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One of the things we really like about Winnebago’s Touring Coach division is that they are continually improving and tweaking their various models. I’m sure this is exasperating to the typical RV salesperson, as it makes staying current challenging. But it’s GREAT for the RV consumer, because it means improvements and innovations come to market sooner rather than later – and you don’t necessarily have to wait a whole year to get a feature that interests you.
But every so often, the improvements are so substantial and far reaching that they can’t even really call it the same model anymore. That’s what’s happened here with the Era 170M. Have a look:
For the last few years, Winnebago had offered the Era 170C, which was the only Sprinter based RV with a slide room. When it was time to refresh that model, they put in a much larger Murphy bed (in addition to a bunch of other improvements). Taken together, this changed things up enough that they retired the 170C, and are now moving forward with this floor plan. If you saw our previous video on the Era series, the Puffer Fish model is gone now, and replaced with this “Super Puffer Fish”. Winnebago, ummmm… doesn’t share our naming vision…, and so they’re sticking with 170M.
Besides the aforementioned electric Murphy bed and slide room, these are the features that stood out to me on this model:
- Large tanks – 44 gallons of fresh water! The largest across the Era line.
- Multiplex wiring – we’re seeing more and more of this, and we like it.
- 3 burner stove top with counter top extension – Gourmets rejoice!
- Large compressor refrigerator – much better refrigeration technology than absorption.
- Truma Combi for heat and hot water.
- Palatial bathroom (best you’ll find in a class B).
- Cabinets reinforced with aluminum frames! Seriously heavy duty.
- Large rear storage area.
I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but that’s OK! At about 20 minutes in length, there’s no way I could bullet list everything in the video – you’ll just have to watch. So grab yourself a beverage and settle in. It’s Super Puffer Fish time!
This is 2020 now, my friend just bought this 2017 ERA that is shown on this tour. Does anyone know where the coach battery is located? Is there one or two batteries? I know the cab battery is near the driver’s seat. But cannot find the house batteries.
Thanks for any help
John in Seattle
70 m has been junk since i purchased it .. awning new worked. And now.. Murphy bed straps ripped. The mechanism that draws be up.. like belts ripped out of bottom of bed. An awful design. One of many
Sorry to hear you’ve been having problems with your rig. Without knowing more about it, I can’t really comment on possible causes. Perhaps some other owner will chime in?
Loved ypur 170M video. Quick question, can the Murphy bed be lowered without the slide out extended open?
Nope. I don’t believe that’s possible.
(Unless they’ve changed something. It’s not like I’m sitting in one right now…)
Love this class B. Because you review so many RVs, can you say what is your most favorite? I love your videos!
well watching your interview from the recent rv trade show. and researching on line I am having second thoughts now about buying a rv. poor workmanship ect. once it leaves there factory they have nothing to do with it. they should have there own dealerships. a tent is looking better.
But an RV is SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE!! 😉
Don’t let bad news scare you off.
Happy RV owners (and there are a lot of us) don’t take to the internet to complain…
Helpful review. Thank you. Glad to see the compressor-driven fridge/freezer. Several questions please:
1. What kind of system powers and moves the slide? Hydraulic (like HWH)? Electric track? Rack and pinion?
2. Is there enough electrical power to use a portable induction cooktop? (I wish they offered an integrated induction cooktop as an option.)
3. Does the sofa bottom really need to be extended forward to let down the murphy bed? The way the shorter table overlapped the sofa seat seemed odd. As the murphy bed was being lowered, it looked like there might have been enough space at the back of the sofa seat to leave it in its original position and still be able to lower the bed.
4.The deeper portion of the rear storage looked like a good place to mount some additional hanging racks or storage bins. Could the interior walls beside or behind this space be penetrated and support more wall-mounted tracks or containers?
5. The racetrack lighting appears a little whiter than what I’ve seen inside the Paseo, which seemed too yellow and glaring for me. Is it actually whiter (or as white as the other LED lighting)? Does it have variable dimming, or two-stage dimming like the Paseo?
Thank you for your informative and entertaining videos. You two are fun to follow.
Hi Rick – You REALLY paid attention to the video!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t give answers that would satisfy me (or you!) without having a rig right here to go look at. And, I don’t. We only have our own.
It sounds like what you really need to do is get to a dealer and have a look at one yourself.
You sound knowledgeable enough that you would probably scare any RV sales people, so they would probably leave you alone!
I have one. Perhaps I can help.
>Glad to see the compressor-driven fridge/freezer.
Mine just died. 🙁
>What kind of system powers and moves the slide? Hydraulic (like HWH)? >Electric track? Rack and pinion?
It’s an electric motor, with no visible tracks on the top or sides. rack-and-pinion, I assume, but I can’t swear to it. It’s definitly not hydraulic.
>Is there enough electrical power to use a portable induction cooktop?
There’s no alternator, so you’d have to have a 12v induction cooktop. The battery life is not what I’d like to see… an upgrade to lithium would be needed I think.
>Does the sofa bottom really need to be extended forward to let down the >murphy bed?
The new version doesn’t rest on the table, it has a big support “foot” on the underside of teh bed, and is sofa-agnostic.
>The deeper portion of the rear storage looked like a good place to mount some additional hanging racks or storage bins.
I installed shelves in that tall storage area by attaching them to the side panels with those metal strips you’d use inside Ikea furniture to make adjustable shelves. The back wall is, I’m pretty sure, just the back of the shower, so I’d suggest against drilling into it.
>The racetrack lighting appears a little whiter than what I’ve seen inside the >Paseo,
it’s got a good, white light, with widely variable dimming.
Great review! Glad to see we are not the only people on the planet who REALLY care that the black water outlets are not near the fresh water connectors. It fascinates me that people don’t really gripe about that issue, just from a sanitary standpoint.
FYI – A bed 52 inches wide is 2 inches less than a full/double bed and 8 inches less than a queen size bed, so that is a pretty substantial difference when compared to the queen. It is the main reason we don’t want it – we are thin but the dog is a true bed hog. (yorkie)
Stef and I still have no issues with the bed width in the Travato, which is 48 inches wide I think.
(Can’t help you with the dog though…) 🙂
Could you explain your comment about the slide not working for you . “The slide-out floor plan is definitely not for everyone. It wouldn’t work for Stef and I, for example. But if your use case is shorter drives, and less hopping about, it could work. Different strokes!”
We break camp and move just about every day. Either that, or we drive a very long way, and just stop at night to sleep.
Having to extend and deploy a slide daily – to sleep in a Wal-Mart parking lot, for example – would be another step that we’re not interested in.
Plus… no space for bikes!!
1) what’s with the stripper pole right in the side entrance?
2) all I could think while you were showing off all those USB outlets and fancy switches was “I sure hope all that back-lighting turns off” because that thing will be lit up like daylight at night with the bright blue glow from all that junk!
3) again with the slide-out floorplans that you can’t use the bed w/out sliding it out. no bueno
I think the pole is meant to be a grab/assist bar. (But I chuckled at the reference! 🙂 )
Not sure about all the backlighting, but I know that at least some things (like the Jensen, for example) you can turn the display off.
The slide-out floor plan is definitely not for everyone. It wouldn’t work for Stef and I, for example. But if your use case is shorter drives, and less hopping about, it could work. Different strokes!
Our son, who is a commercial mechanic, tells me the Mercedes Sprinter is very expensive to repair. They have been unreliable. Prone to rusting etc. But I see so many class B RVs on a sprinter chassis.
I found this article here https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fatal-flaw-mercedes-benz-sprinters-tom-robertson
The guy had 47 sprinters, so has some experience.
Do you have comments on the Mercedes Sprinter in terms of reliability, cost of maintenance etc.? Has it been an issue for you? I am keen to get started in a class B, but I worry about investing so much in an RV, when the chassis has issues.
That article requires a login.
I can’t see the article, so I can’t comment on it.
We had a Sprinter. It was 10 years old. It had issues that you would think were typical for a 10 year old vehicle, but no more.
Hey James and/or Stef,
Any chance a review of the Hymer Activ is on your radar? I couldn’t be more excited to have a European maker enter the North American market and consider your reviews to be the gold standard. I crave your thoughts on the Activ.
Every time we’ve seen a Hymer that we could review, it’s always been one of the same two demo rigs that we saw quite some time ago. Not a real production unit.
If we ever see a *real* one that we could review, we’ll have a look.
Thanks. FYI. if you’re friendly with the Russos “We’re the Russos”, they’ve got one.
We’ve actually never met them.
James, what is the brand and model # for the left side swing away spare tire mount on this ERA? This looks ideal to avoid tying up the hitch and the rear door access. I have called W’bago after seeing your video with no response about the spare carrier. It also does not show as an available option and I can not find it on any new ERA’s at dealers. Maybe it was a one-off for the show. Anyway, as you obviously checked it out, I hope you remember or can find out the manufacturer info. Thanks, really enjoy your videos and project info. I am currently investigating converting my frig to compressor as well.
Hi Tom –
To be honest, I don’t know the brand/model/part number. We’re not much into spare tires, so I’m not having any recall here.
I know Winnebago uses Curt hitches on some of their other products, perhaps try them?
Any Sprinter based solution would likely work.
Wilco makes their HitchGate that attaches to any vehicle with a class III hitch with a pass thru hitch so you could still tow if you wanted to. You could have just a spare, spare and 2 jerry cans and other options.
I have been looking at this Class B and think it fits my needs. But wonder does it have an inverter need to be to run my CPAP machine for at least 6 to 8 hours. Great job on the videos.
Years ago, my wife and I rented a Leisure Travel “Super Slide”, and loved it. Tried to buy one, and found out they were no longer in production.
Then we found the Winnebago ERA 70C. Saved up a down payment, went to buy it, found out they were no longer in production.
To date, I have not been able to lay eyes on a 170M, but we’ve put down our “good faith” deposit anyway. Somehow, even though you can’t find one of these at any RV dealership, they have already run out of 2017 chassis, and we have to wait til June for it to be delivered.
Maybe the universe is trying to tell us something.
Thank you for the great review. We’re leaning towards the Travato K but have a question about leaving your campsite for a day out exploring with the Class B RV without a trailer or tent. Do you leave something there to show it’s taken?
Again thanks for all the reviews lots of great information.
We don’t – but that’s because we never stay in one place very long! I’d worry that things I left would just be stolen.
There are some facebook groups (Class B Camper Vans, Travato Owners and Wannabes) where people may have had experience with exactly this situation. I’d recommend asking there.
Hey guys, glad to see you got to the Tampa Show. On this unit does it have a sliding screen door?
I’m embarrassed that we didn’t investigate this in our video!
I’ll check into it, and report back here.
Confirmed, there is a sliding screen door.
Hi, guys. I’m new at this, watching tons of videos. What is, in your view, the best Class B out there. I’m t necessarily big an interior luxury but mechanicals, yes. What is the one that you would buY? And do you trust American Chassis for mechanical reliability? Thanks
We did buy an RV. A Winnebago Travato 59G. You can watch and read about it here. Obviously, we would buy it again.
We’ve had no chassis reliability issues.
Great review! Looks like the C but with a Murphy bed replacing the convertible sofa. Hope it’s at the RV SuperShow in Tampa – and looking forward to meeting you guys there 😀
We’ll be there – and on the lookout for you!
Hey guys a quick question, if you had a choice would you go with a new ERA ‘M’ or look for a used Free Spirit? Thinking of build quality between Leisure Vans and Winnebago and of course new pricing compared to used?
Interesting hypothetical question!
I don’t remember exactly when LTV stopped making the Free Spirit, but it’s been a few years now. Leisure Travel Vans does a great job with their builds, but I’d say newer is always better. With the new Winnebago, you’ll get a Truma Combi heat and hot water system, multiplex wiring, super cool 12 volt load center, and of course, an updated Sprinter chassis. (I believe Mercedes has added several safety features since the Free Spirit went out of production.)
Thank you James, do you know with the ERA, can a 5’10 person sleep with the slide in, there would be times I do n’t think I would want to extend the slide to sleep?
I’m roughly 5’10”. A single person could sleep on the daybed option that I show in the video.
Don’t know how much you were able to talk with Russ, but seeing the multiplex wiring brings up the question: Is Winnebago moving to that on all their Class Bs?
I didn’t ask that specifically, but this makes two models now that have had refreshes and wound up with multiplex wiring.
It wouldn’t surprise me if it becomes standard one day.
Dunno if the bed is bigger. Both the 170C and 170M specs are 52’x75′. However there is extra space at the head of the bed. If someone is sleeping on the daybed arrangement there’s no place for the passenger to sit or sleep.
You almost threw me for a loop climbing the ladder thinking ERA’s have started coming with roof rack systems.
Yeah, the daybed is definitely a “one person only” setup. But I suppose, as opposed to the C, at least it’s an option.
Sorry for any confusion with the roof rack. I just had to use what was available!
Its amazing what you can buy for $100k+. The fridgr, solar, slide, bath and sturdy csbints sre definite pluses. Still much too pricy for me.
Of those you just rattled off, the fridge is my favorite. 🙂
I still love my 2015 Winnebago ERA “A”. The red Koni shocks improved the ride so it’s not so harsh. The 260 watt solar panels, 2,000 A/C inverter, Winegard in-motion antenna, and 2 DIRECTV receivers have been the best additions. Put 25,000 miles on it in the 1st year, hitting 9 national parks. Also just ordered 6″ custom mattresses to improve sleeping comfort. The “M” model seems an improvement in every other way, especially over the “C”.
Just slid down the Sequoia National Park mountain with all 6 wheels skating on 1/4 inch black ice. Can you recommend a Michelin tire to replace the standard Continental tires for better traction and ride? I notice the FORZA has Michelins standard. Thank you.
For snow (and ice, somewhat) tires, we actually use Bridgestone Blizzaks. We’ve never had any problems with them.
Nice review, and overall a nice upgrade. Two things, though. First, do you know if they have any plans to decorate the visible portion of the bed when raised? It currently looks like the bottom of a box spring, and most of the class B+s have a much better looking solution. It’s the first thing you see when you enter the coach, and it’s part of the main living area, so it’s always in view when the bed is up. Second, the Era 170C had a very useful pass-thru from the rear into the shower for carrying larger items, but the M does not. Did they give any reasons, such as leaks?
Good questions. Sadly, I don’t know the answer to either!
As to decorating the underside of the Murphy bed… I think that’s a no-brainer. SOMEONE should do it. If it were my rig, I’d come up with a way to make it look like a wall and maybe hang some pictures or something? You would need to watch where things hit the table and couch below, but there’s got to be something that can be done. A factory decor option would be nice, too. Even some matching fabric back there would dress it up.
I honestly have no idea about the shower though. Perhaps that was not practical to execute in the upgraded fiberglass?
Enjoyed your review of the 170M and noted the numerous positive comments from both of you. I remember the video where you reviewed all three Era models and gave them nicknames. I took exception then of the “puffer fish” moniker and even more so of “super puffer fish.” I just don’t understand how you can point out so many wonderful features only to denigrate it with a snide handle. The 170C brought us to Class B. It fits our style very well.
Well, if you’re found a rig that works for you, then (naming aside) that’s all that matters!
We actually like the “Super Puffer Fish” name! But then again, we named our own RV “Lance”, so you can see we’ve got an odd sense of humor with regard to names.
In any case though, if the 170C suits you, then roll on!
Thank you for the reviews! Which class B, if any, would you recommend to use as a weekender for 2 adults and 2 children, ages 6 & 8?
That depends on a lot of questions that only you can answer. How do you expect to use it? Where will you go?
I go through all these considerations in detail in my post: The 8 Step Program to Buying Your First RV.
Another great review, you always give a thorough run through of the important stuff!
A lot of good improvements on this one. I am disappointed with their interpretation of the Murphy Bed as compared to the LTV Wonder you reviewed earlier. Granted that the Wonder (and Unity FX) are B+, but the flexible configuration options and ease of changing is far superior to the engineering on the Era (in my opinion). Also, I opened/closed a few Murphy’s at the RV show, and really doing it electrically is just added cost (once again my paltry 2 cents worth of opinion).
Happy New Year J & S!!!!
Andy & Kim
Hey there! Happy New Year to you guys, too!
You bring up a good point. I wonder if there is an option or a way to manually raise and lower the bed. Seems like that would be a good thing to have – like manual options for the slide, and the awning – just in case.
OK! There is my 170 M review! Thank you James and Steph! That’s an interesting van I hope in the final version that they would dress up the Murphy bed somewhat like Leisure does for a more finished look. If Winnebago had a lithium ion battery option with a 2000 watt inverter option this unit would be at the top of my list. But I still can’t get the Pleasure-Way wide body unit out of my mind though all decisions decisions! Thanks again guys for your videos we appreciate it!
Nice review. PUFFER FISH is nice, love the storage ideas they are coming with. Did seem a little closed up without windows. Will go check one out when we know of one close by.Thanks for the work you guys do..your work is much appreciated
No problemo! Glad you liked the review.
Enjoy your channel and your video style. FYI there are other class B that have slides and the ERA isn’t the first to have them. Would love to see videos of you guys doing boomdockin
Well, in North America anyway, I’m aware of the Leisure Travel Vans Free Spirit SS, which had a similar slide. But that was discontinued some time ago. I believe the Free Spirit was the first (again, in North America) to offer the slide. It was followed by the ERA, which still offers it. I’m only talking here about true Class B RVs, not “B+” models, which are technically small Class Cs.
We recently saw every single Class B RV offered by a major manufacturer in North America at the RVIA show in December. There was no other Class B with a slide on offer.
But if you know of another Class B with a slide… heck, we’re all ears! Point us to it and we’ll investigate!
Thanks for watching!
Loved the review. Any class B’s out there that have inside room for 2-3 bikes?
Not that are sold that way. It’s typically something you have to figure out for yourself.
On our RV, the Travato G, our bed is modified to allow bikes to live underneath with the bed down – but that’s not a standard option.
In a standard Travato, you could keep bikes in the aisle for travel, but you’d have to take them out to sleep. There are a lot of floor plans like that.
In our last RV, Das Bus, I had rigged up a way to keep the bikes in the sliding door. For that to work, you need a sliding door that is completely unobstructed with cabinetry. Check out our video on Das Bus and you can see how I did it.
Nice review guys! Still want the Winnie 4×4 Adventure Concept though 😉