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This is another really long RV review, but we are reviewing the whole coach as new. And this is not just a review of Winnebago’s lithium Pure3 Energy Management System. (Just to set your expectations…)
When Winnebago announced their first lithium battery-powered system recently, they announced two new models that would be sporting it. The first was the Travato 59GL, which we reviewed recently. The second was it’s sister coach, the Travato 59KL, which we tackle in this video:
The 59 KL is based on the current 59K, with a few key changes. The biggest, of course, is the lithium battery system. This system, which Winnebago developed in collaboration with Volta, provides capabilities for a coach to run all of its electrical needs without using a generator. The changes required to make that happen were pretty extensive, and that’s why they released this as a new model. Most of the other changes (and I’m thinking mainly of the water tank moving) were follow-on changes that resulted from the lithium add.
There are other changes we show in the video that are particular to the 2019 model year, as opposed to being keyed to the lithium. These changes will be available (mostly as options) on current production models of the Travato. Here, we’re talking about things like the dual-paned acrylic windows, the windshield shade, the locking under-floor storage, the leather seats, and so on.
You can see everything we know about this coach (and our annoying cat) in the video. If we had to sum things up in a few key bullet points, this is how that would look:
What We Really Liked
- Just like in the Travato GL, it’s hard not to like the 48 volt, Pure3 lithium power system. It just works. And having lived with a similar system for nearly two years, I can tell you there really aren’t any negatives to it.
- All of the other things we liked on the GL: The windshield blind; the dual paned acrylic windows, locking in-floor storage, etc. etc. etc. Just assume I repeated all those things here.
- Seat Belts! Travato K owners have been asking for additional seat belts, and now they have them. I wouldn’t recommend them for full-time travel, but they’re there if you need them, and you can hide them away if you don’t. You can look for these in new Travato K models as well.
- Storage buckets. While the actual capacity of the two white buckets you see in the videos isn’t all that huge, what I really like about them is that it shows Winnebago’s commitment to give owners all the storage that’s possible. I think even the storage on the floor underneath the wardrobe is bigger, but I’d have to look at old footage to verify that.
- And of course, we love the open feeling that you get in the KL. That “non-claustrophobic” feeling is one of the main things that draws people to the Travato K (and KL). Though the window layout has changed this year, it’s still hard to deny that this is an open-feeling coach.
What We Wish Was Different
- It may seem odd to put the window layout in both the + and – columns, but I’m doing it. Where the 2019 model has two windows on each side of the living area, the previous versions had single – and larger – windows. I realize this is driven by needing to source a common size for two sets of optional windows, but it would be fantastic if they could get even larger dual-paned windows, and revert to the previous window configuration.
- The single analog gauge for the Volta system is certainly easy to understand, and we know that’s what they were going for. But there are some people (like me), who would appreciate being able to get even more data on how their lithium battery system is performing. We think it would be great if they could offer a “detail” level control panel for those who want it. (It doesn’t have to be a physical control panel though… they could broadcast the data to a smartphone app!)
- Much like in the Travato GL, we’d like to see Sumo Springs (or another suspension enhancement) added right out of the gate. Although, since our GL review, I did go and measure that battery box. It’s 6.25 inches off the ground. For comparison, our all-wheel-drive Subaru Impreza sits less than six inches off the ground. So this issue may be more one of “mental comfort” than actual chassis clearance.
We’re back now from our test-camp in the Travato 59 GL, so I do owe everyone a write-up on that experience. The Pure3 Energy Management System is the same in each of these coaches, so the findings in that write-up will apply equally to both coaches.
I promise, I’m working on that next. Stef has told me I can’t start any new RV projects until I get that test report done. She can be such a buzzkill…