2007 Winnebago View Review
Diesel-powered Class C impresses
With the View Winnebago builds its own complete body, and attaches it to the frame rails of the Sprinter – presently the only conversion company doing that. The model I tested even had a dinette slideout and a limited amount of basement-type storage included in the body. I drove the View for a couple of hours, in city and on the highway. I was particularly curious to see how the chassis handled this body (which is significantly larger than the factory van body).
In the city the View moved easily with traffic and with its sharp turning radius it handled corners as easily as any panel van. Its large windows offered unrestricted visibility and the driver’s seating position was far enough forward so I never lost sight of my corners. The square shape of the View also follows the mirrors – by which I mean that the side mirrors (which are mounted forward on the doors) are the widest points on the unit. They are always in your peripheral vision and if they fit then everything else will fit as well. Now, just in case they don’t fit – the mirrors are designed to fold in if hit – in both directions. Talking about the mirrors I noted two things – first they could be larger and second they don’t have a convex mirror attached. Winnebago should look at that.
The engine heater in the View was powerful enough to heat the whole coach during my test, but a 25,000 BTU furnace is included in the HVAC that has the heat routed through the floor and the 13,500 BTU air conditioning system through the ceiling. A single wall mounted thermostat controls both operations. It should be noted that the View also offers heated tanks as an option. But, at the moment, I noted that the windows are all single pane.
At 23.5-feet long the View has a rear reasonable overhang, but its tail swing is minimal and the weight distribution is good – demonstrated in very little hobby-horse type rocking over bumps. Watching your height (10’9”), as with any RV, is something you have to condition yourself too while in transit but this height had another effect (coupled with the width) I didn’t expect - on a potholed dirt laneway I found the side to side motion to be quite severe. This was at low speed – at slightly higher speed the suspension did a better job of rebounding before the wheel drop effect could be transferred to the RV body. On the plus side – despite this wave-like bashing all the doors, drawers, closets and window treatments stayed in place and locked.
At the heart of the View is a Mercedes-Benz 2.7 L CDI diesel that starts easily, has low vibration and noise characteristics and exhibits a strong powerband. The engine generates 154 horsepower at 3,800 rpm and makes 243 pound-feet of torque at between 1,600-2,400 rpm. That means that hill-climbing and stop/start power is available at very low speed – a good feature. It also gets a power boost from its exhaust-driven turbocharger with variable turbine geometry. It certainly offered a noticeable punch in power during acceleration, a feature that made onramps a breeze. The company says the average fuel consumption is around 22 miles to the gallon. This and the longevity of diesel engines are two key facts that should be considered in purchase.
The standard transmission is a five-speed automatic that can also be operated like a manual by simply tipping the gearshift lever left or right. The lever itself is mounted in the center consol stack; it has a short throw, sits out of the way of in-and-out activity and moves easily. The transmission’s gear ratios themselves are tuned to quick pickup in the short gears (First – 3.59:1, Second – 2.29:1, Third – 1.41:1) and fuel conserving longer gears in fourth and fifth (Fourth – 1.0:1, Fifth – 0.83:1).
On a six percent grade I down shifted manually into second and found the gear held the View at about 37 mph all the way down – I never had to touch the brakes. For climbing long hills this feature will also come in handy.
The Sprinter’s cockpit features power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, dual airbags, adjustable height seat belts and multi-position manual seats. But, added to these features are some nice upgrades that blend seamlessly with the standard interior; like: faux brushed metal inlays on the dashboard and center stack, split leather seat coverings with a double stitch and a satellite in-dash radio. A convenience feature is found in the key-fob operated power locks that also include the main coach door. This door can be locked or unlocked with the key-fob, but in addition it also locks itself when the vehicle is put in drive.
Moving into the coach is easy. There is good space between the seats, the floor is level and the overhead bunk can be tilted up giving lots of headroom. But, whether its up or down the bunk is easily accessed for use. This space also features two side windows for cross-ventilation, a gooseneck light a dedicated 110V plug and a skylight with its own mini-blind.
The most striking feature throughout this unit is the cabinetry. All the doors (including the bathroom) are curved and appear to be a solid plywood-type laminate with a rich Honey-Cherry wood finish. Accenting this is satin-nickel hardware including pop-out cabinet knobs. Also included in these metal accents are rounded edge moldings that are practical in design as well as attractive.
The galley is appropriately-sized for the unit and offers a built-in convection microwave above the vent hood and three-burner LP gas range. There is no oven – in its place is a large pots and pans drawer. The round stainless steel sink comes with a solid-wood cover that adds counter space. A set of flush mounted mini-spot lights illuminate the counter nicely. In fact, throughout the View directed lighting is well distributed. This cuts down the number of bland overhead 12V lights and makes for a much more intimate setting. Also all the levels, power controls and slideout switch are located in one spot at head height on the kitchen wall.
The dinette slideout is electrically actuated – and it’s very quick compared to some – the room it creates in this small unit is sizable, but even with it closed access to all parts of the coach is unimpaired. The all-wood construction dinette folds down for sleeping, has under-seat storage and has seatbelts for four, which incidentally, (counting the cab seats) covers what this version of the View will sleep – six.
The main bed at the rear of the unit splits the available space with the ample bathroom. Behind the curved wooden door is a foot-valve operated toilet and a large formed shower with a skylight and a real light. There is also a power vent in the ceiling and I noted that there are also heating and cooling vents in there. The vanity is located outside the door. This is a practical consideration of the View design, but the look of the curved wooden vanity with its oval sink is nice enough to have it in plain view. The back bed can be curtained off from the rest of the coach for nighttime use, but the split mattress design also offers daytime storage options. The inside half of the bed lifts revealing a large open space within the bed frame, while the other half can be lifted inwards to accommodate items like bikes, folding tables and chairs. These can be easily loaded or unloaded through the large outside storage door that accesses this area.
Other outside storage doors open to reveal a factory-installed 3600 watt Onan generator, a dump station complete with an outdoor shower, some smaller plastic lined storage and finally a large pull-out cooler with a flip top and a drain in the bottom.
The standard tow hitch on the View has a weight rating of 3,500 lb; enough to regularly take your toys with you when you camp – a job the diesel is well suited for. And, with the extra fuel mileage the 2.7L offers you might just find yourself traveling a lot more to events as well as campgrounds. Another nod to the View’s sporting side is the standard rear extension ladder with an easy tilting feature for easier climbing to rooftop spectating. It also stores easily and quickly just by folding it up.
I enjoyed the View, found it drove easily and with a few exceptions thought the design was one of the better ones I’ve seen. As for fit and finish Winnebago is to be commended. Take a look for yourself.