Let me tell you a story about our plan to buy an RV. We want to move into the RV, but we do not want a great big one. We want to be nimble, but not sacrifice comfort. Our bottom line is that we do not want to feel like we are homeless and living out ofoury car. The RV must feel like our home.
We have been looking at RVs for a while and one manufacturer has stood out above all of the others for quality, design and did I mention quality? So many RVs are poorly made that it is a truism in the RV world that it takes a full year to shake down all of the issues in a new RV. A year where you are back and forth with the dealer, working through punch lists of issues. Many folks say to buy used so that someone else can work the issues out for you. That seems wrong to us. We should not blindly accept that the best we can hope for is shoddy quality and paper thin walls. We want to buy once and we want our RV to hold its value well. Is that too much to ask? That our RV be like our 12 year old Honda, which at over 200k miles still gets strong dealer trade in offers? We do not think this is too much to ask for, so with that in mind, we have done a ton of research.
The more we looked the more Canada called. It seems that for high quality B+ vans, the Canadians are in it to win it. In our research, Pleasure Way and Leisure Travel Vans have consistently the highest ratings from customers for quality. So we concentrated our search on those two manufacturers. In the end, we are going to go with the Leisure Travel Van Unity FX (Flex), which is about 25 feet long, and has a slide out and a Murphy bed….In full disclosure, I have lusted after a Murphy bed for many years. Who knew I would get one in an RV?
This past weekend we went to Van City in St. Louis where they were having their 48th anniversary celebration. We wanted to measure all of the storage inside and outside of the FX to see if there would be enough storage for us, cats, instruments and paddleboards. And this is where the trip went sideways.
As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw something new. It was the prototype for the new LTV Wonder Rear Twin bed model, which LTV is going to announce tomorrow. It had monstrous storage with a sliding bike rack with room for two bikes, two chairs, two paddleboards a folding table (which they had attached to the exterior wall) and more, and let me just say it was AWESOME!!! Before we even said hello to anyone, we were crawling into the prototype and man is there a lot to love! The Wonder is slightly smaller than the Unity, and is built on a Ford Chassis. There is no slide out, and all of those items had completely knocked the other Wonders (Murphy and Front Twin Bed) out of contention. We really want the slide out and I have had a sordid experience with Ford in the past – think Taurus run amok -so we had counted them out. This Wonder could change our mind. The storage in it is epic. There is hanging storage below the twin beds (which can be turned into a king sized bed). There is a place for cat litter. The bathroom is lovely, the kitchen is well designed, and did I mention the storage?????
We were totally gob-smacked in the best of ways. We ended up measuring everything inside the Wonder as well as getting our measurements of the FX. We had a long conversation with Dan Dwyer from RV city and Don Klassen from LTV about both the FX and the Wonder RTB (rear twin bed). Both gentlemen took great pains to answer our many many questions. We are now in love with not one, but two LTV models. What to do, what to do????? Our goal is to order in September, which should ensure that ours arrives in the spring also known as camping fun season.
There is no moral to this dilemma, simply a case of something new disrupting the best laid plans and making us rethink our options and priorities. We are now building a list of pros and cons for each version and once we have a final decision, we will let you know.
On a related topic, part of our discussion was about financing. If we were to finance through Van City, how would that work? If we ordered the RV, would we be making payments while it was being built? How much did we need down, etc?
Here is the skinny. To order, you need to be able to put down $10,000. It then takes 6 – 8 months for your RV to be built with the options you select at the time you order. When the RV arrives, you must put an additional payment down to bring your down payment to at least 10%. So if your RV costs $130,000, you would need to bring an additional $3,000 to the table when you take delivery to bring your down payment to $13,000. Your interest rate is based on your credit rating and overall interest rates at the time of delivery, so there is no locking down the interest rate early. The price of the RV may also fluctuate. You will pay the price of the RV as it is at the time of delivery, not the time it is ordered. With the Tariffs recently announced on Canadian Steel, you can expect prices to rise. You could finance over time, with several options (that I do not remember, except that 10 years was one of the options).
I also checked with my credit union and they also would want 10% down and they would finance over up to 10 years. Every person’s situation is different, so do your research. Check multiple options before it is time to put down your money so that you can select the best deal.
Crawling through RVs was not all we did in St. Louis last weekend. Next week we will talk about the rest of the trip including one of the coolest museums we have ever been to and some fine food and craft cocktails. St. Louis is a town that we could see ourselves living in, if we had not already decided to run away in our LTV.