What’s New in RVs for 2017

What’s New in RVs for 2017

By Howard J. Elmer,

Louisville KY, USA

Each year at the dealer-only National RV Show in Louisville, I cover 30 to 40 kilometers of carpeted floor climbing in and out of every conceivable trailer looking for what’s new. Over those 2½ days, I can’t help but notice some common trends running through the construction and decor of the new units. This year I saw a few interesting things I’d like to share.

First off, travel trailers are back in a big way. By contrast, fifth wheels were the overwhelming favourite of builders for a solid ten-year period, but starting about two years ago, I noted more conventional trailer designs on the floor.  This year it’s obvious – but, within this group there is also another trend. Smaller, lighter weight and simple design. The entry-level end of the market is getting a lot of attention. By this, though, I don’t mean cheap. Instead, it appears to be an effort to push couples trailers and minimalist units that cater to people looking for an outdoor active lifestyle.

The next innovation is not new at all. Bunk-beds. However, in family-type trailers, they are everywhere. The big changes are that they are being offered as double-bed bunks – some of which are motorized. Bunks are also found in slide-outs.

The bigger bathroom trend continues with more units offering one and a half baths, and the size increasing by placing the bath across the entire width of the trailer at the rear. Inside, I see more and more large showers – some up to 48-inches. Many include a built-in seat. A neat kitchen feature I saw in a few trailers was an elongated U-shaped dinette. This bench will easily seat six and the table is a longer rectangle, rather than square.

Fifth-wheel builders continue to utilize air space more and more. By that I mean building the trailers taller. After all, commercial trailers have a height limit of 13-feet 6-inches, so why should a trailer builder hold to 12-feet? The extra height makes these units feel airy, and provides space for ceiling fans, hanging fixtures and more cupboard space.

The number of motorized platforms continues to expand, with units now riding on chassis from Mercedes, Ford, Ram, Freightliner and GM. Diesel engines are now available in small displacements as well as large. The largest increase is coming in the Class B and B-plus models. On the other hand, Class C’s seem to be dying out, with almost nothing new at the show.

These are just some of the trends I noted on the Show floor in Louisville this year. Please enjoy this collection of what’s New for 2017 from the National RV Show.

Class A

  1. Coachmen Sportscoach 408DB

This new Sportscoach features high-gloss finished woodwork and polished floors. Inside, it has more of everything. Two full bathrooms. Drop-down bunks in the slide-out over the dinette. Three TVs and a massive double-sized refrigerator.

  1. Winnebago Vista 32YE

This mid-range coach features a huge full-wall slide-out, a cockpit drop bed, front swivel seats, a leather fold-out couch and large bath. Outside, there is also a kitchen and a TV.

Class B

  1. REV Group American Patriot

Built on the Sprinter diesel chassis, it features a full wet bath, power rear bench for a bed, a raised roof, and TV and entertainment in the over-cockpit space.

  1. Pleasureway Lexor TS

This Pleasureway is built on the front-wheel drive Ram ProMaster chassis. Inside rear dimensions on this Lexor are wider than previously and it now offers a 2,000-watt inverter that will power the TV and the 110V plugs. It uses new lithium ion batteries.


Class C

  1. Thor Motor Coach Quantum KM24

New Class C built on the Sprinter chassis with the 3.0L diesel engine. It features a walk-around Queenbed, a full-wall slide-out, power awning, frameless windows and a built-in skylight over the cockpit.

Travel Trailer

  1. Palomino 178 RK

Has a new molded nose with a large curved, tinted window. Inside there is a very decent sized bathroom and the rear kitchen features built-in fridge & microwave. The small slide-out houses an unusually long dinette seat with a slim table.

  1. Forest River Flagstaff E-Pro E141FK

Small and compact, it weighs just 1,986 lb. Still, it’s well equipped with all the conveniences including shower, furnace, microwave, outside grille and roof-mounted solar prep.

  1. Jayco Hummingbird 17FD

This is a two-person adventure trailer with raised floor built on a light aluminum frame. Its aggressive tires and short chassis earns it the title of Baja edition.


Fifth Wheel Trailer

  1. Forest River Wildcat 28BH

This mid-size fifth-wheel is all about family. It features a 40-inch shower with seat, double-bed bunks with storage setup and a privacy door. Kitchen is huge with a pantry and no carpet makes clean-up easy.

  1. Open Range 3X 387 RBS

This trailer features a neat split pitch awning, handsome pointed nose and angled basement storage walls. The interior has a front lounge with three couches. Everything about this trailer is large – with five slides, 1½ baths, two entry doors and a dinette with windows on three sides.


Pop-Up Trailer

  1. Rockwood HW A122BH

Looks like a traditional pop-up, but it has hard walls which unfold electrically. A front dormer opens up more dinette space and on the hitch there is extra cargo space.


Truck Camper

  1. Lance 1172

This camper is for one-ton pickup trucks. It has two slide-outs, a large dry bath and is actually very spacious thanks to that rearward slide and extra couch.

  1. Cirrus Nu-camp Jpeg 323,325,326

This lightweight camper is built for an 8-foot bed, but will be carried by a half-ton. Very modern looking with an aerodynamic nose and slick sidewalls.

Categories: Features, RVing, Trucks Plus
Tags: 2017, Louisville, RV, Show