Pictured: The Keystone Montana 5th Wheel Trailer
by Jason Epperson
There’s are very few concrete statistics out there regarding the best RV to buy if you’re looking for something that’s going to last. But there is one metric that can help you get some info about the quality of the RV you’re looking to purchase. It’s called the Quality Circle award, and it’s an honor given to the top RVs listed on an annual satisfaction survey that RV dealers complete.
Now it might seem a bit backward to get information about quality from dealers, after all, they’re the people that sell them. But this is a confidential survey meant to inform manufacturers of issues. And as dealerships are the ones servicing most of these vehicles, they would prefer they don’t see that RV coming back into their service center days after it was purchased. RV dealerships also differ a bit from car dealerships in that they don’t just sell one manufacturer’s products.
So what are the best RVs to buy in 2019 if you’re looking for quality over flash? The RV Dealer’s Association announced the Quality Circle Awards at the RVX industry trade show this week. The results reflect almost 2,400 individual brand evaluations from 525 U.S. and Canadian dealers, measuring reliability/quality, parts support, warranty support and sales. The winners received a rating of 4.25 (of 5) or higher on the survey. This year’s winners include:
- Airstream Motorhomes and Towables
- Coachmen RV’s Brookstone and Chaparral Fifth Wheels
- Forest River’s Flagstaff Travel Trailers & Fifth Wheels, Shamrock Expandables, Sierra and Sandpiper brands
- Grand Design’s Image, Momentum, Reflection, Solitude and Transcend brands
- Gulf Stream’s motorhomes, Vintage Cruiser, Vista Cruiser, Innsbruck, Amerilite, Conquest and Kingsport Towable brands
- Heartland’s Big Country, Elk Ridge, Cyclone, Torque, Landmark, North Trail, Wilderness, Prowler, Trail Runner, Road Warrior, Sundance and Gateway brands
- Keystone’s Montana and High Country brands
- Lance Camper’s Travel Trailers and Toy Haulers
- Leisure Travel Vans/Triple E Motorhomes
- Newmar Motorhomes
- Pleasure-Way Motorhomes
- Tiffin Motorhomes
Many of those nameplates are from manufacturers you’d expect to see on this list, a few others are often complained about often on social media. The takeaway — not every product from one manufacturer is equal. RVs are built for different price points and even by entirely different divisions within the same company.