Is this 19 foot 4×4, 4 season camper van right for you? Find out in my review of the 2018 Winnebago Revel.
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The 2018 Winnebago Revel is one of only a few choices for 4×4 camper vans built on the shorter Mercedes Sprinter platform. It is specifically designed for outdoor adventure types with a minimalist interior design, a huge 140 cubic foot garage and interior plumbed water lines and heated holding tanks that make it ideal for winter RV adventuring.
The layout of the Revel is similar to the Travato 59G and Hymer Aktiv: a front lounge with a smallish jump seat that can seat two children; a galley and bathroom in the mid section and a bedroom, garage in the rear. This layout works best on the Dodge Promaster chassis where the interior width is 3 inches wider than on the Mercedes Sprinter – it is a less than ideal layout for a Mercedes Sprinter. Those extra 3 inches on the Promaster chassis make sleeping width-wise possible but on the narrower Sprinter chassis there isn’t enough room. The only solution is weird: cut out the areas that would normally be the windows and prefabricate a fiberglass insert that extends the sides of the van a couple inches on each side. The end result are two bulbous masses on each side of the van that protrude beyond the normal van walls.
Setting aside these protrudent head-scratchers, the bedroom features a bed on a lift. Why a lift? Because when the bed is retracted and on the ceiling it opens up the rear part of the van to become a gigantic 140 cubic foot garage. There’s plenty of room to store all your outdoor adventure toys – and there’s tie down hooks (removable) to keep everything in its place as you’re jostling slowly down unpaved trails.
But having that bed on a lift means you don’t get any overhead cabinets for storage (because the bed’s up there). In fact one of the weaknesses of the Revel is its lack of cabinets to store all the little stuff that you inevitably need when camping. There’s a pantry in the galley and a few small drawers under the sink and a smallish cabinet in the front lounge. That’s it. So what did Winnebago do to address this? What feels like another kludge: they doubled the bathroom up as a closet. That’s right, there are removable shelves in the bathroom. If you don’t want them there you can remove them and have a rather practical and utilitarian bathroom. It seems to me that Winnebago needs to make a decision here: either take out the bathroom and give me more storage or forget the storage and give me a bathroom. The Frankenstein combo doesn’t work.
The interior design of the Revel is not luxurious. The surfaces are hard. There is nothing about this van that invites you in and makes you want to stay in it. Maybe that’s on purpose – after all the van is marketed mainly to outdoor adventurers. One thing I really don’t like is that the jump seats are uncomfortable and feature only lap belts (no 3 point shoulder restraints and no head rests). This van is not for any family which makes me wonder why they put seat belts and a bed up front at all?
As a final point (and the one that really sticks in my craw) is the flimsy and unacceptable 1 year warranty offered on the Revel. The Revel has an MSRP of $142,049. It is the second most expensive camper van that Winnebago makes after the Era. I don’t understand why any one would be willing to shell out $142k for a camper van (and one billed as an off road one at that) that only comes with a 1 year warranty. Normal camper vans need more than a one year warranty but off road ones need more. That alone is a deal breaker for me and is the main reason why I can only recommend the Revel to serious outdoor adventure types who absolutely need 4×4 AND all season capabilities. If you don’t need that all season capability there are better 4×4 options on the market. The 4×4 SS Agile from Roadtrek isn’t all season but it is so much better built and comes with an industry leading 6 year, transferrable warranty.
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