The newest Westfalia coach — DaimlerChrysler’s most recent leveraging of corporate resources — is assembled in Europe with the Mercedes chassis and engine. It’s marketed in the United States as the Dodge Sprinter, then sent to wholly owned subsidiary Westfalia for the roof and major coach conversion, and finally to Airstream for finishing off to American tastes and systems. Although there are many names in this RV soup, few will argue with Mercedes’ ability to engineer and assemble an efficient turbodiesel engine and capable chassis; Westfalia’s well-established reputation long ago with Volkswagen, the most common example stateside; and Dodge’s wide dealer network that will appeal to constantly mobile recreational enthusiasts.
Airstream is just one of the RV manufacturers using the Dodge Sprinter, built by Mercedes, as the basis for a Class B motorhome. As a rule, Mercedes doesn’t allow any aftermarket upfitter to cut the roof from the Sprinter, but the company makes an exception for Westfalia. The resulting extra-tall fiberglass roof gives the Airstream exceptional interior headroom, ranging from about 7 feet, 9 inches in the lounge area to 7 feet, 1 inch in the kitchen.
Attractive cosmetics are just one measure of a fine new RV. While good looks aren’t the most important feature a motorhome can have, the new Airstream Westfalia Class B is a real winner, if observer reaction is an accurate yardstick. It’s been a long time since a new road-test coach has attracted this much attention based solely on how it looks.
As is often the case with Class B rigs, the Westfalia is somewhat high-priced. It’s a well-equipped rig that calls for few options, and our test rig was stickered at $84,160 msrp, including the microwave ($104) and TV/DVD combination ($1,382). That’s steep for a smaller coach, but at the same time, the Westfalia offers functions that are lacking in larger rigs, too. It’s a matter of knowing what you want and need in a coach, and in that sense, the Westfalia delivers well for the investment.
Pick up the December 2004 issue of Trailer Life for full test impressions and details on the Westfalia 22′ — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so you can stay informed on the latest tests, previews, tow vehicles, and technical and RV-lifestyle information.