OUT OF DATE!

This site was written in 2014, when the Travato was still a brand new Winnebago model (and we actually lived in one). Since then we have completed our incredible year on the road, sold our van, and moved back to sunny London and “real life”. And Winnebago have gone on to make a whole host of changes to the Travato, with many new and exciting models.

I’ve kept this site live because it does well on Google and it may still be useful for people buying second hand vans.

But if you’re thinking of buying new, you’re in the wrong place!

At the time of writing this update (Aug 2017), there are over 3000 members of the Travato Owners (and wannabees) Facebook Group, where every question under the sun can be answered by an engaged and enthusiastic community.

I recommend you head on over there!

About this Site

We were first-time full-timers, who threw in the towel on long-hours and high stress jobs in London to live a ten-year dream: spending a year driving a motorhome around the United States. If you’re interested in our travels, stop reading this right now! This website is not about our travels, it’s about our home – our RV.

On arrival in the States we bought ourselves a Travato, Winnebago’s brand new touring coach model. It was a new design for 2014 and given we bought it in January and immediately set off on a States-wide trip, so we would probably have had more experience of this van than anybody else in the world! In six months we’d notched up 20,000 miles across 15 states. That was when this site was written.

We wanted to dump all our experiences into a website. That way, anyone thinking of purchasing a touring coach could get a good idea of what’s in store for them if they went with a Travato.

Feedback from Winnebago

We were really impressed by Winnebago’s response to this website. A few days after it went live the CEO came across it on one of the RV forums (in itself a good sign!). He sent it on to the marketing department and the Travato product manager, who were extremely supportive and helpful. Russ Garfin, product manager, sent over some comments to add to the wealth of information already included. I integrated them into the relevant sections – mainly the Design Flaws page and the 2015 page.

Overview of the Travato

For a full review of the 2014 Travato, read this, which is packed full of all the gritty detail with lots of links to photos. For “real” photos (from our travels) read this. And for those unfamiliar with the model, here’s a brief overview to get you started…

If you’re looking for a great combination of small and self-sufficient, the Travato is brilliant. But it has its fair share of issues too, many the the result of buying a new design brand new (you don’t have any of the niggles worked out yet). In the first six months we’ve had a few conversations with Winnie, been to a handful of dealers for fixes, and thrown a sizeable array of personal modifications at it. The details of which can all be found in the menus at the top of the page.

The Travato is from Winnie’s touring coach product range. They’ve had the Era – their only other touring coach – knocking about since 2009, I think, and it’s still going strong this year. The Era is based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, and has a nice big diesel engine – we’ve seen a number of these on the road. The Travato is a little less flashy (the 2014 tagline was “Say hello to value”!): it’s taken the Ram ProMaster chassis, with a gas engine.

With the Travato’s floor plan Winnebago have done something wonderful. They’ve taken a floor plan only found in the class C View 24J (aka Navion, if it’s an Itasca) or the small class A Via 25P (Itasca: Reyo), and ingeniously crammed it into a Ram ProMaster chassis (basically a transit van chassis). This floor plan has five vital characteristics that featured on our must-have list:

  1. Self-sufficient — We wanted to be able to go at least a few days without hooking up, and not by relying on campsite showers either
  2. Mobile and discreet (relatively!) — We didn’t want to look too much like an RV. Yes, partly this was a strong desire not to feel too middle-aged! But it’s also practical. Big white curvy lines scream “RV”, making discreet overnight parking a little tricky. And the extra width of a class C’s coach makes tight parking impossible .
  3. Permanent bed — We’re full-timing, so we couldn’t be doing with turning our table or sofa into a bed every time we wanted to sleep.
  4. Booth-style dinette — We’re not just travelling, we have things we want to do. Things that require laptops, or pen and paper. Tiny little removable tables perched uncomfortably far from leather sofas were not going to cut it. We wanted a permanent table, with the extra seating space afforded by the booth-style.
  5. Corner shower and corner bed — We’re young. We prioritise mobility and style over queen-size beds with a foot of space around it. Anything other than a corner bed with a corner shower room squeezed in beside it is a colossal waste of space by our reckoning.

There’s loads more good points – and loads of design flaws and issues too. If you want more information I suggest you start browsing the Full Review page, which is broken down by RV “section”.

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6 comments

    1. Hi Jim,

      We’ve recorded every tank of gas and over the last 28,000 miles we’ve averaged 15.5 MPG. Best tank ever was 19.9MPG, tail-gating trucks on the flat interstates of Louisiana. You can easily sit at 20MPG on flat highways, but obviously the hills and the stop-starts counter that. The tank gets us about 350 miles before we feel the pressure to pull over.

      1. Not one I can answer, I’m afraid. It was fine for us, but we only owned it for the first year (30,000 miles). Suggest you chase down some of the other users commenting on the site and see how they’re getting on 🙂

  1. The comment below was posted on the Feedback & Questions page by a (justifiably) disgruntled owner. I felt it was worth reposting here in the hope more people might benefit from its hard-won lessons.

    ……

    Brent Carson
    August 14, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Folks, our Travato experience has not been pleasant. I decided to write this for those considering this model. Purchased brand new from Happy Trails RV in Grande Prairie, Alberta our frustrations started before we left the lot. Did not get quality walk-thru as promised because no one at the dealership was familiar with the product, despite two of them sitting on the lot for a long time. Giving them 10 days notice before pick-up, nobody could be bothered to learn, road test or prep the unit as promised (little propane, windshield fluid, etc). After waiting for a tech to figure out why door ajar light was on, we left being assured it was normal for the drivers air bag and tpms lights in the dash to be on. 2 hours into our 8 hour drive home, a horrific alarm noise came from the dash when we left the Gas Station. We had to stay overnight in the next town who had a Dodge/Chrysler dealership and hoped they could fix the problem. Next morning the wonderful people at Eagle River Dodge told us they weren’t licensed for Promaster but would have a look. Fixing a small plate under the passenger seat had something to do with the emergency brake and the alarm was fixed, diagnosed and fixed airbag & tpms dash light. Driving occasionally in the winter, we would hear an alarm from the coach. It was some time to determine it was the propane alarm sensor and when summer arrived I’m pretty sure it was responsible for killing the coach battery that will not take a charge. Flushing out the antifreeze from winter storage is when we discovered the fresh water tank won’t fill from the tank fill inlet, water pours from under the Van. Using the city fill inlet at least let us discover the leaking faucet in the bathroom which allowed the anti-freeze to pour over the sink. Going to the nearest Winnebago Authorized Dealership to book a service for these and other issues, would take 6 weeks and we’d have to pay them in full although covered under warranty and then get reimbursed from Winnebago. All of this is on top of the other issues this site has detailed and we reviewed before making the purchase. A short email to Happy Trails RV and Winnebago yielded zero response. I try calling Winnebago and have yet to get through or get email service. The quality control on this Travato is terrible, the service/support is dismal and this is not an inexpensive vehicle. I will somehow get through all these repairs and hopefully get some satisfaction out of this $85,000 burden.

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