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Old 02-11-2018, 07:15 PM   #1
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Cool Hymer Activ post test drive buying thoughts

So went out yesterday and finally test drove an activ (1.0) this was my first ever class B test drive so i really dont have anything to compare it to. Also go to spend alot more time in it below are my observations.

From the test drive.

Pros:
seems like has a decent turning radius.
Mirrors are big enough to see most everything.
power seems ok
seats seem ok comfortabe

Cons:
engine noise seems abit loud
NO TILT STEERING WHEEL!!! (this is very annoying)
rearview mirror useless as you can only see out the passenger rear window
I was not able to test rear camera as it was a non OEM deck and face plate was not available for some reason.

Other items
Build quailty does seem to be lacking at least in the one they had on display. this may have been a show or demo unit but it becomes pretty easy to tell what's gonna give after time.

-Leather seats wrap becoming loose and not tucked in
- some drawers not properly aligned
- cheap wood? cabinetry
- spare tire need to be folded down in order to open the rear doors. so need to have at least 2 -3 more feet behind you to do this. all those parked at the beach pics! lol not sure if i wanna lift that thing up and down too much . i suppose you can remove it (good idea?)

I was not able to test any of the electrical , as these were winterized and i think the batteries were dead in all of them im sure.(sitting on the lot outside) This brings me to my next thought.
If the build quality of the interior is somewhat so so , does this translate to the electrical / battery system?
My originall thought was to look at all the bells an whistles , but now im thinking to remove all this eco trek lithum stuff as i see a possible nightmare....i did say POSSIBLE When i asked to turn the lights on one of the other models the inverted would not turn on and the sales person tried to jump it but no luck, i understand that this is part of maintenece but this also makes me question weather i should be buying something that has lithum and has been sitting on the lot for months .....maybe straight from the factory is a safer option.
As far as i can tell i would almost remove all the options. 1. Lithum 2. second matress (build my own) 3. no power sofa (prefer the bed) 4. volt start (not sure when i would use it) 5. power door steps (these i know would be demolished in out CDN winters)

in summary,
i really think that the price of the fully loaded model of the activ is over prriced for eh, so , so quality and being such a new product with all the lithum stuff...just feel like more of a beta tester

Im going to compare my fully equipped price with no options besides the solar...doesn any one know what kind of agm batteries they install ? (AMP hours etc...)

Thanks
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:27 PM   #2
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In Ontario, the batteries almost certainly were in cold shutdown for at least charging. At -4*F they can be even by damaged by sitting in the cold.

It sounds like you need to do a factory order to get what you what, and probably go with AGM batteries instead. You will save a lot money, and likely troubles.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:54 PM   #3
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Were you primarily interested in the Aktiv because of the jump seat?
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Old 02-11-2018, 10:46 PM   #4
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I too looked at a Aktive 1.0 but didn't drive. The wife liked it and the two person jump seat is one of the things we like. The dealer had the front seats swiveled so it was a nice looking dinning area, but after thinking about it the two person seat does not look comfortable for traveling..
the aisle seemed narrow.
The cassette toilet.......I have one now and it's great for traveling. It's really only good for Pee and emergency pooping. It is not fun to empty with anything other than liquids.
After thinking and looking at what's available I put a deposit down at a conversion shop (over 1 year out) to build what I want.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:18 AM   #5
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I too looked at a Aktive 1.0 but didn't drive. The wife liked it and the two person jump seat is one of the things we like. The dealer had the front seats swiveled so it was a nice looking dinning area, but after thinking about it the two person seat does not look comfortable for traveling..
the aisle seemed narrow.
The cassette toilet.......I have one now and it's great for traveling. It's really only good for Pee and emergency pooping. It is not fun to empty with anything other than liquids.
After thinking and looking at what's available I put a deposit down at a conversion shop (over 1 year out) to build what I want.
Jon
Same here, the wife likes the layout , I'm eh about it not terrible but not great.
The "jump seats" are eh, but i folded down the dinette table and there is much more leg room that way and i think with a small ottoman to put your legs up it might be ok for 2 smaller people.

I wish we had some of the conversion shops up her in CDN , i think since this is our first we will make a somewhat of a mistake not matter what in picking but so far im leaning with no ecotrek stuff.

So far everything is eh, its ok feeling but not great.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:29 AM   #6
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Same here, the wife likes the layout , I'm eh about it not terrible but not great.
The "jump seats" are eh, but i folded down the dinette table and there is much more leg room that way and i think with a small ottoman to put your legs up it might be ok for 2 smaller people.

I wish we had some of the conversion shops up her in CDN , i think since this is our first we will make a somewhat of a mistake not matter what in picking but so far im leaning with no ecotrek stuff.

So far everything is eh, its ok feeling but not great.
The two conversion shops I've talked to quit installing forward passenger seats in the Promaster because RAM is not going to make a passenger version. The shops will make a frame for a raised floor but will not install the seats. Nothing is perfect.

Have you tried Get-Away RV centre LTD in Abbotsford, BC, Canada. I think they convert Sprintes.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:39 AM   #7
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A couple of Canadian companies you might consider are Okanagan (Ford Transit) and Safari Condo (GMC, Promaster, Sprinter).
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:20 PM   #8
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To be honest, are you sure you were driving an Activ 1.0?? They all come with the upgraded chassis with radio/gps/back-up. (Sony or OEM) Nor do they come with a power sofa - it is not even an option on their order form. (it is on the Activ 2.0) I wonder if this is some odd show model which explains its condition. Did you check out the cassette toilet? Drop down sink?

At least the steering wheel telescopes now... the first were not adjustable at all. LOL

No one who drives an RV uses the rearview mirror. You can not and will not be able to use them for anything useful. That is why you have the big mirrors and back-up camera. I never even open the back curtains in my Roadtrek 170 when I'm driving.

The best place to find Activ owners is their Facebook page - not factory related, so they discuss the issues - bad and good. A special order will get rid of the things that make you nervous - like the lithiums, power steps, continental tire - which are all options. Standard batteries as listed on their website is 2 6v AGMs.
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:13 AM   #9
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My 2014 PM built Sept 2013 has telescoping steering wheel. Never heard of one that didn't.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:02 AM   #10
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no tilt , telescoping yes. The position of the steering wheel and the drivers seat is funky IMO
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:13 AM   #11
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no tilt , telescoping yes. The position of the steering wheel and the drivers seat is funky IMO
I guess it's time to drive and compare a gas Transit vs a gas Promaster. I do love the width, floor hight, and front drive of the Promaster though.
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Old 02-13-2018, 02:03 AM   #12
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no tilt , telescoping yes. The position of the steering wheel and the drivers seat is funky IMO


It feels different because you are sitting up H-I-G-H
... with the huge windshield in front of you, it can take a minute to get yourself oriented.

Remember, you are not looking forward; you are looking slightly down. The same is with the steering wheel... it is not pointing forward; it is pointing down. This is not a sedan. This is a truck, a bus, a van.
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Old 02-13-2018, 01:38 PM   #13
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It feels different because you are sitting up H-I-G-H
... with the huge windshield in front of you, it can take a minute to get yourself oriented.

Remember, you are not looking forward; you are looking slightly down. The same is with the steering wheel... it is not pointing forward; it is pointing down. This is not a sedan. This is a truck, a bus, a van.

Everyone is different but when I get in a Sprinter or a Transit, the seats, steering wheel and driving position seems fine, comfortable and "normal." I can easily go back and forth between these vans and my cars. When I get in a Promaster I wonder how anyone could drive this thing on a long trip. I think they screwed it up. Everyone is different though.
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Old 02-13-2018, 02:27 PM   #14
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Everyone is different but when I get in a Sprinter or a Transit, the seats, steering wheel and driving position seems fine, comfortable and "normal." I can easily go back and forth between these vans and my cars. When I get in a Promaster I wonder how anyone could drive this thing on a long trip. I think they screwed it up. Everyone is different though.
Yes this does concern me as a potential buyer, since i cannot anticipate how it would feel for longer drives , me and the mrs are smaller and it just seems like we were "reaching" for the steering wheel as its positioned almost at a 45 degree angle towards the roof.

im getting angina from all this rv shopping!
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:05 PM   #15
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Everyone is different but when I get in a Sprinter or a Transit, the seats, steering wheel and driving position seems fine, comfortable and "normal." I can easily go back and forth between these vans and my cars. When I get in a Promaster I wonder how anyone could drive this thing on a long trip. I think they screwed it up. Everyone is different though.
You're right, the Promaster driving position is different. Very different. It has an European feel, similar to driving a VW bus. North Americans are used to drive cars and trucks in a more laid back position with the reassuring protuberant hood in front of you.

The funny thing with the Promaster is once you drive it becomes so agile (because of the FWD) and the visibility is so great that you get a totally different feeling about the ergonomics of the vehicle when in motion. Of all the vans I've driven it's the one I prefer. OK, it wouldn't do any harm for some to have a tilting steering wheel because the ideal position is to sit pretty close to the dash, with your right knee almost touching the ignition keys.

My wife and I have been driving this beast for 400 miles stretches without ever complaining. You are actually in a better position because your are sitting very straight. Our upfitter jacked up the seats an additional 1 1/4" to install the swivels because Dodge wasn't offering the option back in 2014. I've rented Promasters for work and the difference in seat height is noticeable but not annoying. My only complain is not being able to rest my left arm on the window sill. I've seen people installing cushions on the door handle. The European version seats have arm rests on both sides. That would help but the NA side airbags forbids the use of these additional armrests.

It's a great van but you have to get used to it. No wonder they sold millions of them in Europe and they didn't change at all the driving ergonomic parameters in the new 2016 version.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:55 PM   #16
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I got home last night from an 1,875-mile solo trip in my PM. This yearly trip is the only time I ever get to drive because MrNomer insists on driving when we are together. I can say without equivocation that this is by far the most comfortable and most fun vehicle I have ever driven, and I've been through several nice MB's and BMW's.

When we test-drove the PM, it felt like crap. I had some serious misgivings, but I bought it anyway because I liked most everything else about it. When I got it home, I got serious about adjusting the seats, which can be a bit counter-intuitive. Once I got them set, all was better than good.

In a car, the legs are stretched out in front. We had to stop often for breaks and the first few steps would be painful hobbles. With the PM, I only need to stop for pee breaks, and then I just get out of my "chair" and walk. Legs, hips, back are all happy.

MrNomer and I are both 5'7". I've seen the same report from guys over 6'. It's all in the adjustment. If this van were so uncomfortable with no easy fix, it wouldn't be the most popular (75%) camper cab in Europe.
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Old 02-17-2018, 04:37 PM   #17
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Fiat must be doing things right as shown on this table, I just wish to see some of their powertrains here, their 2l diesel gets almost 40MPG.
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:46 AM   #18
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When I got it home, I got serious about adjusting the seats, which can be a bit counter-intuitive. Once I got them set, all was better than good.

Can you explain the counter intuitive bits? How did you adjust the seats? More upright and forward than one would sit in a car?

Havenít driven one yet but was comfortable sitting in one, except for no door side arm rest. Will have to fix that.



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Old 02-18-2018, 08:48 AM   #19
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Iím surprised to hear a Hymer branded vehicle would have build quality issues. I would think they would make sure to get that right (and fixing up Roadtrek should be job number 1.)

I havenít noticed anything in an ACTIV, but the Carado I looked at was a hot mess.


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Old 02-18-2018, 04:18 PM   #20
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The counter-intuitive bit is that you don't just raise/lower the seat part. Raise/lower the front edge and back edge separately, which allows almost infinite adjustment of the slope. The end result is you sitting upright in a comfortable chair with your right foot out a bit for the pedal, but left can sit flat on the floor under your knee. No pressure from seat edge under thighs, but no tendency to scoot forward either. Left leg neither bent under nor hyperextended. Back is relatively vertical, not reclined as in a car, thus less stress on neck and shoulders.

I don't have lumbar support. I suspect it is less relevant in this upright position than in a car.
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