Our RV choice part 2

Part 2: Thor Tiburon 24RW

RV Choice – Thor Tiburon Part Two

Our new RV: The 2021 Thor Tiburon 24RW with the Modesto Paint scheme.  We ordered a custom ‘build-sheet’ RV with RVOne, a nationwide motorhome wholesaler.  Delivery is scheduled for February 2021, as we are on a waiting list with all the other COVID campers of America!

Buying this RV was one part of our journey that began in 2019, when we decided to live and work full time in our RV.
In RV Choice Part One, we covered everything that went into the RV decision process, including what we liked, what we needed and what we couldn’t do without.  

On this page of the story, we narrow things down and get the RV we wanted all along.

RV Choice Thor Tiburon

Quick Recap: What We Wanted In Our RV

  • 2019 or later third generation Mercedes Sprinter chassis
  • Class C RV with slide-outs for extra space
  • Driver assistive features and side and rear cameras
  • Under 27′ overall (for Class C”
  • Cab area workstation for passenger
  • Center table in cockpit area between the seats
  • 50 cubic feet of storage
  • Doors that close off between living area and bedroom
  • Recliner for two
  • Separate dinette with storage underneath
  • “Great Room” layout – dinette across from recliner for a living room feel
  • Queen bed that you can walk around
  • Separated bedroom from living area
  • Ability to have two workstations
  • Convection + Microwave hybrid
  • Induction heat burners
  • Heating pads on fresh and waste tanks
  • Storage for e-bike and an inflatable kayak
The RV Choice Journey Continues

In Part One of our RV choice journey we learned early on that we liked one specific floorplan, and that it was available on a number of Class A and Class C motorhomes.  We spent the fall of 2019 and winter of 2020 attending several RV Shows in the Pacific Northwest as well as visiting several RV dealerships in the Puget Sound and Portland area.  A couple of “AHA” moments happened where we were certain we found the right RV for us, only to find another one a few days later.

Early contenders included the Class C Coachmen Leprechaun 260DSF, the Thor Axis 27.7 and the Winnebago Vista 27PE. These all have the floorplan and the features we want. I must say that a far as a “wow” factor, we just weren’t feeling it.  Maybe because of its uniqueness, the Axis 27.7 was the coolest RV we saw.  

About 15 years earlier, I had toured a true Class B Mercedes Benz Sprinter camper van. Back then it really struck me how they were able to fit all the things you need in the back of a van:  bed, kitchen, bath, shower, couch, storage, etc. On top of that, it had the cool, sleek Euro styling that made it stand out from an American made van that looked like a box.  

RV CHOICE THOR TIBURON

At this point, the Winnebago 27P was our choice.  In addition to this model, we added a couple other Class A’s into the mix. The Holiday Rambler 28A, Coachmen Pursuit Perfection 27DS and the Newmar Baystar Sport 2813 made the cut as well.  As we kept searching we also looked back that model that first intrigued us long ago.  The Mercedes Sprinter Van.

There was something special about the Sprinters that went along with our overall goal of downsizing and being nimble. We began to search all the Sprinters that had Class C bodies on the back and found that most did not have our floorplan.  In fact, only one manufacturer made models with the great room and separate bedroom floorplan we liked. 

Thor's Mercedes Sprinter Class C Lineup

From 2018 to 2020, Thor Motorhomes made available this floorplan on five of their model lines: Synergy, Citation and Siesta as well as the Compass and Gemini models all had this floorplan.

What you don’t get on the Mercedes chassis is a lot of space.  Storage space or floorplan space.  The difference between the Synergy and the Winnebago was significant when comparing water tank size, cubic storage space and counter space.  A queen-sized mattress fits in a Class A, while the Sprinter only supports a full-sized mattress.

RV Choice Thor Tiburon

We toured a 2019 Thor Synergy in late 2019 and it sold us! The Synergy looked and felt right. It was the RV we were looking for.  Finally! This was IT!

The funny thing was that once we decided we would by one of these five models, Thor stopped producing them.  And that was a good thing!

The Mercedes Sprinter - Third Generation

Mercedes debuted their third generation Sprinter van in early 2018.  This new iteration retained many of the things that make the Sprinter a standout. Its appearance didn’t change much. You must look a bit closer to see what the fuss was all about.  But, in fact much has changed on the new Sprinter, and we are luckier for this.  Here’s a quick look at the new and updated features:

  • New transmission – A seven-speed torque converting automatic on the front wheel drive models.
  • MBUX – The New Mercedes Benz User Experience is an integrated touchscreen infotainment system that has the ability to learn driver preferences thanks to artificial intelligence.  Just say “Hey Mercedes”, and it will place a call, change the music, reroute your map, tell you the weather and much more.  Includes built in Apple Play, Sirius XM, and Bluetooth.
  • Traffic Awareness – Active Brake Assist.  Distance Assist Distronic Plus.  Lane Keeping. Traffic Sign Reading.  Blind Spot Assist and Attention (drowsy driver) assistance. Many of these features are present in the new center windshield sensor array and on display in the heads-up panel on the driver side dash.
  • Upgrades – New LED headlights, all new “magic vision” wet windshield wiper system, all electric seats with new memory controls,
  • Interactive Steering Wheel – The completely redesigned multi-function steering wheel has controls on the left to adjust and respond to the driver’s side heads up display, and controls on the right to easily control the MBUX system
As future Mercedes Benz Sprinter RV buyers, we got lucky. Right at the time we were getting serious about owning a Mercedes, they made it even better with a van cab that took the Sprinter out of the 1990’s and into to the future.
Introducing the 2021 Thor Tiburon and Delano
RV Choice Thor Tiburon, #tiburon #drivebytourists Sprinter

Thor features the Mercedes Benz Sprinter in at least eight of their models, and five had the floorplan we liked.  In anticipation of the new generation Sprinters coming out in 2019, Thor decided to retire three of their model lines and replace those with two new models built around the brand-new Sprinter cab.

In August, 2019, Thor introduced the Thor Delano Sprinter motorhome. Gone was the old monochrome pixel text only displays in the front and 50’s Rambler style cabinetry in the back.  New was a sleek touchscreen interactive control system complimented by a completely updated design in the house section.  This upgrade included new cabinetry imported from TecnoForm S.p.A. in Italy; a moonroof over the above cab bunk and a smooth neutral palate of greys and tan on the interior fabric.

And, the best part about it, is they kept our floorplan!  We were set!

The Search Begins

In addition to the new Delano Sprinter, Thor rolled out a twin model called Tiburon.  The only difference being the paint jobs. Delano’s went with a retro-80’s Bitchin’ Camaro scheme, while the Tiburon went with the “SWOOSH’s”.  After looking at the four different paint offerings, we decided to pass on the Delano and instead go with the Tiburon. They had Black/Blue option, but we liked the two-toned grey/black/silver swoosh color scheme better.  So, we were now looking for a 2020 Thor Tiburon 24RW with the Modesto paint scheme.  That ought to be easy. Right?

Well, not so much!

 

2020 - The RV Industry and COVID

When we initially began laying out our plan, we decided to take two years of planning before purchase.  After we decided that, we reevaluated everything, and figured out that we could move it up by a year, which put our purchase sometime around August of 2020.

After that, everything stopped.

Throughout late December and into February, reports of the COVID-19 virus overwhelmed the news.  Eventually the pandemic that was overseas was now here.  In February the economy began to shut down, and everything closed by March. This included the RV industry. Most manufacturers in Elkhart, Indiana shuttered their doors throughout March, April and May.

During this time, dealers offered great deals on remaining inventory hoping to get a customer or two with a recession looming. Dealers lowered prices.  Discounts up to 40% off MSRP became available.  Unfortunately, we were not ready to buy.

rv trade show,
2020 - The Summer Of The RV

Once businesses finally began to reopen, in late May 2020, an unexpected surge of interest overwhelmed the industry.  With travel to Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii and other destinations now banned, and stateside resorts and hotels still shuttered, Americans turned to the motorhome to escape after being in lockdown for two or three months. Americans who had money to spend swamped their RV dealers; buying up everything on the lot

RV’ing gave them the outlet and an escape that they could not get elsewhere.  Secondly, RV’ing provided vacationers with a socially distanced vacation to outdoor destinations… if they could find a campground or National Park that was open.

Motorhome and trailer manufacturers – many which were still suffering from COVID outbreaks themselves – saw a surge of orders for new product.

Our search picks up

On our end, we were busy tidying up our financial strategy and set October as the target month to place our order.  We knew the exact make and model, down to the exact options.  If we could find one listed on RVTrader.com or RVT.com, we’d jump at it.  Unfortunately, there was not a lot of choices at first.

Starting back in March, I created a spreadsheet that I used to track all the Tiburon and Delano 24RW’s I could find.  At the start, there were only a dozen or so units available nationwide.  Not much changed, and so we set our sights to October once again, hoping that the fall and winter would calm down the market.

In August, we realized the industry was still red-hot.  We did not see our exact model available, so we reached out to three local dealers with a request for a custom order.  Of the responses we received, the discounting on MSRP was slight: about 17% was the lowest offer we received.

Our next destination was to a giant super-store in Alvarado, Texas. They came in with a better price, but it was still above prices we knew these RV’s sold for just six weeks earlier.  Finally, we reached out to RVOne, a national wholesaler based out of Albany, NY with sites throughout the nation.

A Deal

After a couple of emails between myself and the sales rep, we received a build sheet in late August.  The pricing was exactly what we were hoping to see when we started this a few months earlier.  Jean and I anticipated a price increase due to demand, and the price we got was a bit higher than a friend received for the exact same RV in June, but it was a lot lower than the quotes received from everyone else.

We signed off on the order in early September.  Initially, RVOne told us deliver would be in late November or early December.

During a follow-up call later that month, our delivery date moved to February or March. 

RVone, Iowa

In conclusion, we got a great deal during a crazy time, and are incredibly happy with everything up to this point.

At the time of this writing, we are still in the fall of 2020, and are four months away from picking up our RV.

That hasn’t stopped us from buying goodies!  Take a look at our PURCHASES and OUTFITTING page for a number of items we are buying to turn our RV into a home and an office.

RV Choice Thor Tiburon, #drivebytourists #thortiburon

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