Winnebago Industries has the diesel-powered, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis pretty well figured out when it comes to developing successful motorhome floorplans for its compact frame. And just when you thought there was little else it could do in the way of new layouts for this lightweight, fuel-efficient platform, the company has come up with yet another take on the whole thing with its new 2012 View 24M, which offers a full-wall, streetside slideout.
The full-wall slide adds a bit more than 17 square feet of useable floor space to the 24M’s primary living zone, which includes a forward lounge and midcoach galley and dinette area. And lacking a dedicated bedroom, the floorplan uses a 60-by-78-inch streetside convertible sofa with inflatable airbed in the lounge as its primary sleeping fixture, while a cabover bunk is included for an extra guest or two. Rounding things out rearward, the motorhome sports a private bathroom complete with porcelain toilet, washstand and shower stall.
Construction of the View reflects Winnebago’s high-quality coachbuilding standards, with good fit and finish overall. Sidewall and crowned roof panels are thermo-bonded composites of fiberglass exterior sheeting and high-density polystyrene block-foam insulation, supported by sturdy aluminum substructures. Steel and aluminum cross members are also used to anchor cabinets and appliances for extra strength and durability, while specially engineered interlocking joints connect floor, side wall and roof segments into one cohesive unit.
Our test coach, at a spare 24 feet 6 inches in length, had a full range of amenities as standard equipment. Added to this was a substantial list of nice-to-have options that classed things up even more. Some of these options included automotive-type, full-body paint with contemporary graphics (Blackstone — $6,006), stylized aluminum wheels ($2,135) and an Onan 3.6-kW generator ($3,143) for a bit of off-the-grid dry camping if desired.
For those who have priced anything built on a Sprinter chassis, you know these coaches don’t come cheaply. Our test unit carried a base price of $98,696. After adding optional equipment plus delivery and handling, the suggested final retail price totaled $115,557.
Our intended test route north from Ventura, Calif., on state Route 33 was planned to seriously challenge the View’s powertrain performance and handling abilities, both on freeways as well as two-lane secondary roads. Initially sliding into the well-sorted-out cab of the unit with its adjustable Ultraleather captain’s seats, we immediately felt comfortable within this snug, well-designed environment.
The Sprinter’s windshield is wide and seamless, and affords a broad view of things ahead to the driver and passengers. Its aerodynamic, rakish hood line likewise enhances forward visibility, as there is nothing sticking out in front to restrict the driver’s line of sight. Inside the cockpit, the dashboard and instrument clusters are reasonably laid out and quite readable under most circumstances. Of note is a 6.5-inch LCD radio/rear camera touch screen in the center of the dash, which controls the AM/FM/CD stereo radio and other features.
We’ve been behind the wheels of Sprinter-based motorhomes before, and the van-like feel and positive, predictable handling was essentially the same here. And for those who may be put off driving motorhomes of larger dimensions, they should feel quite at ease in this tightly configured, easy-to-drive vehicle.
Pulling away from the curb, the unit smoothly accelerates into traffic with a reasonable amount of power thanks to its 188-hp, turbodiesel V-6 engine, while the five-speed overdrive transmission shifts fluidly and unobtrusively in the background. In timed speed runs performed earlier, the motorhome weighing in with a wet weight of 9,880 pounds was able to achieve 0-to-60 mph in 23 seconds, with 40-to-60 mph intervals of 12 seconds.
You really begin to appreciate the Sprinter’s powertrain when pulling in to take on fuel (which doesn’t seem all that often), as attested to by our mileage results of 16.9 mpg freeway and 14.2 mpg overall. In this day of $4 gallons of diesel — at best — this motorhome’s miserly, fuel-sipping habits can be considered a significant benefit.
Leaving an overnight campsite at Lake Casitas near Ojai, we pointed the View northward on Route 33, also known as Maricopa Highway. This two-lane ribbon of steep, winding and often precipitous asphalt is a challenge for most vehicles larger than a motorcycle.
Instead of letting the transmission lug when we hit the steep stuff, we found that lightly tapping the dash-mounted shift lever to one side was a convenient way of downshifting to the gear best suited to the immediate situation. The motorhome had no problem climbing the steepest of inclines either, though progress was decidedly slower when we encountered stretches that appeared to be in the 8 to 10 percent range.
As an example, the View easily maintained 60 mph at 2,600 rpm in second gear on a 7 percent grade earlier in the trip. Heading down the same stretch at the end of our test, it also exhibited very good holdback, maintaining 55 mph in third gear at 3,800 rpm without having to hit the brakes.
Whether cutting a sharp angle on a banked curve, threading our way through narrow mountain tunnels or pulling the many steep grades and switchbacks we traversed, the View was a strong and nimble performer in all instances. The View reassuringly soldiered on as we passed through Lockwood Valley and up into the higher elevations of pine-studded Frasier Park. On our homeward leg, we connected with Interstate 5 and finished the test covering a variety of suburban and urban freeways.
Considering the varied terrain, diversity of highway configurations and range of elevations driven, it is safe to say that this motorhome is a flexible, reliable, well-mannered performer under nearly all circumstances. About the only negative we noted is that it was susceptible to wandering when encountering abrupt crosswinds, or larger passing vehicles such as 18-wheelers.
Though the 24M’s living space is snug in comparison to larger floorplans, its full-wall slide adds extra inches to the coach’s main living environment, where it’s needed the most. Contributing further to available features, the front captain’s seats can be swiveled rearward to become very useful seating alternatives for the lounge. Despite its limited dimensions, the interior has been appointed with all the necessary amenities needed for comfortable camping and extended touring.
Our test coach’s interior reflected Euro-style design cues, and was accessorized with Winnebago’s Redwood décor package. Among other stylish elements, this included Sunset Cherry cabinetry with contoured overhead cabinet doors, brushed nickel handles and brightwork. Easily cleanable, tile-patterned brown vinyl is used on most floor areas, with the exception of gold-toned carpeting found in the cockpit and beneath the dinette.
All counter and table surfaces are laminate, while buttery Ultraleather is used to upholster dinette, couch and captain’s seats. Most windows have padded valances and are appointed with handy MCD American Duo Solar blackout shades that offer one roll-up panel for conveniently filtering light, and the other that shutters out sunlight completely. Finishing things off overhead is a soft vinyl headliner that is appealing to the eye and helps reduce interior noises.
Multiple storage areas are available inside and out, though they are proportionally smaller because of the unit’s size. Inside there are overhead cabinets, lower cupboards, drawers, a small pullout pantry and even storage beneath dinette seats to stash food, utensils and other goods. Places to stuff clothing items, however, are in short supply and owners will have to make some hard choices when loading this motorhome.
The one bright spot for hanging clothes, and maybe loading a duffle or two, is a 48-by-19-by-33-inch curbside closet in the rear bathroom, which ended up being a catchall for us.
Overall, the 24M has a wet weight of 9,880 pounds, and allows the loading of 1,150 pounds of passengers and cargo before exceeding its gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr) of 11,030 pounds.
When our first day of travel was completed, we pulled into Lake Casitas for an overnight stay, where the motorhome easily backed into a full-service spot. As the sun was still up, we extended the optional electric patio awning ($805) for a spot of shade, pulled out two collapsible chairs from a modest streetside cargo bay and spent the waning hours of the day enjoying our delightfully rustic setting.
This floorplan comes equipped with a microwave/convection oven that makes cooking meals much quicker and easier, and we took full advantage of this convenience over the next several days. When dinnertime rolled around, we began gathering the makings from overhead galley cabinets, the pullout pantry and adjacent 6-cubic-foot refrigerator. Aided by the galley countertop’s two-burner stovetop and roughly 11 square feet of useable counterspace (factoring in a smoked glass stove cover and wood sink insert), we were able to make short work of the evening’s meal preparation.
The 38-by-71-inch dinette is designed for two adults, and eating our first meal at the snugly proportioned table confirmed this fact. Nevertheless, added passengers or guests can still be entertained, thanks to a portable, 19-by-31-inch pedestal table that easily sets up in the forward lounge adjacent to the captain’s seats. When no longer needed, the tabletop and its metal pedestal store conveniently out of the way in a nearby galley cabinet.
Once dinner was over, we sprawled out on the sofa for a little reading and planned our test course for the next day. We’d also brought along a couple of DVDs for our evening entertainment, and decided there was still enough time left for a movie.
To make things more enjoyable, we pulled the 26-inch LCD TV away from its normal resting place against the curbside galley wall using its swing-out arm, popped the DVD into an AM/FM/DVD player located in the main galley cabinet and sat back to watch the feature. For the next few hours, one of us nestled up comfortably on the sofa with a pillow and blanket, while the other lolled in one of the inviting, inward-facing captain’s seats and enjoyed the show.
Bedtime finally rolled around, and we set about converting the streetside Comfort Sofa Sleeper from a couch to a bed. This involved electrically inflating a 60-by-78-inch air mattress. In addition to this location, a 49-by-75-inch cabover bunk is also available for a single adult or pair of smaller kids.
We initially agreed to give the queen-size airbed a try, rolled out our sleeping bag and tentatively crawled aboard. Early on however, the distaff member of our team decided she didn’t much care for this arrangement as it seemed too “squishy” to her, and instead opted for the more traditional mattress in the cabover bunk.
The only issue encountered here was that once ensconced in the overhead berth, you are pretty much stuck there for the night; unless you want to experience something akin to a kid’s “moon bounce” in stepping on the air mattress to get to the floor. This is caused by the fact that the airbed and bunk ladder cannot be deployed simultaneously, as they require the same floor space to function properly.
Before shoving off the next morning, we both freshened up in the compact but fully functional rear bathroom with 20-by-34-inch shower stall and mini- washbasin. Despite the cramped quarters of this essential zone, the private room still affords a porcelain toilet with 12 inches of foot space and 78 inches of overhead clearance in the shower.
Winnebago’s 2012 View 24M with full-wall slideout appears to be an agile, compact Class C that possesses a little more room than some other models in its class. If you don’t mind an air mattress as your primary sleeper, the unit’s extra residential space can prove quite handy. With its reliable Mercedes-Benz Sprinter diesel chassis and remarkable fuel mileage also considered, this efficiently arranged coach should make an excellent camper as well as an agile, trustworthy touring vehicle.
Fuel economy, mpg: 16.9
0-60 mph: 23.0 sec
40-60 mph: 12.0 sec
Model: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Engine: 3.0-L V-6 turbodiesel
SAE HP: 188 hp @ 3,800 rpm
Torque: 325 lb-ft @ 1,400 – 2,400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic with Tip Shift
Axle ratio: 4.18:1
Brakes: hydraulic disc with ABS
Suspension, f/r: independent with mono-leaf spring and stabilizer/leaf spring with stabilizer bar
Fuel cap: 26.4 gal
Warranty: 3 yrs/36,000 miles
Ext length: 24′ 6″
Ext width: 7′ 6″
Ext height: 11′ 3″
Int width: 7′ 3″
Int height: 6′ 8″
Construction: aluminum/steel framing, fiberglass skin and roof, polystyrene block foam insulation
Freshwater cap: 38 gal
Black-water cap: 32 gal
Gray-water cap: 36 gal
Water-heater cap: 6 gal
LP-gas cap: 13 gal
Air conditioner (1): 13,500 btu
Furnace: 20,000 btu
Refrigerator: 6 cu-ft
Converter: 45 amp
Battery (3): 1 12-volt chassis, 2 12-volt coach
AC generator: 3.6 kw
Msrp as tested: $115,557
Warranty: 1 yr/15,000 miles
(Water & heater, fuel, LP-gas tanks full; no supplies or passengers)
Front axle: 3,620 lbs
Rear axle: 6,260 lbs
Total: 9,880 lbs
GAWR, F/R: 4,410/7,720 lbs
GVWR/GCWR: 11,030/15,250 lbs
ROCCC: 1,150 lbs
(deduct weight of passengers for net cargo capacity)
GAWR: gross axle weight rating
GVWR: gross vehicle weight rating
GCWR: gross combination weight rating
ROCCC: realistic occupant & cargo carrying capacity (full water, no passengers)