2006 Winnebago Aspect Review

by RVGuide.com

A couple of times a year I get a chance to take an RV on the road for more than a day – which really is the best way to get to know any vehicle. The current occasion is the annual new car and truck testing conducted by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) of which I’m a member. For four days we take over a rural race track near Belleville, Ont. and drive all the vehicles, back to back, that are vying for the crown of “Best new Car and Truck of 2006.” This test area is about a 30 minute drive to the nearest hotel and I figured out the some years ago that an on-site RV was the way to go. My home away from home this year was the Winnebago Aspect 26A, a smaller Class C motorhome that for me, dry camping, at the track was ideal.

Built on the Ford E450 chassis, this 27’ RV is set up to appeal to a couple. Young or older, either way this floorplan is best suited to two travelers. The reasons being that the usual over-cab bed space is firstly aerodynamically sloped from the outside and home to a built-in entertainment center on the inside. The normal fold down dinette is also designed as a unique feature – that being a round table with a horseshoe shaped bench that takes up the entire slideout. This settee will transform into a double bed, but I’d wager its use would be reserved for guests. Interestingly the rear bed is snugly stuffed into one rear corner of the RV, requiring the occupants to crawl into bed. The balance of the rear space is devoted to a large bathroom containing the full shower and toilet. The sink, medicine cabinet and cupboards are just outside. I liked this emphasis, primarily because I like showering in a stall that I can actually turn around in. For that treat I’ll crawl into bed. This space is also home to a nice sized hanging closet, drawers and another wall mounted cupboard that someone’s feet will be under. I found this to be good space management.

The Aspect does not have stabilizers and is one of the few units I’ve tested that actually doesn’t need them. This is thanks, in part, to the dual wheel E450 chassis and of course the shorter overhang on this RV. On site this is a benefit but I also noticed it’s effect on the road where the Aspect handled the usual asphalt defects with the bounce and body roll that some larger Class Cs exhibit. Mind you, the air being pushed by passing trucks can still be felt in the steering – though not enough to cause concern.

The Ford V10 engine in this unit makes 305 horsepower and uses a five-speed Torqshift automatic transmission with a tow/haul feature to put the power on the ground. This motor is almost too big for this unit. I noted that on hills (not mountains), with the cruise control on, the transmission never downshifted once. That’s a bit of torque – the same with onramps – you can keep up easily, even overtake if you don’t mind spending the gas. I drove 435 km (city and highway) during my test and I estimated my fuel consumption at 10.5 miles per gallon or 26 liters per 100 km. Another benefit of this available power is the 5,000 lb towing ability and the standard Class IV hitch and seven pin lighting assembly.

The salon has a mid-ships entrance with the kitchen counter and battery, light controls on the left and a swiveling bucket chair on the right. Directly across is the U-shaped dinette which, by location, is the natural centre of activity and attention in the unit. Several interior color schemes are available for this Aspect – mine was light airy and nicely co-coordinated including day/night shades, aluminum blinds over the sink, and material clad box valances. Fixtures lend towards mute, brushed silver finishes. Fit and finish in this Winnebago was very good.

Counter space in the kitchen is at a premium but can be expanded with a flip-up section and by covering the larger of the two sinks with a snug fitting counter piece. This still leaves you with an open single sink next to the three-burner stove top. This particular RV also had a microwave oven installed over the range hood with exhaust fan. Below, rather than an oven there were two large pot and pan drawers (though an oven is available). The steel clad refrigerator is on the other side of the hallway and beside it is a large pullout pantry shelf. Everything, including the cupboards, is easily reached with no more than a step or two in either direction. Note: that with the slideout closed nothing is obstructed.

The kitchen wall is also where you will find the levels checks and power switches for the pump and water heater. The HVAC control is separate – on the wall beside the bathroom sink.

In year’s past at this location I was able to plug into shore power, but not this time, interestingly that turned out to be a good thing. Temperatures at the track hovered around freezing for most of my stay, a burden the furnace had no problem keeping up with (burning through just 1/3 of my 18 gallons of propane, including running the fridge and hot water heater). Heat, of course, is one thing but insulation another. This is a four season RV thanks to double pane windows and an interlocking joint wall construction that uses extruded aluminum members that not only carry structure weight but also are the frame for high density block foam insulation throughout. I purposely shut the heat off one morning and noted some four hours later that the inside temperature had fallen just 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The DC power, on board, was ample for lighting but I knew I’d have to run the geni to be able to watch TV. That is until I realized that the 300watt inverter would take care of that detail. Running the generator was then necessary only for running my microwave – and recharging the batteries. But, in four days I drove the RV twice and never noticed any drop in the level on my house batteries. Generators are noisy and it was nice not to have to run it more than necessary.

Storage is at a premium in this RV. You can’t call it a basement unit as it isn’t raised. There are several exterior doors that open to small spaces and inside there are as many cupboards as the walls will handle – just don’t expect to take a full winter’s worth of stuff on the road in this unit. A nice convenience feature I enjoyed was the keyless remote that not only locked and unlocked the truck doors but also the same for the side entrance door with just the push of a button.

The inside truck cab is easily accessible from the salon area with a flat floor and features high-backed, adjustable, material seats, power windows, brakes and steering. Cruise control buttons are on the steering wheel and an add-on radio control module is attached to the right side of the steering wheel – I found this annoying. It just happens to be in the two-o’clock position where I like to hold the wheel. I think it can be moved. My tester was equipped with a Sirius Satellite radio. Dashboard controls are simple and intuitive and visibility from the cab is excellent forward and behind with the standard mirrors. There is also a nicely packaged rearview camera screen mounted on the ceiling that comes on every time you put the RV in reverse. The center consol doghouse intrudes minimally and has several nice features incorporated into its design such as cup holders, a spot for receipts and tickets and a pullout drawer suitable for maps and such.

During my stay at the track I usually borrow cars from the manufactures on site to get into town for various functions at night. On two occasions there was no one around so I simply shut the slideout and drove myself into Belleville. With a unit this size that was no problem at all. Not even the parking.