The Winnebago Trend (called the Viva! in the Itasca line) may very well be a game changing concept in the American RV market. In many ways it’s a radical rethink of motorhome design that reflects the latest in automotive technology and mobile living engineering.
Winnebago has always been the nation’s innovator in fuel efficient motorhomes and that unwavering pursuit has been rewarded with Winnebago being their first American company to build a line of motorhomes and touring coaches on the new Ram ProMaster chassis. The ProMaster is a highly evolved third generation chassis based on the Fiat Ducato. Over 4.5 million have been built and it’s the most popular motorhome chassis in the world with over 50,000 a year being sold in Europe. Finally, as Fiat and Chrysler have combined to become a global automotive player, the ProMaster best of breed brings a sensibility of design, handling and fuel economy to the American motorhome market.
The first thing that hits you as you step in behind the wheel is how car-like the cab is. All the driver features that you now expect in a premium sedan are here inside the Trend. There are steering wheel controls for cruise control and the voice activated sound and TomTom powered GPS system. Cup holders, 12-volt and USB charging outlets abound. And, just like its automotive cousins there are six airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The Trend is powered by the advanced Pentastar 3.6L V6 generating 285 horsepower and sitting on a front wheel drive thrust forward design that eliminates the bulky in-cab intrusion commonly found in other van-based RVs. Sitting in the front of the cab you’re struck by the panoramic openness of view with the low belt line of the windshield and side doors. And the large side mirrors also come with a nifty feature that belies the ProMaster’s narrow Italian strada navigation heritage: they electrically fold in. Add in a smooth independent suspension, 6-speed automatic transmission, tight turning radius, and 14-16 mpg highway mileage on regular gas (that’s right 87 octane!), the Trend is the most fuel efficient and easiest to drive motorhome in North America.
The front wheel design of the Trend chassis eliminates the extra mechanics and height of a rear drive shaft and, to the Winnebago design team, offered a flat, lower to the ground foundation on which they’ve reimagined two impressively efficient floor plans. Even though the exterior width of the rig is only 7’ 6” it feels remarkably spacious because of the 6’ 7” interior height. The 23L design is a proven mid-entry corner bed and rear bath configuration that’s found in other Winnebago models and throughout the industry. For a fixed bed design, the 23L still offers an impressive amount of storage and flexibility.
The 23B perhaps is the most innovative re-think of a small motorhome floor plan. Its entry is surprisingly towards the rear. This brilliant concept allows for an expanded galley, 6 foot couch and separate dinette. The magic is how the couch and dinette form a king sized bed and then (wait for it). . .a motorized “studio loft” queen-sized bed lowers to create two spacious levels for sleeping.
The trim size and nimble handling of the Trend nearly screams “take me on an adventure” and you can easily do so with surprisingly large freshwater (27 gallon) and black/gray holding tanks (40/32 Gal for the 23B model), 2,800 watt Onan gas generator, roof mounted air conditioning, gas forced air furnace, and continuous hot water heater.
Priced at a base MSRP of $88,652 – $89,268, the Trend/Viva! is an exceptionally well equipped Class C motorhome and is an owner friendly vehicle which is perfect for first-time buyers. For seasoned RVers who are looking to downsize to a design that’s optimized for easy road handling and shorter trips from long weekends to a month, the Trend is highly livable with no sacrifice of key RV comfort features.
With the Trend, Winnebago, has significantly broadened its compact and fuel-efficient product line. For extended travel and bigger towing capacity, buyers may look to the larger View/Navion models built on the Mercedes diesel Sprinter chassis. However, if you’re in the market for a super-fun, amazingly efficient, fully equipped and remarkably well-priced motorhome you’ll find that the new Winnebago Trend and Itasca Viva! are in a class all by themselves.
To learn more about the Winnebago Trend click here.
To learn more about the Itasca Viva! click here.