Review of top Compact Class C and Class B Winnebago motorhomes
The 2021 Winnebago Grand National Rally in Forest City, Iowa provided my wife Jo and I an opportunity to personally inspect the latest offerings from Winnebago in the compact motorhome and camper van market segment. I not only wanted informative content for our Scenic Pathways travelblog, we’ve also considered some of these models as potential replacements for our Winnebago Rialta (see our first article on Best Compact RVs here).
Winnebago’s Newest Compact Motorhomes
I’ve previously looked at and reviewed Winnebago’s best selling compact motorhome, the Travato (see our review). Not much has changed in the 2022 Travato. Still offers two floor plans plus the Pure 3 Lithium Battery-Solar packages in each model.
Our particular interest in attending the Grand National Rally were getting a first-hand look at the Winnebago Ekko and the Winnebago Solis PX as these are two units which might replace our aging Rialta. I was also interested in looking at the brand new Winnebago Pocket as it represents the most inexpensive compact motorhome in Winnie’s lineup.
I had previously reviewed the Ekko in my article on Best Compact Class C motorhomes and reviewed the Solis PX in my article on Best Camper Vans but I’ve never had a chance to actually tour either RV in person.
So here’s my supplement to my earlier RV reviews based upon closer inspections of the Ekko, Solis PX, and Solis Pocket.
As we observed in our earlier article, we were drawn to the Ekko for its “gobs of external storage (55 cu. ft.) and lots useful interior space” as well as the layout that included a dedicated bed in the back and a dedicated front lounge/dinette area. Another provided feature of the floor plan is not having to fold up a couch or a bed to sit in front of a decent sized work or dining table.
In addition to the standard features one expects in a Class C motorhome, the Ekko comes with several premium features as standard equipment, among them being:
- 320-amp-hour lithium ion battery w/Bluetooth control package and battery pack heating system.
- (2) 170-watt and (1) 115-watt solar panels and a solar rated battery charger.
- 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter/80-amp charger which allows you to run 110 volt appliances without being hooked up.
- Standard also is a Cummins Onan® QG 2800i gas generator.
- All-Wheel Drive
One feature in particular we needed to check out in person was the amount of natural lighting in the Ekko’s interior. We found the windows were larger than they seemed in the pictures we’ve found online. So the Ekko addressed our concerns; it lets in a goodly amount of natural light.
Winnebago Ekko Pros and Cons
The Pros – What we liked about the Ekko
- The huge garage style exterior storage
- The light colored interior and goodly amount of natural light in the interior
- The comfort of Cab driver’s seat
- The solar and electrical components that facilitate boondocking
- The unique space-saving dry bath bathroom/shower unit.
- The front lounge area with two work tables.
The Cons – What we didn’t like about the Ekko
- Quirky twin bed conversion to a queen double bed; it didn’t appear comfortable, like the queen conversion feature was an after-thought.
- Microwave oven mounted too high for safe use by a shorter person (i.e. my wife).
- Very narrow single door refrigerator with a weird square box freezer that was quite tiny. Adding to the issue, the freezer door was hinged at the bottom making it hard to access (I imagine easily spilling water when filling ice cube trays).
- Poor fit and operation of folding lounge table.
For us the microwave height and height of the fridge’s freezer unit plus the quirky queen bed setup were interest killers for us. The MSRP of the Ekko ($ ) makes it quite pricey. If we were to stretch our budget to buy the Ekko we want these conveniences as part of the package.
We think Winnebago should be offering a second floor plan, an option that includes a standard queen/double bed that sleeps width-wise. Such a layout would free more space in the galley for a more conventional and user-friendly refrigerator/freezer combination plus a handier location for the microwave. This would also free-up space for a full length closet.
Winnebago Solis PX
In our previous review of the Solis PX, we were drawn to many attractive features. Like the Ekko it provides a dedicated dinette front lounge and a dedicated rear bedroom area. 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 quiet running air conditioner.
What sets the Solis PX apart from its competitors in this space is the 18″ deep, 72″ wide open storage area in the rear. 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.
The pop-top camper provides an upper loft for two more sleepers. A desirable plus for a family with one or two kids or for grandparents who might have some grandkids camping with them.
Unfortunately our enthusiasm for the Solis PX was tempered by two things we discovered in being able to check out the unit in person.
1) The narrower interior width of a Class B van just seems to us too cramped, claustrophobic feeling.
2) No microwave. Apparently Winnebago must think Solis PX buyers wouldn’t value this appliance (a Mom traveling with two kids wouldn’t find this an important feature??)
Another concern is the small oval shaped lounge table. It doesn’t appear large enough for a work station and a bit tight for two to use as a dining table. (James and Stef at FitRV also had the same complaint)
We also found lack of attention to detail on the workmanship (the latch that secures the Murphy bed couldn’t be opened to fold down the bed). The last issue may be a sign of the times – record high demand for motorhomes coupled with difficulty finding employees for job openings means quality assurance is suffering. (Apparently many RV manufacturers are having job vacancy and resulting quality problems – see this article on RV dealer complaints )
Winnebago Solis Pocket
The Pocket is Winnebago’s smallest compact RV and least expensive. Its’ length is a convenient, easy to drive 17’10” and the MSRP list price is less than $100,000. I see it appealing to outdoor adventure enthusiasts who are ready to graduate from tent camping. This buyer would love Winnebago’s premium featured adventure van, the all-wheel drive, totally tricked out Winnebago Revel (also a very compact RV) but most will find the price of the Revel (starting msrp $193,272!) is beyond their means.
Things to Like about the Solis Pocket
While the Solis Pocket doesn’t have all wheel drive, it does have some of the adventure van features of the Revel. The Murphy Bed folds up and allows you to carry bikes and big gear inside the van out of the weather. There are four L-track Cargo tie downs to secure your gear. Overhead cabinets and an array of cubby compartments sprinkled throughout the vehicle provide lots of room for clothes, gear, and provisions.
The Solis Pocket comes with a 170 watt solar panel and two large group 31 AGM batteries which will allow you to camp off the grid for a period of time. (The AC/DC load center, 55-amp. converter/charger and 30 amp power cord also allow you to hook up at campsites offering electrical service.) A large 20 gallon fresh water tank and a generous 20 gallon grey water tank will help support several days of off-the-grid camping.
The galley has a 2 burner stove top, a stainless sink, and an efficient 3.0 cu. ft compressor driven refrigerator/freezer that runs off 12 volt power. Opposite the galley is an ingenious dinette that can convert into a sofa or another sleeping space for a smaller person. The two seats in the cab swivel around offering additional lounge seating. A couple or a couple and one child can be very comfortable in this van.
Heating and cooling comfort conveniences include the Truma Varioheat compact furnace, a Coleman Air Conditioning system, and a powered ventilator fan in the ceiling.
One convenience the Pocket doesn’t have is a bathroom. It does come equipped with a porta-potty cassette toilet that stores out-of-the way underneath one of the dinette seats.
Unlike larger RVs the Pocket is small enough to be used as an everyday vehicle. It is actually shorter than my Ram pickup and would easily fit in most city parking spaces. The driver’s seat provides good visability and it is a comfortable vehicle to drive. Seat belts in the dinette area allow extra passengers. The Pocket would be a great vehicle for day trips going on picnics, taking the kids to their soccer games or for tailgating at football games. With the Murphy bed folded up it can haul lots of stuff from the lumberyard and is well suited for all sorts of shopping trips. I’d expect it to get around 18 mpg.
Links to more Motorhome Reviews:
- Best Compact Class C Motorhomes – 2021
- Compact European Motorhomes
- Best USA-Canadian Class C Motorhomes
- Best Class B Motorhomes
- Best Pop-Top Camper Vans
- Winnebago Travato – 2021 Review