We are first time, weekend at best, RVers. We are not really RV types. We just want an apartment on wheels for traveling, and that type of vehicle is referred to as an RV. We have been looking around at RVs for the last few months, flipping back and forth between Class C and Class B with a slight interest in the Thor Vegas mini-Class A. The View and Navion are nice, but scream RV and people who own Class C units such as those are definitely RVers. As far as Class B, the choices are surprisingly limited–those on the Mercedes chassis or those built on the ProMaster chassis. I must address the Travato and Zion, each built on the Promaster chassis. The floor plan on these units was good, workable (with weird features such as the need for a water pump on the Travato shower drain). But what is that thing on the front end of that chassis? The bug eyes, the protruding front end–it is by far the ugliest looking thing on the road, RV or not. I know some people think it is appealing. But really, it is not. It is an abomination of vehicle design. Please, no flames–This is but one man’s opinion. Note to Chrysler: That design alone lost you at least one sale. For future reference, avoid design by committee (did the Pontiac Aztek teach us anything?) The Brits who had the Travato across the US blog seemed to like the unit.
Because we only plan to travel over long weekends, working on the go, and want maneuverability, park-ability and stealth, we decided to go with a Class B on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis. The Roadtrek units are nice, but the increase in quality hardly justified the additional $20,000. With all the foregoing factors tossed into the decision blender, those who know anything about Class Bs can probably guess the unit we ended up with.
Our 2016 Jet Black Winnebago ERA 70X just arrived today in the Dallas area from Forest City, Iowa. Odometer: 975 miles. This unit rolled off the line the week of June 14, 2015 and it was pure happenstance that I stopped into McClain’s RV in Corinth Texas to check the inventory last week. I had looked at a black 2015 70A (the one without the slide), that McClains had on the lot in May and found the floorplan inefficient–the permanent bed in the back seemed like a big waste of space during the daytime. As far as the other ERA, I do not understand the addition of the slide to the 70C. It seems like a lot of potential problems and mechanical issues for an additional 8 inches of space in a unit that is already space challenged. If you really want a slide, go ahead and get the Navion/View. The dealer also had a 2015 70X up the road in Sanger, but alas, it was silver. I figured that since we are spending that much money on something, we might as well get what we want, including the color–even if we had to wait for it. Well, I showed up at McClains last week not expecting to buy a unit–and had the fortune of running into Nate McClain. He called his rep in Iowa and the rest is history–brand new 2016 black 70X rolling off the line. As far as negotiating price–nothing beats hashing it out with the owner of the dealership. We got to the best price quick, had a couple of kickers put in, and the deal was done–subject to the delivery of the unit.
I had been looking at a Winnebago 2015 ERA 70X at a dealer in the Midwest at a fantastic price and one in Central Texas at a less competitive price. Both of them seemed to have been on their lots a long time (Note to dealers, when your June RVT photos show the unit sitting in the snow, it might be time to update the photos). Although both of those dealers were fair and good to deal with, the deal turned on getting a fresh 2016 unit off the line, vs. one that has been sitting on the lot for a number of weeks/months.
The price on the 2016 was competitive enough with the 2015 prices that it made sense to go ahead and get the fresh 2016 version with the lane drift and collision avoidance system. Oddly though, the unit had all the upgrades, except the back screen. We will see how much we will miss cross ventilation living in mosquito country. Surely, there must be inexpensive rear screens available after market. We also need carpet for the cab. Seems cheap of Winnebago not to just throw those in. Maybe they did and they were in the back of the unit and I missed them. We will see when we pick up the RV.
The dealer needs a couple of days to clean up the unit and install the King satellite dish. So we will pick it up Thursday and do the pre-delivery inspection then. We plan to use the unit to travel to distance running and cycling events in Texas and surrounding states as well as travel around the Southwest and West Coast. We will keep this blog updated with all things 70X that we encounter over the next couple of years–good, bad and ugly. Hopefully, any issues we have can be quickly fixed by our dealer. If all goes according to plan, this blog will turn into a resource for RV first timers–as we will document all the things we learn including all of our issues.