Automotive

From luxury travel to modular adventure: The best American camper vans of RVX 2019

From luxury travel to modular ...
Winnebago shows the $149K+ Revel 4x4 adventure camper van
Winnebago shows the $149K+ Revel 4x4 adventure camper van
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Many RVX camper vans and motorhomes we've looked at previously had standard or optional Volta lithium battery systems. Here, competitor Xantrex shows its eGen lithium electrical system on a Coachmen Galleria camper van
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Many RVX camper vans and motorhomes we've looked at previously had standard or optional Volta lithium battery systems. Here, competitor Xantrex shows its eGen lithium electrical system on a Coachmen Galleria camper van
The Coachmen Galleria is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based camper van, and this one still utilizes the second-gen Sprinter
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The Coachmen Galleria is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based camper van, and this one still utilizes the second-gen Sprinter
The Coachmen Galleria includes many appliances and components that run off electricity. The van comes standard with an Onan generator, and the 600-Ah Xantrex lithum-iron-phospate battery system is available as an option, designed to more smoothly power the van's various electrical components
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The Coachmen Galleria includes many appliances and components that run off electricity. The van comes standard with an Onan generator, and the 600-Ah Xantrex lithum-iron-phospate battery system is available as an option, designed to more smoothly power the van's various electrical components
Inside the Coachmen Galleria
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Inside the Coachmen Galleria
Xantrex advertises some figures with its eGen system, stating that it can power an RV air conditioner for up to eight hours and recharge in three hours
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Xantrex advertises some figures with its eGen system, stating that it can power an RV air conditioner for up to eight hours and recharge in three hours
Off-road and overland vehicles were scarce at RVX, but here we see a Ford Transit-based Mode 4x4 adventure van from Alabama's Storyteller Overland
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Off-road and overland vehicles were scarce at RVX, but here we see a Ford Transit-based Mode 4x4 adventure van from Alabama's Storyteller Overland
Winnebago incorporates the all-new gen-3 Sprinter into its latest motorhome, the Boldt camper van
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Winnebago incorporates the all-new gen-3 Sprinter into its latest motorhome, the Boldt camper van
Winnebago offers two different Boldt floor plans; shown here is the Q70 BL with  convertible rear twin bed/sofa lounge/queen bed and central wet bath
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Winnebago offers two different Boldt floor plans; shown here is the Q70 BL with  convertible rear twin bed/sofa lounge/queen bed and central wet bath
The Winnebago Boldt packs a fully equipped kitchen with induction cooktop, refrigerator and microwave
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The Winnebago Boldt packs a fully equipped kitchen with induction cooktop, refrigerator and microwave
The Boldt Q70 BL van's dual rear sofa-beds can be used with the removable pedestal table as a rear dining lounge
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The Boldt Q70 BL van's dual rear sofa-beds can be used with the removable pedestal table as a rear dining lounge
Winnebago's all-new Boldt camper van will launch in Northern Hemisphere spring
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Winnebago's all-new Boldt camper van will launch in Northern Hemisphere spring
The Travato is a Ram ProMaster-based Winnebago camper van, and the National Park Foundation package includes unique graphics and the Volta Pure3 lithium power system, which is available as an option on the standard Travato
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The Travato is a Ram ProMaster-based Winnebago camper van, and the National Park Foundation package includes unique graphics and the Volta Pure3 lithium power system, which is available as an option on the standard Travato
We don't always love bright yellow on vehicles, but we think it blends nicely atop the National Park Travato's gray paint – the grippy all-terrain tires don't hurt the look, either
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We don't always love bright yellow on vehicles, but we think it blends nicely atop the National Park Travato's gray paint – the grippy all-terrain tires don't hurt the look, either
At RVX, Winnebago and the National Park Foundation announced a multi-year partnership aimed at raising awareness about less-traveled parks and kids programs
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At RVX, Winnebago and the National Park Foundation announced a multi-year partnership aimed at raising awareness about less-traveled parks and kids programs
Inside, the Travato has a driver-side kitchen block, dual rear sofa-bed system and rear bath
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Inside, the Travato has a driver-side kitchen block, dual rear sofa-bed system and rear bath
Inside the limited-edition National Park Foundation Travato
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Inside the limited-edition National Park Foundation Travato
The team-up between Winnebago and the National Park Foundation seems like a natural one, given that America's national parks are an ever-popular destination for RVers
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The team-up between Winnebago and the National Park Foundation seems like a natural one, given that America's national parks are an ever-popular destination for RVers
At the helm of the Winnebago Travato
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At the helm of the Winnebago Travato
Winnebago debuted both Boldt floor plans at RVX
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Winnebago debuted both Boldt floor plans at RVX
Both Boldt floor plans are based on the 170-in (432-cm) wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter
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Both Boldt floor plans are based on the 170-in (432-cm) wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter
Winnebago's Boldt Q70 KL includes a full-width rear bathroom and central bed
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Winnebago's Boldt Q70 KL includes a full-width rear bathroom and central bed
The Q70 KL floor plan does not include the dining bench, as on the Q70 BL, relying solely on the swivel cab seats and retractable tables 
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The Q70 KL floor plan does not include the dining bench, as on the Q70 BL, relying solely on the swivel cab seats and retractable tables 
Winnebago shows the $149K+ Revel 4x4 adventure camper van
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Winnebago shows the $149K+ Revel 4x4 adventure camper van
The Boldt was the newest Winnebago van on offer, but the Revel remains the real head-turner
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The Boldt was the newest Winnebago van on offer, but the Revel remains the real head-turner
The third-gen Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 has yet to launch in the US, so for now, the Revel maintains a second-gen Sprinter base
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The third-gen Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 has yet to launch in the US, so for now, the Revel maintains a second-gen Sprinter base
The Revel is based on the shorter 144-in (366-cm) wheelbase Sprinter, and the compacted size is immediately noticeable when moving over from the Boldt. That compact wheelbase will make the Revel a bit more nimble off-road, where it was designed to explore
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The Revel is based on the shorter 144-in (366-cm) wheelbase Sprinter, and the compacted size is immediately noticeable when moving over from the Boldt. That compact wheelbase will make the Revel a bit more nimble off-road, where it was designed to explore
A key feature of the Revel camper van is the power-lift bed that clears the way for gear storage
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A key feature of the Revel camper van is the power-lift bed that clears the way for gear storage
Another cool Revel feature is the adjustable bathroom shelving system that lets you dry out wet clothes and gear
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Another cool Revel feature is the adjustable bathroom shelving system that lets you dry out wet clothes and gear
The Winnebago Revel's power-lift bed key, monitoring for the standard 200-watt solar charging system and other controls
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The Winnebago Revel's power-lift bed key, monitoring for the standard 200-watt solar charging system and other controls
Winnebago Revel
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Winnebago Revel
Storyteller Overland builds its 2019 Mode 4x4 vans on both the Ford Transit, as previously pictured, and on the Mercedes Sprinter. The Sprinter comes as a factory 4x4, while the Transit requires an aftermarket Quigley 4x4. Ford recently announced the upcoming addition of a Transit AWD, so it'll be interesting to see if shops like Storyteller switch to that option, continue with more rugged aftermarket 4WDs or offer both
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Storyteller Overland builds its 2019 Mode 4x4 vans on both the Ford Transit, as previously pictured, and on the Mercedes Sprinter. The Sprinter comes as a factory 4x4, while the Transit requires an aftermarket Quigley 4x4. Ford recently announced the upcoming addition of a Transit AWD, so it'll be interesting to see if shops like Storyteller switch to that option, continue with more rugged aftermarket 4WDs or offer both
Storyteller offers off-grid-ready features like diesel heat and hot water, a Volta lithium battery system and an indoor/outdoor Halo FlexShower
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Storyteller offers off-grid-ready features like diesel heat and hot water, a Volta lithium battery system and an indoor/outdoor Halo FlexShower
Storyteller includes a handy flip-away rear bed
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Storyteller includes a handy flip-away rear bed
Major American Class B manufacturers like Winnebago and Pleasure-Way may soon get some more competition from the world's largest motorhome manufacturer – Thor explores the possibility of a new Ram camper van with the Sequence concept
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Major American Class B manufacturers like Winnebago and Pleasure-Way may soon get some more competition from the world's largest motorhome manufacturer – Thor explores the possibility of a new Ram camper van with the Sequence concept
The Thor Sequence is quite similar to Winnebago's Travato 59K/KL, but Thor mentioned that its van could dip below $100,000, well under the $113,000+ Travato
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The Thor Sequence is quite similar to Winnebago's Travato 59K/KL, but Thor mentioned that its van could dip below $100,000, well under the $113,000+ Travato
The Thor Sequence includes a rear bathroom
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The Thor Sequence includes a rear bathroom
Thor debuts the Sequence concept at RVX
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Thor debuts the Sequence concept at RVX
Not quite a camper van, but a very nice potential base, a Quigley Ford Transit 4x4
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Not quite a camper van, but a very nice potential base, a Quigley Ford Transit 4x4
Regency RV recently purchased the National Traveler camper van line from Dolphin Motor Coach, adding a more affordable Ram ProMaster camper van line to its existing selection of Sprinter camper vans and motorhomes. It is in the process of moving the NT production line from Indiana to its Texas headquarters
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Regency RV recently purchased the National Traveler camper van line from Dolphin Motor Coach, adding a more affordable Ram ProMaster camper van line to its existing selection of Sprinter camper vans and motorhomes. It is in the process of moving the NT production line from Indiana to its Texas headquarters
A look inside the National Traveler camper van
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A look inside the National Traveler camper van
Inside the National Traveler camper van
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Inside the National Traveler camper van
Inside the Regency National Traveler 
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Inside the Regency National Traveler 
Regency National Traveler
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Regency National Traveler
A rather vibrant bathroom inside a second Regency National Traveler van
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A rather vibrant bathroom inside a second Regency National Traveler van
Alternate Regency National Traveler floor plan with full-width rear couch and side benches
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Alternate Regency National Traveler floor plan with full-width rear couch and side benches
Front dinette in the National Traveler
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Front dinette in the National Traveler
High-roof National Traveler models offer for over 7 feet (2.1 m) of headroom. Regency announced just this week that it will soon launch a new, $120,000 high-roof "Explore Euro-Loft" four-sleeper family van layout
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High-roof National Traveler models offer for over 7 feet (2.1 m) of headroom. Regency announced just this week that it will soon launch a new, $120,000 high-roof "Explore Euro-Loft" four-sleeper family van layout
Since we last looked at ModVans, the company took its modular CV1 camper van from prototype to production 
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Since we last looked at ModVans, the company took its modular CV1 camper van from prototype to production 
ModVans is currently offering the CV1 starting at $77,000, but it looks like the price may rise quickly in the future
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ModVans is currently offering the CV1 starting at $77,000, but it looks like the price may rise quickly in the future
The ModVans CV1 is a modular van designed for both camping and everyday use. Its camping modules can be removed, and the seats can be set up facing sideways, as shown, or facing forward
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The ModVans CV1 is a modular van designed for both camping and everyday use. Its camping modules can be removed, and the seats can be set up facing sideways, as shown, or facing forward
The CV1 pop-up sleeper roof design has changed since the prototype 
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The CV1 pop-up sleeper roof design has changed since the prototype 
The kitchen area looks a little different, but still includes a dual-burner stove, sink and fridge
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The kitchen area looks a little different, but still includes a dual-burner stove, sink and fridge
A stowaway bed sets up atop the rear cabinets, allowing the CV1 to sleep four adults on its upper and lower beds
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A stowaway bed sets up atop the rear cabinets, allowing the CV1 to sleep four adults on its upper and lower beds
The ModVans CV1 took home the RVX Reveal award in the "Van Life" category
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The ModVans CV1 took home the RVX Reveal award in the "Van Life" category
Pleasure-Way told us at the show that the Plateau FL and TS floor plans, based on the new 3rd-gen Sprinter, will each start around $160,000
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Pleasure-Way told us at the show that the Plateau FL and TS floor plans, based on the new 3rd-gen Sprinter, will each start around $160,000
Pleasure-Way Plateau bathroom
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Pleasure-Way Plateau bathroom
Inside the Pleasure-Way Plateau
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Inside the Pleasure-Way Plateau
Sitting back on the sofa of the Pleasure-Way Plateau
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Sitting back on the sofa of the Pleasure-Way Plateau
Pleasure-Way's Plateau FL
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Pleasure-Way's Plateau FL
Pleasure-Way Plateau
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Pleasure-Way Plateau
Pleasure-Way Plateau interior
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Pleasure-Way Plateau interior
After covering one European camper van after another, we didn't appreciate how affordable the $69,550, four-sleeper Pleasure-Way Tofino was when we covered it last October, but after looking around at the other vans of RVX, as well as the remainder of Pleasure-Way's 2019 Class B range (roughly $118,000 to $151,000 to start), we now appreciate that it's on the cheaper side of the market
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After covering one European camper van after another, we didn't appreciate how affordable the $69,550, four-sleeper Pleasure-Way Tofino was when we covered it last October, but after looking around at the other vans of RVX, as well as the remainder of Pleasure-Way's 2019 Class B range (roughly $118,000 to $151,000 to start), we now appreciate that it's on the cheaper side of the market
Inside the Pleasure-Way pop-top Tofino
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Inside the Pleasure-Way pop-top Tofino
A big selling point of the Tofino is the standard lithium battery system running appliances like the fridge and induction cooktop 
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A big selling point of the Tofino is the standard lithium battery system running appliances like the fridge and induction cooktop 
The Pleasure-Way Plateau TS (pictured) and FL displayed at RVX were built on the all-new gen-3 Mercedes Sprinter
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The Pleasure-Way Plateau TS (pictured) and FL displayed at RVX were built on the all-new gen-3 Mercedes Sprinter

Big RVs still rule the American market, but there's been some measurable movement toward more compact camping and travel, with some innovative camper vans launching in hopes of keeping that movement rolling. Camper van offerings from major brands still aren't anywhere near as diverse as those in Europe, but the recent RVX trade show demonstrated that the van market is alive and well, churning with new and exciting products for world travelers, thrill seekers, family road trippers and others.

Sure, we didn't get row after row of camper vans of every size, shape and badge, the way we did at CMT Stuttgart in January, but camper vans were definitely in the mix, ranging from luxurious coaches to multifunctional adventure-seeking machines.

Boundless adventurer: Storyteller Overland Mode 4x4

Virtually every RVX exhibitor not dealing exclusively in half-million-dollar Class A luxury buses was trying to grab the attention of the proverbial youthful adventurer. While many simply slapped on a pair of all-terrain tires or dropped a mountain bike on the roof, newcomer Storyteller Overland impressed by weaving dust-flying adventure into seemingly every design decision and spec of its Mode 4x4 camper vans.

Storyteller Overland builds its 2019 Mode 4x4 vans on both the Ford Transit, as previously pictured, and on the Mercedes Sprinter. The Sprinter comes as a factory 4x4, while the Transit requires an aftermarket Quigley 4x4. Ford recently announced the upcoming addition of a Transit AWD, so it'll be interesting to see if shops like Storyteller switch to that option, continue with more rugged aftermarket 4WDs or offer both
Storyteller Overland builds its 2019 Mode 4x4 vans on both the Ford Transit, as previously pictured, and on the Mercedes Sprinter. The Sprinter comes as a factory 4x4, while the Transit requires an aftermarket Quigley 4x4. Ford recently announced the upcoming addition of a Transit AWD, so it'll be interesting to see if shops like Storyteller switch to that option, continue with more rugged aftermarket 4WDs or offer both

Storyteller gets started by giving buyers their choice of fuel type, building its campers on both gas Ford Transit (Quigley 4x4) and diesel Mercedes Sprinter (factory 4x4) vans. From there, it optimizes its build-outs for off-grid expeditions, offering features like a standard Volta lithium battery system, solar charging, diesel heat and hot water, and space-optimizing solutions like a flip-up kitchen sink, foldaway rear bed and multipurpose pop-up wet bath/bench/tailgate cooler. The Mode 4x4 seems very much the polar opposite of the show van hastily shod in deep-treaded rubber and topped with whitewater kayaks.

Storyteller has not listed pricing information, but it does mention a no-haggle pricing scheme and customer care app. We'll bring you more details on this startup and its products in a future article.

Family man van: ModVans CV1

The ModVans CV1 could have very easily gotten the nod as the adventurer's choice, particularly the show model with optional Quigley 4x4, roof rack and rear ladder. But the van impresses even more as a family vacation and weekender chariot, starting with the four-sleeper combination of stowaway lower bed and pop-up roof loft.

ModVans is currently offering the CV1 starting at $77,000, but it looks like the price may rise quickly in the future
ModVans is currently offering the CV1 starting at $77,000, but it looks like the price may rise quickly in the future

The big North American Class B brands don't seem to have "modularity" in their vocabularies, leaving that space to innovators like ModVans. Working with a Ford Transit base, the California startup packages in fully removable camping furniture and removable, rearrangeable rear seats so that the CV1 is both a light, nimble camper van and an everyday people/cargo-mover. The CV1 remains as smart and versatile as a production camper as it was when we covered it as a prototype in 2017, all while gaining a bit of polish.

At US$77,000 to start, the CV1 is still a significant investment, but compare that to the six-figure price tags of many other American camper vans, then remember that the CV1 doubles as a regular van, and you'll see it's one of the more affordable turnkey family camper vans this side of the Atlantic.

National park explorer: Winnebago NPF Travato

What better way to put a camper van to use than by touring the incomparably gorgeous protected wild lands of America's national park system? Winnebago isn't ignorant to the natural intersection between its RV lineup and the national parks, and it's throwing its weight behind the Parks' charity partner, the National Park Foundation. At RVX, Winnebago and the Foundation announced a multi-year partnership to spread awareness about the park system and support children's initiatives.

The Travato is a Ram ProMaster-based Winnebago camper van, and the National Park Foundation package includes unique graphics and the Volta Pure3 lithium power system, which is available as an option on the standard Travato
The Travato is a Ram ProMaster-based Winnebago camper van, and the National Park Foundation package includes unique graphics and the Volta Pure3 lithium power system, which is available as an option on the standard Travato

To get the partnership rolling in style, Winnebago also debuted the National Park Foundation Travato limited edition camper van. Electric yellow isn't typically our favorite automotive accent, but we dig the special edition graphics package on the Ram-based van. The limited-edition variant also comes standard with the same Volta Pure3 energy system included on the new Sprinter Boldt.

No word on just how limited the NPF package will be, or what it will cost, but the good folks at The Fit RV, a Winnebago partner, will tour in one of the first models, sharing their stories from the road as part of the NPF initiative. The standard Travato starts at $112,907.

Roaming retiree Class B: Pleasure-Way Plateau

American camper vans in general feel less warm and homey than their European counterparts. While features like fixed front dining nooks for four and fixed beds are fairly common over in Europe, we didn't see nearly as many of them in the vans at RVX. Long story short, if we were looking for a semi/fully permanent mobile living solution for traveling North America during our golden years, we'd be inclined to upsize to a larger Class A or C with a warmer, less automotive interior and furniture that didn't need constant conversion.

Pleasure-Way's Plateau FL
Pleasure-Way's Plateau FL

But since we're focusing on camper vans here, we'll pick out the one that seemed the best for serious retiree travelers, Pleasure-Way's Plateau. The Plateaus we looked at were built on the all-new third-generation Mercedes Sprinter, offering advantages like enhanced driver assistance and infotainment packages. Inside, the upscale $160,000 Plateau series leans much more toward luxury and comfort, much less toward horizon-chasing adventure. Its two floor plans include full-width rear power sofas for easy nighttime conversion, 24-in LED smart TVs, Bose sound bars, microwave/convection ovens, Corian countertops, Onan generators, dual 100-Ah lithium batteries, and dual 7-in touchscreen control panels.

Pleasure-Way throws in one feature specifically for grandparents – a standard inflatable bed that rests over the driver cab seats, providing space to bring the grandkids along.

Skip to the gallery to dive inside these vans and see the other camper vans of RVX 2019.

1 comment
guzmanchinky
Well, I have a July production slot for my 4x4 Sprinter, and then it's off the ElKapitan vans to be converted to a camper. The short Sprinter 4x4 is the most compact, versatile and safe vehicle out there, I look forward to what it can do! These smaller van conversions are really changing the way people travel. I would suggest to anyone to get one that looks as simple and as stealthy as possible, sometimes you have to "camp" on a city street somewhere and the more bling and RV it looks, the more likely a cop will knock at 2am...