In an earlier article on featuring Modular Conversion Camper Vans, I commented that major RV manufacturers need to create what is essentially a successor to the venerable VW Bus-Camper Van, an affordable camper van that doesn’t require a second mortgage on your home to acquire!
Apparently Winnebago was listening because a short while later they came out with the Winnebago Solis, a pop-top full featured camper built on the medium-sized Ram ProMaster Chassis. The Murphy Bed and the Pop-Top provide sleeping space for 4 people. It is a scaled down version of Big Brother Travato but retains all the key features: AC, furnace, HW heater, generator, bath, galley, and a 100 watt solar panel. While the MSRP is around $100,000, if you shop around you could get setup for less than $80,000. It became an instant hit with families. Because the Murphy Bed folds up it can also carry a lot of gear so it was also a hit with active young adults who couldn’t afford the Winnebago Revel.
A few more RV manufacturers rushed to enter this new market to compete with the Solis. PleasureWay came out with Tofino and Thor has introduced the Tollaro. Aside from these three your choices are limited to custom van builders, like ModVan, who offer conversions with a pop-top that sleeps two more people.
We will first review the Solis and then follow with the Tofino and Tollaro
Winnebago Solis 59P
At just under 20′ long (19’9″) the Winnebago Solis (pictured at the top of the page) crams a lot of features into a small footprint. It borrows the dedicated dinette front lounge option we like in the Travato 59G. Its’ bathroom is quite compact, with only a toilet and shower. Like it’s more expensive sibling, the Revel, the bathroom is setup to also function as a closet with shelves. The Solis with it’s standard pop-top, will both carry and sleep 4 passengers.
The Solis offers as standard equipment a 220 watt solar panel, AGM Batteries, the Truma-Combi hot water/heater system, a 2800 watt Onan generator, and a high efficiency Coleman NDQ air conditioner. It has many other convenience features, like LED lighting and USB ports, similar to those found on the more expensive Travato.
Winnebago Solis 59PX – Best in Class Camper Van
Just recently introduced is a larger version of the Solis (the PX model) that is built on the extended length version of the ProMaster Chassis. While it is still compact (only 21 feet) that extra length over the shorter model is what we consider a game-changer. Just about every component and feature of the 59P is retained, but the longer unit allows for a 18″ x 72″ full height extremely handy garage storage space in the very back of the unit.
This feature allows storage and access to that storage without having to either raise the bed or crawl underneath the bed. Not only does it offer extra room for bikes, golf bags, and other gear, the garage or gear storage area also has an L-track tie-down and hanger system that would allow the space to function as a hanging clothes closet.
In a unit the same length as the Travato 59G which we had nominated as our Best Compact Class B Motorhome, the Solis 59PX manages to offer substantially more storage space and a larger, more convenient to access double bed. One of the reasons it accomplishes this feat is the bathroom/shower has no vanity sink so it takes up less space than the Travato’s equivalent.
The only concern I have is the dinette table is on the tiny side, much smaller than what you find in the Travato. Basically while there is seating for four people, the size of the dinette table will limit it to two diners. Towards the end of the following video from James and Stefany of TheFitRV.com you can see James using the table as a work station.
The Tofino is built on the smallest of the Ram ProMaster Chassis (the 1500 model) and is super easy to park and drive because it is only 17′ 9″ long. It’s list price is $30,000 less than the Winnebago Solis 59PX so it competes for a slightly different RV customer.
The Tofino is the modern-day successor to the VW Westy Bus CamperVan. The rear sofa converts into bed. The dining table is on a movable tripod so it can be set up in front of the sofa or the cab seats turned around facing the sofa. There’s a decent sized storage area behind the sofa-bed and an attractive galley area with a sink, stove, and AC/DC refrigerator. There’s LED lighting throughout and USB charging ports. The pop-top bed area is smaller than the Solis or the Tollaro and is best suited for kids or one adult. What’s missing? A bathroom and shower. The rear storage is large enough so you could store a porta-pottie back there. Also missing is an AC unit for the coach section and a generator set.
While the PleasureWay Tofino is a more minimalist camper van, it comes standard with two 100Ah lithium coach batteries and a 2000 watt inverter. A 100 or 200 watt solar panel package is an available option.
At a MSRP of $73,450 the Tofino is a option for budget-minded entry into motorhome camping. I can easily see a tent camper or pop-up trailer camper graduating into a Tofino as an affordable step up in camping and touring convenience.
The Thor Tollaro shares many of the features of the Thor Sequence, which we reviewed in our post on Best Class B Motorhomes for 2020. But unlike the Sequence it comes in a Pop-Top version which expands its sleeping capacity to 4 people. It comes in 3 floor plans. The one we prefer is the European style floor plan (20AT model) with a dedicated rear sleeping area and a forward dedicated four person dinette area.
A power awning and a Thule bike rack on the back are standard equipment. The Sky Bunk™ Sleeping Area Includes 200W of Solar. It has the same generator as the Solis, same or similar 1000 watt inverter, AGM batteries, and energy efficient AC unit for the coach. Likewise LED lights and USB ports in strategic places, as in the Solis. The bathroom, while no bigger than what is in the Solis, does have a fold down vanity sink. There is a small closet to hang a few clothes.
Advantage over the Solis: a larger dinette table, a slightly larger refrigerator, and a power awning. Solis advantage over the Tellaro: a much larger gear and storage area that also has potential to hang a good deal more clothing. The Tellaro’s quoted MSRP is less than the Solis but the Pop-Top is an optional feature and I don’t know how much that adds to the cost. My guess is the two are pretty close to one another – price-wise.
Winner Solis 59PX vs Tellaro 20AT? Pick which of the above comparison features you most prefer. For me that huge garage/gear/clothes hanging rear area in the Solis is worth the sacrifice of a larger table and an awing that I’d likely never use. The Solis fridge is the same size we now have in our Rialta and we’ve gotten along fine with that size.