Who are the best RV manufacturers?

Editor's note: Because I work for RVBusiness, a trade magazine covering the RV industry, I'm often asked which are the best RV manufacturers. My response is usually the same: For the most part each manufacturer tries to build the best RV they can. Granted, there are going to be lemons coming off the line because people make mistakes, and RV production is still a highly labor intensive process. There are certain differences here and there – all aluminum framework and composite materials being one – and each manufacturer will tell you why they have the best quality. But as long as you take care of it, your RV should last a long time. 

Here's another way to tell which manufacturers are better than others. Each year the RV dealers select which manufacturers they think are the best at least in part due to reliability and quality.

RVDA to Recognize Manufacturers with Quality Circle Awards
The Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA) will honor RV brands built by 15 manufacturers with its Quality Circle Award in Louisville, just prior to the opening of the National RV Trade Show.  These brands/manufacturers/product categories received at least 15 dealer responses and scored 4.25 or above on a 5-point scale in overall dealer satisfaction in the association’s 23rd Annual Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) survey.

“The DSI Quality Circle Award recognizes the high level of success these manufacturers have had in working with their dealer business partners,” said RVDA Chairman of the Board Darrel Friesen of All Seasons RV Center in Yuba City, CA.  “Their commitment to continuously improving products and services ultimately helps dealers serve customers better and preserves our industry’s share of consumers’ discretionary dollars.”

The towable RV manufacturers/brands receiving awards are (in alphabetical order by manufacturer):

  • Airstream
  • Coachmen (Apex Travel Trailers, Brookstone/Chaparral Fifth Wheels and Freedom Express Travel Trailers)
  • DRV (Mobile Suites, Elite Suites/Full House)
  • Forest River (XLR)
  • Grand Design (Imagine, Momentum, Reflection, Solitude)
  • Gulf Stream (Vintage Cruiser/Vista Cruiser)
  • Heartland (North Trail/Wilderness)
  • Keystone (Fuzion/Impact, Montana/High Country, Springdale/Summerland/Residence)
  • KZ (Durango/Durango Gold/Venom, Spree/Spree Connect/Spree Escape/MXT/Vision)
  • Lance (Travel Trailers/Toy Haulers, Truck Campers)
  • Venture (SportTrek/Sonic)

The motorized RV manufacturers/product categories receiving awards are (in alphabetical order):

  • Airstream
  • Leisure Travel Vans/Triple E
  • Newmar
  • Pleasure-Way
  • Tiffin
When rating their brands/manufacturers, RVDA asks dealers to express, confidentially, their level of satisfaction on four core issues:

  • Reliability/quality
  • Parts
  • Warranty
  • Sales

The 23rd Annual DSI survey was conducted between August and October 2016.  Four hundred and eighty-one (481) dealers responded to the survey this year and provided 2,755 brand ratings, an average of almost six per dealer.