The New Winnebago Era 170B: Our Detailed Review!


We see a lot of RVs, and in particular, we see a whole bunch of Sprinter-based, Class B motorhomes.  If you’re reading this, you’ve probably seen a bunch of Sprinter based camper vans as well.  In fact, you can probably picture one of those “me too” designs in your head.  So there needs to be something unique about one to get you interested.

When we were at Open House in Elkhart, Indiana, we had the chance to review Winnebago’s new Era floor plan, the 170B.  This floor plan – which is sort of similar to the 170X – is so new, it isn’t even on the official Winnebago website as I write this!  But the thing that stuck out in our minds about this one was the galley.  If you like to travel, but don’t want to give up that awesome home-cooking experience while you do it, you should really take a look at this RV.  See what we mean in the video.

 

Now, I’ve mentioned that the 170B is loosely based on the 170X.  But there are a number of key differences and improvements.  Here are a few bullet points to get you filled in:

  • Nova Kool 6 cu. Ft. refrigerator/freezer powered by 12V DC. We LOVE compressor refrigerators in RVs!
  • Large, adult-human-sized storage area under the rear sofa.
  • Below floor storage compartment in the rear.  But you don’t have to use it as a litter box.  🙂
  • Crazy long galley with 3 burners, convection microwave, and tons of storage.
  • Dovetail drawers – solid maple drawer boxes!  (I get excited about woodworking.)
  • Bamboo shower platform
  • New Roof rack with adjustable cross bars for mounting solar panels, cargo boxes, etc.
  • New Ladder can be detached and positioned anywhere along the driver side of the coach to access the roof.
  • 1000 Watt pure sine wave inverter.  (Don’t get an inverter that’s not pure sine wave, btw.)
  • Inverter 110v receptacles. – Located in the rear sofa area and forward of the refrigerator cabinet.
  • New (huge) L.P. Tank.  Propane for weeks!
  • New 3’ longer awning and bracket.  This impossibly long awning features a wind sensor and auto-retract.
  • App control module for multiplex system.  Download the “Precision Plex – Wireless” app for Android and iOS smart phones or tablets.  Stef set this up in 2 minutes, and it’s way fun to control and monitor the rig with it.

 

There are more new features than that, actually, but that’s all I had in my notes.  You can see all of those and more in the video.  But seriously, the thing that stood out most to us about this one was the galley.  If “galley” is on your list of important features for a new Class B RV, you should give this one a look.

Cheers!

 



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.


    45 thoughts on “The New Winnebago Era 170B: Our Detailed Review!

    1. Chris

      Thanks fro the great review James and Stephanie.

      This is the one that makes me think it is time to choose between this and a Roadtrek CSadventerous. .

      An under hood generator and auto start to charge the batteries would seal the deal for me. Steal under hood generator/volt start with a different name and this is my coach.

      4×4 would be a huge bonus. I love it. A refined Revel.

      Thanks for your reviews. They are always spot on,

      Chris

      Reply
    2. Donald B. Fugitt

      What is a “bearing” regarding the windshield?
      Love your videos. The overall cost per mile for the BMW Sprinter seems high because of the problems with the exhaust after 100,000 miles and the high service costs at authorized dealers. Any news on these important issues?
      I’m actually thinking of purchasing a used 4X4 Sprinter by Winebago.
      Thanks

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Not sure what you mean by “bearing”. Did we say something in the video?
        As far as innuendo about high cost of ownership: Our last rig was a Sprinter that had over ten years and 100,000 miles on it. We didn’t have any issues that I would consider to be unusual for a vehicle with that mileage. We had some service items, to be sure. (Glow plug replacement and bad starter come to mind.) Mercedes labor rates are higher than your typical shade tree mechanic, yes. If you’re considering buying a used vehicle, that would probably be more of a concern than if you bought new.

        Reply
        1. Gary

          You were talking about the roof rack; you just happened to be standing in front looking up over the windshield. Thus, you were talking about an aerodynamic wind break of some sort.

        2. Gary

          That is really weird. I watched it with Donald’s question about “bearing” in mind and could have sworn you said “bearing” both times you used the word. Went back after you said it was “fairing” and you clearly said “fairing” every time. My lying ears.

    3. Jenny & Craig

      Great review as usual! This new ERA has me as close to thinking this is “the one” as anything we’ve seen. Two questions:

      1. Do you know if this will be offered with the 4×4 option?

      2. You often refer to RVs as not being “four season” and I’m wondering exactly what that means. We’d want to be able to take our RV on ski trips. It’d be nice to be able to change into ski clothes inside, take a lunch break without having to buy expensive ski resort food and relax a little at the end of the day before driving off. We wouldn’t necessarily have to sleep/shower/go to the bathroom in it as we’d likely be staying in lodging or with friends. With an ERA (with 4X4), would we be able to drive to and from ski resorts, use the stove/fridge and carry bottled water, or does it need to be completely off the road and in a garage somewhere in snowy conditions because pipes would break and stuff like that? Thanks in advance for responding! Craig

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Don’t know about the 4×4, but most of the Eras are available that way, so I imagine it will be available. You may have to special order it.
        As far as taking this RV on a ski trip. You should be fine as long as you use it as you describe. Once the RV is “winterized”, you can still use everything in it – just not the water systems. Winterizing will take the water out of the pipes, and you will be fine then with no worries about freezing.

        Reply
    4. Tom

      Wow. I adore this floor plan, love the “football” leather, and the big roof rack and frig. The want is very strong with this one.

      Why won’t Winnebago build this very, very nice coach on a chassis with the Mercedes suite of safety features? We have blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning on both of our cars, and most competitors equip their Sprinters with this option.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Don’t know about the other Mercedes features. I do know from talking to several manufacturers that Mercedes is… challenging… to work with. It may have something to do with the coaches that MB makes available? There may be some economy of scale available if they’re ordered a certain way? I don’t really know, but I’m sure there are reasons.

        Reply
    5. David White

      The shower is still the big turnoff for me. I like the 170M because it has the dry shower. But then slider (for the bed) extends out into the traffic side making it difficult to boondock. I wish they could find a way to make a rear door slider to extend the shower back by sliding the shower pan out from under the toilet.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I’ve never seen a Sprinter Class B with a rear slide – and Mercedes probably wouldn’t allow it (they’re very picky). But that’s an interesting idea!

        Reply
    6. Mike Yates

      Awesome video, except we are now going to have to wait until the RV shows to do a bake off between the 70A and new 70B before we can make a decision. Please, please, please stick the the Bison nickname. We live in Minnesota and the team from the east, that shall not be named, goes by the badgers, and that means we couldn’t consider it. Seemed like Russ had the same reaction, I assume he is from Iowa.

      Couple of questions, do you know if some of the upgrades done to the Bison are coming to the Kangaroo (70A), specifically the compressor fridge or convection microwave? We like the layout in the A especially the fixed bed. Did you think the sofa bed was as comfortable as those in your Travato? Being from Minnesota, the exposed water lines would be cause for some concern, but with some careful planning, I think we would be fine.

      Again, appreciate all the work you two put into creating the videos, the blogs and answering all the posts. Lori, my wife, and I are retiring early next year and your site and videos have really helped us re-imagine our next journey together.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Lol – Yes, Russ is an Iowa fan. We’ll stick with the Bison. I like that best anyway!

        This is my own personal opinion, and I’m not speaking for Winnebago in any way here, but…
        It seems that as they redo each model, it gets better. I don’t think, for example, that they’re going to be putting absorption refrigerators in any re-designed Class Bs from here on out. I also don’t see them redesigning an Era model and not moving to multiplex lighting. So, I do think a “Super Kangaroo” may be in the cards. Just can’t say when.

        As far as the bed comfort, yes, it was comfy. We didn’t do an A/B with the Travato (though there was one there). I suspect most people would sleep just fine on the Era bed.

        Thanks for watching! Hope to see you on the road soon!

        Reply
    7. sam brest

      Excellent review and a beautiful coach. You two are so good at doing this! I just want to point out one thing. As you pulled the drawers out and talked about dovetail construction, I could see a horizontal wood frame or wood support beam inside which was stapled, not screwed. There is a video online of a guy with a Trend corner bed unit which literally fell apart because the staples let go. They might consider spending an extra moment to secure things a little better. Not a deal breaker by any means! It’s a stunning coach and I’d love to have one.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I wasn’t looking for that, but good catch.

        If I had to pick, I’d go for the dovetailed drawers before a reinforced cabinet box. Reason is: the drawer boxes are stressed every time they are opened. The cabinet boxes are more like shear walls, and don’t get stressed as much. They’re putting the strength where it will do the most good. My two cents anyway.

        Reply
    8. Shane Egan

      I wonder if they could build the bed up slightly higher and make the bottom section also automagically pop-up using electrickery – like a recliner’s footrest? This would also increase the ‘body concealment area’ and make it slightly more easy to transform from day to night mode.

      Also, was there a drainage valve for the ‘ice storage’ under the bed?

      Another enjoyable video, thanks.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I think there was a drain in the ice storage area – but don’t quote me on that. You could add one easily enough though.
        Thanks for watching!

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Don’t know for sure.
        On *my* Nova Kool, I could reverse the door. Don’t know about this one.
        I’ve asked Winnebago.

        Reply
        1. James - Post author

          Just heard from Russ!
          We were looking at Unit #1. The 170Bs in production now have the refrigerator door opening the other way.

    9. Dan

      OK, so speaking as someone who’d love the kitchen (and loves to cook), I see one problem with the fridge. The doors open the wrong way!!! You want the doors of a fridge to open on the side by the counter, so you can easily transfer items between the fridge and the counter.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Gads! You’re right!
        On our Nova Kool fridge, I could reverse the door if I were so inclined.
        I’m not sure if the same operation could be done on this particular model, but I’ve forwarded the question on to some contacts at Winnebago.
        I’ll post back if I hear anything.

        Reply
        1. James - Post author

          Just heard from Russ!
          We were looking at Unit #1. The 170Bs in production now have the refrigerator door opening the other way.

    10. eric swenson

      Looks a lot like our 2017 ERA 170a 4×4…and it would..wouldn’t it.

      Just a few things…I am looking for outside speaker covers…we do NOT use the things…(in our quest for quiet) so..speaker covers…wish I could find them.
      Otherwise, pretty close to our unit..although we only have 2 burners in the kitchen and a different faucet.
      Only used the 4×4 once…it works.

      Eric

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Speaker covers, huh? I don’t know of any.
        But it should be pretty simple to just remove them altogether and put a plate over it in place of them.
        Or have a body shop fill the space and paint it over.
        (probably more expensive than speaker covers though!)

        Reply
    11. Verbotn

      Timely, contemplating era and airstream. Really like the linear cooktops on the W and was wondering if a road bike with front wheel pulled off would fit under couch. Looking at sprinter as an on road support vehicle for my endurance rides as it is way more flexible and nimble than class a. Would not use it for long term living or sleeping but rather as rest stop or comfy way to travel to destination. Any thoughts would be appreciated

      Training for haute route alps++ in 2020

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, just in terms of cubic feet, I think there’s room under the couch for a bike.
        But bikes without the front tire are such awkward objects to store. I think you’d really have to try it to make sure the handlebars fit and didn’t catch on anything – those kinds of issues.
        Class B vans are EXCELLENT support vehicles for endurance races. That’s actually how we got started on this path in the first place! You can read about Stef’s experience driving my support vehicle in this series of posts she did: Showtime with Lance.

        Reply
    12. Glen Littlefield

      Thanks! Another enjoyable and informative video. The B (Bison) looks awesome and I do love that kitchen. One quick question. Is there a second bed option up front for a child?

      Thanks again and keep posting!

      Vr

      Glen

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        BISON!!!
        OMG!!! Why didn’t we think of that one!

        As to the front bed, I think it would have to be something made up from the front seats. There was not a couch or fold down option.

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Good catch! We actually didn’t try that.
        There’s not a bed or fold down sofa or anything up there. It would have to be something that you made up from the front seats and/or the third row seat.
        I know there’s another manufacturer with a blow up bed of sorts that fits across the front of a Sprinter.
        Or, if the third person is small enough, like a child… and you like them enough… there is room for three on the giant bed in the back.

        Reply
    13. David Huff

      I always enjoy y’all’s reviews. Just the right balance of detail (incl tech stuff, #geek) and attention to practical stuff. I actually like this, seems to bits that are higher than normal build quality for Winnebago (?) – like the dovetailed drawers, aluminum frames for the overhead cabinets, etc…

      I think I’d be more interested in a back twin bed layout / daytime dinette than the power sofa, and maybe less reliance on propane (e.g. ditch the generator, add more batteries, preferably LiFePO4, and a second underhood generator with MB high-idle option, replace the propane stove with induction cooktop, and such). But overall, looks pretty good.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Glad you like the reviews! The dovetailed drawers are certainly upping the game in the quality cabinetry department. I welcome improvements like that.

        I’ve wondered why there isn’t an ERA floor plan like the Travato K, with twin beds and a bathroom across the back. Who knows, maybe we’ll see it some day!

        Reply
    14. Kevin

      You two both cracked me up when you were crawling underneath the couch! I guess if a person needs to stuff a dead body in there James showed that it could actually be done! Lol! Anyway great video guys as usual! It’s going to be interesting to see if Winnebago has an option to put some type of cabinet in the place of that third chair.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        A cabinet in place of the third chair would be interesting. But there’s already so much storage in that rig!

        And, I can neither confirm nor deny transporting bodies. 😉

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Sorry!!!
        Yes, there was a problem with the frame rate of the video. So I uploaded and linked a new copy that plays properly. Sorry for the mixup, but it should be all good now!

        Reply
    15. Stéphane Lavergne

      Hm, the video is playing back at 15 FPS here, even in HD. Is this something YouTube does on fresh videos while it transcodes a better version or was there perhaps a manipulation mistake on your end?

      And of course as usual, thank you for your thorough reviews! Best out there by a wide margin.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Yes – I’ve noticed that weird frame rate! This was the first video we’ve shot fully in 1080 and 60fps. I think it has something to do with interlacing. YouTube has problems with that.
        I’m uploading a new copy to see if it corrects the issue.

        And thanks for watching!

        Reply
    16. Barbara Cobler

      How about Bison?

      When you do these reviews I wish you would let people know what items are standard and what are upgrades. I think some of the things you showed look like they would be upgrades. Loved the kitchen, hate the bath area. Either way that van is out of my price range. But I love looking at them. If I owned it, I would have to close the bottom up. I have a cheap trailer and they even closed the undercarriage on it. Have you ever come considered using a yoga mat to lay on when you go under the van? Curious to know if the sofa has to go flat when turning it into a bed or can you stop it in a tilted angle? I know you would have to figure out a way to close the gap between the sofa and bottom area but I think that would be a nice feature if you could lay in bed with your head propped up.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        You could stop the sofa anywhere. Yes, you would have to fill that cushion gap, but that’s an interesting idea!
        I sometimes use mats to get underneath, but we didn’t have one with us that day (we hadn’t brought our own RV).

        I would have included standard/options in the write up, but even the Winnebago website doesn’t have that ironed out yet!

        Reply
    17. Martha Manigross

      Great video. Thanks for sharing. We have the Era 170X and wish this had been available. I do have a couple of questions and wish I could bend your ear(s) for a few minutes in person! Maybe if you have time, you could answer me these 2 though. 1. Can you give me a place to find a simple explanation of an inverter (spelling?) and what it does/how it works? 2. Is there any such thing as an all season RV?
      (If you just want to email me instead of posting this as a comment that’s okay with me)
      When we went searching for an RV (our first) I wanted the Travato K because of the shower and the size – more like a real van and can fit anywhere (practically). We ended up with the Era and now I wish I had pushed for the TK because of the bathroom….but we are trying to make what we have work!
      I love you guys – so energetic and so opposite….after 42 years with my husband, we are complete opposites too and it makes it interesting in a van!
      Thanks so much,
      Martha

      Reply

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