Picking up where we left off, V-Cross brought out the new Vibe, with two floor plans. It’s so new that it’s not even on the V-Cross web site as of yet. However, they’re starting to show up on dealer lots with the MSRP in the upper teens.
(photo courtesy Couch’s RV Nation)
The 6500 series Vibe checks in at 20’6″, with the 6502 floor plan having a front bathroom in the distinctive V shaped nose of the trailer. Both floor plans offer a slide out and weighs in at 2700 lbs. Good exterior styling on the Vibe.
Truck camper specialist Travel Lite introduced their first foray into the travel trailer market with the Idea.
The Idea will start out with three floor plans ranging from 15-17 feet and will check in around 2550 lbs. Like many manufacturers have started, the Idea will feature a molded fiberglass front nose cap designed to decrease wind resistance and increase fuel mileage. Each Idea that is sold, Travel Lite will make a donation to Habitat for Humanity.
Next up is the born-again T@B, this time built by Little Guy Worldwide instead of the original Dutchmen version that was around from model years 2004-2010. Having owned one of the last T@Bs to roll off the Dutchmen assembly line in the summer of 2009, I was looking forward to comparing the two. As we discussed in October, Little Guy has definitely improved some key areas of the T@B. Mainly, they’ve put on a 3500 lbs axle, which gives it nearly 2000 lbs of cargo capacity. The Dutchmen T@B only allowed for about 300 lbs. But overall, the new T@Bs look really good, and with some new colors that Dutchmen didn’t offer. Also the new diamond plate on the front is a nice addition as well. Unless some unforeseen issues arise with the production quality, the Little Guy T@B will likely exceed over the coming years the production numbers Dutchmen achieved.
A unit worth keeping an eye on is the Born Free Trail-R Lodge travel trailer. Not much known about this other than it’s a prototype, it’s a molded fiberglass shell, and it looked really nice on the road when I saw it on I-65 northbound in Indianapolis after the RVIA show had ended. Other than that, not much is known about it, but we’ll keep an eye open as to whether it goes into production.
And now for the disappointment. I’ve been keeping tabs on the Riverside RV Retro model since coming across their web site last year.
I’ve been a fan of the now defunct Sierra Campfire and Bak-Pak, and the Retro is very similar in styling and size. Having first hand knowledge of the quality of product Sierra has put out, I was able to use their workmanship as a gauge. For the record, the small trailer I own is a Serro Scotty HiLander, which was built by Sierra when they were still building trailers. I was rather disappointed in several aspects of the Retro. First, from an eye appeal standpoint, the Retro needs some work. Combined with the gray and red exterior, the white plastic of various vents and caps makes this sidewall terribly “busy”.
I’m still not sure why the vent for the bathroom (white square on the top-center of the side wall) is on the sidewall and not on the roof. That alone would’ve helped the white plastic traffic on that wall. Having painted the pieces silver, or painting the trailer white would’ve helped immensely. And probably a rounded wheel well would’ve worked better with the shape of the trailer. Another issue I had was with this tank valve sticking out the sidewall like a wart:
I’ve never seen this on a trailer before and I’m not sure the reasoning for doing this. Typically, they’re placed under the frame, and typically in black where they can somewhat be concealed. Construction-wise, there was some noticeable flaws. The silicone caulk along the edges was very sloppy, as well as the shape of the sidewalls: uneven in some areas. After talking to one of the Riverside salesmen, he told me they have somewhere around 30 dealers for their products. Unless some of these issues are addressed, those dealers will have a lot of Retros sitting on their lot for quite some time.
Coming up in Part 3: My own best of show and the final wrap-up.