Play Mario Kart While Riding in the 2017 Minnie Winnie 31K RV

Nothing says "camping" like Winnebago's magnificent road warrior.

Winnebago has been an RV staple since 1958, adding the Minnie Winnie line (originally built on a Dodge chassis) in 1973. The compact RV line has come a long way, and the 2017 31K model—the vehicle we used to drive halfway across the country—is a prime example of that. 

Having no idea where to start our search for the perfect RV, we used GoRVing.com, a website dedicated to help people choose the right RV for their needs, while also helping us plan our trip with suggested campsites. We landed on the 31K, the premier model in the Minnie Winnie line that has an extra bed above the cab and a bit more space. While it could sleep six, it felt full at four, especially while sharing a bathroom. With all the extensions packed in, maneuvering around the vehicle—to grab some bags from the room or using the restroom while parked— felt a little tight, but when fully extended, it was impressive how much room there was. 

As sports car fans, we tend to like more aggressive stylings, but the unfussy exterior seemed to fit the RV profile pretty well. We are not sure why tan is the go to RV color, but it works.

Though the 31K now uses a Ford E-350 for its underpinnings, its drivability remains to be equal to a rented U-Haul loaded with all your belongings. In fact, we'd bet that if you were blindfolded and put in the cab (and didn't turn around) you would have no way of knowing that you were in an RV. 

The Pros

  • The 31K Minnie Winnie is as easy to drive as a fully loaded rental box truck. 
  • It can take you and three humans across a country while giving you shelter, a place to eat, shower, and poo. 
  • The rear and side cameras make driving and parking a breeze—great for small town gas stations. 
  • You can hook up a gaming system to the flat screen and kick your friends' butts in Mario Kart.... all while "camping."
  • It has everything you need to be able to prepare your own meals, oven 
  • Surprisingly spacious when fully extended. 
  • The automation of the stanchions, extensions, and awnings make overnight parking easy.
  • The beds—even the fold out couch—were all pretty comfy. 
  • And probably our favorite part, there's plenty of storage. 

The Cons

  • Poor gas mileage—no shocker here though, it's a rolling house. We got about 8 to 12 miles per gallon depending on terrain.
  • You're not going to be winning many drag races—unless they're downhill.
  • Prepare early to brake, it takes a while
  • Although automation is a treat, we can see down the road maintenance costs piling up.
  • The interior was all new, but somehow seemed a little dated. The backsplash to the kitchen was peel and stick, and some design elements just seemed tacky. The flooring was nice though. For a vehicle priced around $100,000 you are left wanting. 
  • Expensive. For the price of a home, you get a house car.

As not your typical RV people, we loved our experience with the 2017 Minnie Winnie 31K. Its max comfortable speed seemed to be about 75 miles per hour, with cross winds making it feel a little squirrely above that, but that should take you through most American roads with ease. Our biggest gripes with it are mostly true to all RVs. If you are interested in a cross-country road-tripping RV that isn't as big as a tour bus, look no further.