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Old 11-09-2015, 09:36 PM   #1
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Default Choosing a Class B Sprinter

Hi folks,
My wife and I, along with her cousin, are close to buying an RV. We've narrowed down our choice to a lightly used Roadtrek (looking at an 2014 RS Etrek) or a similarly aged Airstream Interstate vs. a new Winnebago Era. We can get a new Era for under $90,000 while the used vehicles are priced slightly more expensively. Bottom line, we want to get the best vehicle we can for one to two people to travel in, for under $100,000. What would you recommend?
Thanks, Tom
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:07 PM   #2
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Limiting my comments to the choices you present, I think you have a clear tradeoff:
1) The Interstates are very glitzy, with good designs, good systems and relatively high-end materials, but IMO their build quality is very questionable. (I say this as a former Interstate owner, and also as a follower of the Airstream forums).
2) RT has very interesting technologies, but uninspired designs and poor build quality.
3) Winnebagos are far more modest in their aspirations (lower-end materials, simpler systems), but are well-built and often well-designed. They look to me to provide very good value for the money.

I think it is very likely that you will have many fewer hassles out of the door with the Winnebago. OTOH, most of the problems with the Interstate (at least with ours) are fixable, so if you are handy or patient with warranty work, you could end up with a very fine rig. We loved ours once it was sorted, but it took a lot of work and time. I really don't know whether or not the same could be said of RT.
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Old 11-09-2015, 10:40 PM   #3
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Default Thanks for advice on Sprinters

Hi Avanti,
That's very helpful. I notice you bought a Great West van. They are not easy to find where we live in the Northeast. That said, love to hear your thinking about why you chose Great West, vs. all the other choices out there?
Thanks, Tom
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Old 11-10-2015, 12:41 AM   #4
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Of course, I recommend the WGO as well.

The new Era has some significant upgrades you might want to consider - upgraded cabinetry design, the Truma heating & water heating system and an energy management system (EMS) and now a solar option. The Truma is a real game changer and will make any coach alot more liveable.

I'd echo Avanti's comments - WGO often takes a conservative approach and only uses gear that is proven. The same could be said of Pleasureway, but you didn't list them as a choice. I'd put WGO and Pleasureway on par in alot of respects, but the PW is a tad more expensive.
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Old 11-10-2015, 12:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nytredburn View Post
Hi Avanti,
That's very helpful. I notice you bought a Great West van. They are not easy to find where we live in the Northeast. That said, love to hear your thinking about why you chose Great West, vs. all the other choices out there?
Thanks, Tom
First of all, I want to make sure you are aware that, sadly, Great West is current not operating, and may well be gone forever. So, going with them would mean either used or remaining stock (probably without warranty).

That said, I will answer your question:
When we were shopping for a replacement for our 2005 Interstate, we had a long wish list for our new van. We did not want to compromise any more than necessary on this list. So, we went to the Hershey show and looked at all the options. We immediately rejected Airstream and RT on the basis of build quality. We were looking for a higher-end rig than what Winnebago was offering, so they dropped off as well. The only other upfitter that inspired us was LTV (who is not making B-vans right now, but they were then). There were no show stoppers, but we ultimately decided that we weren't going to be happy without a bunch of customization. OTOH, we weren't up for a clean-slate custom build.

So, we looked around and concluded that the only two upfitters who met our needs were ARV and GWV. They offered very similar products--the basic ARV design was derived from GWVs, so floor plans and basic systems were nearly identical, the difference being that ARV offered ultra-high finishes and exotic vehicle automation with prices to match. It was actually a close call between the two, but at the end of the day, we decided that the things that ARV could do for us that GWV couldn't were all things that we just didn't particularly value. (This is not to say that they aren't wonderful--they are. Just not what we wanted). So, we did a factory-direct special-order Legend and pretty much got our dream van. Since delivery, I have done a number of DIY improvements (mostly upgrading the power system and converted the plumbing for 4-season use--things that would have come automatically from ARV).

Bottom line: We chose a Legend because of very good base build quality, a near ideal floorpan, excellent systems, and a willingness to customize. Our upgrades included a compressor refrigerator, high-capacity inverter/charger, a carefully-designed control panel with direct control of all systems. I'm sure we wouldn't have regretted a decision to go with ARV, but the path we took got us everything we wanted for a LOT less money. When it comes time for #3, we'll see...

If you can find a Legend and don't mind buying an orphaned brand, it would be well worth considering.
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Old 11-10-2015, 02:52 AM   #6
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My old 2011 Great West Van Legend is still at Lake Region RVs in Minnesota. I suspect the mileage (65,000 miles) has probably scared quite a few people off but it had new Michelin tires, was well maintained and most all the miles were easy highway miles. As far as I am concerned none of the mentioned RVs can match it.

Great West Vans 2011 Legend
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