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Old 06-28-2016, 03:39 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 82
06 Newmar Ventana vs 08 Holiday Vacationer vs 07 Itasca Meridian vs 06 Win Journey

This being my first post, I thought I'd be real ambitious and ask for advice/takes on a couple of models I'm looking at. I'm looking at several more but since these were all about the same price (around $80k list), I thought it would be a good place to start.

Brief background to know more but won't bore you. Middle aged looking to get into the RV lifestyle and making it our home for a couple years and travel the country (possibly countries but one step at a time). Much research has veered us towards the DPs. Strong wants are: washer/dryer hookups; king size bed capability. Lesser wants: an extra 1/2 bath; home appliances. Our goal is downsizing from our middle class house in FL. Going from 2000 s.f. house to an RV is an adjustment that we're actually looking forward to. We both love to travel and needed a change and this seemed perfect. I've been lurking in forums and going to shows to learn more. I still have a LOT more to learn. Anyway, even though I can find some info both good and bad, one thing I've found out is that there is so much information out there, it's hard to know where to start.

Start I must though. So what can you fine members tell me about any of these models that I should know. I don't mind biased answers as long as they're honest answers. Reputations on the models listed seem to be good but that is one thing I want to know about these "older" models. Does that mean anything?

Being newbies we want quality and reliability (I know that's obvious but just meaning we don't have years of experience to fall back on, if something goes wrong). Thus, of these listed here, what would be good for a newbie?

Is maintenance unusually expensive for any of these?

I've had good luck in the past buying cars from private sellers, but should I risk that with an RV?

I'll probably post separately about this, but also on our list are 2014-15 Thor Palazzos, which have all our strong wants, but quality is a concern. Any thoughts on going with new, "more our style" coach as opposed to the mid 2000s models? There seem to be a lot of them from that era, but every one I've seen, even "expensive" ones feel outdated. I'm not asking for everything at our price point, but it does bother me that the RV industry is just behind the styling times unless you're spending a $1mill+ (and even then the style sometimes seems to be for Elvis, not Joe Sixpack).

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Old 06-28-2016, 04:01 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 581
As far as Thor, do a search on the forum and there will be plenty to keep you busy. HR was made by Monaco, they went out of business in 2008 (I think) and some say that 2008s suffered in quality. The Newmar Ventana is a nice coach and Newmar has a great reputation. Of the coaches you mentioned if price is close and they are all well taken care of about the same, I would go with the Newmar. Just my opinion that is worth (as they say) exactly what you paid for it. As far as feeling out of date, update the one you buy. Cheaper than buying a brand new one.

Jerry, "EWC (SW)" USN Retired
2003 Beaver Patriot Thunder 505 HP C-12 1550 TQ
Allison 4000MH Ram 4X4 towed
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:16 PM   #3
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Out of all of those I would go with the Newmar, but then again I'm biased. We have a Newmar and they are built with great quality, and we have had very few issues with ours. It is a gasser but has almost all the amenities as the Newmar Ventana, at least the ones important to you, and it was $100,000 less(Brand New). It drives great, and will get you anywhere you want to go. We bought new because I'm the kind of guy that takes care of his stuff, does my own maintenance and I like to know everything that has been done with my vehicles, RV's, boats ect. Also if there are any major issues at least there is a warranty to fall back on. I also bought gas because I can do all my own maintenance, and the maintenance is a lot less with a gas than a diesel. There are definite benefits to a diesel too. But then again there are huge debates regarding going new vs used, and gas vs diesel that you can read on other threads.

The biggest thing you need to do is your research. I don't know when you plan on buying but I did two years of research on this forum and actually going out and looking before we bought. But in the end we got a MH that we love, works great for us, and we will keep for a very long time, rather than figuring out we bought the wrong one and wanting to sell it and upgrade in a year or two. It doesn't have to take that long but you really need to look at all the options.

We looked at everything we could, new, used, gas, diesel, varying lengths. We found that buying new we actually bought ours for less than some of the year old models of the same MH. When looking new you can plan on about a 25%-30% +/- off the MSRP. We actually went over what we originally planned on spending as when you consider the starting point of a MH, adding a few more thousand can significantly increase the size, quality and amenities you will get. For example we went a few feet longer, but got the bath and a half, which would be at the top of my list if we were going to fulltime.

So my best advice is to do your research here. Read all the threads on the different brands, quality issues, floorplan issues, customer service, how long they sit in the repair shop, what type of things break, ect. and see what people like and dislike about their MH's. Take it with a grain of salt though as on forums like this you mostly see people complaining about things that go wrong seeking advice on how to fix them, rather than hearing from all the people who love their MH's.

Once you do this then go out and look at as many as you can, drive as many as you can new/used/gas/diesel a variety of brands and you will start to see a difference. Also different brands will drive differently, especially the gas models. And remember you get what you pay for. You will see what people are talking about as well as what is quality to you. For some it's price, others the lack of things breaking down and a quality build, others it's all about floorplan and storage capabilities. Then if you are buying New or used at a dealership, do your research on them as that can make a lot of difference in how satisfied you are too.

If you spend a little time doing this, you will develop a better idea for what you want and your budget, and how much you are will to go over to get something you love, rather than something that will just get you by. You will know your prices, and how far to push for the best deal, and will know when you have found the right combination.

Good Luck, and remember looking for one is half the fun of buying one.
Mike & Charlotte
2014 Newmar Canyon Star 3610
Orange County, California
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:53 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 82
Originally Posted by gemert View Post
As far as Thor, do a search on the forum and there will be plenty to keep you busy. HR was made by Monaco, they went out of business in 2008 (I think) and some say that 2008s suffered in quality. The Newmar Ventana is a nice coach and Newmar has a great reputation. Of the coaches you mentioned if price is close and they are all well taken care of about the same, I would go with the Newmar. Just my opinion that is worth (as they say) exactly what you paid for it. As far as feeling out of date, update the one you buy. Cheaper than buying a brand new one.
Interesting observation about the Holiday Rambler. I looked at the brochure archive and, on the archive at least, the years are inconsistent. It shows 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and then 2011-2015. To me that means that it was a slow seller or quality control issues, or both. That said, they did continue until 2015. Anyway, good point for me to consider.
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