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wabbit 09-20-2012 07:46 PM

Decisions, decisions...
We just got back from a great trip to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington (state). There were a lot of motorhomes on the roads and it was interesting to note the areas where we saw a lot of class B's and the other areas where the class A folks were moving to a new location.

I, of course, was promoting our upcoming purchase of a B and mentioning how many more campgrounds and RV parks there were than motels. My wife began asking some tough questions that sent me backwards in the search. I thought that we had decided on a Roadtrek Agile because of its short length and the ability to use it to replace my current vehicle for everyday use. She was reciting a list of my complaints about our previous B and asking some very good questions.

Our old Coachmen B was on the 250 Ford chassis and was also underpowered. Since our favorite locations involve twisty mountain and coast roads, the constant lean and rocking on the 250 chassis was annoying. She asked about the difference between the Roadtrek Agile and Adventurous with respect to chassis stiffness. I began to wonder too if the 3500 Sprinter chassis would be more to our liking. If so, that would also bring the Great West and others into the selection process.

So, what are the tradeoffs? When visiting all of those cute little towns, I could easily see that the shorter B would be easier to find parking for. The smaller turn radius would also help in the small towns. I only saw one campground where the length would make a difference. What else am I missing in the evaluation process?

Davydd 09-20-2012 08:58 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
The Agile is a bit more agile but you give up an awful lot, IMO. The standard length Sprinter (22'-9") has proven to me to be able to go anywhere I desire. The only thing that would change that would be to carry a hitch receiver cargo carrier or bikes. Then the length exceeds many parking spots and starts to poke out into the driving lanes. Also, the extended length Sprinter (24'-1") starts exceeding comfortable parking most places.

The 3500 Sprinter dually is a very stable riding platform. You could get that in the short Sprinter as well if you went a Sportsmobile route. I just looked at an Agile yesterday. I liked the Pleasure-way Ascent better but they are no longer sold. If I wanted to go the short Sprinter route I think Sportsmobile would be my only option. I wish US companies would take note of this German company. ... .htm#start

They have a lot of options built on the short Sprinter wheel base and even shorter one not sold in America as well as 4WD models. I got to see one on our Alaska trip.

wabbit 09-20-2012 11:22 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
For the 22' length, do you need to go find RV parking?

Since there are only the two of us, we would install the additional closet/cabinets instead of the extra seats. I can see how that would be very handy on trips. What else would we be giving up with the shorter Agile? I'm sure there must be something I didn't see when visiting the dealer.

From what you have posted about your GWV, I'd be very interested to look at them. Unfortunately, my nearest dealer is 600 miles away. Since the Roadtrek dealer is only 40 miles away, I can easily visit there and compare the two lengths. If we decide on the 22' length, a road trip to see the GWV will be in order.

teachergal 09-21-2012 01:09 AM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
I can get my 24' Sprinter into a standard parking spot but only if I can back in and have space behind me for overhang. If I put the back wheels against the curb it fits just fine.

I have the 3500 with the dual rear tires and it handles beautifully! I've driven it on some windy backroads and it's great!

teachergal 09-21-2012 01:11 AM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
Just thought of what I was gonna add...
The dually is a bit of a pain when driving toll roads...the states of NY, MJ and MD all charge you more than double for their tolls (and there are a lot on the main interstates) just b/c you have 6 tires. MA, NH and ME all charged me like a car. Haven't driven toll roads in any other state yet.

wabbit 09-21-2012 03:59 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
Aside from the 3500 chassis stability, were there other reasons why you chose the longer unit over the shorter one? I can see how the extra storage space would be handy, but is there something else that I haven't noticed? Is the bed/couch area about the same?

Davydd 09-21-2012 05:09 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
The Agile bed is not even across. The passenger side is a few inches shorter plus a retractable bathroom lavatory hangs over the bed. I'd judge an Agile to be not for tall people if that makes a difference.

The 3500 chassis has much more load capacity. The converters all went to 3500s for the standard 170" wb van simply because the 2500 could not handle the weight. It took most a couple of years to figure that out. Pleasure-way knew it from the get go with the newer V6 engine models. I haven't investigated the short wb load capacity.

wabbit 09-21-2012 06:02 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
Thanks Davyyd. The bed length makes a big difference for me. I guess the decision is getting easier. Now if only the GWV Legend dealer wasn't 600 miles away... One thing that I like about the Roadtrek is that the driver and passenger seats both have two arm rests, where it seems that the Legend only has one. It sounds like a small thing, but I've discovered that it matters to me.

Davydd 09-21-2012 07:14 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
The problem with the Roadtreks is they put the microwave below counter and the refrigerator on the floor. I've never understood that especially with an older population demographic that would rather bend over as little as possible. Also they reverse the kitchen to the driver's side with the tall bathroom blocking half the sliding door opening and blinding the driver from seeing through windows for traffic coming up on the right side. That too has always been a mystery to me. For those two reasons alone I've always favored the LTV, P-W and GWVan plans. I'm cool to Winnebago ERA and Airstream Interstate for those reasons too, though the ERA has an alternative plan that's pretty good.

You can talk directly to GWVan about your desires and they will work with you. They are semi-custom in what they do and I bet they might be willing to undertake putting on two armrests if that would make the sale. Last June when I visited the GWVan factory the president was personally delivering a Legend that had been altered for accessibility to a new owner in Louisiana.

I'm on my second Sprinter, second converter, second dealer. I liked them both but the second time around I was less willing to compromise on my desires and needs, and had a much better idea of my wants from experience. You ought to explore Sportsmobile and Advanced-RV as well. Sportsmobile is custom and Advanced-RV is so new I think they would be willing to work with you as well.

wabbit 09-21-2012 08:04 PM

Re: Decisions, decisions...
The kitchen on the driver's side made sense to me with the shorter Agile, with that very cool swing-up table for the front seats. I really like the design of that table. :clap: I can see your point with the longer units, though. I have a hard enough time swiveling around to see on some of those angled entry roads without something blocking my view. I also really like the screen for the side door in the GWV.

My nearby Roadtrek dealer is located near some mountain twisties, so I expect to be doing some evaluation drives, figuring that the weight and center of gravity should be similar for most mfrs on that chassis. There is also an LTV dealer "nearby". Now that my wife is fully on board with the purchase as soon as the unit is chosen, I can certainly find the time to do the detailed evaluation. :D

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