RVs – Whats New for 2015

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the new 2015 Winnebago Brave, the old look but with slides

We are still at our park model in Arizona and the temperature is starting to climb into the 90’s with beautiful sunshine every day. We just visited some friends who recently moved to the Phoenix valley from Flagstaff where the summers are much cooler than here. They are a little concerned about the summer temperatures especially when it jumps into the 120 degree range.

Desert heat

Their plan is to rise early to take care of any chores before it turns crazy hot. Not much can be accomplished during this time as the temperature doesn’t drop below 90 even during the night.
From what I understand many people do the opposite of the northerners and head north for the summer. July, August and Sept. are the worst months although there is some relief during the summer monsoons.

Desert flooding

A dangerous time with major flooding, when there is long periods without significant rainfall the ground becomes hard pact and will not let the rain penetrate.
The routine for the hearty souls who hang around is to seek cool air conditioned buildings or cars during the heat of the day.
Anyway we will be heading north in a couple of days to the coolness of the north.

Over the past week I was able to check out what’s new in Rv’s this year. I jumped on my motorbike and headed to La Mesa RV located next to the I-10 in Phoenix. I’m not sure if they are the biggest but with 35 acres of Rv’s there is a huge amount of inventory that would take days to inspect.

La Mesa RV
In Canada we could only dream of so many styles and models to choose from. It is not possible to comment on all the models, so what I have tried to do is pick out interesting accessories or features that I had not seen before.

When I arrived of course I was greeted immediately by Rodney a salesman’s salesman. He was courteous and patient even after I stated that I was not here to buy but I was doing research for my article on newest and greatest RV innovations.

Mansion on Wheels

Mansion on Wheels

Rodney quickly lead me to the Eclipse by Itasca (Winnebago) a $350K diesel pusher, obviously a top of the line model that most of us could only dream of owning. Of course this deluxe coach has all the bells and whistles but what sparked my interest was the hot water heated floors, electric fireplace, the TV that swung out to reveal a safe and bar, power docking electrical cord, sun roof over the pilot and co-pilot and the exterior security sensors. Much of the other accessories I had seen before. You can probably check them out on line.

The 5th Wheel Toy Hauler

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The main issue as I see it with these large rigs, the Heartland Cyclone weighs 16,000 lbs. For instance my truck is a 1 ton (3500) Chev diesel. If you add the weight of the truck and the weight of the trailer 7700 lbs + 16000 lbs = 23700 lbs. The towing capacity for the 2015 Silverado 3500 is 23200 lbs so with that size of toy hauler the vehicle is maxed out, something to consider when buying a toy hauler.
The Cyclone has some nice features: two deck/balcony/ramps, sleeps 10, 5500 watt generator, gas tank for the toys, hydraulic stabilizer jacks, and a 150 gal fresh water tank. Great for spending the weekend playing in the back country.

Toy haulers do come in a smaller weekender model where most of the furniture is retracted to the walls and ceiling to allow for the toys.

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The smaller toy hauler tow behind model
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the interior of the toy hauler above

The 5th wheel trailer is great for pulling and turning is easy, although they seem to be much heavier compared to a regular trailer.

 

Motor Homes

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There was motor homes of all sizes and prices. Motor home traveling is by far the most comfortable. You sit higher than in other vehicles so the view of the traffic and country side while traveling is much better.
For my money the best model I found was the 38’ Winnebago gas for 155K, 3 slides, white leather L shape sofa, home size fridge and much more.

Trailer (tow behind)

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It seems that the regular pull trailer is coming back into favor after the 5th wheel model seemed to have taken over for a few years. The disadvantage is they are a bit of a challenge when turning, depending on the length, you need to make wider turns compared to the 5th wheel. Compared to the 5th wheel the regular pull trailer is lighter and has a smaller price tag.
My favorite was again a 37’ Winnebago Ultra light 10,000 lbs with 3 slides, electric stabilizers and a price tag of $38K. The 2 rear slides make for a great size living area.
The lightest trailer was the 20’ Kodiak at 3000 lbs, but at $17K it seems a little pricey. Add $5K for a slide.

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The best family trailer I saw was a Dutchmen trailer (hmm didn’t get the length?), with double bunks in the rear, large slide, dinette that converts to a bed and a hide-a-bed sofa, access to the bathroom from the rear door and the master bed at the front. Weighing in at 4400 lbs and a price of $23K.

Small motor homes

Van camper

Smaller does not mean cheaper price tag. The small motor home is a definite upgrade from the van conversions of a few years back and so is the price.
The one I spent time in was a Mercedes chassis with a diesel engine, (didn’t get the name duuuuu). These units have pretty much all the bells and whistles of their larger cousins with not that much of a smaller price, $125K was the model I looked at. Some other small motor homes on Dodge chassis’s were $70k range.

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How bout this little guy with a rear outdoor kitchen, bed, shower/toilet and weighing in at 1800 lbs, you could almost pull it with a motor cycle. Price $15k

My Conclusion.

I could have spent a week going through the several hundred Rvs at this dealer, and still I would have missed something.
The bottom line  what is your dream.  To travel the country and see the sights or to put down stakes and spend the winter in an RV park or boondock in the desert, or maybe its just for weekend jaunts with the family.
The price of these Rvs is always a big factor, a used one may help with the price plus all the kinks should be worked out.

If you are interested in buying an RV Phoenix has many RV shows in April with all the makes and models available.

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I have created a list of things you may consider when buying an RV, in no particular order.

– V-10 (ford) has issues, spitting out spark plugs, check to see if this has been corrected?
-Driver’s door
-compartment drains
-exterior stereo
-GPS
-Satellite radio
-Towing capacity of your vehicle or motor home
-electric brake control
-tow vehicle wiring
-State or provincial laws about max length, weight
-drivers license endorsements, air brakes, weight
-air suspension
-is the tow hitch included.
– 5th wheel hitch make sure the hitch articulates front to back and side to side.

-exterior TV or hookups
-access to the bathroom and fridge while pulled over
-how many do you want to sleep.
– is the A/c unit large enough
– do you want a vent fan ( the new ones seem to have omitted this)
– do you need a generator.
-fuel for toys
-tank capacities, fresh, grey, black
-awning
-fireplace
-outside shower
-stabilizing jack electric or manual ( important to keep your unit stable especially when you’re sleeping)
-batteries (most of the units I saw didn’t have enough battery back up to last more that one night without charging)
-battery access
-dishwasher &  washer and dryer
-TV antenna or Satellite dish
-Solar power
-docking equipment, sewer hose, fresh water hose, electrical cord, (capacity and length)
-Built in vacuum
-BBQ grill propane hook up
-Large enough fridge
-Black out blinds, some RV’s come with daytime blind and nighttime blackouts.

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-Outside kitchen
– rock guard on your trailer or vehicle, I recommend on the trailer
-Is the bed long enough (some are quite short)

 

When you buy make sure you are given a detailed tour of your new unit, take it from me it can be somewhat frustrating trying to figure out how something works, or where the controller is located. Remember to try all your accessories to make sure they work.

Warranty

RV Warranty

The last item and one of the most important, warranties. Whether you buy new or used from a dealer there should be some kind of warranty. New Rvs normally come with a 1 year parts and labor, but be careful not everything is covered by the RV manufacturer some things such as appliances are covered by the company that built them. On our unit an obscure sentence says that, “anything added after the rig leaves the factory is not covered by the RV manufacturer.” We found this out the hard way.

Extended Warranty

Of course the dealer will try to sell you an extended warranty. Be aware that you can buy extended warranties from an independent company.
I have written an article on warranties click here to check it out.

I’m sure I haven’t covered everything but this list should give you a good start.

I hope this article is of some help if you’re planning on buying an RV. One final note – Rvs have a large mark up and many people think Rving is what they want but soon realize it is not for them. So there can be some excellent deals on slightly used Rvs. Also the more wonderful accessories you have the more things to go wrong. I have heard some horror stories.

I have created a comprehensive list of equipment and items you may need for your RV travels click here to check out my list.

OR

If you would like to support my site and you shop on Amazon please click here Amazon.com or Amazon.ca to shop and I will receive a small commission to help with my costs, and it will not cost any more. Thanks.

Thanks for visiting
Gord B.

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