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  • Jim

Keeping it real: expectations for the Winnebago Revel

I love our Revel. It’s an incredible machine that allows us to travel and adventure the exactly the ways we want. 2 adults. 2 dogs. Unlimited options. 19 feet long. 10 feet tall. 144” wheel base. Perfect size for all the right reasons. It’s also not cheap. Is it expensive? That’s relative. Ski boats cost as much or more. Luxury sports cars are up there. Houses and condos way more (in most areas). So cost is relative.

However, since this investment comes with an above average price tag, there are certain expectations that come in tow. Should everything that with a sizable price tag be perfect? A lot of people seem think so. However, if you’ve ever bought a new home, you know that’s not the case.

When it comes to the Revel, here are some of the common areas I hear Revel "wannabees" and newbies complain… and try to align expectations.


When you hear "Mercedes" you think quality. When you hear "Winnebago" that might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, Winnebago is an above-quality brand. Remember, this is a two-brand vehicle, where mashing together two companies might not lead to flawless execution.

"It's a Mercedes, there shouldn't be problems with it"

On the Mercedes side, we have found the quality to good, but not stellar. Remember, the Sprinter is not a top-end Mercedes model and mass produced as a cargo van. I’d still take it over an Ford or a Ram any day and the issues that might arise, while frustrating, are usually minimal. And let's be honest, as cars get more and more intelligent, there will be computer issues and errors and more. It's the price we pay for technology. And I would bet if you took the ‘issues’ with the MB Sprinter V30 and compared them to any production line van…they aren’t far off the norm.

"Winnebago has quality issues"

While you might think your Revel is ‘custom,’ it’s not. It’s mass produced by Winnebago. And let's be clear, there's a lot of room for improvement on the Winnebago side. For us, it’s the little things. Insulation? What insulation? Fit and finish….could be better. And Winnebago QC leaves a lot of room for improvement, and this is a space where competitor build-outs have the upper-hand (we see you, Storyteller Overland). But part of the reason you're able to buy this vehicle relatively easily is that it is mass produced. Where Storyteller Overland is producing a few hundred Modes per year, Winnebago is producing thousands (for better or for worse!). And with the current market demand, this ability to mass-produce the Revel is critical. Most of the complaints are around a ‘rattling window’ or ‘crooked outlet’ or a ‘missing screw.’ Frustrating: yes. Deal breaker? For us at least, no. Set the expectation there will be little things you need to identify and ‘fix.’ Take a deep breath, buy some Havelock Wool and get on with it. As you can tell, we are not daunted by a little fixing up (and okay, you caught us... we like to tinker!). It's part of the journey.


Let's start by stating the obvious. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s an 8500+ lb., 19ft long, 10ft tall house on wheels. So when I hear the following from new owners or wannabes, it drives me a bit batty:

“I can’t believe I’m only getting 15 MPG“

If you want 50 MPG…buy a Prius. I understand that gas is expensive, but let's say instead of 15 MPG, you got 20 MPG. On a 24 gallon tank, that’s 120 more miles. Divided by 20….6 gallons. At $4 a gallon, you’re out $24 per tank. You just bought a $150,000+ vehicle and if $24 a tank is going to frustrate you, you might not want a Revel (or an adventure van for that matter!). If you’re that worried about miles per gallon, SLOW DOWN. It’ll save fuel.

“It’s sluggish going uphill”

Ummm… let's see that opening statement, again... 8,500+ lbs. House on wheels. I’m not sure what people are used to driving, but I challenge you to find me a vehicle with the same specs that cruises up hills and mountains. And if it does, you can bet it ain’t getting 15MPG. Get in the right lane. Cruise along. You’ll get there. Just don’t pass any Priuses going uphill. And if you're really worried about it, get a PedalBox.

“It’s a bumpy ride and has wind sway"

I hate to do this to you again, but let's go back to that top statement again... House. On. Wheels. And once again, there are ways to fix that. Upgrade the suspension and drive slower. This ain’t a 911.


Last, but not least, let's not forget the classic:

“For that amount of money, it should come with…..x, y or z”

Remember, cost is relative. Compare the market. What other vehicle cost. What a custom van built out will cost you (and the timeframe it will take!). Maybe your expectations aren’t realistic? Like it or not, this isn’t a custom van. It is mass produced. Options are all owner preference, regardless of what the forums say. Would you buy a new house and then complain about the lack of sky lights? If you want skylights, you might have to put them in.

The Revel is the base model. And that base model is great. You want all the bells and whistles….add them. The modifications we've made are the cool things that make Hermes uniquely "ours." But then again, you don’t NEED to do anything, and you don't need to do it yourself! There are a plethora of 3rd party companies and DIY ideas that can outfit you with all you need to make your Revel uniquely yours.

What were your expectations for the Revel? Share your thoughts below!

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