Winnebagoâ€™s Sprinter-based Class C with a European-inspired interior focuses on fuel-efficient wandering without giving up creature comforts
As the popularity in Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Class C motorhomes continues to soar, companies like Winnebago look for ways to stand out from the crowd. The View, a nameplate that surfaced early in Winnebagoâ€™s journey into building on the Sprinter chassis, has just the right amount of luxury, blended in a compact body that offers plenty of functional livability and modern styling. Add European interior cabinetry courtesy of Tecnoform, an Italian design firm turning heads in the RV industry stateside, and the View 24J plies the field with an agile motorhome that is easy to maneuver through the country with great confidence, and turns in great mileage figures to boot.
Immediately upon entry, the View 24J bathes the senses with earthy-looking browns and beiges gracing the interior walls, arranged in a clean, comfortable and space-conscious way. At first glance, the 24J may seem a bit on the cramped side, but the interior is actually quite roomy thanks to the centrally located streetside slideout. Designers built in decent spacing throughout for everything essential, like cooking, sleeping or just simply stretching out oneâ€™s legs on the bigger-than-most, thickly padded, plus-sized dinette. In fact, the dinette is so substantial, itâ€™s nearly impossible to lose focus of its presence. This dinette is nothing like the cookie cutter mini-booths used by many manufacturers that arenâ€™t very useful for grown adults. Besides the sheer size, the slightly darker than khaki colored dinette, wrapped in a plush and pliable leather-like material, rests right at home in the single slideout. The U-shaped dinette is a perfect place to snooze, relax and even get a little work done on a computer, when necessary. And donâ€™t discount the dinette as a bed for full-sized adults; thereâ€™s more than enough room at 42-by-82 inches for two 6-foot-tall people to slumber in style. And to make it even better, flip-up footrests convert the couch into dual recliners. About the only downside of this dinette is the two cushions that are placed over the table for sleeping. In the bed position, they are a little difficult to keep from sliding around, but ultimately, itâ€™s a very nice dinette. Also, affixed alongside the dinette is a healthy-size, lower-level wardrobe closet, doubling as the cabinet structure housing the convection microwave.
While on the topic of cabinets, thereâ€™s no shortage of storage space inside the 24J. Attractively executed and uniquely shaped and designed, the glossy-finished, curved cabinetry is scattered liberally throughout the interior. This theme carries over to the kitchen as well, which is fitted with a curvaceous counter and cabinet combination. Although the laminate kitchen counter is a little on the small side, it is equipped with ideal components, such as the stainless-steel double-basin sink topped off with a tall, curved matching stainless faucet/sprayer and a pair of sink covers to aid in providing additional counterspace. Sharing the kitchen counter area is a rightly sized two-burner stove with glass cover, which takes advantage of the decorative, but effective, backlit splash guard secured to the adjoining refrigerator cabinet on the right. Hanging over the counter is not only more curvy cabinet landscaping, but a place for the living room TV, which is on an articulating arm â€” and clearly visible from the dinette. Below the cabinet is LED kitchen lighting that provides sun-like illumination for cooking and prepping. As for the refrigerator, itâ€™s perfectly positioned within armâ€™s reach of the kitchen counter. Rather than rely on LP-gas, this smallish, double-door refrigerator is compressor-driven, powered by the inverter when hookups are not available. Two Group 24 12-volt batteries are provided to feed the inverter, which could be problematic when camping in primitive locations. But the 3,600-watt Onan Micro Quiet LP-gas generator can help in this department, and adding an aftermarket solar-panel battery charging system would likewise be a functional, and considerably quieter, option.
Right above the refrigerator is a home for the electronic information center along with necessary switches and controls, including those for the LP-gas tank valve and slideout.
Approaching the rear, the View has a divided design, displaying the bedroom on the right and the split bathroom on the left. Itâ€™s a common configuration, positioning the sink outside the bathroom door, making room for the toilet and shower behind the privacy door. Itâ€™s obviously a good method for making the most of the available space, but there are a few compromises. The 50-by-80-inch bed is not quite in queen-size territory, but is still big enough for two adults who are not averse to cuddling. The rounded corner at the foot of the bed makes for better access to the sink and bathroom, but the shape cuts off some legroom for the sleeper against the bathroom wall. Also, the person against the outside wall has to climb over the other person to get out of bed. It takes a little acclimation, but is not a deal breaker, especially since the mattress is so comfortable.
Underneath the mattress is a relatively new-to-RVs European suspension system comprised of several small gray plastic pyramids that flex. Although, it may make you a little leery at first, it works shockingly well and provides the right amount of support for a great nightâ€™s sleep. Keeping with the theme, the bedroom has a bounty of convex overhead cabinets, coupled to a nighttime shelf, two blue LED reading lights and a USB-outfitted 120-volt AC outlet. A 24-inch HDTV is mounted at the foot of the bed.
Opposite the bed sits the aforementioned small closet-sized lavatory with its sink, medicine cabinet and mirror placed just outside the bathroom wall. Nothing special here, but completely functional, using a stainless sink resting inside the small pedestal with lots of LED lighting. Opening the convex-shaped door reveals a standard porcelain toilet and the shower enclosure featuring a space-saving Nautilus retractable door. This was the one area aboard the View that is on the confined side of things, but is expected in a compact motorhome. Even though itâ€™s understood that space to put all the creature comforts into perfect positioning is at a premium, a bit more elbow room in the bathroom would be welcome, considering some special-ops-style, preplanned movements are required to pull off a successful, unharmed restroom mission. This bathroom might not be the best option for those people towering over 6 feet tall and with a larger girth.
On the opposite end of the motorhome, the cockpit is all business. Above the driver and co-pilot seats, youâ€™ll find a traditional cabover bed, complete with lots of legroom, plenty of supportive padding, blue LED reading lights and an associated removable ladder. The seats are color-coordinated with the dinette and can be swiveled to enhance the living area. Dashboard accouterments include a 9-inch Rand McNally RV GPS LCD touch-screen navigation system integrated with the stereo and rearview camera. Nighttime privacy is provided by sliding pleated window blinds that have been installed for all cab windows, allowing for a total visual block out. Although the design is clever, especially for the side windows, the mechanisms are finicky to operate and could use a better latching system for the front windshield shades. Itâ€™s a great effort and even though it took some patience at times, these shades are light years ahead of using curtains on a track.
Embellishing the high-quality fit and finish is the clean-looking soft vinyl ceiling, trimmed using a variety of switched LED lighting fixtures and a powered, extra-wide skylight/roof vent with both a sliding screen and pleated shade. The remainder of the onboard creature comforts come by way of a 15,000-Btu air-conditioner with heat pump, a 20,000-Btu furnace and a 6-gallon LP-gas/120-volt AC water heater. Holding tanks are adequately sized with a 34-gallon black- and a 40-gallon gray-water holding tank.
Mounting the body to the Sprinter chassis has been perfected by Winnebago engineers, who take pride in the level of craftsmanship and safety features. The View, like other Winnebago products, is treated to the manufacturerâ€™s legendary foundation of specially extruded structural aluminum, known as SuperStructure. The Thermo-panel side walls are crafted by bonding layers of fiberglass, high-density block foam insulation and welded aluminum support structures. The aluminum support structures also contain embedded steel substructures, added to ensure solid attachment points for cabinetry and appliances. And the walls are fastened to the frame utilizing interlocking joints, which are also found in the floor and roof. The View takes advantage of a crowned, one-piece fiberglass roof, backed by a 10 year parts and labor warranty â€” no vulnerable rubber here. All this adds up to a long-lasting structure with far less potential for shakes and rattles when driving.
As with any standard Sprinter-based motorhome, the drivetrain employs a 188-hp, 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Use of this modest-horsepower, higher-torque setup allows for the fully outfitted View to boast 18 mpg fuel economy while still maintaining more than enough oomph to fly up the freeways at legal speeds. Hill climbs were taken at better-than-expected speeds, and towing a dinghy resulted in no adverse performance issues, other than the typical slowdowns on grades.
Secured to the frame is the rear-mounted, two-point electric stabilizing system, which was appreciated. Itâ€™s always great to have a powered stabilizing system, but in this case, being able to locate and operate the switches for electric use or to manually crank in an override situation was a real treasure hunt. Tucked in and out of sight in the rear are the switches, which were finally located using two pairs of eyes. Keep in mind, this system is designed to stabilize, and is not intended for leveling.
Besides the usual list of goodies included from Mercedes-Benz, the addition of Alcoa forged aluminum wheels complement the full-body paint beautifully. The optional full paint package displays a classy color combination in black, gray, gold and white hues, forming flowing, soft and subtle graphics and lines. A surprising number of exterior storage compartments, not always common on smaller motorhomes, are standard equipment. For such a compact Class C, thereâ€™s enough storage to support extra-long weekends or even longer trips (keeping weight ratings and the rigâ€™s modest Realistic Occupant and Cargo Carrying Capacity in mind). One door leads to the utility center, accessing items like drain valves, city water and the 30-amp electrical connection with ease. Outside speakers and the LED-lit powered patio awning round out the exterior features.
Aside from a few areas that could use some refinement, the Winnebago View 24J makes for a roomy enough motorhome for a family with a child or two, who relishes getting away from the crowds, but doesnâ€™t want to give up the amenities needed to enjoy RV resort living. Eye-opening fuel economy is just icing on the cake.
Winnebago Industries | 641-585-6565 | www.winnebagoind.com