I attended the Hershey RV show on Friday, September 12, 2014. The following is rather a long review of this trip, but Iím grouped my observations, so you can scroll down to what may interest you.
What struck me as odd about this show was that actual factory reps were hard to come by. It was more of a dealer show, and you had to deal with the very limited knowledge of dealership salesmen. Another thing that gave me a chuckle, was that because I was alone (with no spouse), and obviously not a septuagenarian, the sales people gave me very little attention or bother. That was a good thing actually. Even though I could write a check for anything on the lot, I was able to explore at peace and not have to fight off persistent salesmen thinking there was blood in the water.
My primary goal was to look at the new Pleasure-Way Lexor on the Promaster chassis. There are already pics on the forum and online, so Iím posting here that hopefully include different views or items not in those pics. To put in mildly, I was very impressed with this coach. There was a factory rep around, but I couldnít find him to ask all the questions I wanted. The salesman kept insisting that this unit was a prototype only, they were only taking orders, and that this unit would go back to the factory for ďtweakingĒ. He also offered that I could by it for $84k, even thought the sign they posted were saying it was $89k. Their website lists this unit maxed out for $98k.
Iíd posted several times that I thought the fresh water tank would be under the forward locker. Well, as you can see, that seems impossible from the picture. With these nice drawers in the bottom, there is just not room.
But as you can see on the outside of the van, the water fill and the waste outlet is in this area. Notice the waste pipe comes out of the bottom of the van below the locker area.
Also in the pic above, you see in the background a big black tank. This is the 24 gallon fuel tank that is provided by RAM. My Travato has the same tank.
While I was under there, I started my search for the black and gray tanks. All I saw was a bunch of metal and open space. What those sides skirts are needed to hide is beyond me. I think Pleasure-Way includes them because itís just something they include on all their vans.
As far as the generator and lp tank go, as you can see, they are behind the rear axle as I had expected. Also, in the following pic, you can see the two-battery box that is accessible from the top, at the very rear of the van. This box looks like it could hold two group 31 batteries if you wanted a bit more capacity.
The salesman insisted that all the tanks are inside the van, above the floor. So I started poking around to find them. For a prototype, I think the fit and finish on this example was superb. Doubt anyone could complain about the beautiful appearance of the wood cabinets or the Corian countertops.
Also, this coach uses multiplex wiring. Very cool feature. I found one control panel by the main door, and one in the rear.
So are the tanks under the kitchen cabinet? Nope!
How about under the microwave? Nope!
How about under the passenger side ottoman? Nope!
How about under the refrigerator cabinet and driverís side ottoman? Not hardly!
That access panel looks to be either how you get to the water heater, probably the bypass valves.
Not shown in pictures, there is a sizable bathroom cabinet. Itís open underneath, but there is a shallow space below the cabinet. Looks like probably where the water pump is to me.
So I donít know where these tanks are. I suspect that there arenít any in this prototype. It makes sense for them to be inside from a freeze protection standpoint, but I just donít see how itís possible. There are very large, unobstructed areas under the van where they could go.
A couple of other notes. With all the windows, it was very light and airy inside. The van is noticeably wider than a Sprinter van, and as youíll see later, I sat in quite a few. None seemed as open and spacious as this Promaster did, even though they are longer vans. Also, I was able to lay lengthwise on the sofa. So I could see folding it down and sleeping east-west wise and leaving the ottomans as-is for seating.
The windows were very impressive. They appear to be after-market, although the van appears to be a window model. The fitment was perfect and they all are crank-out type.
So, in conclusion, would I trade my Travato for a Lexor? Tempting. Maybe if it was side lounges so you could have a cargo area.
Disappointments? A few. The front seats donít rotate, so the passenger seat is not available for seating when camped. This is easily correctable, because RAM provides this part, as they do with the Travato. The driverís seat canít turn anyways, because the locker is in the way. Maybe you have to order two rotating seats, or none, donít know. Also, Iíd like to see a moveable table in the back like you see in the Leisure Travel vans. That way, you could leave the table up all the time.
As I said above, the fit and finish was excellent. The painted bits outside were done to a high standard. They paint the front fenders, but not the trim work. That seems a bit odd, but could be easily changed I suppose.
Next up, Winnebago!
I wanted to check out the changes in the Travato and see the Era 170X. I was a bit underwhelmed.
Here is the only pic I got of the 170x.
Loved the counter space and the use of the white Corian. It really looks rich. It just seemed cramped to me. Too much space dedicated to the four captains chairs up front.
Next Travatoís! Who couldnít go to an RV show and not ogle a van painted in tomato soup red?
At first I thought this was another prototype (like the one at the February RV show), but itís not. The van is either totally repainted by Winnebago or the fender and trim bits are repainted by Winnebago and the van is painted by RAM. Either way, the quality of the paint job was appalling. Full of defects on the trim bits. Iíd be embarrassed to show this van to the public, much less try to sell it! The silver van they had on display did not suffer from these defects.
The rest of it looked good. It had the new 2015 features.
The bed is now 2Ē wider because itís set higher and can go into the body side panel a bit.
Iím torn of whether I like the bed being higher so you get extra drawers and bottom cabinets. This is done at the expense of about 6Ē of floor space. Which means fewer bins brought along, or no bins so you can store you bikes, grill, etc.
Another good change was at the front dinette. The distance between the cushion and the table is a bit higher now, to accommodate those folks with chunky thighs. Couldnít tell if the table is higher, or the seat is lower. The cushion appears thicker to me though.
This van was fitted with an after market bike rack and a roof rack. These are Fiamma parts that are made for Ducato, but they obviously fit the Promaster. The roof rack seems crazy to me, Iíd break my neck trying to get a kayak up there, but the bike rack was intriguing.
The bike platform swings down to ground level so you can just roll off your bikes.
One last thing on the Travatoís. I do NOT like the painted band to look like faux windows. Once you see the Pleasure-Way, youíll want real windows and not painted on. Just looks cheap. Itís a shiny, shiny black.
In the Winnebago area, I did look at the Trend, the Viva! and a bunch of other C and A units. I really like the Viva! If I were in the market for a C, Iíd seriously consider it. Look at the counter space!
Plus the price was quite reasonable.
Huge sofa and a drop down bed. Very spacious. In this pic it looks dark, but that is because the front skylight window shade was down. All these units have a huge skylight up front. Really like that feature and makes all the difference inside.
Another cool feature was this articulating bed. Not sure this was in the Viva or the Trend, but I like it. Not motorized as far as I could tell. The light you see below is the outside storage compartment. Would this be a cold spot at night?
I also looked at the new Winnebago Brave. I particularly like the 26A. Seemed to be very well made as far as these units go, and comparable in price to the B-vans. Just not a 4 season RV. Most of the interior cabinetry was aluminum. The layouts were all family style meant to sleep at least 6. The salesman said these are NOT on a cutaway C chassis, but an F53 Ford made for class A duty. They seemed a bit higher off the ground than the Cís, but lower than the Aís I looked at.
The only other Aís I looked at that I thought were a good value/would be tempted to buy were the Tiffen Allegro Open Road. The were a cut above on fit and finish, very spacious and attractively priced. The 31SA and 32 SA were around $135k. They were basically set up for couples and maybe another couple for a short visit, not family camping.
Next up, Great West Vans!
What a sad display these guys were. One van and their Scamp-style tag along. They were at the outer corner of the exhibit space and I imagine only were visited by people looking to find a Great West.
They brought the Legend EX. It looked like it was a well traveled van. Kinda beat up and the build quality was rather appalling.
Look at the flooring in this pic. Plenty of bubbles/bulges. Looks like screw heads trying to poke thru to me.
Also it seemed dark and cramped in the back to me. I didnít like the style of cabinetry - thought it looked a bit country to me, but that is a subjective thing. Itís probably well made
I did like the floor space. With the wheel wells uncovered, you could actually use all this couch space and have a place for feet.
I really liked these cubbies. A very thoughtful feature.
Although I donít prefer side-bathrooms, I did like the one in the Great West. The shower area was a square you could actually stand in, plus the wood wood to protect was at a minimum.
I also like the idea of the sink over the toilet. Kinda out of the way and not intrude into the shower area. Not sure why you need a wood framed mirror (as opposed to just a simple non-bordered type) or an electrical outlet in there (and so high up).
I liked that the storage area under the rear seat was linoleum. I think those doors are for battery access. Odd if true, that they are separated like this.
Iíd know if that was the case or not if the salesman thought to approach me. Even though I was the only one there, he just ignored me. Just as well, I didnít have much nice to say.
Next up, the Arriva!
I really didnít expect to like this van. I mean, at all. In fact, I expect to give them a few snide comments about their high-dollar van.
But I really liked it! Full of cool features. Yes, they are expensive, but someone bought the one they brought to the show.
I think it was shown around $130k, but donít hold me to that.
I liked the outside TV. Ifís actually a good spot for one if you are going to fit one. It is obscured by their screen door, which as I previously mentioned, was probably the least kludgy implementation I found.
As you see in the back of the photo, it has a big refer and microwave, stacked. I thought the refrigerator sits too low. Iíd move the microwave somewhere, or eliminate it, and raise the fridge.
The mid sofa arrangement is really cool. With windows on each side, it seemed spacious to sit there.
The biggest surprise to me, was that I really liked the bathroom. On their web site, it looks positively huge and a bunch of wasted space. Not so in person. Unfortunately, I didní get any pictures. It is odd you can open up both rear doors and step in there for a shower or use the commode. That is odd. The entry door on the inside opens up, so I guess you could put some long items inside, like a roll of carpet, or 2x4ís, but thatís about it. Not wide enough for a kayak. Maybe one bike, but not two, and youíd need to loosen the handlebars. I suppose owners of this van will buy a swing out cargo box or bike rack.
So thatís it. I looked at lot more things, but probably wouldnít be much interest to this forum.
I did find only one RV that could easily accommodate a kayak inside. In fact two yaks.
It was an Open Range fifth wheel! What a monster. Thought some of you fellow boaters would get a laugh out of this.
I hope you all enjoyed my report. Too bad I didnít find the absolute perfect van that would make me trade out my Travato. Although this one came close:
Although my van plus $225k, and it could be mine!