Winnebago Ekko B+ camper van becomes a Mercedes Sprinter adventure rig
Back in 2020, Winnebago grew its all-terrain RV footprint with the original Ekko, a larger, roomier Ford Transit AWD alternative to the company's Mercedes Sprinter-based Revel camper van. Now the company is bringing those two camper products closer together than ever with a Sprinter-based Ekko.
Not only does the new plus-sized camper van come with the bragging rights of a three-pointed star on its grille, it promises more off-road capability, more space and a few versatile new features, including a multifunctional dining/workstation/sleeper lounge.
More than a mere switch of cab-chassis, Winnebago is positioning the Ekko Sprinter as the best off-roader in the two-model Ekko lineup. It stresses that the Sprinter base chassis brings more ground clearance than the Transit, and it adds on a set of standard all-terrain tires in place of the all-seasons on the Ekko Transit.
In terms of all-wheel-drive tech, the Sprinter moved closer to the Transit in 2022, when it swapped out the old selectable 4x4 system in favor of a new full-time AWD system. The AWD defaults to rear-wheel drive until slip is detected, then transfers up to 50% of the torque to the front axle for a proper 50/50 split, a change from the older 4x4 that only split 65/35 rear/front. Power comes from Mercedes' 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel and 9-speed automatic transmission.
Though Winnebago stresses the new model's all-terrain readiness, the 24.5-foot (7.5-m) Ekko Sprinter is 18 inches (46 cm) longer than the Ekko Transit, built on the 170-in-wheelbase Sprinter as opposed to the shorter 144-in wheelbase seen at the feet of the Revel camper van. While that won't necessarily be ideal on corkscrewing mountain two-tracks, it does open up a roomier interior designed to sleep up to five people, an extra boarder over the four-sleeper Ekko Transit.
The Ekko Sprinter shares the same layout as the Transit version, but the added space of the longer build results in one major interior upgrade. The front lounge becomes what Winnebago calls a multi-use living space, a design that looks much more comfortable and certainly more flexible than the European-style dining lounge on the Ekko Transit.
The new lounge features the same two belted seats for the ride, but converts over into a transverse vis-a-vis lounge with driver-side sofa bench and passenger-side bench seat split by an adjustable dining table. The lounge also works in conjunction with the front swivel seats to accommodate a total of five people and becomes a 30 x 78-in (76 x 198-cm) single bed.
Speaking of beds, the Ekko Sprinter features a cozy main bedroom space at the rear, where two 32 x 80-in (81 x 203-cm) single beds sleep the primaries. As in the Ekko Transit, the Flex Bed design allows the two singles to join into a queen via a set of center cushions. That center space is otherwise houses a nightstand and looks to make it easier to swing a leg out of bed.
The other pair of overnighters will need help from the optional pop-up roof, where they'll be able to retire on a double bed supported on the same style of Fruli spring system used on the master beds.
As on the original Transit Ekko, Winnebago installs a trick wet/dry bathroom that uses a swivel wall to close off the sink and pivoting toilet and leave behind a clean, dedicated shower room for a more comfortable lather.
The galley across the aisle loses the inbuilt dual-burner gas stove on the Ekko Transit and replaces it with a more versatile portable induction cooker that stows on the extension worktop below the main counter. When occupants are not cooking, they have a smooth, clear countertop for storage and alternative work.
It's the same modification Winnebago made on the Revel camper van for MY2021, and the induction cooker can be used outside or inside as an added bonus. The Ekko Sprinter galley also comes equipped with a standard microwave/convection oven, stainless steel sink and 150-L single-door fridge/freezer.
The Ekko was always conceived to be as much an adventure gear shuttle as a mobile shelter, and the Ekko Sprinter is even more up to the task. Winnebago uses the last of the extra length to increase the size of the Sprinter's heated pass-through gear garage, which can be conveniently accessed from left- and right-side doors or a central rear lift-gate. The garage includes 110/12-V charging ports, tie-down L-track and a removable floor liner.
The Ekko Sprinter stockpiles off-grid power in a standard 320-Ah lithium battery and includes 530 watts of solar charging and a 2,000-W inverter. Extra battery power and a Cummins Onan 2,500-W generator are available optionally. A standard 13,500-BTU air conditioner and Truma heater keep the temperature optimal, while a 189-L tank brings along a large fresh water reserve.
Winnebago will show the Ekko Sprinter for the first time at the Florida RV SuperShow, which opens to the public on Wednesday, January 17th. The new model starts at US$231,116, roughly a $23,400 premium over the Ekko Transit.