Friday, September 17, 2021
Friday, September 17, 2021

RV preview: 2022 Winnebago Roam mobility-enhanced Class B

More than any other manufacturer, I think Winnebago has done a great job accommodating those who wish to enjoy the RV lifestyle that we all love but who might also have some mobility issues. In the past Winnebago has stepped up with Class A motorhomes including the Winnebago Inspire, that we have looked at in the past. 

Recently the company announced a new Class B motorhome in their line, the Winnebago Roam. 

There have been pathways for people who might be in a wheelchair or have other mobility challenges to custom-order RVs. But Winnebago realized how delayed these special orders can be. They thus established regular production models that feature many of the accommodations that could offer greater travel options to more travelers. 

Based on the Ram ProMaster chassis, the Winnebago Roam carries that vehicle’s flat floor and front-wheel-drive design. That makes room for those who might be in a wheelchair to move around and use the vehicle. The interior has been specifically designed to accommodate a wheelchair with space to turn around. There’s even a bathroom that might be accessible for people with limited mobility. 

Accessibility features in the Winnebago Roam

The most notable difference between this Class B motorhome and some others is the large open area smack-dab in the middle of the rig. This is where you’ll find Q’Straint attachments to tie down the wheelchair for travel. There is also a three-point shoulder belt to provide a safe place for an individual in a wheelchair to ride. 

Getting that wheelchair into the rig is made easy with a lift system. It tucks under the Roam when not in use, but comes out and provides access to the vehicle when needed. 

The flooring in this rig is a heavy-duty vinyl material. It easily withstands the challenges of a wheelchair rolling around on it. 

Bench seat across back of the Roam

Across the entire back of the rig is a bench seat with three-point seat belts. That means you can legally seat four individuals in the existing seating (one in each of the bucket seats up front and two on the bench across the back), and then accommodate a fifth person in a wheelchair. 

There are also duffel bags that come with this to enable someone in a wheelchair to access the cargo in the overhead compartments. 

That would make a vehicle like this really handy as a daily driver for a lot of people. The size of this vehicle is really no larger than the full-size pickups and SUVs that so many people drive. The front-wheel drive makes it pretty nimble. 

The Roam as an RV

I also believe Winnebago has become one of the best at building Class B vans. The company has really stepped up in this space with a lot of very intriguing models. 

That bench seat along the back of this rig is also the bed. It changes from one form to the other via the push of a button. Whether or not you have mobility issues, I still think that this bed would be even better with an RV SuperBag as opposed to traditional bedding. Behind the rear bench seat is plenty of room for storing one’s camping stuff. 

There’s a fold-down table that can be used between the rear seat and an individual in a wheelchair. 

The counters have been designed to be accessible by someone in a wheelchair. The smaller 12-volt DC compressor RV refrigerator in this model is also accessible. 

No propane

This rig has no propane aboard, so Winnebago teamed up with Elwell to use the gasoline aboard the rig to provide both cabin heat and hot water. This is a nifty way to get around having to have a propane system yet still offering a great way to keep things hot that should be hot. 

Since there’s no propane, there is a 120vac outlet on the counter top where one could plug in an induction cooktop – which is another thing I really like. 

Ram ProMaster

As reported in the Truck & Towing Trends column on this website, Ram has updated the 2022 ProMaster model to be an even better daily driver. There are all sorts of electronic nannies available for this vehicle for 2022 (once computer chips become available again). So you could argue that driving one of these is comparable to driving any other current passenger vehicle in terms of all the safety tech built in. 

The Roam as a daily driver

In high school, a friend broke his neck in a surfing accident and now is in a wheelchair. I could easily see this being a daily driver for him once he’s outfitted the van with hand controls – which isn’t an uncommon thing at all in his world. 

Having a bathroom available that’s clean and accessible, alone, would be worth buying this rig. But then a bed for naps during the day or a refrigerator for the sodas he loves would just be icing on the cake. In fact, this Class B would serve him exceptionally well as a daily driver. 

The fact that it could also be used for weekend jaunts to the mountains is a bonus. But the way Winnebago has outfitted this, it would be suitable for that without a doubt. 

Only one possible issue for people with limited mobility

The only thing I saw in this design that would represent an issue for someone in a wheelchair traveling solo would be the microwave, which was up on an upper cabinet. I honestly don’t see a way around this. Winnebago has done so much to make this vehicle wheelchair-friendly that this is a minor issue. Unless you want to make popcorn and can’t reach the darned thing. 

However, knowing how my friend Ralf makes life work for him even without such a well-suited rig, that microwave placement would be an easy thing to overcome. 

The only other thing I see here is that the tank sizes are small in this rig. I’m sure that’s due to the fact that there’s a power lift mechanism under the camper taking up a lot of the space there. 

Optional pop-top version for more places to sleep

For those with more than two occupants sleeping in the rig, Winnebago also offers an optional pop-top version. That adds two additional places to sleep. 

Kudos to Winnebago for making a regular production model that’s inclusive and can easily be a great daily driver or a gateway to the RV lifestyle we all enjoy so much.

Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Daily driver functionality
Wheelchair accommodation
Gasoline heat/water heater
Microwave placement

SUMMARY

Winnebago's forthcoming Roam Class B based on the Ram ProMaster is both another example of their leadership in the Class B segment but also in creating RVs for those with mobility issues. This fully functional motorhome can also serve someone very well as a daily driver.

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Bbenedict Dover
3 days ago

You make it sound like Winnebago is Mother Theresa but Winnebago says ‘no sweeties no Winnebago’ so how does a cripple make sweeties to give to Winnebago?

martin a
6 days ago

I think that a cassette toilet would be difficult for a disabled person to deal with. It would be hard to handle and empty from a chair, if you use crutches your hands are occupied.

Benedict Dover
3 days ago
Reply to  martin a

How does a disabled person work in a factory to buy an RV from Winnebago if they can’t even deal with a casette toilet?

Kamwick
6 days ago

Kind of low on the fresh/grey tanks?
On the other hand, if used also as a daily driver maybe ok?

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