Van travel and van camping have always been popular, but Airstream’s Interstate Grand Tour EXT sets a high bar for over-the-road luxury travel without jumping way up in size to a much larger Class-A motor home. The only compromise you’ll have to make with the Grand Tour EXT is when you end your journey to stay someplace else. Maybe you’ll decide not to switch.
Airstream’s touring coaches are the most upscale production Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Class B recreation vehicles you can buy, short of having one custom made. Other companies such as RoadTrek and PleasureWay have admirable Sprinter-based campers, including RoadTrek’s flagship E-Trek with a 470-watt rooftop solar panel, but Airstream checks off more boxes on the “don’t-you-wish-you-had-it?” list.
Airstream’s Sprinter-based vans come standard with every Mercedes-Benz safety feature available for the Sprinter including front and rear parking assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot assist, collision prevention assist, and more. There are cameras on the rear and each side of the vehicle — the rear camera view is always displayed on a monitor in the driver’s cockpit when the engine is turned on.
The Sprinter 3500 Extended chassis drives like a much smaller vehicle. The 185-horsepower, 3.0-liter V6 BlueTEC turbo diesel engine provides ample acceleration and 325 pound-feet of torque while still delivering an estimated 18 plus miles to the gallon — almost twice the mileage of many class A motor homes.
The Airstream Interstate Grand Tour EXT is 24 feet, 4.5 inches long. Interior height is just shy of 6 feet, 8 inches. It carries 24.5 gallons of fuel and is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.
To help with driving and towing the Interstate has a load-adaptive electronic stability program (ESP) and trailer stability assist. For the greatest comfort and driveability in motion, choose the optional air ride suspension with automatic electronically controlled ride height. The air ride suspension and optional four-wheel drive are available in limited quantities so you may have to look further to find these additional enhancements.
The Grand Tour EXT model has seats in front for the driver and co-pilot. The Lounge EXT model has four seats up front, but the Grand Tour version allows a larger galley with more counter space, larger refrigerator and freezer, a workspace desk directly behind the swivel driver’s seat, and extra storage.
In the rear of the vehicle, the Grand Tour EXT is available with twin beds or a power sofa that converts to a queen-size bed. Both versions provide extra seating while on the road. There’s also a bathroom with a sink and mirror, toilet, shower, and retractable clothes line.
The lengthy standard equipment list includes combination electric and LP water heating, a 12-volt and 110-volt refrigerator, microwave, cooktop, Corian counters and backsplash, LPG generator, two 12-volt deep cycle coach batteries, a 50-amp charge, 1,000-watt inverter, 30-amp/110-volt shore power, and even a 100-watt solar panel on the roof.
Windshield wipers and headlamps function automatically. Each Airstream is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, an LP gas detector, and a fire extinguisher.
A footless 19-foot powered awning with adjustable LED lights is standard as is a power entry step. The exterior has additional LED patio lighting, an LP grill hookup, and cable or satellite outlets.
The Airstream Interstate Grand Tour EXT starts at $156,611. Additional options including the $7,500 air ride suspension can push the list price close to $170,000.
That’s a lot of money, to be sure, but this highly driveable and desirable van combines Airstream and Mercedes-Benz luxury and quality for adventurous travel. With the right trailer to haul a two-door Wrangler and two smallish, dual-sport motorcycles (keeping under 5,000 pounds), you might find it hard to justify any other residence.