Winnebago Esperance

By: Bill Savidan, Photography by: Bill Savidan


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To put the new Winnebago Esperance through its paces, I travelled to the smart facilities of Winnebago’s newest dealer, Andrew Fink Marine in Hamilton

Winnebago Esperance
Winnebago Esperance
  • The Esperance range is designed with comfort in mind and aimed at the mature market.
  • The Esperance is available in two styles. The low profile style offers indulgent luxury for two people, while the cab over the bed style can sleep up to four people. In each style there are three distinct layouts.
  • The interior furniture and fittings have more of a European flavour than past Winnebagos.
  • Winnebago has built the Esperance range on the Iveco 50C18 chassis with the three-litre 130kW (176hp) turbo-diesel engine and six-speed gearbox.
  • With a maximum all up weight of 4500kg, car licence holders can drive it.

Andrew has created a new entity, Winnebago Central, to market Winnebago products in the North Island. Winnebago Central will stand alongside Andrew Fink Marine, Allisee Autohomes, and Enduro Trailers, under a new group banner, Auto Leisure and Marine (ALM).

The rear lounge layout incorporates Winnebago’s novel roll-down bed. When not in use, this bed resides very discreetly in the ceiling of the lounge.

In use in the fully lowered position, the bottom of the bed base rests almost on the top of the lounge seating cushions, and is quite easy to access.

Dual use of the lounge space means the spacious kitchen, bathroom and storage can all be accommodated in a modest overall length of 7.2 metres (24ft).

There are two layouts in the eight-metre (26ft) version. Both have a lounge slide-out that contains the fridge-freezer and a semi-circular lounge seating bay that also doubles as the dining area. One layout has the bathroom facilities amidships with two single berths at the rear, above a spacious storage garage. These two singles can easily be converted into a queen-sized bed.

The other layout has the bathroom across the rear wall and an east-west island bed between bathroom and lounge.

This layout, with the bed over the cab, model 2643 SL with the auto transmission, has a tare weight of 3900kg, including full water and fuel tanks and full gas bottles.

Winnebago has built the Esperance range on the Iveco 50C18 chassis with the three-litre 130kW (176hp) turbo-diesel engine and six-speed gearbox. The gearbox can be either the manual version, or the automated manual version, which can be operated as a full auto or in clutchless manual mode. Along with power steer, cab aircon, cruise control and dual airbags, this model boasts an electronic stability program that includes ASR traction control and ABS braking.

In appearance the Esperance radiates wholesome Winnebago practicality. For example, the Heyr louvre are secure, and even in wet weather they ventilate efficiently without letting the rain in. And, the solid Dometic ‘A & E Systems’ four-metre manual awning is safe and secure in wind and rain but easy to furl away single-handed if the weather gets out of hand.

The battery smart charger, 12-volt fuses and 230-volt circuit breakers are mounted inside one of the kerbside exterior lockers where they are very visible and easy to get at. As with other Winnebagos it has an entertainment centre with removable table under the awning, an external shower and gas BBQ connection.

The auxiliary generator house locker has a built-in slide tray allowing easy access to the equipment. On the rear wall a ladder is mounted to provide roof access to service the house aircon, TV aerial, solar panels and roof hatches.

The lounge slide-out and the space it creates is the most significant feature inside the Esperance. The kitchen has all the quality mod-cons – I particularly liked the large, long drawers beneath the bench.

The lounge seating area consists of the bay seating in the slideout and the swivel cab seats. I liked the layout but found the bay seating too upright for my taste, however, I suspect that will be corrected in the near future.

The interior furniture and fittings have more of a European flavour than past Winnebagos. The combination of fabric tones, cushion design curved locker fronts and bench and tabletop shapes have created this impression but there is still a strong element of Winnebago practicality evident.

The bathroom, too, reflects this new design theme. The entry door is a large, curved wooden bifold. It is well constructed and the latch and retaining clips function excellently.

The shower cubicle is a generous 900mm x 550mm, and has a sliding screen to stop splashes and its own light and fan vent, as well as a removable hanging rail. The corner hand basin had a back mirror and plenty of lights.

The bed is a good size at 1900mm x 1380 and, being ‘foam over slats’, is very comfortable. I found the window at the head of the bed didn’t leave enough room for a bed head, and as it lacked bedside shelving it didn’t pass the ‘cuppa in bed’ test. Ample storage is provided by the large hanging locker beside the toilet door and cupboard below, along with the overhead lockers over the bed.

The Winnebago Esperance range pricing starts at $194,000. The model reviewed is around $209,000, depending on the final specification. For full details contact your nearest Winnebago dealer.

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