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Old 05-09-2007, 08:27 PM   #1
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2000 31' Excella
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RV consumer group ratings

I'm almost afraid to ask, but I have to! We just decided the airstream 25FB or 27FB - Safari or Classic is the travel home of our dreams. Then the rv consumer group trailer ratings arrived in the mail. Does anyone know why the Airstream, particularly the Safari gets such dismal towability ratings? I know the trailer isn't towed by the rater and that the rating number 1-100 is based on some formula of frame, weight, balance, payload capacity.... the information supplied by the manufacturer. But all trailers are calculated the same way and the Safari rating is especially bad while some of the classics are marginal. It was a huge surprise, I expected All Airstreams to be near the top and I'm really struggling with reconciling these ratings with paying the big bucks for an Airstream.
We looked at the Arctic fox which has a pretty good rating and an apparently solid trailer, but the decor is unaappealing and the furniture and layouts not to out taste. I think someone said "don't buy an rv on emotion" but the Airstream has me hooked all the same.
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Old 05-09-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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hi mjbear...

explore a little more deeply...

1. who
2. what

is the rvcg.

my conclusion, their data is less than useless,

but exactly what might be expected.

after understanding #1 and #2.

no need to spend ANY money at their website either...


safari or classic?
go for it!
25 or 27.
yes and yes...
add an appropriate tow vehicle and hitch and enjoy the camping season...
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:10 PM   #3
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What 2Air said.

I have towed multiple SOB trailers, I have towed a 25' Safari, and now tow a 21' Globetrotter. For towability alone I would choose Airstream hands down. And then there are all of the other plusses to go with it...
Go for it, either the 25 or 27 would be a great trailer.
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:30 AM   #4
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Wow, I hadn't realized my trailer was a turkey to tow.

Last weekend in a 25M.P.H. crosswind it was solid as can be. However my buddies Komfort was getting bounced all over the road. What is Komforts rating?

As far as I know our Airstream 25 FB tows like a dream. No sway or any other issue.

Their rating does not match my experience.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
I'd rather be boon docking in the desert.

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CA 4

Yes, we have courtesy parking for you. About an hour North of Los Angeles.
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Old 05-10-2007, 03:14 AM   #5
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I have seen the RV Consumer Group ratings and still don't have a clue how you can draw a true conclusion without hooking up and towing something. There is much more to towing than a few engineering calculations. Besides do they rate every possible towing combination? I have towed many a different trailers with many different towing vehicles over the years. The Airstreams are the best behaved of all that I have towed.

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Old 05-10-2007, 05:21 AM   #6
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There was a previous discussion of the RV Consumer Group and his rating methods here.

There is a description of his rating method on the website. I don't think I would make a purchase decision based on his data.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:09 AM   #7
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My Safari tows great. One of the few complaints I don't have about the unit.
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:10 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fyrzowt
What 2Air said.

I have towed multiple SOB trailers, I have towed a 25' Safari, and now tow a 21' Globetrotter. For towability alone I would choose Airstream hands down. And then there are all of the other plusses to go with it...
Go for it, either the 25 or 27 would be a great trailer.
I agree. My 25' tows better than a popup we had years ago! That report and its conclusions surprise me. We don't really know how they arrive at their conclusions. Empirical evidence shows that Airstream’s are about as good as it gets for tow ability. I would suggest that Wally's global meanderings alone demonstrate that...
Good luck with your decision.

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Old 05-10-2007, 06:31 AM   #9
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We have a 25FB that we have towed 15,000 miles. It's towability has been great.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:50 AM   #10
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Just who is this self-annointed 'guru' of the RVCG? This is actually the first I have heard of him and his group, and I've been around the RV business for a while.

It always irks me when someone with no apparent qualifications or other certifications, like engineering degrees, RV tech certifications, industry experience or anything else useful in analyzing or quantifying the particular features of ANY RV comes out with a 'rating' list that is of no meaning or substance based on a purely subjective, self-created 'rating system'.

I would challenge him on all of his rating methods from the engineering and statistical side but really, his blabber is not worth the time needed to draft a proper point-by point response. I wonder what manufacturer or special RV interest he is affiliated (read supported) by.

I would just ignore his apparent shoot from the hip methodologies and conclusions and just select the type of RV that suits your personal style.

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Old 05-10-2007, 12:12 PM   #11
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The RVCG has been around a long time and I think did a great job early on in pointing out major construction issues in trailers and MHs, all makes. They put a lot of emphasis on having the right tow vehicle and the right hitch and sway control, all adjusted correctly--valid points. They also don't like short wheel base tow vehicles, also valid in my mind.

The founder has decades of experience in the RV industry but I believe he is in the 80s now and I have the impression pretty set in his ways. I'm not sure his paid staff consists of anymore than his wife.

I don't remember his objections to AS, but AS has a lot of company in his criticisms.

I agree with what others have said - my 25' Safari tows great, but I'm glad I'm towing with a big truck. His comments are one reason I sized-up on tow vehicle.

I too was put off by his conclusions on the Safari, but bought one anyway and only regret that I didn't get a 28-footer. And that is for space reasons, not tow ability.

Maybe 2air could elaborate a bit more on why the RVCG should be disregarded.
2005 25' Safari SS
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:34 PM   #12
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I am new to towing, but I would like to add my two-cents here. I towed my 2007 28' Safari from Airstream of Arkansas to California and it was no problem at all. That includes the winds of OK and TX. We have towed it through the Sierra's to Yosemite and to the coast. You hardly know its there unless its a bumpy California highway. I am using an Equal-i-Zer hitch with my GMC 2500HD and the combination is really great. My wife and I both drive and neither of us have had a problem. Until I bought the 2007 28' Safari SE/LS I had not towed anything bigger than a Coleman Tent Trailer. I made sure I had enough TV and a good solid hitch and we enjoy it every time we take it out. I just need to learn how to back it up better! (Ha,Ha) I appreciate all the experienced campers that help me get it in the site.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:52 PM   #13
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MJ Bear:

I won’t go so far as to say RV Consumers Group is a scam but it is a one-man marketing scheme, rather than the ‘Consumers Group’ the clever direct marketing name portrays.

It exists on the uncertainty of first timers, like you are now and as I once was.

As in all such marketing schemes, they give away just enough common sense or commonly available information to appear legitimate and then use this as a way to sell you books and CD’s and “memberships” and stuff. It’s skilled direct marketing.

Trust yourself. You’ll get more information on this forum and other freely available Airstream sources than you ever will from J. D. Gallant. He has more knowledge about Direct Marketing than he has about RV’s.

If you are like me you will find that what you bought from Gallant is poorly researched, poorly written, poorly printed material of pretty limited value.

Don’t be afraid of emotion. Airstreams ARE bought on emotion. This is America’s only 75 year old trailer company. Airstreams are COOL: inside, outside, with the media and with owners and collectors.

You would be hard pressed to buy a White Box trailer on emotion.

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Old 05-10-2007, 01:00 PM   #14
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I certainly don't have a NEW Airstream, but I tow a 78, 24ft Argosy with my Tundra and it's an easy pull. I have more trouble towing the 18ft car hauler, or my 52 Ford going to the car show, than I have ever had with this Argosy. I live year-round with the Oklahoma winds. Got the equilizer and the sway bar after towing down Interstate 40 past the really big rigs. No problem now. I'm not sure about the quality of the new AS from what I read on here, but I feel certain it tows well.
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:00 PM   #15
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I agree with Cammur. A couple years ago, I decided to buy the RVCG CD as a tool to help me. After all, I knew zip about RVs then and thought this would be a good place to start. Its cost was insignificant compared to the cost of even a cheap used RV. I looked at many of the RVs he rated highly, and their build quality was heads and shoulders above other brands I had looked at. Yes, even Airstream. The only thing I didn't like about them was their weight. 2000 pounds heavier then a similar sized Airstream. I’m sure the weight and cargo capacities influences his towing rating.

If someone as information pointing to RVCG being biased or influenced by RV companies, please tell me. Lets put our brand loyalty aside for a moment. If they are scammers, I would like to know and do something about it.
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Old 05-10-2007, 01:56 PM   #16
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glad to hear

Thanks for responses, I'm glad to know that Airstreams tow the way they look they would... I don't think the rvc info is a scam, I just think it is based on the limited info the manufacturer shares and that could be True or false as well. I think the rvc group does a great job in educating the public. I think their info on motorhomes is great with concern for chasis length and overloading, poor balance etc. The tow vehicle info is valuable and seems to concur with most of you. Maybe they don't have enough info to really rate the trailers. It seems true that the highly rated trailers are big heavy boxes and so the ratings do not take into account air resistance which has to be one of the most important factors in towing a trailer. We have had box trailers that swayed, wobbled and bounced. We had motorhomes that were ok but we probably overloaded them with 3 kids and stuff. Our easiest tow was our little Casita, nice and rounded and egg shaped. So we do appreciate the rounded streamline of the Airstream and will continue to pursue it as our first choice. At this point in life we want to be surrounded by good design, be comfortable and travel with ease -Does that sound like an Airstream?
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Old 05-10-2007, 02:54 PM   #17
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No Problem Towing 25' FB SE

We just completed a 4800 mile excursion of the southwest towing our 25' FB SE.
My TV is an F250 Crew Cab 4x4 Turbo Diesel.

There was absolutly no problems what-so-ever. It towed as well as the Coleman pop-up I used to own. When towing from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon we had very high cross-winds. A ranger at GC said that gusts were recorded as high as 59 mph. This posed no problem at all, even when passing monster motor homes from the opposite direction. I noticed only a very slight movement on occasion but, nothing that I wouldn't have experienced without the trailer.

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Old 05-10-2007, 03:25 PM   #18
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RV Consumer group ratings...

Have read them before and take 'em with a grain of salt. Always thought they were among the same folks who sponser RV shows around this region... always noticed Airstream left out. Seems the SOB manufacturers don't like the competition. Seems Airstream doesn't have the dealer network muscle to show their stuff at these expos. Too bd, here in Austin, a good dealership show at one would most definitly "Wow" the audience.

Airstream is the sister that the slippers fit!
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Old 05-15-2007, 06:11 PM   #19
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If you study the basis for the ratings by the RVCG I believe that you'll find that the number one reason the Airstream rates so low is because of their CCG or "cargo carrying capacity." That, and nothing more. I believe that their thinking is that the trailer can be overloaded, or improperly loaded, too easily - which is, in itself, a fact. An Airstream trailer is not designed, or intended, to be used as a cargo trailer - unlike the vast majority of SOBs. Over the years, many thousands of Airstream owners have been able to get along just fine with the available CCG - but overload it and you'll wreck it! There are 30' conventional SOB trailers out there that boast of having a capacity in excess of 4000 lbs and, as for 5th-wheel trailers, the sky is often the limit. An Airstream, when properly loaded and matched to it's tow vehicle, is nothing but a pure joy to tow - whereas many of the SOB rigs compare favorably to underpowered, overloaded, poorly balanced, non-aerodynamic, commercial tractor-trailer rigs. Did I offend anyone???

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Old 05-15-2007, 07:17 PM   #20
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