Which Roadtrek Is Best? in Dec 2020 - RVLives.Com

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As anything, RV’s are very specific to each individual, family, or business.

For us, our requirements in 2015 when we were shopping for a motorhome were the following:

  • Length: short enough to fit in our driveway. We didn’t want to have to store it someplace else.
  • Seating: minimum 3 seats. At the time we had 1 child, so we wanted to have 2 seats in front and at least 1 other seat in the RV that had a “real seat” with shoulder belts. We saw many RV’s that had a kitchen table in it and lap belts and the salesman tried to convince us that was “safe”.
  • AC: We had a dog that we wanted to take with us places. We wouldn’t leave him long, but maybe to run in a store and buy groceries, etc. We wanted 2-3 hours of AC run time.
  • Modern: design of the interior was very important to us. Think granite, stainless steel, etc. We like modern.
  • Big refrigerator: separate compartments for cold and frozen foods.
  • Bathroom: we wanted to be able to use it while driving down the road
  • Bed: Sleeps 2 adults and a small child comfortably

After all of our searching, we narrowed down our choices. This is what our selection list looked like (it was actually a lot more detailed, these are just summaries):

RV TYPEPLATFORMSELECTION
Class ABus based. Large. No. Too large.
Class BVan based. No changes to exterior.YES!
Class B+Van based. Modified back shell. No. Like the size but hated the designs.
Class CTruck based. Back shell.No. Too big.
TowableNot a motorhome. Not a motorhome

Which Class B Manufacturer?

Narrowing down our choices to a Class B was easy due to our size requirements. Looking at the manufacturer’s available, there were only a handful. We weren’t really in the market for a “custom” van. We wanted something off-the-shelf and ready to go.

MANUFACTURERLINKSELECTION
Airstreamhttps://www.airstream.com/touring-coaches/Close, but no. Beautiful, but $$$$
Advanced RVhttps://advanced-rv.com/#1, but no. Lots of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Leisure Travel Vanshttps://leisurevans.com/free-spirit/No
Pleasurewayhttps://pleasureway.comNo
Roadtrekhttps://www.roadtrek.comYes. Great design. Great technology.
Sportsmobilehttps://sportsmobile.comNo. Too custom.
Winnebagohttps://winnebagoind.com/Close, liked price, but didn’t like design.

Which Roadtrek?

Now that we narrowed down our choice to Roadtrek, now we had to decide which model fit us best. Here were our choices:

MODELVANSELECTION
Roadtrek 170 VersatileChevy VanNo. Would have been really tough to sleep 3
Roadtrek 190 PopularChevy VanContender
Roadtrek 210 PopularChevy VanContender
Roadtrek Ranger-RTChevy VanNo. Only sleeps 2
Roadtrek SS-AgileMercedes-Benz SprinterNo. Only 2 captains chairs
Roadtrek RS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterContender
Roadtrek CS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterContender
Roadtrek E-TrekMercedes-Benz SprinterContender
Roadtrek TS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterContender
Roadtrek ZionRam ProMasterNo. Only 2 captains chairs

Sorting thru the “contenders”, we were left with 6 potential RV’s. Sorting thru them:

MODELVANSELECTION
Roadtrek 190 PopularChevy VanNo. The Chevy exterior looked dated to us.
Roadtrek 210 PopularChevy VanNo. The Chevy exterior looked dated to us.
Roadtrek RS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterAlmost. Had a small refrigerator.
Roadtrek CS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterYes.
Roadtrek E-TrekMercedes-Benz SprinterAlmost. Had a small refrigerator.
Roadtrek TS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterAlmost. Had a small refrigerator. Was $$$$.

So we narrowed our list down to 4 potentials. We went shopping, for months, to find one of the models below, in stock, in the right color combinations.

MODELVANSELECTION
Roadtrek RS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterAlmost. Had a small refrigerator.
Roadtrek CS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterYes.
Roadtrek E-TrekMercedes-Benz SprinterAlmost. Had a small refrigerator.
Roadtrek TS-AdventureousMercedes-Benz SprinterAlmost. Had a small refrigerator. Was $$$$.

RV Colors

Not that color choices should really influence functionality, it is a really important thing to consider when you’re spending nearly $150,000! Our criteria for color were:

  • Exterior: Not white. Not Black. Not Red. Any other color would be considered.
  • Interior Cabinets: We are not fans of the Roadtrek cherry stained cabinets. Don’t know why. We just never really liked the look of them. Unlucky for us, it is the most popular cabinet color we found all over dealers lots.

What About Power Options?

You may have noticed, we never considered battery type or run hours, solar, propane, generators, etc. You know, all of the really important things once should consider when buying an RV!

All I can say is … we were newbies! We really didn’t know anything about that stuff and really didn’t care. We figured it was all “standard” stuff and everyone was doing the same thing.

What We Bought

We found several E-Trek’s and TS that had the color combinations we really liked, a dark grey with dark brown/black cabinets. But dealers were asking alot of $$$ for them and we weren’t successful in any real negotiations on them.

Nearly all of the RS we found had Cherry stained cabinets.

We were able to find 3 in the state of California on the CS model. And that was actually our #1 choice since it had the largest refrigerator out of all of them.

Looking back, we really should have done a nationwide search, since we were being so picky. But … I’ll use that excuse again, we were newbies.

We finally found, at Holland RV Center in San Diego, California, a 2015 Roadtrek CS, Dark Grey, with Dark brown/black cabinets. Yay!

What’s It Look Like?

Brand new, it looked, well, brand new! It’s now 5 years later and 98,000 miles on it, and I think it’d be great to share how it looks now.

These Roadtreks are high quality and built to last. As you can see from the pics, the Sprinter van looks terrific. The interior, cabinets, seats, etc, are all still in top condition.

2015 Roadtrek CS – Exterior 1 (5 years later)

2015 Roadtrek CS – Exterior 2 (5 years later)

2015 Roadtrek CS – Engine (5 years later)

2015 Roadtrek CS – Sprinter ASSYST (5 years later)

One of the really nice things on the NCV3 is the ASSYST system that tracks maintenance and makes it easy to follow manufacturers recommendations. As you can see below, in 18,000 miles I have a Service B due.

2015 Roadtrek CS – Interior 1 (5 years later)

2015 Roadtrek CS – Interior 2 (5 years later)

2015 Roadtrek CS – Bathroom (5 Years later)

2015 Roadtrek CS – Bed (5 Years later)

Roadtrek Keys – 5 Years of Use

Mercedes makes great products. Even their keys are designed strong and sturdy.

The key on the “left” has never been used. The one on the “right” on the otherhand, has been thru the thick and thin. Other than a bit of the textured surface wearing off, the key still looks to be in great shape. And that’s a really good thing, these keys have all sorts of Mercedes anti-theft technolgy in them and they are expensive to replace!

One Year Later

After one year of ownership, we started to get a feel for what we “really” wanted in an RV. Most of it centered around power and technology. I flew out to Advanced RV and went thru one of our famous AdvancedFests. It was incredible to see what these guys were doing with RV’s. No one, not even in the Class B community were building RV’s anywhere near close to how this company was doing. But all that came at big $$$$$.

But I learned a lot from them. Some of the big technology changes I desired one year later were:

  • More Power: It’d be great to run the AC for 8 hours and have an auto-start of the Sprinter engine to recharge the batteries, so essentially you’d have non-stop ac power. That is until you run out of diesel for the Sprinter. Lithium batteries, high-idle, and auto-start are some of the components to make this happen.
  • Air Ride: The seats in the rear, where my kid would sleep sometimes, is pretty bouncy. Advanced RV was the first installer in the US to be doing VBAir air suspension. It is incredible, like riding on air.
  • Insulation: I don’t know of any RV builder, except Advanced RV, taking the time and expense to insulate the coach as well as they did.

I Almost Made A Big Mistake

Since I couldn’t afford an Advanced RV, in 2016 Roadtrek came out with their lithium based battery system. Wow! And Voltstart, the auto-start feature with high-idle so you could recharge the batteries and keep that AC running (this was all for our lovable french bulldog to keep cool).

I almost, at a huge loss in depreciation, traded in our 2015 for a 2016 with lithium. I’m so glad I didn’t!

I won’t belabor the issue’s 2016 and newer owners have had with their Roadtreks, you can google it and read all about it.

I’m just glad I got one of the last “good years” when Roadtrek was known for building high-quality motorhomes that made it the #1 selling Class B RV for many years in the 1990’s, and 2000’s.

Conclusion

Well, that’s our story on how we ended up with a Roadtrek CS.

We’re really happy to say that we really haven’t had any major surprises in our 5 years of ownership. Things that did crop up, were covered by Roadtrek or Mercedes in the first 2 years and were mostly associated with typical RV “shake down” issues. Yes, they were a hassle, the RV was stuck at the dealership getting worked on for weeks at a time, but at least it didn’t cost us anything. And from what I’ve heard about others experiences with shake-down issue’s, I think we got off pretty easy.

The last 3 years have been rock solid. Of course we can’t count the animal that was hit on the front end requiring replacement and repainting of the bumper, grill, hood, etc. The pro’s did an awesome job on it and you can’t even tell it happened. The best news is, with a vehicle with 98,xxx miles on it, you’d normally have all sorts of road rash, paint chips, etc on the front of the vehicle. On this one, it looks like it only has a few thousand miles on it since it was all repainted.

What’s Next

As it happens with families, we added on and these darn “things” got bigger over the years. Our requirements list has changed and after 5 years, our beloved Roadtrek CS no longer fits our new requirements. So we are trying to find a great new owner. If you know of someone that would take great care of her, let us know!

Happy trails!


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