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RV Review: 2021 Winnebago EKKO 22A

By Tony Barthel
Possibly one of the hottest new RVs on the market is the Winnebago EKKO. Winnebago has been making waves in the popular Class B segment for some time now and has really brought forth some leading-edge products, including the Winnebago Revel 44e that we reviewed recently. 

But the EKKO takes their experience and elevates it in many, many ways. Yet there are also things we’ve seen for years. So what’s the big deal? 

Winnebago EKKO

The EKKO is an evolutionary rig in some ways, being essentially a “B plus.” This translates into a van/cutaway front and a motorhome back, but without a sleeping area over the cab. The EKKO is just a few inches wider than the Ford Transit body on which it is based. So it retains much of the drivability of a Class B – one of the strong suits of this genre. 

By adding a big square box to the back, that minor addition of width translates into a whole different experience for the camping side of the vehicle. And I have to say that Winnebago has taken every advantage of this body as well. 

That body

The Winnebago EKKO was very intentionally created to deliver four-season camping as much as possible. The walls of the motorhome section are 2” thick and the roof is 3” thick. The entry door very specifically does not have a window so that it can be better insulated. 

There is a thick blanket that Winnebago makes in-house that separates the cab from the camper portion if you’re really in cold temperatures. All the tanks and plumbing are within the cabin of the camper – and even the wet bay is heated. Of course, those tanks have 12-volt heating pads on them. 

This is based on Ford’s four-wheel-drive Transit platform. So even lousy roads, or no roads, won’t be an impediment to getting out there. 

Off the grid

Winnebago has also provided serious off-grid capability with a number of choices owners get to make. 

As standard in the Winnebago EKKO, you get a 320 amp-hour lithium-ion battery that can be monitored via Bluetooth and is also heated. Three solar panels are on racks on the roof: two 170-watt panels, and a third 115-watt panel. All this power can be fed through a 2,000-watt inverter. Also, there’s a second 80-amp alternator on the V6 engine that drives the vehicle. This alternator is designed to be able to charge the battery even at engine idle speeds without overheating. This means you could idle the engine to provide some extra oomph to the battery if you wanted.

But you don’t have to do that as there’s also a standard Cummins Onan QG 2,800i gasoline-fired generator aboard. This is so quiet the National Parks system has given it their stamp of approval. 

Power is one thing, sure. But what limits my off-grid fun are the holding tanks. Here, you have a big 50-gallon fresh water tank and a 51-gallon gray tank. This rig was intentionally designed with a cartridge toilet so you can dump that in a pit toilet or regular outhouse. This is a big plus. Of course, if you’re so far off the grid that none of these are available to you, you could also carry a second toilet cartridge. 

The holding tank monitors are also not the typical lousy monitors. Instead, they are monitors which report tank levels in one-degree increments. 

Heating is provided by a Truma VarioHeat system, and your hot water is endless thanks to a Truma AquaGo water heating system. Well, endless until your fresh tank runs dry or your gray tank fills up, naturally. 

That’s not all

What really gets me is the attention to detail in this rig. 

For example, there are RAM® Tough-Track™ mounts all over this rig. So you can hang things above the seats/dinette, over the bed and in so many other places. I love convertible and flexible-use items – this goes a long way to being that. 

The corners of the RV portion of the rig are powder-coated aluminum. That will protect them from brush or branches or the kinds of things you’ll encounter if you truly do take this rig off-road. It’s a better quality method of building the box, and quality is something that really comes through with this rig. 

There’s a metal screen door on this rig that can even be locked with the door key separately from the door. That way you can lock the screen and step away from the rig if you choose.

Another appreciated thing is that the propane tanks are the typical 20-pound propane tanks that you can swap out almost anywhere or have refilled. This is so much more convenient than having to find a place to fill a permanent tank in an RV. 

The tour of the Winnebago EKKO

Going through that windowless entry door, you’ll see that the cab features seats that swivel around – as you would expect in a Class B or Class C. Since the floor of the cab is lower than the floor of the camper, Winnebago has provided “booster” cushions to accommodate this. There’s also a Lagun table for the camp-side position. That table can swing around in front of the entry door and be additional prep space for the chef. 

This is the kind of attention to detail that makes all the difference. 

Over on the road side there are two vehicle-style seats that face forward, each of which has a three-point seat belt. This means you could safely accommodate four people in transit: two in the cab and two in these seats. There’s a folding table for these occupants as well. 

Over on the camp side is a metal sink and two-burner stove. The only thing I was surprised at in this rig is the old-fashioned laminate counter. But Winnebago specifically addressed this, saying that it’s a weight-saving piece. 

Having owned a commercial kitchen, we used all stainless steel surfaces. They were light yet strong, and you could put a hot pot on them. This would be my first choice. 

Above the galley counter is a cabinet and a microwave. All the latches on the cabinets are positive latches – which essentially means they’re not popping open on the road. The cabinets, too, are nicely designed. 

Behind the galley on the camp side is a large 12-volt refrigerator. 

The Winnebago EKKO has an interesting bathroom

On the road side is one of the more interesting RV bathrooms I’ve seen. In some ways it’s a wet bath – in others it’s not. 

When you step in it seems like a dry bath with a toilet that swivels and a small sink. But the wall at the rear of the bathroom swings away revealing the shower. So, while it’s technically in the same space as the bathroom, the shower is sort of separate. It’s pretty ingenious. Also, super bonus points to Winnebago for including an Oxygenics showerhead, which is what so many RVers replace theirs with.

Finally, the bedroom area is unusual to most U.S. RVers. It starts life as a twin bed arrangement with a set of stairs between the beds, which are high up in the space. This is to facilitate closets and storage beneath the beds. 

Those beds themselves sit on a Froli spring system. There’s also a cushion and platform that you can stick in between them that turns it into a proper queen-sized bed area. 

What’s outside is as exciting as what’s inside the Winnebago EKKO

Behind the entry door there is a large storage space. If you want, you can opt to have this outfitted with an outdoor kitchen that incorporates a 12-volt cooler, sink and propane cooktop. Winnebago deserves some sort of award for using a 12-volt cooler instead of a 110vac refrigerator on this.

At the back of this rig is a huge storage space that is also heated. There are access doors on both camp and road side. There’s also a large rear hatch door. All of the doors are the same 2” thick wall material as the rest of the rig. 

Winnebago is making the awning on the camp side an option. So for those who don’t want one, you’re not forced to have it. But there’s also an optional “batwing” cover over the rear and road-side doors of this rig. These are great for assembling bicycles or skis or other things. 

In summary

If you’ve seen European RVs, then a lot of what’s in this rig won’t surprise you. But Winnebago has done an outstanding job with packaging all this into a very well-designed system. 

I like that they offer the option of minimal exterior graphics. In so many ways this rig is just such a right fit for so many. I hope that a lot of the design elements extend to other models in their lineup, including their travel trailers. 

If you look at yesterday’s Coachmen Cross Trek 20XG review you’ll see that many elements of these two are the same. But the devil’s in the details – and Winnebago just nailed it on the details. Furthermore, Winnebago’s website and video channels are just so well done and Coachmen is just in the dark here. I just don’t see how a modern vehicle seller can be so out of touch with digital messaging, frankly. 

It’s no surprise why this vehicle is getting so much attention from so many. 

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.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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Gaius Gracchus
2 months ago

That 5 gallon cassette toilet is a deal-breaker. What sort of convoluted logic says that it’s better to have larger fresh and gray tanks!????

That’s ridiculous. You can always get fresh water – carry more with you or buy it. And if you use biodegradable soaps in an emergency you can dump the gray or part of it.

The real limitation is the black tank. So it is a real pain to have to dump that black tank EVERY DAY – 5 gallons won’t last long at all. And it is not as easy to dump as you think – a lot of gas stations, truck stops and certainly restaurants would shoot you if you tried dragging that thing into their public restrooms to dump!
It is not allowed in many, many places.

The black tank is the main limitation on how long you can boondock.

Judy S
6 months ago

Did I miss the info on cargo carrying capacity? I recall something about it being very low. Also, the poor ground clearance is a deal killer for me since I prefer wilderness camping.

Steve
6 months ago

I have one major concern with the EKKO. It uses the OEM trailer hitch, which does not extend to the rear of the Winnebago bumper. Therefore, a 10-12″ extension must be used to put a ball on it. Blue Ox and other hitch manufacturers clearly state that such an extension reduces the four-down towing capacity by 50% and should not be used for trailers at all. That warning is going to be ignored by a lot of buyers who want use the EKKO’s 4-season, off-highway, 4wd-capability to tow their kayak trailers in summer, 4-wheeler trailers during hunting season, and snow machine trailers in winter. I’ll stay as far away from them as possible when towing my fifth wheel on the steep, winding mountain highways of Colorado.

Roger Spalding
6 months ago

The Ekko has some useful boondocking features. The cassette toilet allows for larger freshwater and grey tanks which are useful. Other than the helpful alterations enabling real four season backwoods exploring, the Ekko is pretty much a Leisure RVs Wonder RT. The Wonder has been on the Market for a few years now. Manufacturers have been chasing the Wonder without a lot of success. With the Ekko, Winnebago looks to have found a slot in the market unserved by Leisure. Also, where do they get these couples for the promotional videos? Either they are the most patronizing snobs in the RV business, or they are vacuous rookies. Tony’s review is spot on. Skip the video.

Kamwick
6 months ago
Reply to  Roger Spalding

That couple has a YouTube series called “The Fit RV”. She’s a fitness instructor and I think he’s into competitive biking, They’ve been reviewing Winnebago vans for years and have upgraded their own at least a couple of times. I suspect (but of course can’t verify) that they may be getting some type of deal for reviewing and promoting Winnebago’s stuff. Pretty good for a rig that costs $160K+ 😳

I’ve always found them congenial and funny with their reviews, can’t say I see them as “patronizing snobs”. If I hadn’t seen the video, it would be hard to visualize how the bathroom works. They do look pretty fit for a couple of grandparents from Utah.

Donald N Wright
6 months ago

This is very nice. What is the interior headroom ?

Roger
6 months ago

Lots of innovation here. Yes, some of the great ideas like the raised bed and huge garage area in the back have been in European coaches of this size for years. So what? It’s about time a U.S. manufacturer stepped up and offered that here. As a long time Class B owner, many of us have been asking for this for years and are very happy to see it. Good for Winnebago for trying something different for a change. Putting it on the new Transit AWD gas engine chassis was genius. Big step up from the trouble prone Sprinter and Promaster chassis.

Bob P
6 months ago

It never ceases to amaze me how everything thing has got to be Euro this or Euro that, personally I have not seen very many things from Europe that are better than what we make here. I think that is an advertising gimmick as so many people have been tricked into thinking European is better than American. I have never been to Europe and never will unless they complete the bridge in the next 20 years, I base my opinions on the quality of the automobile industry from there and the cultural ideas I have read about in various countries in Europe. Yes our automotive industry sucked until the Japanese taught them how to put quality into the vehicles they built, but now we can compete with any of them. Every time I se the term Euro I am completely turned off by the term.

Kamwick
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

Gee, what an open-minded attitude. Sensing more than just an undercurrent of envy and sour grapes here 😆

Tommy Molnar
6 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

I have to say Bob, I tend to agree with you. People are SO quick to poo poo American goods and thinking. I am not one of them. If things were so good in Europe we wouldn’t have come to the American shores in the first place.

Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Some things change Tommy (& Bob). I have been abroad and rented a class B Transit .. Nothing I’ve seen here can beat it although RVs like this are equal at least.

Bill
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

 👍  👍  🙏 

Megan Edwards
6 months ago
Reply to  Bill

I agree for the most part. A lot of things are better here but some things are better there. There camping is different there so the differences. Take the best ideas.

Richard De Villiers
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Barthel

Well said👍👍

Gaius Gracchus
2 months ago
Reply to  Bob P

It’s not that American is bad – it is that the European market has ALWAYS been focused on smaller vehicles – they don’t have the facilities to handle the huge motorhomes that we have here, for the most part.
Therefore they were ahead of the curve with figuring out clever way to utilize space in small RVs – they’ve just been doing it a lot longer. It is only recently that the US market started focusing on smaller RVs, so it is not surprising we are borrowing ideas from them.

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