André heads over to Transwest here in Colorado to check out the 2021 RAM ProMaster Winnebago Solis 59P and premium 59PX Class B camper vans. Starting at around $101,000, these vans appeal to buyers who don’t need the performance and towing capacity of a diesel or a 4×4 configuration. The base 59P is 20 feet long by 6’8″ wide and almost 9 feet tall. The pricier 59PX adds a foot in length and six inches in height due to the A/C unit on top. Powered by FCA’s Pentastar V6, these Winnies will get you where you need to go, just not in a hurry. That said, they handle well, with a relatively small turning radius. And as for camping amenities, the base-model P is anything but.
Solis 59P – Basic Luxury
Both vans sleep four: two on a convertible, fold-down bed in the rear and two in the pop-up top. Both come with a fridge situated right at the side-door for easy access in the van and while hanging out outside. On top of that is a two burner propane stove and deep sink. The Solis 59P and 59PX hold about 21 gallons of water that can be run through the sink or the shower. Shower? Yes, each has a private toilet/shower stall. Its cramped, but it’s there. At six-foot, two, André has no problem standing up inside or stretching out crossways on the beds.
Solis 59PX – More Room, More Tech
The Solis 59PX model adds a little over a foot of cargo room to the rear of the van, enough to store bikes, paddleboards, surfboards, etc. It also puts a generator underneath the chassis for off-grid power, adds a solar power and battery system to the mix, and plops a powerful A/C unit on the roof.
Both vans feature a pricey, but appropriate upgrade, a $2,000 cell signal booster to facilitate high-speed cell reception for those #vanlife nomads who need their campers to double as an Internet-connected workspace. In the cellular-challenged Rocky Mountain West, it’s a thoughtful and useful upgrade.
Drives Like a Van, Not an RV
The big appeal of these Class B campers is that they still retain their van-like ride and maneuverability. André truly appreciates the ProMaster’s tight turning radius after a summer spent maneuvering our F-250 with a Four Wheel Camper top around campsites. The trade-off for going with a V6 instead of a diesel will be felt on high-altitude climbs–or any climbs for that matter–or when pushing the van down the Interstate at 75 mph. But the benefit is a simple, reliable engine, that will be much cheaper to maintain and operate. See for yourself by clicking on the video at the top of this post.