In 2017, we saw a motorhome covered completely in solar panels, a camper that can expand to three times its size, and a burly adventure vehicle that can go just about anywhere. But at the recent RV Industry Awards in Louisville, Kentucky, none of these innovative campers and trailers were lucky enough to be named RV of the year. That honor went to Iowa-based Winnebago Industries for their Class A Horizon motorhome.
RVBusiness magazine—a trade publication which covers the North American RV industry—chose the Horizon because of its “authentically different modernistic interiors.” And it’s true, the 41-foot Horizon has a sleeker interior than most behemoth RVs. Backlit LED tube lighting, high-end furnishings in shades of grey, stainless steel accents, an electric fireplace, soft-close shelf systems, and Corian countertops are all more likely to be found, according to Winnebago CEO Mike Happe, “in a Manhattan condo or London flat” than in a camper.
The Horizon also features a double-sink bathroom, a walk-around king bed, and a full galley with a residential-style refrigerator. All of these amenities add up in price; the Horizon starts at $385,214 and many builds cost closer to $430,000.
But while the Horizon certainly has a sleek, more modern interior than many other RVs and trailers out there, it’s still a giant, 41-foot vehicle. We can’t help but think that RVBusiness may have overlooked the smaller trailers, RVs and vans that are appealing to more and more customers. To be fair, RVBusiness’s list of 2017 finalists includes a travel trailer, a teardrop trailer, and a lightweight towable, but it’s hard to distinguish why any of these worthy contenders lost out to the Horizon.
Baby boomers and millennials alike are buying more affordable teardrop campers and easily towed, modular trailers in droves. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association reports that thanks in part to growth in these areas, the RV industry is on track to hit its eighth consecutive year of shipment gains, with a record 9 million households owning some type of RV in 2017.
Even Winnebago’s own four-wheel drive Revel ($135,000) van—which is based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis—is more representative of where the RV industry is headed. While huge Class A RVs like the Horizon may still appeal to some sectors of the population, more and more people like the maneuverability, price point, fuel economy, and functionality of other Class Bs, trailers, and campers.
So tell us in the comments, Curbed readers: Is the Winnebago Horizon your pick for RV of the year? If not, which camper would you nominate?