By Tony Barthel
A while back I wrote about the Keystone Outback 328RL and described it as a “flat fifth wheel.” Someone read that story and shared that they were comparing a Grand Design Imagine 3100RD to that and wondered what I thought.
I can see the appeal of this floor plan, without a doubt. If you’re using it a lot there are clearly defined spaces between the kitchen and living space. Plus, there’s a nifty desk/table that I could see being a very functional piece.
Winnebago’s Grand Design division has absolutely established a reputation for quality that I would think is quite enviable. The company continues to massage their voicing and is very, very good about telling their story.
There are some brands of RV where someone will say, “Oh, I have a (insert brand here),” instead of just saying they have a travel trailer. Grand Design is one of the few that has that status, in my opinion. The other is Airstream.
But is the Grand Design product as good as the reputation? Let’s take a look.
What’s inside the Grand Design Imagine
Essentially what you get here is a fifth wheel trailer in a bumper pull package. The floor plan of this trailer is very much like a fifth wheel. That’s not a bad thing at all.
Stepping inside, there is a dining table to the left of the door that has a legless table so you don’t knock your knees when it’s time for grub. Two of the four free-standing chairs take a permanent place here. There are two matching folding chairs also available, much like in many fifth wheels.
I really like that the dining table can be rotated on its mount so that it’s more of a desk or breakfast bar too. That’s pretty slick.
The kitchen in the Grand Design Imagine is huge with the sink in a counter along the front of the space – much like in a fiver. On both sides of the large, stainless steel sink is a good amount of counter space.
On the camp side in a very large slide room is a two-way refrigerator, three-burner stove with 17” oven, more counter space and a pantry. Cabinets and drawers abound – so this is a very, very usable kitchen.
The back of the Grand Design Imagine is like a real living room
At the very back of the trailer is a second slide on the camp side which houses one of the two tri-fold sofas that face one another. Along the front of the living room are heated, massaging theater seats. All told, you can have six people sitting around here. There’s a space-heating electric fireplace and TV directly across from the theater seats.
This is a nice place to enjoy company that is emotionally different than the kitchen or dining room. It makes it feel like a living room rather than just some seats in part of the trailer.
Right in the center of the trailer is the bathroom with a 30” X 36” shower with a sliding flexible door. There’s a toilet and sink and there is some counter space on the side of the sink.
The bedroom is our last stop, and there’s more storage space in here than in some travel trailers. First of all, there’s an alcove on the road side with hanging storage as well as two drawers, which is nice. Either side of the 60” X 80” queen-sized mattress are hanging closets along with two drawers apiece. There’s a small bedside table, as well, and overhead storage.
One of the things I’ve described before that I really like about Grand Design travel trailers is their docking station, which is up in the pass-through storage bay on the road side.
You can hook your water and cable/satellite connections to the trailer through a hole in the floor in a single place inside the docking station. A motion sensor light can illuminate your activities if you’re docking after dark. I think this is a good design.
So how does this compare to the Keystone Outback 328RL? They are different floor plans but Keystone does offer a similar floor plan in the Keystone Outback 341RD. Honestly, it’s an easy decision for me.
Keystone offers a B-A-L frame specifically designed for their trailers which is huck-bolted to the body. They offer things like HyperDeck flooring, 5,200-pound Dexter E-Z Lube axles with 10” brakes, and high-performance fans. There are a number of other features that I think will outperform the Grand Design trailer to the user over time.
I haven’t dealt with Grand Design directly for any warranty claims, but I have with Keystone. I can say that my experience with them has been outstanding. They were very good at honoring their warranty – which is a three-year structural warranty, a big plus.
But what Grand Design has done really well is tell their own story and, honestly, if you’re selling anything that’s a big part of your job.
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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