dining area inside (see below). The exterior paint has a beautiful high gloss gel finish, and the look is completed very nicely with the large front window.
The full sized dining area is perfect for larger families, and comes complete with an adjustable swivel table.
Stepping backwards from the dining area, we move into the kitchen. Notice the 18 cu. foot refrigerator, microwave, and an oven. This is where you’ll find the necessities needed for all your cooking needs. It’s compact, but highly-functional.
Double opposing slides are what make this unit so special because they give the living/common area the much needed space for when you have friends or family over. This area features lots of seating, and the two couches seen in the picture above double as beds. Extra space and extra beds are never a downside.
Taking the #1 spot on the list is Forest River, and for good reason. Since they were founded in back 1996, they have started manufacturing a wide variety of RVs, cargo trailers, busses and even pontoon boats. After they were acquired in 2005 by Berkshire Hathaway Inc, they slowly expanded to 86 different plants. Even though they are so widespread, that hasn’t impeded them from manufacturing — what many would say are — high quality products at a reasonable price point for many.
One thing you’ll notice about this unit throughout the photos is that there are lots of areas for storage. There are plenty of places for you to put the items you need to have a comfortable travelling experience. Who would have thought spacious and lightweight could make such an appealing pair.
These units are often sought out for their unique bunks which are located at the opposite end of the RV from the master bedroom.
Stepping back from the bunks, we are now in the common area. Here you’ll find the entertainment center, complete with TV and music hookups, and a tri-fold sleeper sofa which doubles as a comfy bed. The walk-in pantry is located behind the entertainment center, but is not pictured above.
The master bedroom features an extremely comfortable queen size bed that is is fully adjustable via a powered lift system. To make the master bedroom really feel like home, the Cherokee product team has completed the look with two night stands and a wide wardrobe.
While taking the virtual tour above, please take time to note the walk-in pantry. It is not pictured in any of these photos, but is featured in this popular model.
RVQ Quick Connect
USB charging stations
Friction Hinge Entry Door
Solar, backup camera, and rear receiver prep
Arctic Wolf offers customers all these luxury amenities, at what many would consider to be “entry level” pricing. They also prep the unit in many different ways to allow for a plug-and-play experience.
The Keystone Montana High Country 305RL is a well-known brand that has built its reputation on its quality, year after year. It boasts being the #1 selling luxury RV for 16 consecutive years. More than 100,000 Montana’s have been sold. And, it continues to be one of the most popular 5th wheels at our dealership.
There are so many things to love about the Montana High Country, so we’ve put together a few highlights for RVT.com’s Insight readers.
First, the manufacturer’s warranty includes full-time use on this brand. That’s not the case for a lot of RVs. What does this mean to you? If you are planning on exclusively using your RV to travel 24/7, 365, your warranty is valid. So, if you travel a lot for your job like a travel nurse, archaeology technician in New Mexico, or you work remotely and like to move around the country, you’ve got the benefit of a full manufacturer’s warranty that can’t be voided with full-time use. Or, if you are using it temporarily while you build your new home, it is designed for that type of use, too.
And second, whether you are in a cold or hot climate (or plan to visit one), the Montana can handle it! With the Four Season Living Package, these units are zero degree rated, meaning they are designed to withstand 32 degrees below freezing. But if you are more of a Sun Chaser and prefer your outdoors hot and your indoors cool, you can have two ducted air conditioners running at the same time with its 50 amp service!
This shiplap paneling is continued in the king size headboard in the bedroom. This really creates a more airy space where traditionally RV bedrooms felt a bit cramped, especially with a bed this size.
Notice the white subway tile pattern back splashes in the kitchen and pantry which are complemented by the stylish solid surface countertops.
2018 Keystone Montana High Country 305RL at Folsom Lake RV - Popular Floorplan - YouTube
But what really stands out this year, (and why the High Country is one of our most viewed units,) are the many beautiful RV’s styling updates. These RVs are not designed with the heavy dark leather and honey oak veneers you may be used to. Gone are the burgundy paisley’s and blue gray recliners. These gorgeous new Montana High Countrys feature contemporary, sophisticated interior design. Come and have a look for yourself!
Rachel Olson, Folsom Lake RV, Rancho Cordova, CA
Four season living package
Attractive shiplap panelling
Easy auto levelling system
These design features move this from your standard RV, to an apartment or “Tiny Home”.
This month, Winnebago celebrates its 60th anniversary! In six decades, the RV icon has helped to shape a national pastime. And along the way, there were defining moments that inspired America’s most iconic motorhomes and towables. Here’s a quick time-travel:
The beginning: 1958 through the ‘60s
The first Aljos.
In 1958, Congress created NASA and approved Alaska as the 49th state. The first plastic hula hoop hit the market and Bridge Over the River Kwai won the Oscar for Best Picture. But a recession was on, and Forest City, Iowa needed jobs. Local businessman John K. Hanson wooed the Aljo travel trailer company to open a manufacturing facility in his hometown; and on March 19, 1958, Modernistic Industries of Iowa rolled the first Aljo off its assembly line. Its sticker price: $895.
Hanson soon bought out the other owners, and, with wife Luise, pioneered dozens of improvements in quality and design. In 1960, they renamed the company Winnebago, after the Iowa county where the company was born and the name of the river flowing through the community.In 1966, Winnebago expanded into motorhomes. The famous F-19 and D-22 followed, and the world’s leading RV manufacturer was off to the races.
Smaller footprints: 1970s and ‘80s
1977 Minnie Winnie
By the 1970s, Americans were in love with RVs. Just one year after Winnebago went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1970, its stock price multiplied by 462%. But an oil embargo hit and gas prices soared. “You can’t take weekends from the American public,” said Winnebago’s optimistic president, who led the rollout of more fuel-efficient models like the garage-sized Winnie Wagon and the small Class C gas Minnie Winnie.
In 1980s, the personal computer was born—and so was Winnebago’s next round of technology: The company perfected its SuperStructure® manufacturing method, now legendary for building high-quality, fuel-efficient RVs at an affordable price. The Winnebago Warrior and Itasca Spectrum doubled the fuel economy of conventional RVs. And the LeSharo and Phasar motorhomes and Centaur vans were ahead of their time in compact maneuverability.
‘90s and Turn of the Century
In the 1990s, the economy was humming again and larger Class C motorhomes were popular and getting more luxurious. Winnebago opened a Class C manufacturing plant in Charles City, Iowa, to keep up with demand.
The company also introduced the Rialta, a future cult classic that delivered big-motorhome features on a smaller Volkswagen chassis. At the other end of the spectrum was the luxurious Class A Vectra, with massive, accessible basement storage that made it ideal for extended trips.
In the first decade of the new century, Winnebago recaptured the top spot in both Class A and Class C sales, and was voted “most-admired RV manufacturer by RVBusiness magazine. It introduced the Class A Vista, which remains popular today, and created a whole new category of Class C motorhomes with two stunning models built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis: the Winnebago View and the Itasca Navion.
From 2010 to Now
In 2010, Winnebago re-entered the towables category, purchasing Sunnybrook RV in Middlebury, Indiana. Sunnybrook evolved into Winnebago Towables, marking a return to the company’s roots.
A few years later, Winnebago shook up the B-van market in the same way it had transformed the Class C market a decade earlier. The Travato, based on the Dodge Ram ProMaster chassis, was followed by the Paseo, built on the Ford Transit chassis.
2015 Winnebago Travato
Together with the Sprinter-based Era, they catapulted Winnebago to the top of the B-van market. In the meantime, Winnebago opened a new plant in Lake Mills, Iowa, to handle Class B production.
In 2015, the company purchased the assets of Country Coach in Junction City, Oregon. Ultimately, Junction City would become the home of Winnebago Class A diesel production, freeing up badly needed capacity in Forest City. And In 2016, the company bolstered its presence in the towables market with the purchase of Grand Design.
In the past six months, Winnebago has introduced four game-changing models for a growing and diverse customer base: the award-winning 4×4 Class B Revel, which brings new off-road capability for adventure-seekers; the stylishly contemporary, award-winning Horizon diesel pusher; the user-friendly Class A Intent and the lightweight Minnie Plus fifth wheel.
As the next chapter dawns, enthusiasts can be certain that RVs will continue to evolve, and that Winnebago will continue to lead the way.
Several new 2018 RV models are turning heads for breaking out of traditional design molds. And at least one creates a whole new category. This fall’s bolder roll-outs include four unusual models from Winnebago, unveiled at the Elkhart Open House in September via a Facebook Live broadcast (archived here).
After nearly 60 years, the RV icon is clearly still driven to innovate. Here’s a quick look at the four newest Winnebago products:
There’ve been a few boutique 4x4s (i.e., Volkswagen’s Westfalia Syncro and EarthRoamer), but the Winnebago Revel is the first off-road RV built and supported by a major U.S. manufacturer. Until now, most aspiring 4WD RVers have had to spring for custom conversions and wait up to a year for delivery. The Revel, says Winnebago, drives off the lot ready for “comfortable exploration of remote places.”
Built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter platform, the Revel incorporates a number of key features for going off the grid:
Off-road tires and 21” of clearance
Three-liter turbo-diesel engine with 325 lbs./ft. of torque
High/low range and hill descent mode for off-road capability
Rear gear garage with 140 cu. ft. of storage
Platform bed that raises out of the gear space
All-in-one wet bath with cassette toilet/shower
Electric galley with compressor refrigerator
Roof mounts for watercrafts and mountain bikes
Solar system and extra USB charging ports
Latching cabinets to secure contents during travel
Prominent outdoor blog sites like Gear Junkie have jumped on this news, and a Revel video on Car Insider has racked up more than 436,000 views. Winnebago is following up on information requests and says it will deliver first orders this fall. The Revel starts at $134,799—well worth it, according to adventurer Peter Holcombe, who tried out an early model.
This Class A gas motorhome is Winnebago’s value option—something more affordable without compromising the company’s legendary quality (20 Quality Circle Awards from the RV Dealers Association—more than any other RV manufacturer). With the Intent, Winnebago uses its proven “SuperStructure” design, combining composite construction with a durable all-steel frame.
Advanced materials, a modular approach to floorplans, and a dedicated manufacturing process brings this feature-packed Class A in at a budget-friendlier price, starting at $115,517. As a bonus, it has number of refined features that stem from Winnebago’s customer research:
Two removable 20-pound LP tanks that can be refilled without pulling the whole rig up to a filling station;
Wider front view with large windshield and narrow corner pillars
Customizable dash system with snap-in accessories
A tailgate package for outdoor entertaining. Under a large awning, there’s a TV, refrigerator, countertop sink, storage, and pull-out extension table.
“We spent hours listening to input,” says Niles Whitehouse, product manager for the Intent. The result is a Class A gas coach that includes practically every option an experienced RVer could wish for—at a price that won’t break the bank. Look for the Intent at dealerships this fall.
The Class A diesel category now has an ultra-contemporary option with Winnebago’s Horizon—called “entirely unique,” by Product Manager Ryan Roske. For those who prefer modern elegance, the Horizon is more like a luxury urban condominium.
Two Horizon floorplans both include:
LED tube lighting and electric fireplace
Available king recline/incline bed
Full galley with residential-style refrigerator
Dining area you can easily re-arrange
Abundant exterior storage with slide-out trays
The Horizon is built on the Maxum® Chassis, with an 8.9-liter turbo-diesel-powered Cummins® engine, and is expected in Winnebago dealerships beginning late 2017.
This roomy option completes Winnebago’s towables line, joining the Minnie Drop®, Micro Minnie®, Minnie®, and Minnie Plus®. Each floorplan (there are three) includes private sleeping space with a queen bed, full bath, and large LED-lit awning.
With eight colors and a choice of decors, the whole Minnie line now reflects “right combination of aesthetic appeal and features,” says Product Manager/Engineer Ron Brown.
Seven Things to Inspect in an RV
from guest author Phil Raner of Winnebago
Not all RVs hold up equally to years of use. Some deteriorate faster than others! Someone who is very familiar with the vast differences between motorhomes is Phil Raner, who’s spent 32 years on dealer lots and in their service departments as a sales manager for Winnebago. Here are Phil’s tips on what to carefully inspect, even in a “nearly new” RV, to be safer, more comfortable, and bothered with less repair in the long run:
First of all, look for a motorhome with a strong shell—one with interlocking roof and sidewall joints that form a strong bond. The shell should be capable of standing on its own without any inside support. A surprising number of motorhomes are actually propped up with their cabinets and furniture. Also, if you are looking for a Class A motorhome, find out if it has a stand-alone steel cab, or just a front cap attached to the walls. In addition, research whether or not the driver and passenger seat pedestals in the cab are bolted securely into solid steel instead of a wood cab deck.
Look low and high. Below the coach, it is important to inspect the basement construction of the motorhome. An e-coated superstructure is the strongest and floors that have an aluminum underbelly or a floor guard will have a stronger, longer lasting floor. Up top, look for a solid roof to provide better insulation against heat and cold. And while you’re up there, inspect for any damage or patches that could indicate leaks. It’s also a good time to inspect the sealants on the roof to make sure they are properly maintained.
In motorhomes, look for a stand-alone steel cab (left), not a fiberglass front cap mounted to the sidewalls, as shown in this crash-damaged coach (right).
Inspect how the furniture and appliances are attached. Preferably, they’ll be bolted down into a steel casing to stay firmly in place. Many motorhomes have hardware-grade screws fastening interior walls and fixtures into plywood, or even into insulation stuffed in gaps in the walls. Naturally, these short cuts mean everything becomes loose sooner, creating creaking and rattling on the road.
A good place to check fastening is inside the exterior walls around the refrigerator. Open up this compartment and see how the fridge is attached to the RV. Get down on your knees and see how the kitchen sink is mounted. If the manufacturer has taken the care to firmly mount the appliances in steel, you’ll have a quieter, more comfortable ride.
Watch for seats, furniture, and appliances fastened with screws into plywood (right). They’re stronger and quieter bolted down into a steel casing (left).
Don’t assume the unit you’re considering has all the basic or luxury components you want. Take an inventory of the options and review that all amenities are present. Inspect the air conditioner, generator, and electronics and if applicable, ask to see the jacks function. In components that get heavy use, brand names are a sign of quality. Look for names you know when examining crucial features such as the generator and electronics.
4. Interior Condition
Furniture will tell the quality tale very quickly. Beware of sag and wear in upholstery on the sofa, dinette, and bed. Many RV manufacturers use common single-density foam, which compresses in a very short time. Multi-density foam and high-grade fabrics will remain comfortable and sustain many more years of use. Ideally, the furniture and cabinetry are made of solid wood or a high-quality sustainable composite like Tecnoform, and are designed for RV space; not household designs jimmied in place. If the furniture in your RV was built specifically for that purpose, you’ll have greater peace of mind that it will stand up better over time.
Better-quality used RVs have solid wood cabinetry or a high-quality sustainable composite, and they’re designed for the space.
5. Exterior Finish
In addition to confirming the awnings and slide-out walls work smoothly, you should expect a motorhome to hold its color. Watch for sun fade. High-quality RVs contain UV protectant. You can pick up on this by comparing the entrance door to the exterior walls. They should match. Don’t forget the windows. Tinted, dual pane windows are best against weather. Also, notice the vents and trim pieces. On a white model, they shouldn’t be dull or yellowing. If the RV has aged noticeably, its worn appearance will cost value in a sale or trade. Aesthetics matter in a luxury item.
In addition to test-driving the RV, ask to see its service history. The conscientious owner will document oil changes, winterization, hours on the generator, etc. It goes without saying, but carefully inspect the sides and bumpers for damage. Unlike used cars, there’s no Vehicle Information Number (VIN) system that records accidents. The owner has hopefully used a buddy system to back up and park without incident—but don’t assume!
Finally—or maybe first—make sure the motorhome’s manufacturer is still in business. A number of RV makers have come and gone in the past 15 years. Ask where the nearest dealer is, and how you’ll get parts quickly when you need them.
A motorhome has a lot of systems. It’s a house and a vehicle in one. So a quick impression and test drive are probably not enough. Spend considerable time with the unit. Walk through this checklist for safety, comfort, or quality elements that might not be apparent on the surface. It’s always a good idea to have a mechanic—preferably an RV dealer’s service center—check out a unit before you buy.
It’s always a good idea to have a mechanic—preferably an RV service center—check out a unit before you buy.
What’s Good for the Buyer…
If this list matters to a motorhome shopper, then it matters to a seller just as much. If you know you’ll be selling or trading your RV someday, purchase with that in mind. Choose a reputable make and model that holds its value—and take care of it with the eye of a future buyer.
RV manufacturers are innovators. Innovation is what they do. And, consumers? They work hard to keep up with the latest innovations in RVs as a way of helping them decide which RV brand they might want to purchase.
In today’s new world with the flood of new technology and with younger and younger buyers entering a very brisk RV marketplace, here are some of the overall trends we are seeing in the innovation of RVs:
RVs are becoming more aerodynamic and they’re using lighter materials. So not only will they look sleeker, they’ll be more fuel-efficient too.
RVs, and especially tow vehicles, are becoming smaller. Teardrop trailers are more popular than ever—and they’re also being designed more innovatively.
Your camping experience will be more comfortable. Manufacturers are producing some of the most enjoyable living spaces ever in 2017—both living and sleeping spaces will be more luxurious.
And, here are a couple of innovative, new RV models we’ve found interesting. One towable in a lower price range and one higher-end Class A Diesel we thought you might like to see:
(Do you know any new RV models that you feel show good innovations? Please advise in the comments below!)
2018 Dutchmen Kodiak Cub
Suggested MSRP for the Kodiak Cub starts at about $18,500.
About 21 feet in length and weighing around 3,300 pounds, the Cub is currently available in two popular floorplans, a rear dinette (176RD) and a bunkhouse model (175BH). Additional floorplans will be introduced later this summer.
The Kodiak Cub targets the fast-growing “young family” market of first-time RV campers looking for a travel trailer they can tow without the need for a specialized tow vehicle.
The Cub is a full 8 feet wide creating more interior living space and more storage. This differentiates it nicely from some competitive brands.
A residential-style bathroom is standard and includes a “dry bath” as opposed to the “wet bath” as found on most other units at this price level. (Ask your local dealer for details.)
Cool Factor: Exterior LED underbody lights!
A fully enclosed and heated underbelly gives you an extended camping season, and when you are towing the Dutchmen Kodiak Cub, you might even find that the Torsion Axle gives you a smoother ride and superior handling.
Modern colors, loads of storage. This one’s a beaut.
Check out what comes standard:
Solid Surface Counter Tops with LED backlighting
15″ Aluminum Rims
Stainless Steel Appliances
Heated and Enclosed Underbelly
Power Tongue Jack with Docking Light
32″ LED Flat Screen TV
39″ LED Flat Screen TV (291 Only)
Interior LED Lights
Tri Fold Sleeper Sofa (Select Models Only)
2nd A/C Prep w/50 AMP Service (Select Models Only)
Nexus RV has developed an impressive 38-foot Class A diesel pusher that’s not only for entertaining, it also works great for weekend adventures plus that “on the road” lifestyle we aspire to as well!
Good to know (and rather innovative): Nexus is a factory direct manufacturer. This means they sell direct to consumers and not through a network of Nexus dealers.
The new Bentley 38B offers a full kitchen — the largest kitchen in its class — that includes a 4-door stainless steel refrigerator with a water and ice dispenser, a 2-burner smooth induction cook top, a large stainless convection oven, a residential faucet with sprayer, and plenty of kitchen cabinetry to store food preparation essentials.
Opposite the open kitchen, a plush pull out sofa and dinette create roomy, comfortable seating for guests, as well as sleeping accommodations for their overnight stay. While meals are being prepared, family and friends may be entertained by the 46” LED TV and be warmed by the electric fireplace. Chairs in the front cab swivel and recline to add extra seating.
Warm up by the fireplace with your morning coffee.
The Bentley 38B has one full and one half-bath for when you travel or boondock with the whole family or are entertaining friends. The rear full bath, which is the featured highlight of this motor home, is the cream of the crop with a full one-piece pre-molded shower with seat and a glass shower door plus an option for either a washer/dryer or added storage space.
For outdoor entertainment, the Bentley 38B has a large electric patio awning with LED lights that shade and protect both the exterior entertainment center with LED TV and family or guests. Near the entertainment center, a door to an inside trash receptacle creates a cleaner outside environment plus under carriage pull-out bays provide easy access to outdoor seating and supplies.
Beautiful cabinets provide tons of storage. What do you think of the color?
Sleek looking and slideouts that provide plenty of room.
Here’s a video featuring Claude Donati and Dave Middleton of Nexus RV. It gives you a full demonstration of the new Nexus Bentley 38B — inside and out. Enjoy!
NeXus RV Bentley 38B Class A Diesel Pusher Motorhome Walkaround - YouTube
When you’re thinking about purchasing an RV and you’ve made the decision that you really want a motorized unit, take some time to do a quick survey of the marketplace to get a good overall view of your options.
Here’s a quick look or a rough survey of what’s available in motorized RVs today.
We have chosen the $75,000 to $125,000 price range. Of course, you can spend more, or you can spend less. As you look through the units we’ve selected here, feel free to modify the searches offered by …
Changing the price range to suite your own budget rage
Changing the year of unit you want to look at
Adding in your geographic preferences etc.
Feel free to use this article as a quick reference because a smart buyer is an informed buyer!
Class A – DieselClass A – GasClass BClass C
CLASS A – DIESEL
Class A Diesel Motorhomes are an RV type where the living accommodations are an integral part of the vehicle. Class A diesel Models typically range from 24 to 40 feet long, and (obviously) they are powered by a diesel engine, typically in the rear of the coach (also known as a ‘diesel pusher’).
At the lower end of our budget range, you might enjoy the 2006 Winnebago Journey 36G which can be purchased for around the $75,000 mark.
Class B Motorhomes, also known as a camping van conversion or van camper, are the most popular type of RV. Class B’s are built within the dimensions of a van, but with a raised roof to provide additional headroom. Basic living accommodations inside are ideal for short vacations or weekend trips. Models usually range from 16 to 21 feet.
Is a Class B right for you? Check out the 2017 Winnebago Travato, yours for a cool $79,998:
This particular model features the following:
Tinted windows for added privacy
Air conditioning for a comfortable sleep and for a mid day escape from the heat
A fully equipped kitchen truly making it a home away from home
The Travato has a sleek and classy exterior.
Although on the smaller side, the kitchen is fully equipped.
When you increase your budget for a Class B RV to the top end of our range, you might want to check out the nicely appointed 2017 Gulf Stream BT Cruiser 5291. Yours for $121,801.
The BT Cruiser comes on the Ford or the Mercedes chassis and is often Classed by dealers as Class B, Class B+ or even as a Class C RV. Keep this in mind.
Here’s what Gulf Stream BT Cruiser has to offer at this price point:
Two slideouts – The convenience of a motorhome with bonus space.
Skylight for plenty of natural light
Beautiful interior finishes such as hardwood and leather couches
The slideout provides extra room.
The interior finishes in this motorhome are classy. Check out the gorgeous hardwood.
Quick NOTE: When shopping for Class B and Class C RVs, keep in mind that RV Dealers sometimes classify their inventory more loosely than the strict definition of either Class.
What one Dealer calls a Class B, another Dealer will classify as a Class C RV. The Gulf Stream BT Cruiser is a good example with some dealers even calling this unit a Class B+. (See the shopping links below.)
It’s always good to have a look through both the Class B and Class C lists to locate the unit you’re most interested in.
A Class C Motorhome is typically an RV with the living accommodations built on a cutaway van chassis. A full sized bed in the area over the cab can help to allow for ample sleeping accommodations. Also called a “mini-motorhome” or “mini,” lengths range from approximately 16 to 32 feet.
Why Buy A Class C?
For $75,826 you can purchase this sweet, 2017 Thor Motor Coach Four Winds. Check out what this unit has to offer:
Plenty of interior room thanks to two slide outs
Tons of room to sleep–dinette converts to a bed and a sleeping area over the cab
Generally when shopping for an RV on RVT.com, most buyers have a fairly good idea of what they’re looking for. Example: Towable? Motorized? Buyers generally know.
But for many in-the-market RV shoppers, the rubber truly meets the road with … the budget.
How much are we willing to spend?
What monthly payment is going to “work” for us at this time?
So, buyers often wonder:
What Can We Reasonably Expect to Get for the Budget We’re Willing to Spend?
So, to assist in your RV shopping experience, over the next few weeks, RV Insight by RVT.com will offer buyers a few “quick survey” articles.
These are designed to give you various interesting options in towable (and motorized) RVs that you might want to investigate – within a given budget range.
Of course, our quick surveys are not meant to be exhaustive or all-encompassing. Rather, think of them as helpful to…
Highlight available options
Help give you a good place to start looking / shopping
A quick ‘taste-test’ of what is available in the market for RVs within given budget ranges
2018 KZ Connect 312BH — $28,988
A nice travel trailer can give a family plenty of room. And, at the $25,000 to $30,000 price range, many of these RVs can still be fairly lightweight. That said, it’s important to check the towing specs of your tow vehicle.
Some key features:
Rear bathroom with a separate bunk room (families love bunkhouse RVs!)
Enclosed bunkhouse has a dinette booth that converts into a bed, plus a bunk above it that folds up out of the way
Back-up camera and solar panel prep
High end finishes throughout
This travel trailer is lightweight and easily towed.
This unit features much sought after bunk beds.
A pre-owned travel trailer might just get you even more bang for your buck.
2009 Carriage Domani 2700 — $29,995
You’ll probably come across older units like this one. The great thing is … it’s fully loaded! If you stick to looking at only brand new models, you might not be able to get all the options you really want within your price range.
Check out some of the great features:
Slideout and skylights
Another light and easy to tow unit
Pre-owned doesn’t mean used condition. This unit still looks modern, tidy and ready for your next adventure. Great value for your $30,000 budget.
2018 Columbia Northwest Aliner Expedition — $27,598
Easy to set up and easy to fold down, many folks find themselves looking closely at these simple-to-tow hard walled folding trailers, the Aliner.
A lovely dinette that the family can comfortably sit around and share a meal together if you find yourself in a rainy summer evening
Large windows that afford plenty of natural light
Flush mount Euro-style sink and stove
Towable by many fuel-efficient vehicles
I love all of the natural light this unit offers. You can also stand upright in this gorgeous unit which folds right down and is a breeze to tow, park and set up.
This model is bright, airy and open. A great budget-friendly option.
Interesting Side Note: The Aliner factory is running a very fun contest on a special Facebook page. Visit that page to see videos by RVers who absolutely love their Aliners. Worth checking out! It’s called the 2018 Aliner Classic Giveaway.
2017 Keystone Passport 171EXP — $28,500
This cute little hybrid travel trailer is a bit different, featuring two queen tent beds so there’s plenty of room for the fam jam!
Some other key features you might like include:
6 Gal DSI Gas/Elect Hot Water Heater
Beautiful, interior finishes
Power Adjustable Awning, very handy if you like to move to different locations during your camping excursions
Two queen, folding tent beds ensure there’s plenty of room for everyone.
The modern colors, hardwood and undermount lighting will appeal to a lot of buyers.
An important aspect of (buying or) selling your RV is determining a fair market price. If you ask too much, you may lose potential buyers. Ask too little, and buyers may think there is something wrong with your amazing RV.
This will tabulate info from RVT.com’s 96,000+ active listings, and also, it will search the NADA Guides database for you as well.
Here’s a look at the chart which is produced from the example search above:
* Suggested Retail Price. RVT prices based on 4 matching listings on RVT.com. New or Pre-Owned.
How To Interpret This Pricing Data:
This chart provides some interesting retail pricing information. Let’s analyze:
The SRP is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price when the unit was new.
In the RVT.com column above you can see the highest and lowest prices for this unit and the average price of all of the same units for sale on RVT.com right now.
Under the NADA guides column, you see prices that these units have actually been sold for when they are in average and lower than average condition.
Please be sure you read the Disclaimer on that page as well since this tool is only a guide and ultimately you are setting your own price.
If you’d like to get even more specific as you do your pricing research, you can click the ‘advanced options’ button on the RVT.com form of the Price Checker page. This will display additional search options you can use as illustrated below:
It’s important to keep in mind that due to the vast number of different RV makes and models on the market, it is possible that you won’t be able to find your exact unit.
In this case you might want to search a year range rather than one specific year. Also, you might want to search more similar models than just your specific unit.
Additionally, feel free to go directly to the NADAGuides site for a more advanced search there as well.
Another Great RV Pricing Resource is RVT.com’s High, Medium and Low Price Chart.
Whenever you run a Search for a specific Year, Make and Model on RVT.com, your Search Results will automatically build you a graph that gives you the high, medium and low prices of those units currently for sale on RVT.com — for a number of years.
The example below is for a 2013 Newmar Dutch Star 4018. Use this graph in conjunction with the Price Checker data you’ve already seen to help you set the price for a unit you are selling or to help you determine — as a buyer — if the price of a unit you’re looking at purchasing is reasonable, set correctly.
An interesting side note: See the significant price drop over a short amount of time for this unit. From $445,000 for a brand new 2018 model today to only $229,000 for a 2014. That’s a $200,000 drop in 4 years. Definitely a factor to take into account.
“But, I Upgraded My RV Extensively …”
Another factor to consider when you set the price of the RV you are selling is any upgrades that you may have purchased with with the unit — or added later.
Upgrades like these can add good value to your RV. You should reflect these when setting your price.
That said, please remember:
“An upgrade is only valuable if you tell the buyer about it in your listing on RVT.com.”
A seller adds about $12,000.00 onto his price because of all the upgrades he has done.
Seller then fails to let buyers know about the upgrades in the description of his listing.
Seller writes a description like this: “Excellent condition.”
Sadly, this seller has neglected to tell would-be buyers who view his RV-for-sale listing on RVT that the unit is heavily upgraded.
You should avoid doing the same.
Pricing your RV — or an RV you’re looking at buying — can be tricky but it’s highly important and can mean the difference between selling fast … or … not!
Enjoy RVT.com’s Price Checker and the High, Medium and Low Pricing Charts (available when you run any Search down to the Model level.) They will give you a great “snap shot” of the market. You need that when you’re setting (or researching) the price on any RV.
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