Winnebago Roam Is an Accessible RV Built from a Ram ProMaster
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  • Winnebago has built wheelchair-accessible RVs before, but they've always been the Class A behemoths that cost $270,000 or more. The new Roam is a smaller Class B RV based on the Ram ProMaster van that still has room for someone in a wheelchair to move around inside.
  • Winnebago designed the interior with help from accessibility advocates, and the RV maker used universal design as the guiding force when deciding what to include.
  • Options include a pop top for more sleeping space, a TV, and your color choice. Steering hand controls, if needed, can be installed by a third party.

      Sometimes, when the #VanLife calls, what you're really looking for is a #VanLift. Wheelchair users who enjoy spending time on the road will likely be interested in the new Winnebago Roam RV, the company's first Class B RV that was designed specifically with accessibility in mind.

      While some wheelchair-using adventurers have taken to building their own accessible home on wheels, like quadriplegic photographer Kirk Williams and his rugged conversion van, not everyone has that kind of desire. The Roam, which Winnebago announced today, fills the bill in a smaller package than what the company's larger wheelchair-ready RVs, the Adventurer AE and the Inspire, already offer. Those are both bus-sized Class A RVs with sleeping room for five and price tags starting at $269,000.

      Class B RVs are usually around 21 to 24 feet and often feature more off-grid conveniences like toilets and refrigerators than smaller conversion vans but sleep one or two people just as easily. Winnebago told Car and Driver it will announce pricing for the Roam within the next two months.

      Built using a 2021 Ram ProMaster as the base and with a BraunAbility wheelchair lift under the sliding side door, the Roam is less than 20 feet long, but Winnebago said it was "designed with enough floor space to support a wheelchair and critical accessible features." That means an under-vehicle wheelchair lift, standard wheelchair tie-downs, a shower and toilet with grab handles, accessible light and system controls, and a powered sofa bed. It can seat up to five people and sleep up to four, if you order it with the optional pop top that sleeps two.

      The only other options Winnebago will offer is a built-in TV and a choice of three colors (red, silver or white). Winnebago will not be installing any hand controls for driving the Roam, leaving that to third-party companies if the buyer is interested. Everything else you can see in the pictures of the vehicle, like the refrigerator and microwave, are standard. Winnebago will also switch the Roam over to 2022 ProMasters once those become available.

      The accessible features in the Roam were selected from user feedback based on decades of building the larger Class A motorhomes, the company said. Winnebago also got ideas from several hosted RV trips with travelers in wheelchairs, who made suggestions about what to change and keep. Winnebago also spoke to people in the accessibility community, including caregivers, as it was developing the Roam.

      "While there are some features, like the wheelchair lift and tie-downs, that are focused on the traveler in a wheelchair, many of the features stem from a desire for a universal design," a Winnebago spokesperson said. "This includes easily reachable controls, gauges, and displays. More open spaces to move around, an easy-to-access bathroom, and added privacy features."

      When the Roam goes on sale this fall, it will be available at only three authorized dealerships: La Mesa, Campers Inn, and Pleasureland. These were chosen because they have shown a commitment to Winnebago's accessible product line in the past and they have multiple locations, Winnebago said, and more dealers may be added when demand and production capacity increase.

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      date : 2021-09-01 16:01:30