What happens when suddenly your business model changes? Dramatically? Such was the case for a company called Grech, who has recently introduced Grech RV as part of their family. While you may not have heard of Grech, they’ve actually been building premium buses for some time.
But with the pandemic, there just hasn’t been much demand for tour buses because, well, folks aren’t going on tours. So the company looked at the world out there and decided to return to building Class B RVs on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis.
This isn’t the first time they’ve done so – the last time was in 2008. It seems that timing for Grech is both a blessing and a curse. But what the company has been doing is building extraordinary buses and has transferred that build quality and knowledge to Class B RVs.
Luxury Class B
Let’s be honest. There are a huge number of companies building Class B RVs. As the bigger names in the field get more diversity and recognition along with continually climbing sales despite the challenges of obtaining the vans they need to build the campers, more people are looking to make these vans as well.
Companies like Pleasure-Way with their RECON, Jayco with their Terrain, and established leaders like Winnebago, are all part of a bigger picture for these rigs. And the Class B segment is presently the fastest-growing segment in the industry. There are also other luxury Class B vans, in particular the Airstream Interstate.
So, what do you do to stand out because, spoiler alert, Grech absolutely does with the Strada Tour, for example.
First of all we’re not going to look inside yet, but rather peer under the van. This is where you’ll see one of the most standout examples of build quality I’ve seen in this industry.
Under the van all the tanks and structures that need support are supported with stainless steel brackets and hardware. Rather than looking like a spaghetti factory of stuff crammed into a space, the underside of these vans is almost as beautiful as the upper side. More so, if you’re a nerd like me.
Not only do they use stainless steel fittings, but the suspension has been upgraded to something the bus industry is familiar with, and that’s a rear air suspension. This is a VB air suspension which is backed by the Mercedes-Benz warranty.
You’ll also notice stainless steel is used to mount the lower fiberglass section to the body of the van. It sort of “lowers” the appearance but also provides steps for the people getting into the front cockpit doors. For the sliding door, a power step is in place that comes out when you open the door. It’s sort of like an aluminum tongue sticking itself out at you. Or maybe it’s sticking itself out at the other camper vans. Even a lot of the screws used on the exterior and in places where they would come into contact with water and such are stainless steel.
I mentioned the lower cladding, but along the belt line of the exterior of the van is a stainless steel band that has the company’s name in it. This is also a very clever cover, on the road side, for all the connectivity you would need for shore services. Rather than a compartment door that clearly looks like an add-on, this stainless steel flip-up door just is so well-integrated into the exterior of the van.
There’s a similar flip-up door on the bottom to access the macerator hose, and that hose has a power reel retractor. Honestly, if you didn’t know there were doors there you might not even think to look. This kind of fit and finish is keeping in line with the three-pointed star on the grille. In fact there’s even a faring over the front of the awning to better integrate it into the exterior of the vehicle.
Above the metal flooring that you already have in the Sprinter is a composite honeycomb sub-floor upon which the marine-grade flooring is mounted. This is not only strong but also relatively light and completely waterproof.
What’s inside the Strada Tour
Again, the interior of this van shows a lot of attention to detail. For example, the seating material is the same on the front driver and passenger seats as it is on the power reclining rear bed. Grech actually tests the material with a machine that rubs it over 35,000 times to make sure it’s durable. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect in a high-end coach that’s both opulent but also able to withstand college frat nights.
Water and cabin heating are accomplished with a Timberline diesel-fired system that provides tankless water heating function as well as space heating to keep the rig warm. Grech RV claims that this is a four-season coach.
The basic amenities of the Grech RV Strada Tour are functional, as they should be. The sink is rather large for a Class B. But the Corian countertops and sink cover mean there’s prep space to be had here. The cooktop is a two-burner induction model which is also flush with the countertop.
Below the counter is a convection microwave and across from it is a smaller refrigerator. This fridge is smaller than I’d like to see. But there are also decent cabinets here, so you can see where the trade-off was made.
The bathroom is a single-piece fiberglass design. While it’s a wet bath, at least you’re not having to worry about some kind of laminated wood piece getting wet when using this as a shower.
The rear seat is power-operated. You have to go through the various menus on the digital control surface to figure out where the control is for this. The cushions themselves are made of a thick memory foam. In a halo above the bed are a surprisingly large trio of cabinets. This is more space than I would have anticipated in a rig of this size.
There’s a TV on the forward wall of the couch area with a Bose sound bar beneath it.
Boondocking in the Strada Tour
Unfortunately, no van is great for boondocking only because of holding tank size limitations dictated by being a van. But there is a lot of attention paid to boondocking, just the same.
For example, on the roof are 200 watts of solar panels which feed a 200 amp-hour lithium battery pack. There’s also an additional alternator on the engine that can charge these batteries. But, even more, there’s also a standard Cummins-Onan 2.4kW LPG generator.
What exactly is “the best”? For example, someone could claim to have the best rig in any category but it’s not the best for everybody. Class B floor plans are becoming more creative and so there are “bests” depending on your needs and preferences.
There are also a few things I don’t like about this rig, starting with the plastic hold-backs on those beautiful exterior compartment doors. A magnet or sprung hinge would be more fitting.
I am also not a fan of having things operated by a motor that I can operate easily manually. That includes things like the power reclining bed in the back and power-operated shades. This just seems like a way to unnecessarily complicate stuff, but I also feel the same way about power tailgates in SUVs.
Lastly, as regular readers will know, I’m a huge fan of these panel-based control systems if there are also buttons for basic functions. I don’t want to have to go through a series of menus or unlock my phone just to turn off the lights.
Yes. I’ve redone my whole house with voice control, but there are also buttons for everything. Plus, I can try to coax results out of the voice of the devil that lives in my phone and my speakers and watch.
I find Grech’s RVs very, very tasteful and very well done. But, more importantly, it seems that the build quality is exceptional. Whoever was in charge of making exterior panels that actually don’t look like a midnight retrofitter slapped on a door from the dollar store, which is common in almost every other van, really should get some sort of recognition. Of course, they are applying for a patent on the design. The company stands behind these vehicles with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty. Based on their having built buses for more than 40 years, that says something.
Unless you’re in the bus world, you may not have known Grech in the past. But if you’re looking for a high-end Class B RV, this is definitely a name I would suggest you familiarize yourself with.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
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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