winnebag-oh-yeah

One of the Coolest Off-Road Camper Vans Just Got Even Better


June 23, 2020 Cars By
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When we say “Winnebago,” your mind probably jumps to boxy Griswold-style recreation vehicles — rolling residences both as comfortable and as sexy as a ranch house on wheels. But Winnebago is way more than residential buses and vans that look like converted U-Hauls; they also build camper vans, based on both Ram and Mercedes-Benz models. And while they all offer distinct capabilities, the coolest by far is the Revel — a four-wheel-drive Mercedes Sprinter van converted into an off-road-ready camper. It’s packed with features designed to make life in the great outdoors better…and it’s fresh off an update for the 2021 model year.

The biggest news for the 2021 Winnebago Revel is electric: a new lithium-ion battery pack setup, with two 125-Ah units replacing the old trio of absorbent glass mat units. They’re connected to their own dedicated alternator, enabling the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 to charge them up without impacting the rest of the electricals; they can also be charged up through an external hookup, or via the standard solar panels.

Inside, the compact living space has been redesigned a bit for better usability. The induction cooktop pops out of the kitchen island, enabling owners to use it to cook both inside and outside of the van; should they choose the latter, a fold-out outside table and a removable kitchen counter extension that stretches towards the sliding side door offer room to work; the fridge has also moved to the front of the kitchen area, making it easier to get to from outside with the door open.

When it comes time to eat, occupants can break bread at a new oval-shaped table that’s convenient to both a bench seat and the driver’s rotating captain’s chair, while the relocation of the 21-gallon freshwater inside the vehicle means the drinking water from the tap is less subject to the whims of the weather. Sleeping and bathing arrangements are largely unchanged, but considering how handy they already were for adventurers — the wet bath doubles as a gear closet, while the stern-mounted bed rises to reveal a commodious gear closet — odds are good few people interested in this Winnebago will complain.

Granted, the Revel’s capabilities don’t come cheap. If you want to drive off into the sunset in this camper van, you’ll have to fork over at least $174,906 — enough to buy an actual home in many parts of the country. Still, no two-bedroom house in Des Moines will ever come close to offering the sorts of adventure you can find in this boxy off-roader.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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