Travel light and nimble with the hottest 2019 Class B motorhomes, featuring Hymer, Airstream, Pleasure Way & more. The ultimate guide to camper van living.
Airstream’s motorized division made some big waves by going small. After all, “Small is the new big, right?” asked Bob Wheeler, president and CEO of Airstream. The new Interstate Nineteen, built on the Mercedes-Benz 2500 Sprinter chassis, is a compact Class B designed to take the stress out of the driving experience. “This is the first time we’ve built on the 144-inch wheelbase since we started building Sprinters,” Wheeler explained. The shorter wheelbase results in a 19-foot, 5-inch-long motorhome that drives like a passenger vehicle, according to Wheeler, also making the search for larger parking spaces and facilities a non-issue. The Nineteen is powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 and boasts an estimated fuel economy north of 18 mpg on the highway. Naturally, the Nineteen features the usual Mercedes goodies, including collision prevention, lane-keeping assist, side and rear cameras and electronic stability control.
Inside, equipment includes a power rear sofa that converts to a 66-by-73-inch bed, ultraleather furniture, wet bath, Truma furnace/water heater, fully equipped galley and a multimedia entertainment system. MSRP: $149,240 (base).
5 Mars Imagine
One of the more unique new-motorhome options for 2019 comes courtesy of Quebec-based 5 Mars. According to manager Samuel Robitaille, the Canadian upfitter has a contract with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles North America to acquire and modify vehicles such as the Pacifica and Grand Caravan with pop-up roofs and different levels of RV-oriented equipment.
“We contacted a business to design molds to make the roofs, and we use these molds to make our roofs, which follow the exact curves of the vehicle,” Robitaille said, adding that the waterproof replacement roofs can increase headroom by up to 4 feet in the front and 18 to 20 inches in the rear. Depending on the order, production can end with only slight interior modification. “We remove all the original seats and install our own seats to make up a foldable bed with two seat belts in the back so you can still travel with four people.” Or, as in the Imagine, 5 Mars goes the full motorhome route. Built on the RAM ProMaster 1500, the Imagine includes cabinets, a two-burner stove, refrigerator, table, sink and 7-gallon water tank. MSRP starts at $94,900.
Designers of the Hymer Aktiv S say the Class B motorhome is truly European in every sense of the word. Part of the Aktiv line “imported” by Erwin Hymer Group North America (EHGNA) from its Germany-based parent company, the Aktiv S differs from the ProMaster-based Aktiv and Aktiv 2.0 as it’s built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter platform. “We’ve got a German interior, German floorplan and now we have a German chassis, so now this is purely a German-engineered motorhome,” said Mike Snell, EHGNA’s vice president of sales and service, who noted the unit will also be available in four-wheel-drive models. Offering a floorplan similar to other Aktiv models, Aktiv S features include second-row bench seating, full galley on the passenger side, full bathroom with shower and cassette toilet, and a flip-up bed with spacious storage. The interior color palette is also new for the Hymer lineup, featuring warm gray tone fabrics mixed with the light buttercream cabinets, similar to the styling available in Europe. MSRP: $145,000.
Luxury Sprinter RV van, meet Mad Max. Officials at Midwest Automotive Designs, a division of REV Recreation Group, were hearing from potential customers who said they wanted a more aggressive look, so the company created what it calls its “rugged interior,” reported Jason Sullivan, Midwest Automotive’s product development manager. “They want to get more aggressive, so we’ve got new high-wear flooring, and this is our entrance into more of the outdoor sports market with our vans, whereas historically, we’ve catered to luxury buyers,” Sullivan explained. That new look is further exhibited on the Passage 144 by its Sprinter-based Class B exterior profile that’s painted flat black, has blacked-out trim, black wheels and even a black roof rack basket. “But this is luxury that you can go out and beat up. The matte black paint, a $5,000 option, is done in-house by Midwest,” Sullivan stated, noting that the matte finish is a dull-gloss clear coat, so it is as durable as a high-gloss finish. MSRP: $130,000 (base).
Pleasure-Way’s Tofino camper van, built on the RAM ProMaster 1500 chassis, is a throwback to simpler times but with high-quality amenities and sporty styling. A 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine powers the 17-foot, 9-inch-long van conversion with its 136-inch wheelbase and claimed 2,000-pound cargo carrying capacity. Sleeping accommodations include a 49-by-72-inch overhead bunk accessible via a folding ladder (once the manual-lift roof with gas struts and Sunbrella tenting is popped up), and a rear sofa with two seat belts that converts into a 54-by-72-inch bed. The Tofino is outfitted with two 100-amp-hour-rated lithium house batteries, a 2,000-watt inverter, touchscreen control panel with remote, adjustable swivel seating for the driver and passenger, a 2.1-cubic-foot refrigerator, single-element induction cooktop, stainless-steel sink with cover, 15-gallon freshwater tank, 8-gallon gray-water tank, city-water hookup, 16,000-Btu furnace, dimmable LED lights, MCD roller shades and a vinyl soft-touch ceiling. To make the Tofino four-season capable, plumbing lines and tanks are located inside. At the rear is 70 cubic feet of storage, and a toy/luggage rack is optional. Also optional are 100- and 200-watt solar packages. MSRP: $69,900 (base).