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Old 05-25-2015, 10:22 AM   #1
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Interstate or Roadtrek

I have been doing a lot of lurking on both AI and Roadtrek forums trying to make up my mind on which to choose. We're looking 2-4 year old models from both companies. The models would be the Roadtrek RS or the Interstate Lounge. In general pricing seems to be similar on these units, with maybe a Roadtrek unit being one year newer for the same price Airstream.

We're a family of 5 and we're never going to sleep in this vehicle as a group. This is really about a comfortable way to travel and maybe my wife and I will take the RV out on our own when we have a sitter weekend.

I am some distance from any RV dealer. Any minor repairs I'd be doing myself.

I like the look of the AI's interior over that of the Roadtrek's. I do, however, have some concerns of quality issues. It would seem that maybe the AI has a few more build quality issues over the RT? I also think that this forum is a great asset to any owner which balances that out somewhat. So, if you were in my shoes, all things being equal would would you go AI again?
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwcmick View Post
I like the look of the AI's interior over that of the Roadtrek's. I do, however, have some concerns of quality issues. It would seem that maybe the AI has a few more build quality issues over the RT? I also think that this forum is a great asset to any owner which balances that out somewhat. So, if you were in my shoes, all things being equal would would you go AI again?
I would. I test-drove a Roadtrek Adventurous and a Winnebago Era before I discovered the Airstream Interstate. As soon as I set foot in the Interstate I knew for sure that's what I wanted.

If the price is the same either way, the Airstream Interstate gets my vote.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:56 AM   #3
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Thanks, Protagonist. I appreciate hearing your opinion.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:07 AM   #4
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The Interstate was made for what you want to do more so then doing real camping. It definitely looks better. Not to say you cannot camping with it either but it needs so personalization to you needs. I live in none for the past 3 weeks with my wife and my 60lbs BullyPie. I did remove the second row seats and added a shelve next to the counter. Now I am considering to upgrade to a A-Class and will stick with Airstream. The Interstate us the best looking one inside and outside around.
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:22 AM   #5
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I looked and test drove Winnebago 70x and Roadtrek before deciding to get AI last August 2014. the interior of AI is far more luxurious that the other 2. If I'm going to choose again I might go for customized Advance RV although the waiting list to finish your RV is >1 year .
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Old 05-25-2015, 11:30 AM   #6
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I also felt that the Interstate was a better ride and quality than Roadtrek when I compared the two several years ago. Because I know how helpful it is to get as much feedback before such a large purchase, I’ve written a pretty long post on it. My apologies for the length.

IMO, here’s the pros and cons of the Airstream vs. the Roadtrek:

Ride: The floor of the Airstream is supposedly lined with 7 layers of insulation to make the interior ride more comfortable and smoother. I did notice that the ride felt smoother than the Roadtrek. The AI’s seats are also more padded and the faux leather is of a better quality. I can drive for long stretches like from Northern California to Los Angeles with no problems because of the nice padded cushions. As with any Class B Vehicle, the back lounge area can be a bit more bumpy for either brands. But, there are many ways to dampen the ride.

Interior Finishes: The Roadtreks that I checked out several years back in 2012 did not have as nice interior as the Airstreams. Their cabinets seemed light weight and cherry. Whereas, the Airstream has very solid, distinctive door panels with good hardware. It also could be a matter of taste, but I felt that the Airstream has a much more updated, polished look to it. I also like the integration of unique features that incorporate the Airstream’s historical style that comes from airplanes; examples are the stainless steal interior, bathroom riveted frosted glass porthole on bathroom door. The upper cabinets feel like airplane overhead bins. So, for me the experience feels like I’m boarding a private jet as opposed to the Roadetrek’s look which is more pedestrian.

Layout: The two are very similar but I must say one of the biggest things I do not like about the Airstream is the weird bathroom door hinge that one must use to expand the bathroom when you need to use the toilet or for shower. It’s a pain to open and close it; some owners simply keep it open. In my case, when I do that the side of the bathroom sometimes doesn’t stay in place; so there is rattling or door movement while driving. It’s awful and I plan to just make it stationary. This forum has many good ideas about modifying this design flaw.

Appliances: The appliances in 2012, 2013 of the Airstream were superior to Roadtrek. For example, the AI has a novocool refrigerator that doesn’t require a level surface for the cooling system to work.

Sleeping: Since you’re using this mosty for driving, this is not as relevant. But, I’d thought I’d just point it out for other potential buyers. Most class Bs are not made for sleeping more than 2 people. It definitely can be done, but it’s not as comfortable. One thing that is nice about the Roadtrek is that they have designed their front 4 seats to easily be assembled with an optional bed that unfolds. For most people, this bed is comfortable mainly for kids. However, small adults can sleep on it as well. I’ve jerry rigged my AI in the front area to allow for adults to sleep in front. While it’s not comfortable, it is possible. Personally, I’ve been able to sleep in this type of situation with no problem. I would have liked the AI to have a similar optional foldout bed.

Battery, Inverter: I’m not too sure of the differences here except I do believe that AI has upgraded their inverter to the Magnum which is better than tripp light. They also have re-designed their battery shut off so it’s easily accessible from the from the front panels by sliding door as opposed to opening at the bottom under the lounge seat.
Exterior: The two are similar except I like the clean look of the AI; it doesn’t have all those decals and stickers.

Either way, I’ve enjoyed having my class B because it’s size allows me to park and camp anywhere; it’s easy to drive and has good horsepower. It’s an awesome vehicle to use for just driving. I have three teenagers who do a lot of travel sports. I love just throwing their gear in the car and having space for everyone. With bathroom and kitchen, it gives you a lot of freedom between games to just hang out.

I love this Airforum group; everyone (especially people like “Protagonist”, “Teamaron”, “Maggie”, “73shark”, etc) are so helpful and willing to spend time to help others less knowledgeable like me. I suspect the Roadtrek community is probably equally helpful. Good luck.
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Old 05-25-2015, 12:51 PM   #7
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I chose the Interstate over all others for multiple reasons including safety, look and function.

For example Airstream had all the latest and greatest safety features as well as steering wheel controls. The interior looked far better with better looking cabinets IMO, better latches, better materials. Macerator pump and 15 gal black tank were also a huge upgrade to me and have served me well so far.

Good luck on whchever one you decide. These are fun vehicles and the Sprinter platform is outstanding.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:37 PM   #8
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rwcmick: Bikerbill on this forum went from an AI to a Roadtrek Etrek. You can search this forum for his comments on both.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:53 PM   #9
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My wife and I attended an RV show in Charlotte this past winter. This was the first time I had been in a Roadtrek. No comparison in terms of quality of materials, in my opinion. While we purchased our unit as a used unit, we have had very few issues with it. And those that I have had were fairly easy to deal with. Maybe the first owner suffered through any quality issues. Since you are looking at used units as well, those units may have had any bugs taken care of.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:43 PM   #10
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Just for grins I looked at a Roadtrek a few months ago at an RV show. One of the cabinet doors was off leaning against the wall. The screws were very short and had pulled out of a brand new unit. Looks like Airstream is not the only builder with quality control issues.
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Old 05-25-2015, 07:46 PM   #11
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From a quality stand point I think the Airstream and Roadtrek are very similar. Both can have issues.

We looked at many B-vans before we settled on the Interstate. It was our choice for two reasons; 1) design and 2) better Sprinter options.


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Old 05-25-2015, 09:21 PM   #12
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Wow, great information here. Thanks so much for all your insight. All of this really helpful as my wife and I figure this out.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:46 PM   #13
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Here's another consideration that may or may not apply to you: our local Mercedes dealer (about 1.5 hours away) is also an Airstream Interstate dealer. So for us its a one stop shop for all servicing and repairs, and they provide us with a loaner car every time.
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Old 05-25-2015, 10:31 PM   #14
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I purchased my 2012 lounge used when less than 1 yr old. If there were any bugs, previous owner dealt with them. None for me. Drove roadtrek & Winnebago-to me ride & interior finish of AI superior.
I just left Jackson Center OH last wk & went on factory tour. After seeing that, I don't think you'd have AI concerns. Tour puts you down on factory floor, up close & personal. You see all materials, fabrication & installation in all the trailers & interstates from start to finish plus testing. Workers are happy to show you what they're doing, answer any questions. Great experience!
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