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Old 02-21-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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Consumer Reports Does Not Do RV's......

.....and this is one reason for this post. I'm interested in some unbiased information on 'hard side', non fifth wheel, 6 - 7 m long, travel trailers.
It was 20 years ago when we passed our 3 m, Trillium FG, travel trailer on to family, and know we're interested in another larger one. Low mass, comfy bed, (only for a couple), adequate kitchen even with exterior option and durability are important. Minivan - SUV towable is another factor as the full size entry level pick-up I'm hoping to use is only good for 2 1/2 ton.
Any experience, 'specially from current 'seasoned' travel trailer enthusiasts would be very much appreciated. If there's another on-line unbiased resourced that would also be very helpful.
Thanks to any that care to take an interest.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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Howdy and welcome to iRV2! I have moved your post to the Travel Trailer section for better visibility. I don't know much about TTs, so hopefully someone will be along soon to give some recommendations.

Feel free to browse the forum; there's lots of good stuff here.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:20 PM   #3
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Here is a site that rates all things RV. They charge $150 for the data base of your choice.
I used it to buy our MH and found it excellent value.

Or, you can check out the web site for free.

RV Consumer Group - We Rate RVs
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:23 PM   #4
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Since you are coming from a Trillium, you might want to look at what is available in current Fiberglass trailers. While I have pulled an Escape 17B over 33,000 miles during the last two years, they make a 19' tow behind, and will be offering a 21' in the fall. Bigfoot has restarted their 2500 series, which range from a 17' to a 25'. I know you stated you were looking for a travel trailer, however both Scamp & Escape do make 19' or so long 5th wheels.

A lot more choices in stick built trailers, and they will probably be less expensive, but the fiberglass trailers keep their value far longer, are lighter, and are less prone to roof & other leak problems.
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:57 PM   #5
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Assuming you want a normal-size TT and not a teardrop or other tiny thing:

We have a 2012 Skyline Nomad Joey Select model 196S. GVWR 5,600 pounds with around 600 pounds tongue weight. If you factory order it, you can get the optional
"•Laminated Sidewall Construction w/Welded Aluminum Frame"
which is a fiberglass skin laminated to the sidewall. The fiberglass (plastic) front and rear caps are standard.

On a 4400 mile trip from Texas to Tennessee to Michigan to Ontario back to Michigan and then home, the trailer weighed 4,870 pounds (4220 trailer axle weight plus 650 tongue weight). Our F-150 towed it fine, even though the GVWR of our F-150 was overloaded by 100 pounds. But it would be too much for a minivan and most SUVs. Our 2009 Honda Odyssey minivan beefed up with towing package of tranny cooler, hitch and brake controller would have been overloaded with that small travel trailer. The one full-size SUV that would match up good to it is the Chevrolet Suburban 2500 or GMC equivalent. The 1500 will probably be overloaded unless you haul nothing in the SUV but a skinny driver.

Being only 19.6' inside length, and no slide(s), the Joey 196S is cozy for two adults and two dogs. But it has all the ammenities you would get with a bigger TT: AC, furnace, queen-size bed, microwave, stovetop and oven, hot and cold running water, separate shower/tub, nice-size closet in the back in addition to two shirt closets by the bed, sterio, TV antenna, wired for cable TV, big awning, dinette that converts to a full-size bed, etc. Our wall mount for a 19" LCD TV, and the TV, were optional. There are no chairs, sofas, etc.

Click on this to see the floorplan:
http://i1.rvusa.com/wm/showimagerv.a...=60&c=auto&t=5

It satisfied Darling Wife, who insisted on:
1] walk-around three sides of the queen-size bed, so it's easy to make up without crawling on the bed
2] separate shower, so you don't have to sit on the pottie to take a shower (yes, we've been there, done that in a mini-motorhome).
3] Nice size closet

The Joey Select 196S is sold under at least 4 Skyline brands:
Aljo
Nomad
Layton
Mountain View
and probably others
The Koala brand has something very similar.

Our local Nomad dealer had one in stock, and matched the "internet" price of the big-volume dealers in the Midwest (Indiana and Ohio) It was less than $13,000 total in January 2012 for the 2012 Joey 196S. Of course, MSRP was a lot more than that, but do some shopping and find out what the price would be at the big RV dealers in Indiana and Ohio, and your local dealer will probably come close to that price.

The mattress in all reasonably-priced TTs is going to be junk. We knew that, so the first thing we did was replace the standard mattress with a Serta EuroTop from Sam's Club:
Serta® Carswell Plush Eurotop Mattress - Queen - Sam's Club
Caveat: The Joey comes with an "RV queen size" mattress, 74x60. That mattress above is 80x60, or 6" longer. So it sticks out 6" past the plywood base of the bed. For a little more money and internet shopping, you can buy RV queen size matresses or "short queen" size that will fit perfect. But we like ours just fine.
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Old 02-22-2013, 03:20 PM   #6
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I agree with looking into fiberglass trailers. I am biased towards R-Visions' Onyx 25RB, myself. Or a Trail Cruiser 25 they are just a couple of feet longer, have a nice sized single slide, queen bed, bath w/shower and weigh in at under 6500/6600 pounds gross. I pull our with a Dodge Ram 1500 and a 5.7L gas engine. Good space inside, pretty well constructed. We reallyike ours.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:32 AM   #7
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My GVWR 3500 lb TT is on target except for the comfy bed - I am getting ready to buy an 8" memory foam mattress. We pull with a half ton, but it is van and SUV ready.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:39 AM   #8
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IF CR reviewed RV's, I doubt that a single one out there could get a positive recommendation! Even the $1 million ones have issues.

Your best bet for honest info is probably these forums. You can find other owners on here of the models you are interested in.

Since even tag-alongs can vary in price from $10k to over $80k, you should set a budget first, and then research at that price point - that may narrow the field a bit. Definately TT is the best bang for your buck. Good luck in your hunt - I smitten with Vantage these days, but I'm an odd duck.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:43 AM   #9
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Your post would have us believe that CR is unbiased. That could not be further from the truth. That is the most biased publication on the planet.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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Considering that they don't take advertising and use statistical data to back up their recommendations, I'd say it's about as unbiased at it gets. They buy the products in the open market. I've read their solicitations for employees - you basically had to be a credentialed scientist to work there. So offer up some evidence or keep quiet.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wincrasher View Post
I smitten with Vantage these days, but I'm an odd duck.
The new Thor Keystone Vantage is a very nice RV, but it's in the "luxury" class with Airstream, so it breaks my budget. And they look sorta like an Airstream except without the shiny metal skin. And they're heavy! If by "odd duck" you mean you are nostalgic for the dark cave-like interior of the classic Airstreams, then you won't be disappointed.

But the 19' gets a veto because Darling Wife would have to crawl around on the bed to make it up. And it has a GVWR of 7,000 pounds, so too much for most minivans and SUVs, and it would even overload my F-150 EcoBoost.

Darling Wife likes the bed in 25' model. But she would prefer more closet space. And it gets my veto because it has a GVWR of 8,200 pounds, so that rules out all minivan and SUV tow vehicles except for maybe the GM 2500 Suburban/Yukon XL. And I don't want anything sold by Government Motors.

Here's the Vantage website:
Vantage RVs
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:15 AM   #12
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I bought a 19UL. It is a tad heavy, 4900 dry and probably about 1000lbs of supplies and stuff. Not too heavy for a 1/2 ton or big SUV.

The 25 is another 1000lbs heavier, so you could be reaching your limits on that one.

I disagree with your statement on cost though. They are all being clearance priced to get rid of them, as the line is shut down. Also, I don't find them dark at all and they have lots of windows. And tons of LED lights!

I think they could have justified them being premium/luxury if they would have made the chassis/frame out of aluminum. Lighter is always better and could have been a big selling point. But what I've seen of airstreams, they ain't exactly light either. So I guess Keystone thought they were comparable in that department. They were selling stiffness/quality by showing they were using some kind of bolted connections instead of welding. But I guess chassis isn't a good selling point.

Bigger wheels and tires should be! The 16" wheels make a big difference in towing.

Down the road, I may paint mine or do a chrome vinyl wrap - wouldn't that be awesome?
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:19 AM   #13
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The evidence is legion. All you really have to do is draw a simple bell curve around any legitimate data set to know that their results are impossible. Basic probability will also deny the impossibility of their conclusions. Dang you have forced me to hijack a thread for the very first time.
here are two
Consumer Reports and Apple: What Gives? - Forbes
Statistical problems of Consumer Reports auto ratings
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:54 AM   #14
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I think I need to understand your definition of bias. To me, bias would be if the editors or researcher at CR engineered a study/survey to yield a result they wanted in advance for some nefarious purpose. Not flaws in how a study is conducted.

Granted, human beings have their own prejudices and make mistakes. And if you are basing recommendations on input from consumers that volunteer to give their opinions, then the data will reflect the group that is participating. That is not bias as you imply it. The article points out how results may be skewed by who decides to participate. I agree on that point, but that is disclosed, as well as often explained in the accompanying article that is the recommendation. The recommendations always describe why they are recommending something.

They are pretty transparent on how they compile these things. If they are flawed, people generally point that out by writing in or voicing their opinions. I can't imagine that the staff at CR cares on way or another how a review on toasters comes out. What benefit is it to them out it turns out? Ever look at another magazine with lots of glossy ads and there is a review of the product in there by one of their major advertisers? Ever read one that said the product was crap?

I think I'd trust a car review by CR before I did one from MT or C&D. A small group of auto jounalists sitting around a conference table deciding winners and losers. Is that much better than an attempt to formulate a statistical basis for a recommendation? Or actual data on reliability? At least there is disclosure with CR on how they put it together, so the reader can decide if they agree with it, and obviously from the link provided, internet pundits can try to poke holes in it.

I think that in the end, most readers take these recommendation with a grain of salt anyways. If you are buying a vacuum, and CR gives the $400 one 5 stars, and the $60 one only gets 3 stars, you may still select the $60 one. You always have to balance "best" with "value for money" as well as which will work for your individual need.
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