Winnebago’s Revel is a Nice Contender

We thought we had found the right vehicle. So close.

Our Instagram account was recently tagged by a clever RV salesperson in Spokane, who uploaded photos of the 2019 Winnebago Revel, that iconic company’s entry into the quick-growing adventure-van category. The caption read: “Come and get it!”

“Count us in!” we said. And when we arrived on the RV lot to check out the Revel in person, we were impressed.

These vehicles rolled out last fall and have been a smash hit, combining the go-anywhere capability you get from on-demand four-wheel-drive and the comfort consumers expect from Winnebago. It has the interior layout we’re craving, with a work/live space up front and a bed in the back.

The Revel’s bed is on a mechanized lift at the rear of the vehicle.

This bed, a comfy full size, is on a mechanized lift that rises to the roof so you can stick a bunch of stuff underneath while traveling. (Although it seems a stretch that you’d wanna load a couple of dusty bikes in the bedroom space.)

Besides that space, storage seems adequate for short trips, but maybe a bit tight for living on board: It has kitchen drawers the size of Kleenex boxes, for instance.

And there’s that business with the toilet black water. Like its competitor in the Class B category, Hymer, Winnebago has opted to go with a “cassette toilet” to cater to the off-the-grid boondocker who doesn’t want the hassle of going in search of a dump station to unload the nasty bits. The cassette toilet is about the size of a carry-on suitcase that can be accessed from the outside of the rig and dumped in a public bathroom.

Easy or ewww? The question hangs in the air.

Listening to the pitch for the Winnebago Revel.

Still, we loved many things about the Revel, including the Mercedes diesel engine that promises almost 20 miles to the gallon. The driver and passenger seats swivel to face the bench seat and table in the main cabin area. Hello, dinner party!

The kitchen has a stylish fold-down faucet sink, a small fridge and a single induction burner. There’s an AC unit above the bed and a heating system that runs off the auxiliary battery. On the roof, a couple of solar panels contribute a little more juice to help make the off-the-grid experience last a little longer.

But it turned out that even if we wanted to pony up the price tag ($150K), we really couldn’t even get it — at least right away. The vehicle had a sold sign and the soonest possible delivery was in late August.

“It’s almost impossible to find one of these on a lot,” the salesman explained. “They’re so popular.”

And that delayed gratification got us thinking: At $150,000 for a vehicle with a few question marks, it felt like the best choice was to sit tight and continue our search.

The design for the Revel is well thought-out, with a seating area up front.

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