Our Review of the new Winnebago Era 170M!

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!


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    41 thoughts on “Our Review of the new Winnebago Era 170M!

    1. Tom

      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.

      1. James - Post author

        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.

    2. James D

      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.

    3. Brian Lojeck

      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.

    4. Marie

      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.

      1. James - Post author

        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.

      1. James - Post author

        I’m embarrassed that we didn’t investigate this in our video!
        I’ll check into it, and report back here.
        Say tuned…

    5. Julian

      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

    6. Troy Casey

      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 😀

    7. Skip McOmber

      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?

      1. James - Post author

        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.)

        1. Skip McOmber

          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?

        2. James - Post author

          I’m roughly 5’10”. A single person could sleep on the daybed option that I show in the video.

    8. Bob B

      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?

      1. James - Post author

        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.

    9. Ted

      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.

      1. James - Post author

        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!

    10. Jesús Manuel Mena Garza

      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.

    11. Eric Eltinge

      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.

    12. Mark Tanner

      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?

      1. James - Post author

        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?

    13. Rick Allen Lippert

      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.

      1. James - Post author

        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!

    14. Ricardo Dacosta

      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?

    15. Andy & Kim

      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

      1. James - Post author

        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.

    16. Kevin

      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!

    17. Ed Rudder

      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

    18. Frank Blasingame

      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

      1. James - Post author

        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!

      1. James - Post author

        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.


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