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Old 06-26-2011, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

Being new to RV's, I can see that Roadtreks seem to be the most popular in sales, but I'd love to hear from folks who can either speak to their experiences with their own Class B Camper Van, and even better, if they can compare between makes (Roadtrek, Pleasure Way, Forest River, Sportsmobile, etc).

Sorry I'm not too savvy, so feel free to clarify. If someone could help me post a list of options to vote from, that'd be great!

Thanks for voting.

EDIT: Also, I guess I'm asking mainly about used Class B's, but I'm also open to newer models. And does anyone think the VWs are comparable in quality, reliability of Roadtreks? Thanks
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Old 06-26-2011, 10:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

Best is the B that lets you travel a often as you want
Best could be the best dealer in your area.
Best could be the best price.
Best could be the longest bed or most headroom if you are tall.
Best would be the B that is easiest to park if it is your daily driver.

In general, B manufacturers all build a very good product. The quality will be much better than what you would find in a low end Class C.

Over time, more people will post reviews here:
Class B Camper Van Reviews

Roadtrek owner support has always impressed me. Their owner manuals are available for download (dating back to 1987), brochures are available for download (dating back to 197. Those details resonate with me. The decision to do it and the extra effort it took.

Best is too hard for me to pick though.............
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

Don't get too fixated on a converter. Most all Class B converters produce quality products. The differences are in the design layouts and details, and that comes down to a personal need and desire. I've bought from two different converters based, at the time, the one that had the most features and layout I was seeking. I did narrow down my searches to Sprinters for many reasons and then I narrowed down the converters to a basic layout I preferred. Then I started looking at the details with imagineering and actual walkthroughs in all of them I liked. You really have to do your homework. What others prefer may not be to your liking at all. So you can't depend on that. Ask more the why and not the which.

My first B was more difficult and not so difficult at the same time. Difficult in that I was a novice starting from scratch in knowledge and experience. Not so difficult because opportunity struck like lightning in that my most researched desires and a fantastic deal came together in one. In hindsight (2006) I still think I made the best decision. It was a Pleasure-Way Plateau.

My second B was much easier. After 5 years of extensive travel covering over 60,000 miles I had a lot of knowledge and was really looking to improve on the details to take me another 5 years down the road. As it turned out, the Great West Van Legend pretty much answered every little desire I had to improve on my first B and much more than any of the others.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:29 AM   #4
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

I'm no pro to make a comparison but in my opinion there are two main factors. The first one is the vehicle, Ford, Chevy, Dodge etc. How can you say what is best there. I believe all three can make a good or bad product and the best is one that won't break down and give you years of reliability. From there the second factor is all the appliances. I believe most all use basicly the same brands, for the most part, so again reliability isn't a factor as far as the manufacturer of the B goes. All that is left for choice on the manufacturer is as stated in previous post what works for you as far as floor layout, dealer and the deal. If you plan on having it serviced the individual dealer can make that a good or bad experiance just like the vehicle make and their dealer network.
Although I bought used, I knew what I definetly wanted as far as appliances etc, and also what I would like then searched for the best deal. Since I didn't buy localy I didn't consider dealer service.
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Old 06-27-2011, 04:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

The best class B van, is the one that works for you.
You'll know which one it is, when you find it.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

What I have learned since getting involved with RVs in the past two years is that there are certain loaded questions that one can ask - and they always start with "What is the best...". This is like asking, "What is better, chocolate or vanilla?" And the answers that you will get about RVs is just as varied as what you will get about ice cream. The best Class B is the Class B that appeals most to you.

We decided upon Roadtrek. We also looked at Pleasureway. Why didn't we look at any of the others? Simply, there are no dealers that sell them that we could get to. And some are sold at the factory only - and those factories are across the country from us. Why did we pick Roadtrek over Pleasureway - the PW model that appealed to me was too large to fit on my driveway (PW Excel). Roadtrek offered us everything that we were looking for, fit on the driveway, and we could get to the dealer - which is 200 miles away - but that is how dealerships for both RT and PW are - scattered around the country. We bought new and not used because we wanted specific options that required ordering new.

There are positives and negatives about each of the companies - and if you read through all of the various forums you will find a lot of opinions. And again - there are PW lovers, and RT lovers, and so on. And everyone is partial to their own. Plus you will encounter the Class B lovers vs the B+ lovers vs the C lovers.

My advice is go to an RV show - spend some time in each one. See what you like and don't like. Even if you are buying used you will then know what you want and what to avoid. After that test drive - and if you can, rent one and spend a couple of nights in one. No matter what someone else says is wonderful, you may find is not for you.

Also be aware that other than the vehicle chassis/engine (Ford, Chevy, Sprinter, etc.), RV warranty service is not like car warranty service. RV Dealers have no obligation to service an RV under warranty that they did not sell - even if they sell that manufacturer's RV. If you buy a RT at dealer A, dealer B service will not do warranty work for you. And this goes for PW, and the rest.
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Old 06-29-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

I agree with other posts that the "best" one is the one that works for you. We rented two different classes before buying. It came down to gas mileage, cost of rig, placement of appliances, ease of parking, and a few other options. But once it is yours and you take a few trips, like a house, it becomes yours, the rig is your home. It is not a temporary hotel room or an extra bedroom in a friends house as you travel through an area, but YOUR home. Good luck and whatever you choose, embrace the joy of travel.
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Old 07-03-2011, 04:37 AM   #8
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

Thank you so much folks for the awesome posts and info/feedback, each one unique in its own way. I really appreciate it!

I knew when putting it out there that the question is difficult, BUT you each gave me GREAT insights into how to begin approaching my search for the right Class B RV (btw, I'm not sure what Class B+ is. Tried to do a quick Google search, but no definitions, and I can't search this site while I'm typing this post...), helpful asides, the fact it is 'home', and just encouraging words (search and it will come). *grin*

I wrote a lengthy post here http://www.classbforum.com/phpBB2/vi...5&t=1851#p8799 about what I'm generally looking for in an RV. It's in the Roadtrek poll because as far as used and affordable and overall reliable/well-designed goes, Roadtreks and the occasional VW Eurovans seem to be only thing available in Ontario, Canada.

As for going to an RV Show, Robert1776, I think you're right. I was too impatient at first (summer's here, gotta get an RV now!) and conversely feeling overwhelmed, that I didn't think waiting for a show would help me. But I think you're probably right - it's the best way to see and compare things to see what works. Gotta wait till the fall, though, here in Toronto, Canada. *sigh*

And thank you for the dealer servicing tip/insight. I just assumed I could go anywhere and get the work done, if necessary - esp with Roadtrek.

Thanks markopolo for noting RT's online brochure and manual thing, plus pointing out the Review link. Good to know, and you're right, it says a lot about RT's commitment to customers.

Interestingly, I was looking at an '87 Roadtrek, which seemed quite well-designed and obviously rugged, having survived the years. Only thing is, I don't believe it had a shower, and I'm not sure if there was a toilet (I have to check the ad again). If it's in good condition and not requiring any serious repair, it'd be a good starter RV for me, I think. Esp cost-wise. But who knows, such an old rig could turn into a nightmare, too.

I also did wonder about the different car makes. I'm not too savvy, to be honest, esp as it relates to large vehicles. All I know is, I want excellent fuel economy and overall reliability. I saw one RV ad recently that said 28 mpg - wow! Can't remember which one, off the top. May post later...

Has anyone heard anything at all about http://www.New-West.com and their Class B RV's? I forgot to mention them in the list. They are also Canadian-made and seem quite good - I like the pop-up top sleeper idea. But no one out there is talking about this Class B RV company at all. Nada. Their videos do leave one wishing for more info. Roadtrek's product video is so detailed and helpful.

Like I mentioned in my other post, RT's small fridge size is such a sticking point for me. I really think I need a 4 cu ft fridge. Ack! Otherwise, RT is so complete in many ways. But as Davydd and others mentioned, sometimes an overall complete package comes along at the right price or with the right things thrown in that you just have to Go For It!

Like I've come across one-off deals where the RV had solar panels, or another had self-contained battery back-up, so you could survive a week or two solely on that battery and then it recharges when you drive. Another one had an Add-A-Room thrown in. Little things like that are quite appealing/handy, tho' I'm def. no techie, so I don't know if what I'm saying makes much sense in practical terms. I have to rely solely on the experience/feedback of the seller to tell me why that's a good thing or not.

Anyway, thank you all again - REALLY APPRECIATE IT! Happy travels everyone!!

And way to go Davydd. I can't even imagine racking up that much experience, but I love your verve!
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Great sites:
http://www.rveducation101.com
http://www.cheaprvliving.com
http://www.greenrvliving.com
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http://tinyurl.com/6ky2sgx (compost toilet)
http://www.rv-dreams.com
(full-timing)
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

it looks like new west and safari condo are similiar I think you can only get them in canada.

I have been searching for a b and have decided on a pleasure way excel. however because this enlarged model has had some handling issues in past I would only buy a 2011 or newer that has the latest pleasure way handling installs. I think you get most for shortest length. If you seacrh b's in rv.net you will learn about prior years handling issues.
(side generator/tire under rear/bathroom in this model) are great plusses in my book. as for refigerator you can get bigger ones sportsmobile
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Which is Best Class B Camper Van? Make or Model

The Winnebago Rialta was/is made on a VW chassis I think, and it's supposed to get some very good gas mileage
with it's V6 engine, I've seen 24 mpg or higher estimates.
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