I’ve mentioned that Mrs. RV Reviewer and I have been looking at the websites for new trailers but haven’t really wrapped our minds around the whole process yet. But over the weekend we went and looked at some of the trailers that are high on our list.
In a nutshell, I was floored by the prices. A travel trailer that I regularly would sell for significantly under $30,000 just a few years ago carried an MSRP of more than $42,000. We’re not talking a huge trailer, because that’s not what we want. I’m talking a 20’ laminated travel trailer.
You’d think this would have sunk in with all the reviews that I’m doing and seeing the MSRP (when I don’t forget to include it, as some of you call me on). But it wasn’t until we saw the trailers and the price stickers that my profanity jar got an overload of blankety-blank quarters.
So that made me wonder just what could be had for a relatively low price. I just happened to spy a Heartland Prowler 240RB, a relatively affordable stick-and-tin travel trailer with no slides but a decently livable floor plan.
The Prowler line is a relatively entry-level brand of travel trailers from Heartland. To be honest, there are clear signs that this trailer is built more to price than to value. But not everywhere.
For example, there’s a simple and inexpensive leaf spring suspension. Plus, the whole trailer rides on TowStar® tires, which is a brand I’ve never heard of. I think my first stop might be at the Goodyear tire store for some new Endurance tires – if I could even find any for sale.
But then, the axle ratings on this trailer are higher than the gross vehicle weight rating for this trailer. So the maximum weight of the trailer is 6,900 pounds but the axles alone are 3,500 pounds each, adding up to 7,000 pounds total.
Consider that about 15 percent of a travel trailer’s weight is carried by the tow vehicle, and you have a decent reserve capacity. I like that.
There are also power stabilizer jacks in this trailer – which you wouldn’t expect on the more affordable side of things.
Another plus is the fact that the nose of the trailer is a thicker sheet of aluminum which is not corrugated. So that means it cuts through the air just a bit better than would a corrugated nose – which some of Jayco’s stick-and-tin trailers have, for example.
I was also surprised to see welded aluminum framing under the bed in an otherwise wood-framed trailer.
So the news is part good, part bad in here.
Features in the Heartland Prowler
This trailer is relatively simple with no slide rooms – which I wish more manufacturers would offer.
On the road side is a couch which has a huge window behind it – which is nice. On the camp side is a two-person dinette – which is interesting to see. Typically the dinette is a four-place unit.
The hole for the TV, which is not included, is above that dinette. So our couch dwellers are the only ones who can see it. Meh, TV is overrated anyway.
There’s an odd triangular cabinet right at the entry of this rig with a counter-height top. Prowler’s literature shows a Keurig coffee maker on top of this. I guess that’s what it’s for, but it is a bit odd.
The bathroom has a decent-sized cabinet in it, but there is no medicine cabinet. Also, the toilet is plastic – not my favorite. But the bathroom is large and the shower has a curtain instead of a glass door – a plus by my standard.
On the opposite end in the bedroom there are cabinets, as you would expect. And there are holes in the sides where you can stow your noisy toys. It’s kind of a nifty solution.
Overall this is a decent floor plan. There are some real positives of it, including the over-capable suspension (albeit an inexpensive leaf spring design) and the aluminum framing under the bed, for example. But then the budget tires and floor vents, plus the lack of a medicine cabinet, are on the opposite side of the list.
You’d think I’d be more keenly aware of just how crazy RV pricing has become, since this is something I look at literally every day. But until it’s your ox that’s gored, it doesn’t really sink in.
Still, this stick-and-tin trailer with no slides carries an MSRP higher than that of a premium-grade trailer with more features from just two years ago. Even many of my friends in the RV industry who work at dealerships are shocked by all the price increases.
What has been your experience with pricing and RVs? Are you also suffering from sticker shock?
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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