Since the start of 2020, the RV and camping world has changed dramatically. A quick look at Google Trends reveals that both terms received the highest traffic they'd had in nearly a decade. Thus waves of newcomers flooded the hobby, and its popularity continues today. However, with many different classes, sizes, and configurations available, choosing a camping rig, especially as a newcomer, can be pretty tricky.
I, for one, had never even considered taking an RV road trip, mainly because it seemed complex and time-consuming. The idea of going on a vacation only to worry about so many aspects of my stay frankly turned me off from the concept as a whole. However, when the opportunity presented itself for me to take a brand-new Grech RV Strada-ion on a quick trip across California, I couldn't say no.
What is a Grech RV Strada-ion?
The Grech RV Strada-ion is a Class B motorhome based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 XD 170' Extended High Roof. It's powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine developing 188 horsepower and 325 foot-pounds of torque. This configuration sends all of its power to its rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The Strada-ion is available in three color options, Iridium Silver, Grey White, and Tenorite Grey. Grech RV currently offers two floor plans. The first is the Lounge Plan, which features seating for up to nine people and sleeping accommodations for two. This configuration features four swiveling chairs in its forward compartment, allowing four people to sit comfortably around a removable center table.
The second configuration is the Tour Plan. While it seats seven and sleeps up to two, it prioritizes onboard amenities and added cargo space. These include a slightly larger kitchen, bathroom, and front storage compartment. I had the roomier Lounge Plan and its configurable chairs for my journey.
What makes the Grech RV Strada-ion unique?
While there are plenty of luxury-oriented Class B motorhomes, the Grech RV Strada-ion stands out in three key areas. The first is, as alluded to in its name, the onboard Lithium-ion battery system. It replaces the Cummins Onan propane generator found in the standard Strada model and powers the RV in a more environmentally friendly and quiet way. During my trip, I found myself pulling into a campsite late at night, and not having to wake anyone up by firing up an onboard generator was a welcomed advantage.
The second is in the RV's rear suspension, as the Strada replaces the Sprinter's leaf spring configuration with an air suspension system. It features a self-leveling design that does an excellent job of balancing stability and ride comfort. When encountering significant road imperfections at higher speeds, the Strada can more confidently absorb bumps than a standard Sprinter passenger van.
Lastly, the Strada-ion stands out with its restrained aesthetic. Despite having a starting price of $244,900, this motorhome isn't unnecessarily flashy. It features stainless steel paneling along its sides, a molded fiberglass body kit, and subtle Grech RV branding. It's the ideal rig for the type of person that wants to have a luxurious camping experience while still flying under the radar.
Is The Grech RV Strada-ion easy to drive?
Having never driven anything of this size before, jumping behind the wheel of the Strada-ion seemed daunting at first. It's 116-in high, 80-in wide, and 290-in long. However, on the road, it shrinks around you, despite being the largest motorhome Grech RV sells. Its benefits, such as its light steering, upright seating position, and excellent visibility, are advantages of its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Base.
Despite its hefty size, its 325 lb-ft of torque output offers more than enough power to get up and go. Even while crossing mountain passes on our way north out of Los Angeles, the Strada never felt like it was out of steam. Its seven-speed automatic transmission delivered seamless shifts and kept the engine low enough in the RPMs to avoid excess noise. As a first-time RV experience, it didn't take long for me to grow confident behind the wheel.
On the tech front, the Strada-ion counts on two traditional analog gauges with a digital display between them. A central infotainment screen houses the latest Mercedes-Benz MBUX system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Once hooked up, the media played through the system is audible throughout the cabin, thanks to the onboard premium sound system.
Flick the turn signal in either direction, and the same central screen cuts to a live feed from either of the mirror-mounted side-view cameras. Alongside a blind-spot alert system, driver attention monitoring system, and radar-guided cruise control, the Strada features plenty of onboard safety systems.
What is the Grech RV Strada-ion like to live in?
After a long day of driving and quietly arriving at our campsite far after the sun had set, it was time to explore the Strada-ion's touchscreen control system. There are two screens, one by the sliding door and one towards the rear of the cabin, although smartphone connectivity allows you to adjust many of the same settings from a mobile device.
The first step was to lower the shades, which a single press of the system could do. Then by extending the two rear ottomans and collapsing the back sofa, I quickly transformed the cabin's rear into a bed. It offers a memory foam construction and is covered in a soft but durable Ultraleather material like the rest of the cabin. At 5'10, I could comfortably spread out as the bed's footprint is 66-in wide and 76-in long.
Since we had driven a full day, our Lithium-ion battery system was fully charged partly by the engine and rooftop solar panels, allowing us to run all of these systems in complete silence. It is a 12-volt system with 1,260 Amp Hour / 16,128 Watt Hour. There's also an onboard 3,000 Watt Xantrex inverter and an auxiliary 280 Amp Alternator with a Wakespeed regulator. Despite the system's complexity, it proved easy for a newbie like me to use it on the very first day.
With the bed made, it was time to cook dinner. Although the Lounge Plan offers slightly less cooking space than the Tour Plan, there was plenty of room to chef it up with minimal effort. A section of removable quartz countertop usually covers the faucet, and the small refrigerator and microwave combo live just beneath it. A two-burner induction cooktop heated up quickly and seemed to draw little power as I made dinner.
When it was time to eat, I swiveled the driver's seat around and deployed the removable central table. It doubled as both an eating surface and work station. On the first night, I had quite a bit of writing to do, so having a flexible area to accomplish it made the whole experience relatively easy.
Cleaning up was a breeze as the quartz countertop isn't very porous and some Clorox wipes quickly got the job done. With just the dishes left to do, it was back to the touchscreen to fire up the pump for the freshwater tank. Like everything else, it is powered by the onboard electrical system and is nearly silent. The Tank capacities in the Strada-ion are 26 gallons of fresh water, 27 gal of gray water, and 13 gal of black water, all 12-volt heated.
I chose to complete this trip right before winter began in California, so as I turned in for the night, it was a cool 44 degrees outside. Far from freezing, but it was cold enough to warrant firing up the Strada-ion's onboard Timberline heating system. It's a diesel-based design that provides general cabin heating and hot water for the bath and kitchen. Controlled by a separate touchscreen nestled just behind the driver, it takes about 30 min to get going, but once it does, it keeps the cabin warm through the night.
Is the Grech RV Strada-ion suitable for first-time buyers?
If staying in the Strada-ion as a first-time RVer taught me anything, this motorhome is incredibly easy to use. As mentioned above, I'm far from the most technical person, and the idea of having to manage so many things during a short vacation seemed like it would be quite a challenge. However, the Grech RV is positioned as a luxury product. Thus all of its various interfaces and systems proved straightforward. Even the onboard battery system has a minimal learning curve.
From a driving perspective, the Strada-ion, despite being a Class B motorhome, drives like a much smaller van. Think of your typical U-haul-sized Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Ford Transit. Very little behind the wheel reminds you that you're piloting a rig over 24 ft long. Its onboard safety systems and various cameras make it surprisingly easy to maneuver. On our first day back home, I could sneak it through our narrow driveway and tuck it behind my tiny house.
When it came time to dump our gray and black water tanks, it was all done through the stainless steel utility center. It's hidden behind the RVs stainless steel side panels and features a retractable hose and an intuitive pump system. Grech RV also includes various adapters that make the whole process seamless and low effort.
The Grech RV Strada-ion is the motorhome for the type of person that wants to have as luxurious of a camping experience as possible, with minimal effort and maximized enjoyment.
How much does the Grech RV Strada-ion cost?
The Grech RV Strada-ion is the brand's largest and most expensive motorhome. It has a base price of $244,900 but can increase with available bespoke options and custom layouts. A standard Strada starts at $225,900 and features the aforementioned Cummins generator instead of the battery system. Grech RV offers the $223,900 Terreno and $199,900 Turismo models for a smaller footprint. Both of these are also available with a Lithium-ion battery pack system.
For more information on the Grech RV lineup and detailed pricing and floor plan information, please visit the link below.
In the interest of full disclosure, Grech RV is an advertiser on duPont REGISTRY and thus sponsored this story and accompanying video.View Grech RVs For Sale