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  • Writer's pictureKorey

Is Winnebago Adventure Wagon a good Van? A review

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

A COMPARISON BETWEEN Winnebago camper van and one of our Weekender builds which looks similar on the surface.


What is the difference between van builds?

We thought we would compare a Winnebago Adventure Wagon Adventure van to one of our builds. What appears to be comparable is very different when looking at details. We can build more for less than what they sell the Winnebago camper van for. This is often the case as well with many other similar builders to us, but it's easiest to compare a "really large" mass-produced van to one of our custom builds. We’re not even going to go into the fact if you modify your Winnebago van that could void all warranties (fine print).


Costs Comparison

Winnebago’s Adventure Wagon starting price is $153,495 vs. Cardiff Campervan's $165,000 build.

It takes a lot more than you think to go from this...to...


THIS....


Functionality-wise, the Winnebago Adventure Wagon is NOT a fully built, fully functional campervan, it is a DIY build base...that will need significant upgrades to become fully functional like one of our builds. We will go over those key items that separate the two vans while highlighting key functionality differences. The Winnebago is a great foundation if you can get it 30-40k off and for many, it might be functional enough at that price but if you had bigger aspirations or add-ons it can be deceiving in your overall build costs.


ELECTRICAL

A Winnebago camper van has a power system with NO alternator or solar charging, so that means you have to charge the power system before every trip, and when on a trip either plug-in solar panels or charge by shore power. This really big disadvantage is why we don’t use the "power generators" in any of our builds. You can’t just replace the batteries, the unit has to be sent back to the factory.  Ecoflow makes a true RV/CAMPERVAN setup. That is however very different and ranges from 10-16k installed. It's a nice 48v system but it's at a very different price point. This cost does not include solar charging. It’s a $5000-$10,000 add-on and would still not be equal or have the same functionality.



There is a big difference in the demo van...a huge level above sticking in a power generator.



TIRES/WHEELS

To go to either larger tires and/or tire wheels you need to modify the fenders to get them to fit.

It’s a $2000-$4000 add-on.


ROOF RACK/AWNING/LADDER

Roof rack rails are needed to add items to, a roof rack.


Missing ...roof rack rails, ladder, solar, roof rack storage, or awning...Even at parts costs only (no installation)...this can easily be 9-11k depending on what direction you go.


OUTSIDE LIGHTING

This requires Winnebago conversion vans to be taken apart, easily between $1000-$2000. You have to run wires and switches and take the interior apart to run them properly.


SEATING REAR

Seats are $2000-$2700 each to add on and you cannot do the layouts that are on the van we built, but you can have the flooring installed.


Winnebago can't do this:



WINDOWS

A small front window with a sliding door and none on the other side for cross ventilation. This is a $2000-$3600 add-on.


Pretty cheap shortcut here, not to mention it's not very aesthetically pleasing. No window on the other side affects ventilation, this is an easy way to cut a very significant build cost.


AUDIO UPGRADE

Low stock radio.  $3000  Our demo van has a highly upgraded audio system integrated into the factory radio/head unit. Even adding just rear speakers requires you to take the interior apart, the door panels off, the dash apart, and pin a factory harness with correct electrical connectors. Adding an amp and subwoofer is a lot more work as well.




AUXILIARY HEATER

No heater $3100.  You have to run the fuel line, power, and the controller.  You don't get a rear heat duct for passengers not to mention key outlets if you are going to run rear seats.



COST MODIFICATION LIST

Winnebago vs Cardiff Campervan
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