Downsize Winnebago: ‘A Fuel-Efficient A-Body’

May 2, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

2011 Itasca Reyo

2011 Itasca Reyo

With the price of gas going through the roof, the cost of jumping into a motorhome or RV seems to be rising out of many people’s price range.

But there is a new option for cost-conscious travelers looking to still have the comfort of a motorhome, without the huge gas bill.

A new breed of motorhomes are being offered for sale in Kelowna, British Columbia, a style that has been popular in Europe for many years where the cost of fuel is well above what we Canadians pay, reported.

The 2011 Itasca/Reyo is a smaller motorhome built on a Mercedes Benz turbo-diesel chassis. The Winnebago Via/Itasca Reyo was first introduced at the 2009 Louisville Show and went into production a year ago. The Reyos are available for the first time in Canada this year.

“This is all based on something that has worked in Europe for years,” said Jason Friesen, the vice president and sales manager at Voyager RV.

“When things started to change for our fuel mileage they went to Europe and tried to find out what had been working there because they had been dealing with high costs of fuel before us.”

What they found was smaller units and what is now available is the 2011 Reyo.

It’s a 25-foot motorhome that maximizes storage and living space with a unique design.

“It’s a new mindset, a new design,” said Friesen. “The standard motorhome box has been the same for so many years. Some of the manufacturers have stepped out of what is normal. They believe it will change the industry.”

Using the Mercedes-Benze engine improves the fuel economy. According to Friesen a standard motorhome gets between eight and 10 miles per gallon, while the Reyo can get 18 to 20 mpg.

“That’s completely unheard of for a motorhome,” said Friesen.

“You’re not sacrificing anything as far as amenities. It seems like a lot of customers are looking to get a little smaller. The industry is trending towards smaller units.”

A short hallway separates the living area from a master bedroom. The driver and passenger seats swivel to face the living area to increase seating space.

There is a built in generator, automatic jacks, leather throughout, a separate bathroom.

Other amenities include microwave and convection oven, a stainless steel range and drawers and cabinets built to maximize storage.

Another difference from the big diesel units is the price with the Reyo costing around $150,000 compared to bigger diesels coming in as much as $235,000.

Friesen said the Reyo comes at a nice time and the recession forced the industry to make some changes.

“This is a great thing,” he said. “The recession hit the RV industry but it was a bit of a bonus. It hurt but things like this where all of the sudden the industry said we need to start getting into things that are a bit innovative. That’s what the customer wants.”

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