Ok, I’ll admit it. I didn’t want to like the Winnebago Vista. It’s not that I have anything
against Winnebago; quite the contrary — Winnebago makes some of the finest coaches in the
business. It wasn’t the Vista’s size, either — because I like the maneuverability and easy
parking characteristics of a smaller coach. It was, well, the Volkswagen chassis carrying a
large Class C body on its back. I thought it was odd-looking. I thought that, with a small
V-6 engine, it would probably be underpowered. My first impression rarely fails me, but
this time it was wrong.
Almost immediately after stepping into the Vista’s side door, I
liked it. The layout is simple, effective and not at all boring. A traditional overhead
bunk arrangement is found up front, followed by a sofa bed and galley streetside, a dinette
and refrigerator curbside. A bathroom, separated from the living area by an accordion-style
door, contains a toilet, a small sink, a wardrobe and a shower — in short, everything you
need in a compact package. The Vista’s “big-little-motorhome” concept certainly comes
through in some of the details, like the fact that Winnebago locates all of the coach’s
controls (admittedly not that many) in one location, just like the company’s larger
coaches. The holding tanks are heated and enclosed for cold-weather camping and come with
3-inch dump valves on both the gray- and black-water tanks for quicker, more complete
draining. It even has basement storage, complete with two compartments long enough to house
skis, snowboards or other long, low-profile items.
A smaller coach is often viewed as a
compromise by some RVers, and in a lot of ways it is. However, the Vista makes up in
maneuverability for what it lacks in overall room and storage capacity. It’s no harder to
drive than a full-size van or a large sport-utility vehicle, and it can be parked in any
parking lot with normal-size (not compact) spaces.
If the Vista isn’t the type of coach you’d normally consider purchasing, take a good long
look at it. You might change your mind. I did.
For more details, pick up the May 2002 issue
of MotorHome on the newsstand.