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Old 10-30-2013, 06:49 AM   #1
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Daily Driver

We are considering the purchase of a Interstate EXT Lounger as a daily driver (approx. 30-50 mi/day). My wife will be the primary user hauling our two (2) children 9 & 10 to their various activities (school and sports). The reason for this current train of thought is having the ability to do homework, eat dinner and comfortably travel to sports activities that sometimes occur over a 2-3 day period in the vehicle. Any similar types of uses out there? If so, please share your experiences.
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Old 10-30-2013, 07:06 AM   #2
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Welcome to the AirForums!

Rick Foley, owner of Foley RV, the Airstream dealer in Gulfport, MS, has told me on more than one occasion that the majority of Interstates he sells aren't even used for camping. They're used as mobile offices, limos, and "soccer mom" commuting.

If you're looking for a daily driver, consider getting the non-extended model instead. That extra 16 inches of length doesn't give you much added utility for your intended use, but the extra overhang will create problems with steep driveways— some EXT owners have installed a roller on their trailer hitch to keep the rear bumper from dragging the ground getting in and out of their steep driveways. That's not so much of a problem with the non-extended model.

The extra 16 inches of length of an EXT model can also make a difference between fitting into a parking space and not fitting into it. When I back into a parking space at work with my non-extended Interstate, even the shorter rear overhang risks blocking the handicapped-access sidewalk. With the longer overhang of an EXT, I wouldn't be able to back all the way in, and the front end would extend farther out into traffic.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:19 AM   #3
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Sounds like a great idea to me. Especially since the MB van that they are based on is meant to be a high mile, low maintenance cost vehicle. In eastern Europe you see these beat up old vans with 300k miles or more on them just purring along. They are not meant to sit around in a driveway, which to me would make them an incredibly uneconomic proposition, so good for you.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:35 AM   #4
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We primarily use ours to go on vacations with our grandkids and take our oldest grandson to out of town soccer tournaments. Having seatbelts for eight was a big factor in getting the Interstate. Occasionally we use to tote the extended family on short trips. So far it has worked well for those uses.
I don't know how many of these rigs AS sells but amazed at how few I see on the road.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:06 AM   #5
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I have the EXT lounge version and occasionally use it as a 'daily driver' for weeks at a time. It goes into storage when we are not using it, but if we have trips or need to haul stuff, I keep it at home. I've had it home now for 8+ weeks and drive it every day.

I've never had an issue finding a parking space. That being said, I do end up, at times, parking further away from my destination (i.e. the far corner of the parking lot, etc). As Protagonist mentioned, the EXT does have a tendency to drag a bit depending on approach/exit angles, but it does no harm to the vehicle (I consider the steel bump stops as 'sacrificial'). For us, we need the EXT version.

Everyone's needs are different. The biggest deciding factor for you may be what you want to haul in it. If your kids have a lot of sports gear, the EXT may be the way to go. If not, the standard length should work. You can always hook up a gear box to the hitch if needed on those special occasions.

Overall, regardless of the length you choose, I believe you will be happy with your purchase/intended use.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by 73shark View Post
We primarily use ours to go on vacations with our grandkids and take our oldest grandson to out of town soccer tournaments. Having seatbelts for eight was a big factor in getting the Interstate. Occasionally we use to tote the extended family on short trips. So far it has worked well for those uses.
I don't know how many of these rigs AS sells but amazed at how few I see on the road.
When you consider how many companies use the Sprinter as their base: Airstream, Roadtrek, Great West, Pleasureway, Winnebago, and how many they all sell, collectively, I'm amazed at how few Sprinter Class Bs I see, let alone Airstream Interstates. In the nearly two years since I bought mine, I've seen maybe half a dozen Sprinter-based Class B vans on the road, and only one (other than my own) in a campground. Could be they're all in some other part of the country.
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:11 AM   #7
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I've been using my Interstate Ext Lounge model as a daily driver since I got it in April of this year and I love it. It gets better fuel mileage than my previous daily driver, with insurance that's roughly half the cost. I agree with everything that's been said above, especially about the trade-off between the Ext and non-Ext model. The only other drawback is that I can't fit in parking structures. But that doesn't happen too often because I try to avoid areas that have them -- like downtown Los Angeles. I recently met another Interstate owner who lives in Atascadero CA, has a business in LA, and often drives with his Mastiffs to his 2nd home in Cody WY. His comment to me was, "I just love having my own bed and bathroom wherever I go." I totally agree.
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Old 10-30-2013, 08:06 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum.
I have an Extended Lounge model that is occasionally used as a "family hauler" for events and short trips with my adult children and grandchild. We bought it primarily for extended long travel/camping trips.

But if I were buying an Interstate for use mainly as a daily driver I wound not get the extended model unless you really need the extra 16 inches of interior storage space. The sorter model will be a little easier to park.

You might want to also consider the new 9 passenger lounge model - that would give you even more seating options.

Enjoy,
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
When you consider how many companies use the Sprinter as their base: Airstream, Roadtrek, Great West, Pleasureway, Winnebago, and how many they all sell, collectively, I'm amazed at how few Sprinter Class Bs I see, let alone Airstream Interstates. In the nearly two years since I bought mine, I've seen maybe half a dozen Sprinter-based Class B vans on the road, and only one (other than my own) in a campground. Could be they're all in some other part of the country.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMride View Post
We are considering the purchase of a Interstate EXT Lounger as a daily driver (approx. 30-50 mi/day). My wife will be the primary user hauling our two (2) children 9 & 10 to their various activities (school and sports). The reason for this current train of thought is having the ability to do homework, eat dinner and comfortably travel to sports activities that sometimes occur over a 2-3 day period in the vehicle. Any similar types of uses out there? If so, please share your experiences.
Wow, what a great idea!

We regularly haul our grands around, and having the comforts of a small home while on the road is priceless.


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Old 10-31-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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Our "short body" unit is primarily used around town. I'd love to have the extra space of the ext. but it would make it almost impossible to park in a lot of the places I go. We live in a college town and I can parallel park in almost any metered street space down by campus ... just barely. At the grocery store and such I can back upto a curb and overhang a bit to keep almost fully in one parking spot without hanging into traffic (similar to what Protag described at his work place). It all depends on the environment you are going to operate in.

I also value the extra towing capacity of the shorter unit.
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Old 10-31-2013, 04:26 PM   #12
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Personally, the EXT looks proportionally better than the Std. The extra length visually lowers the height, especially in silver and white. While the EXT does have that extra 16" of space, like many mentioned, the extra length does make parking and some other maneuvering a bit more challenging. In the end I passed on visual proportionality to get higher tow capability and a lower price.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
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We bought our twin bed model to replace an Itasca Navion IQ. That one would seat 5 while travelling but sleep two. Our AI twin can travel 3 and sleep two but on pillowtop memory foam mattresses. It also features a ton of interior storage. We are retired and do trips of 3 days to a week to a month. I travel to an annual motorcycle race towing a small trailer with my bike. With my wife along we generally stay in rv parks with an occasional overnight in a rest area. On long trips we will stay at a hotel every 6 or 7 days and do laundry. We don't dry camp at all.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:22 PM   #14
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I have a 2013 lounge that we also use as a daily driver. Although I love the AS, there are a few significant drawbacks in my opinion.

#1 - Ride quality.
As the driver, I don't have a problem with the ride, but I invite you to load the family into the back and have the dealer take you for a drive of at least 15min. Drive at speed on the freeway and through town. I've driven on great freeways at 80 with very little bump, but even 50 on a bad freeway has passengers all over the place.

As a bonus, setup the table and have the kids try to write or read while driving.


#2 - Air Conditioning.
This is going to greatly depend on where you live and how hot it gets in the summer. Test driving an AS now it's going to be difficult to see how much of an issue this might be. Just be aware that you need to run the generator in order to power the roof AC unit. Typically it'll need to run for about 5 minutes before the circuits reset (not the right term, but what I mean is before it'll let you run the AC condenser) 5 minutes, might not see like a long time, but were living in Las Vegas when we bought our AS. It's just not like a regular car where you can jump in and crank the AC. Also the controls for all this are in the back of the unit. Not something you can control from the cab while driving.


Again, everyone has their own opinions about what may or may not be a problem. I'm just passing on my opinions and experiences.


NOTE: We did the koni shock, strut, sway-bar upgrade sold by the sprinter-store and it was a noticeable improvement, but it's still far from a smooth ride. Total cost was about $1700 parts/labor.


Jeff
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