Winnebago Revel Review: 6 Owners Tell All

winnebago revel review

The Winnebago Revel is a breakthrough in the vanlife world. The company’s first 4×4 Sprinter van conversion is nearly everything an avid outdoorsman could want, myself and husband included. From the beautiful cabinetry to bed on a lift, Winnebago thought not only about keeping things classy, but also ensuring its users can haul any gear they want to bring.

If you’re able to set aside the price tag, there are very few drawbacks to the Revel. Personally, I would want a bit more room for my husband and daughter than the Revel provides. It is clearly built for one or two adult adventurers, with the rear-seat being lap-belt only simply not being a good choice for us even though it is technically DOT approved.

But, let’s dive into everything else that I absolutely adore about the Winnebago Revel.

All About the Winnebago Revel

The Winnebago Revel begins on a Mercedes-Benz 4×4 chassis. This is hands-down the best van base option out there, proving incredible durability paired with rugged abilities to tackle most rocky or muddy off-road excursions. Once the base arrives in Lake Mills, Iowa, Winnebago gets to work.

How long is a Winnebago Revel?

The Revel comes on the shorter, 144” wheelbase Sprinter, which still allows comfortable living for two, although a bit cozy for more than that. The van is 19’ 7” long and 10 feet high, but sneaks into a parking spot without too much stress. That being said, it is clearly branded as an RV, so there is no stealth camping in here.

Specs of the Revel

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis comes with a 3.0L 6-cylinder engine that pushes out 188 horsepower. The turbo-diesel engine is incredibly strong to help on those tough 4×4 roads. The 7G-Tronic automatic transmission is renowned for its long life, as well as the 220-amp alternator.

As expected, the Revel comes with ABS brakes on all four wheels, on-demand four-wheel-drive with a hi/lo range, traction control, and electronic stability. With all of this, owners can easily tow with the 5,000-pound drawbar that has a 500-pound maximum vertical tongue weight. It’s easy to hitch a trailer to the 7-pin wiring connector that comes installed too.

The Winnebago Revel is split into two main sections, the front which has the galley, bathroom, and seating area, and the back which has a bed with a storage garage underneath. The bed is on an electronic lift, making it easy to stow in the ceiling at the click of a switch.

In the main space of the Revel, the standing height is 6’3”. When the bed in the back is lifted, the standing height is only 5’, but it’s easy to stoop to and makes for a comfortable sitting space if there isn’t gear in the way.

A 24.5-gallon fuel tank will keep you moving for quite a while too. The 21-gallon freshwater tank, continuous water heater, and 21-gallon gray water tank allow you to go for days without hooking up or needing water if you are conservative. Add to that the 5-gallon cassette toilet capacity and you’re sitting pretty for up to a week in the Revel.

Upgrade Options

While the base model Revel is well-equipped, there are a few upgrade options worth mentioning. First, for those warm-weather adventurers, check out the AC upgrade.

Customers can get a Coleman-Mach 10 NDQ air conditioner installed, in addition to the included hydronic heating system that has an LED touchscreen. This is crucial for anyone considering desert camping or really living out of a Revel.

Winnebago itself doesn’t offer many other upgrade options, most likely because the aftermarket industry is huge for vans these days. Some common upgrades people do make to the Revel include:

  • Additional solar panels
  • Cell phone signal booster
  • Shelves or other organizational bins in the garage
  • True blackout curtains
  • More pantry shelves
  • Wheel well storage

Cost and Wait Time for a Brand New Revel

The 2021 Winnebago Revel starts at $174,906, not including any taxes, fees, transportation costs, or titling. The 2020 Revel is a slightly more doable $163,292 when purchased brand new. If you’re willing to do the first edition, though, the 2019 version starts at $149,299. While all these options cost a pretty penny, both are well outfitted for any outdoor adventure.

Most RV dealers have 2020s and some 2019 on their lots. You simply have to find the one you like the most. The largest RV dealers do have 2021 Revels on their lots, but they are going fast. There isn’t a specific wait time from Winnebago, but most dealers expect the wait to be between one and three months for the newest edition to arrive.

How much does a used Winnebago Revel cost?

If you’re willing to get a Used Revel, you’ll save quite a bit of money, although you’ll have very few options. As these are so new, most owners are holding tight to their vans. But, I have seen them pop up occasionally. If you’re able to find one, expect a year old one with less than 5000 miles to be just under $125,000. This can mean huge savings on a practically brand-new van.

Q&A with 6 Winnebago Revel Owners

We’ve had conversations with six Revel owners who have taken to the road in their new rides. Some full time, others just on weekend adventures. Here’s what they had to say:

Peter of Famagogo

Instagram: @peterholcombe (featured image top of post as well)

What made you choose a Campervan over other vehicle options?

“We have been traveling full time for the last 6 years. In the first 5 years, we had owned two Winnebago Views (Sprinter-based Class C RV). They were great but we wanted to do more international overland travel so we downsized to the Winnebago Revel 4×4 Sprinter van.”

How did you ultimately decide on the Revel?

“We had the opportunity to work on the launch of the Revel in 2017. I was the first person to take one on an adventure and right then I knew I had to have one someday! It’s the vehicle I’d been dreaming of for decades with its ability to go well off the beaten path and still have all the comforts to live and work full time from the road.

Now we have taken our Revel to 23 countries and it’s given us the ability to travel in a way we had always dreamed about.”

What do you love most about the Revel?

“I love how easy it is to drive. It’s small and agile, feeling nimble in rough terrain or tight narrow European streets. It’s a true adventure van with all the boxes checked.”

How has it performed off-road?

“I’ve had it in some places I probably shouldn’t have. But I have yet to scrape or bottom it out. Now I’m not saying it’s just like a Jeep but for a van, it’s very capable in its stock form. And with some modifications from Agile Offroad, it’s going to perform even better offroad.”

Have you made any upgrades?

“We just took possession of our brand new 2021 Revel so it’s still totally stock. But we learned a lot on our last one and we will be doing some of the same modifications and more on this new 2021.

We will be adding a RIP Kit from Agile Offroad, Bumpers from Roam Built, 360-degree offroad lighting from LightForce, Auxiliary fuel tanks, a Warn winch, Rear tire carrier, and rear storage box.

Expanded roof rack to hold our kayaks, MaxTrax, Going up to 275/70/17 AT tires, a custom second bunk design for my daughter to sleep in, storage drawer system for the rear garage, custom front passenger seat workstation mod, and more!”

What are some cons?

“The main con is it is a little tight for three of us to travel full time. Did I also tell you about our 80lb dog?… But when we are in North America we will tow a Winnebago Hike camper to add to living space and serve as a basecamp.

We will also leave this behind for more adventurous missions but it’s nice to have the added living, sleeping, and cooking space when in North America. This is a very complimentary combo for life on the road.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone considering buying one for themselves?

“They are expensive but so is regret. Tomorrow is not assured and I would encourage everyone to live their dreams to the fullest. I often regret the things I didn’t do but never regret going for it. I hope we see you somewhere over the horizon in that place we have been dreaming about!”

Matt of Xcramentx

Instagram: @xcramentex

What made you choose a Campervan over other vehicle options?

“My wife and I love to travel and many of our trips involved tent camping in the national parks. With the recent birth of our son Wylder, we were looking for something to allow us a similar experience but with a newborn.”

How did you ultimately decide on the Revel?

“We love the fact that there are no travel restrictions with the Revel due to its size. Coming in just under 20’ in length we can go places many RV’s might be restricted from. The cost of buying new was more justifiable after considering building out our own van or buying someone else’s with potential hidden issues.”

What do you love most about the Revel?

“The fact that it is self contained. With a newborn we try to limit his amount of time in the car seat. The Revel allows plenty of options as to when and where we can stop since we try to do the majority of our long drives while he is asleep.”

How has it performed off-road?

“As of yet we haven’t taken it truly off road but will be traveling in the south west soon and looking forward to exploring more primitive camping areas.”

Have you made any upgrades?

“We upgraded the standard glass sink top to a cutting board option from Owl Van Engineering and have a new upgraded front bumper and brush guard from Aluminess on order as we had an unfortunate run in with a deer returning home from our last trip.”

What are some cons?

“Not even a real “con” because we welcome everyone but be prepared for countless numbers of people asking for a tour. Or to find people randomly walking around the van taking photos.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone considering buying one for themselves?

“The hot/cold outdoor shower option is wonderful for washing up or washing gear like muddy bikes and for filling up a babies tub. And I can’t say enough about the Rolef black out/bug screens on the side door and the back. Sleeping with the doors open and staying bug free is very enjoyable. Also, the magnetic closure on them for going in and out with ease is pure genius.”

Moises of Romeromf

Instagram: @romeromf

What made you choose a Campervan over other vehicle options?

“Size and maneuverability. Our class B allows us to park in regular parking spots in town, take gravel roads, while still afford us the luxuries of a shower and gets decent gas mileage.”

How did you ultimately decide on the Revel?

“Overall price, availability, and level of engineering (electrical, etc) that WGO can provide versus a smaller van builder.”

What do you love most about the Revel?

“The garage area with the lifting bed, single fuel (Diesel) for cabin heat and water.”

How has it performed off-road?

“After adding a van compass lift, and 33 inch tires, it has done great… living in Park City it has done really well in the snow too.”

Have you made any upgrades?

“Many… suspension, winch, lights, cell range extender and many smaller ones that I have learned through the Revel owners FB group.”

What are some cons?

“Quality control can be spotty, and some of the materials/hardware used were selected to meet a price point (solar controller for example).”

Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone considering buying one for themselves?

“The Revel has been a changer in the segment. We owned a WGO Paseo, and the Revel is way more useful for us…”

David of Humans.of.gnar.wagon

Instagram: @humans.of.gnar.wagon

What made you choose a Campervan over other vehicle options like a class-c or truck camper?

“We actually initially looked at truck campers for our adventure rig! I think that for a lot of people and use cases, a truck camper is the best value, but we knew we were going to be spending a decent amount of time in cities as we explored the US.

Camping out on a residential street is easier in a van than in a truck camper since the living area is the same space as the driving area. Since getting the van, we’ve also been happy to have a more compact vehicle when navigating through crowded cities and narrow forest roads.”

How did you ultimately decide on the Revel?

“Once we decided on the 4×4 Sprinter as a platform, we were set on building out a van ourselves. Luckily, the Revel was announced just after we had made the decision! We already had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to build into the van so we had a solid idea of what our build cost was going to be.

We were able to get a Revel for only a bit more than what a new cargo van would cost with all of the parts for the build. I knew that doing our own build would be a fun project, but we realized that the Revel would get us out on the road much faster. It was an easy sell!”

What do you love most about the Revel?

“I love the layout of the van. I know that some people don’t like the floorplan of the Revel and complain of it feeling cramped, but we wanted the short wheelbase with maximum storage so it’s perfect for us. We have bikes and all of our outdoor gear under the bed. Most Class B RVs just don’t cut it in the storage department for us – we’d have to store our bikes outside as well as cut down on the amount of gear we bring.

We love spending time outdoors so the van to us is a tool to get further into the wilderness, and not so much a space to hang out in (though it’s nice to have that option in foul weather!).”

How has it performed off-road?

“With a proper set of tires, it’s quite impressive what the van is able to drive through. We’ve had it on Jeep trails that a camper has no business being on. We’ve driven it in deep snow with our snow tires on, and even winched a huge Class C rental camper up a snowy hill in Banff. We love that the van feels in its element when the pavement ends!”

Have you made any upgrades?

“I’ve added a Backwoods Adventure Mods bumper with winch and lighting, as well as extra solar and a cargo box on the roof. We have our recovery gear stored up there as well. I recently installed an onboard air compressor under the hood to make the airing down / airing up process easier whenever we go off-road.

I have larger tires and a Van Compass suspension upgrade on my radar! Most of our modifications focus on the goal of getting us further off the grid.”

What are some cons?

“Maybe we’re still in the honeymoon stage, but we love the van and can’t really think of anything we’d change. I’d love 800ah of lithium in the van rather than the 3 AGM batteries under the van. I’d love it if the van came with a suspension upgrade from Winnebago.

However, any upgrade I think of would have pushed the van out of our price range, so I’m quite happy with the decisions and compromises that Winnebago made on the Revel!”

Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone considering buying one for themselves?

“If you’re on the fence, just get one! It’s amazing the adventure opportunities it opens up. I still think that if you’re looking for a 4×4 Sprinter camper van and don’t want to build one out yourself, the Revel is the best value. Be prepared to make modifications to make the van work best for you, but don’t jump into upgrades before you use it a bit and figure out what you want.

Everyone has different goals and uses for their van, so what was an important upgrade for me might not add any value to the way you use your van.”

Bethany of Walkingdogtraining

Instagram: @walkingdogtraining

What made you choose a camper van over other vehicle options?

“We have four dogs and this van was the perfect layout for our set up. All of them can lay under the bed when we sleep at night. We looked at other vans for a little over a year and loved the Revel.

It has the perfect amount of storage for us and the right amount of room for our dogs. Also, I use it as our second vehicle. That was a big selling point. I can park it in any parking lot or drive down any road without worrying if we will fit. We loved the versatility of it.”

How did you ultimately decide on the revel?

“What sold us on it was the layout and size. Using it as a second car was a major selling point. Before buying, we rented a Cruise America RV and it was way too big. The 30ft one I think? My husband thought our dogs would need a lot of space, but we realized that it was actually better when they didn’t have much space to move around.

I remember my husband saying that was the moment he realized a smaller van like the Revel would be perfect for us. We also liked that it came all put together. We aren’t super handy and it was worth the investment to purchase a van that was all set to go.”

What do you love most about the Revel?

“So many things! I love that I can drive it anywhere without worrying that it’s too big. I love that there is a bathroom in there and I can (maybe TMI lol) pee when Bobby is driving on a road trip. There is the perfect amount of space for our dogs. I love how the bed can go up to the top of the roof when we aren’t using it during the day and down when we go to bed.

One of my favorite parts is the little bench behind the driver’s seat. When it’s cooler outside I take the van to a lake nearby with a dog or two (we don’t take all four in it all the time) and I sit there with my feet propped up on the kitchen and it feels as if we live on a lake. Then I can open the fridge and pop open a cold La Croix on hotter days.

There are so many things I love about this van. It is something we dreamed about for almost two years and it’s everything we ever hoped for.”

How has it performed off road?

“It drives really well off road. We are waiting until we get some batteries installed to actually camp off road. It’s hot down here in the south and we have to plug into power for our ac to turn on.”

Have you made any upgrades?

“Not yet, but we are planning on installing some lithium batteries soon! My husband looks at that stuff every day lol We can’t wait!”

What are some cons?

“Having lithium batteries would’ve been nice. I know the 2021 revel comes with them. Other than that, there’s not much to complain about.”

Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone considering to buy one for themselves?

“DO IT! Buying our van was a major investment, but it’s been worth everything. WE LOVE IT!”

Adam of Nextlevelrevel

Instagram: @nextlevelrevel

What made you choose a Campervan over other vehicle options?

“Upgrade from 9 years in a Honda Element equipped with ‘Ecamper’ top. Still needed exceptional off-road capability, but wanted to now simply turn my seat and have everything instantly ready to go.”

How did you ultimately decide on the Revel?

“Plug and play! Well conceptualized and appeared good for a single traveler with an occasional fellow traveler.”

What do you love most about the Revel?

“The Mercedes 4×4 chassis, ultra-convenient bed configuration and integrated solar.”

Have you made any upgrades?

“Countless!! We’d definitely need an additional conversation for this. My background is in product design, and I’ve had a field day developing Revel accessories. On cusp of starting to sell some even. Including, but not limited to:

  • Garage area storage cabinets
  • Galley toppers for protection and increase usable space
  • Cab center console
  • Water closet storage improvements
  • And on and on…”

What are some cons?

“There’s a bundle (inherent to these types of rigs I think). But a few standouts…

  • The bed’s configuration can’t be ‘always made and ready to go’. I did a redesign to fix this.
  • Quite a bit of the fit and finish is sub-par. Lacks an attention to detail and quality on external sealant. Several poor quality internal features. You can tell where costs were cut to allow for other good features.
  • The awning! Been quite problematic. Ironic it’s from a company called “Care Free”.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with someone considering buying one for themselves?

“The new 2021 looks dope!! The lithium battery upgrade is baller and very desirable. However, it loses some nice features of previous model years. Bottom line: The Revel is a fun enabler extraordinair!!”

 

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