Originally Posted by nytredburn
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?
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.