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When you hear “pop-top camper van”, that most likely conjures up a certain image in your mind, and maybe even certain feelings, too. Retro. Cool. Funky. Care-free. Everyone’s reaction will be different, but they’ll almost all be positive ones. Winnebago is trying to tap into that with their newest camper van product, the Solis. We review one below. Check it out!
You can see most everything we know about the Solis in the video, but there are a few other points I’d like to make to make sure that you’re viewing this rig through the proper lens.
Legit Sleeping For 4
There are two “real” beds in the Solis. Both of them are large. If you check the specs, one of them is a couple inches longer and the other is a couple inches wider. But they’re both VERY usable by a pair of adults (or children). This is one of the main features of the Solis – and it’s what that pop-top is all about. So the assumption here is that you want that extra sleeping space enough to forego lots of venting on the roof; a roof rack; an external ladder; an air conditioner; and an awning. Those are the things you’re willing to trade for true sleeping arrangements for four adults.
The camper vans of yesteryear were a lot simpler than today’s Class B vans. Older camper vans may have had one running faucet, and if they had a toilet at all, it was some kind of porta-potti. They may have had minimal lights and heat – but you were happy with them anyway. I’m happy to say there are plenty of lights, adequate heat, a running shower, and a cassette toilet in the Solis. But in general, the Solis is a simpler van – and in no way do I mean that as a bad thing. For example, you won’t find a wired-in entertainment system with outdoor speakers in the Solis. Nor will you find a state-of-the-art lithium power system, an inverter, or even a generator to power the air conditioner that also doesn’t exist. Rather than gas struts and hide-away buttons on the cabinets, you’ll find magnets and slam-latches. (The magnets are kind of fun, btw.) These are deliberate choices made to keep the van simple, and if you’re the kind of customer who appreciates that, then you get it. I mean… tank probes fail all the time, but when’s the last time you heard of a tube of water failing?
It’s a Shorter Van
The Solis is NOT built on the extended ProMaster van. That brings it in at under 20 feet long – which means you can take it literally anywhere, and it should fit in almost any parking space. In my book that’s awesome! But, nothing is free, and the trade-off for that length is that you won’t get a second sink in the bathroom, for example. There’s not much roof space because of the pop-top and the short length, so you won’t be storing much up there. The dinette table isn’t the biggest… These are all things that are traded off to keep the maneuverability and driveability better than most other camper vans.
Keeping It Affordable
Let’s face it – ANYONE can build a $200,000 van… and they do! Just my opinion here, but I don’t know if the world really needs another crazy expensive camper van right now. The Solis isn’t one of those, and affordability was clearly one of the design criteria right up front. You won’t see granite or Corian countertops in the Solis. You’ll see less expensive and lighter laminate counters. Curved doors look nice but they’re expensive to make and they don’t add anything beyond a styling touch… so you won’t find those in the Solis either. You also won’t find painted bumpers, tricked out wheels, etc. etc. etc. I’m not saying that any of these things are bad, or that wanting them in your rig is bad. I’m just saying they’re not in the Solis, and as a result, it’s one of the more affordable Class B RVs you can buy.
So those are kind of my thoughts on the Solis. If you compare it to other Class B camper vans, your first impression might be that it’s missing stuff. But if you look at it with the right frame of mind, maybe… it’s the right van for those who it was designed for. Is that you? Sound off in the comments below!