gone with the wynns rv road trip

Honest Review of the Monaco Vesta Motorhome. Good, Bad, and the In Between

You’re considering buying the Monaco Vesta RV  and hitting the road to live the good life right?  A motorhome is an expensive investment and you’ve done your homework, scouring the internet, visiting websites, reading blogs, asking salesmen, the list goes on.  It’s a ton of work, but how do you know you’re getting the honest truth from someone?  I can tell you one thing: Follow Your Heart!  You must purchase the RV that feels right to you and only you (well, and maybe your spouse).  Don’t worry about what the salesman says, if it’s large enough to sleep your friends, or if its a little more expensive than planned.  Follow your gut and you won’t be let down.

Nikki and I have been living in our 2011 Monaco Vesta ‘Windy’ full time for nearly 1 year.  We’ve logged almost 15,000 miles all across the West.  From 100+ degrees in the wind blown desert to 5 degrees in the snowy blizzards we’ve been through it all.  In order to help you with your decision we’ve laid out a few of our Good, Bad, and In Between for the 2011 Monaco Vesta 32 PBS.

The Good about the Monaco Vesta

SIZE: 32 feet is perfect for the more adventurous RV’er.  You can drive the PCH in California without white knuckles.  You can fit in most state parks across California (there are many that have a 30′-35′ limit).  The Vesta is slightly shorter and not as wide as a typical class A so it feels more nimble on the road, and allows you to take roads many RV’s can’t safely travel.

MPG: The Monaco Vesta gets better MPG than pretty much any other Class A Diesel.  We averaged around 12 MPG last year, considering most class A RV’s get 6-8 MPG that’s a pretty big increase.

Exterior Styling:  The Monaco Vesta looks slick!  The aerodynamic design sets the Vesta apart from all other new RV’s on the road.  The grille is in your face with the 2 sweeping “V” designs.  The lip on the back roof line, and the tapered sides in the rear not only help with wind resistance, they make the coach look more nimble.  Huge tires and rims (compared to other 30′-32′ RV’s) and a low center of gravity make this RV look more like a souped up luxury SUV than a clunky motorhome.  The exterior paint is clean leaving behind the traditional multi-color swirls and upgrading to a more contemporary set of stripes.  In transit you’ll turn heads, get waves, peace signs, and smiles from people of all ages.  If you want to be noticed on the road, or in a campground this is the RV for you!

The Bad about the Monaco Vesta

The Bed:  The bed that comes standard in the Vesta is a complete piece of junk.  After the first 6 months it became uncomfortable so we added a few mattress covers.  3 months later our mattress is sinking in the middle.  We added a 6″ memory foam topper and it still isn’t comfortable.  Why would Monaco put such a cheap mattress in a $200,000+ RV?  That said don’t cheap out on the mattress, you can upgrade from the factory, it’s totally worth it.

Single Slide: The slide on the driver’s side is great!  It offers a ton more living space, and room to breathe when cooking.  Problem is there’s only 1 slide.  I don’t care about an opposing slide to give us more floor space in the living area, whatever, I could care less; but what I would like is a slide in the bedroom.  Why not have another slide in the bedroom?  Why must we purchase a 35′ coach to get a second slide?  Seems like there could be a full wall slide, or a tiny slide in the bedroom to help enlarge the livable space inside the coach.  Other more budget RV’s out there are are offering these options, why not the Vesta?

No Engine Brake: For some people this is a DO or DIE option.  Why is there not an engine brake on the Monaco Vesta?  Loaded the RV weighs nearly 30,000 pounds, so it’s a little difficult to stop on a 6% downgrade.  Apparently it has something to do with the new Maxxforce engine meeting emissions requirements.  That said we’ve never lost the brakes, so we’ve stayed safe during our travels, but the added security of an engine brake would be nice.

The Front Door: I’ve been in some coaches that have front doors that feel solid, expensive, and sealed; the Monaco Vesta is not one of them.  The door used on the Vesta is just a step up from a standard trailer door.  Why use this ‘budget’ door on an upscale RV?  Couldn’t Monaco just use the same door found on the Monaco Knight RV?  The door isn’t bad, it just doesn’t feel expensive when you open or shut it.  Road noise from the door seems pretty typical when driving, and the seal mostly keeps out the cold air in Winter.  The door does expand and contract making it difficult to open or close when temperatures change rapidly, but other than that its just fine……and that’s the problem Monaco should install a door that’s great, not fine.

The In Between about the Monaco Vesta

Engine Location:  Lets face it there are some downsides to having a Front Engine Diesel in an RV.  There’s extra noise, a little extra heat, and the RV can’t be completely sealed on the underside.  The main advantages to a Front Engine Diesel is a MASSIVE storage bay in the back and a more aerodynamic design up front.  You’ll find blogs online where people bash the Front Engine Diesel, and you’ll find people commenting on how they love their Front Engine Diesel.  Make sure when you test drive a Front Engine Diesel it is properly insulated so you can hear the stereo, and hear you passenger (at separate times of course).

Cost:  Lets face it the Monaco Vesta RV is not the cheapest motorhome on the road.  With an MSRP over $200k you’re paying a lot for a small amount of real estate.  What you’re getting for your money with the Vesta is top notch amenities found in $300,000+ RV’s.  The Monaco Vesta is reaching out to the ‘not so typical’ RV crowd, and currently there’s not another new class A RV out there to compete.  So if you can afford it, and it suits your style, then buy it!

Beige on Beige:  Most RV’s are designed on the interior in….let’s say……a hideous fashion!  So placing the Monaco Vesta interior in the ‘In Between’ section of my review is quite a compliment!  When it comes down to it the RV mfr’s are trying to please a broad crowd, so you typically won’t find colors that pop!  When looking inside the Vesta you’ll notice 2 tones Beige and Beige.  Beige is safe, and I understand why RV companies do it, it’s just not our favorite color.  Also you’ll notice there is a lot of wood for such a small space.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the look of natural wood, but for 214 sq. ft. of livable space there is a ton of wood crammed in here.  The Vesta’s saving grace is the clean lines.  Since there are no bevels in the wood, no crazy mix match of patterns, the final interior has a clean and contemporary feel.  If you’re like us you’ll change the bed spread, the valance covers, and add a splash of color with a pillow or  two, and it’ll come together just fine.

We don’t like to end on a bad note so we’re leaving you with this:  Traveling across this great country you reconnect to yourself through nature.  Your faith in the humanity is renewed through conversations and laughter with total strangers.  For our style of travel the 2011 Monaco Vesta 32 PBS RV is the best thing on the market, it’s not perfect, but in all honesty it’s pretty close.  If you’re fortunate like us to be able to hit the road, grab those keys, hop in your vehicle and go outside and play!  Safe Travels.

Own an RV, Camper, or Tent?  Tell us why you’re mode of life on the road works for you!

Tough Love Disclaimer: Of course all this is just our opinions so take it what it’s worth for you.  We can’t guarantee you’ll have the same experience as us.  The Good, the Bad, and the In Between is rated on our 2011 Monaco Vesta 32 PBS model only, please know options change each year, and enhancements are done to better the newer models.

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (38)

  • David Alden

    Hi Wynns…have enjoyed and still do enjoy your posts. I hope you are still taking Qs on the Vesta. We recently purchased a twin of Windy, 2011 black Vesta 32 PBS with all the same factory stuff. We just finished a 3000 mile trip and love it except for a huge problem—the engine. While not a rocket ship, the coach handles fine and well UNTIL you get to a grade. Under many situations the coach won’t maintain speed on grades, and drops to 35 to 40 mph often. It has dropped to as low as 25 on an interstate in the Rockies. I know the hp is low, but this doesn’t feel right. We also experience a high pitched whistle from the engine when its under a load. My Qs: 1) What was your experience with driving it in the mountains and 2) how did you get the 300 hp upgrade??

  • Jeff Henning

    Why did Monaco Vista terminate its production?

    • This coach was Navistars baby who owned Monaco from 2009 til 2013…when they left… the new owners needed proven profit makers…for the first couple years I think they only made 2 or 3 models

  • David Hall

    The Monoco Vesta 32′ is the best looking rv along with the Leisure Travel Vans that I have seen. Cool! What’s with the rv world and all the gaudy-looking swirls–good grief!

    Was it hard to give up the Monoco for the Fleetwood (of course, you now have a washer/dryer)? I have been looking but have they stopped making the Monoco altogerther. The latest model I have found is a used 2012. Really enjoy your very informative and fun site. Thanks, David

  • Beth Kelly

    Have you looked at a Coach House or a Phoenix Cruiser at all? I’d be curious to see what you think of them. I just watched your video in looking for an RV less than 30 feet. I’m looking for something in the 23 to 25 foot range, but don’t want to go too small. My kids are grown, but have to think about the possibility of grandkids down the road

    • Matt Greven

      buy my tiffin Wayfarer 25 RW!

  • Jack Thornton

    Without the exhaust brake , how did you drive the steep downgrades? I just purchased a 2011 Vests and it doesn’t appear an exhaust brake can be added.

  • Paul

    Wow, great information, please keep us updated on any news from Monaco on the Vesta.

  • Pat LeBlanc

    I just test drove a 2011 Vesta that looks brand new and only has 10K miles. It was a phenomenal ride. Being new to MHs I wonder if the faint smell of diesel during my test drive was normal? I would appreciate any comments about this.

    Thanks so much, Pat.

  • Bill samec

    What has been your experience with the Internatioal Max Force engine .

  • DAVE

    mostly based on your reviews i brought a 2012 vesta

    I have a couple questions

  • karen Widlacki

    We own a 2012 Vesta 32 pbs and absolutely love it! My husband and I looked long and hard at everything from trailers, to Airstreams, and all brands of motorhomes. We could not find anything that appealed to us at a reasonable cost until we found the Vesta. We drove 3.5 hours to purchase it and would have went further because there is no other RV on the road like a Vesta. This motorhome turns heads with its retro exterior,and contemporary interior. The cherry cabinets and solid surface counters allow you to camp in style. Because of the ample storage bays and roomy cabinets we easy fit with our 2 teens when we hit the open roads. From the flats of the Midwest to the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming we tow a Jeep Rubicon the Vesta sips Diesel at 10 – 13mpg. There are a few things like door that make you scratch your head and say hmm… but the rest of the fine appointed details make up for it. Monaco saw the “miss” and put engine breaks in the ’12 model year, traveling in the Mountains is not an issue.

    We are disappointed the Vesta is no longer in the Monaco line of products and hope American Coach reconsiders. This RV appeals to a younger crowd! I have learned to keep the bed made and dishes out of the sink as lines of campers waiting to see the inside of the “cool retro RV” is a common occurrence. Cover charge may apply in the future. The Vesta turns heads no matter where you are, we have had people flag us down while on the road and stopped at a stoplight to come in to see the inside.

    If you want a great looking coach that is ultra functional and practical for your family at a reasonable price this is the RV for you!

    Go get your own, camp in style and start making great memories today!

    • So glad you like the coach as much as we did. It is sad its not being made anymore and I don’t see anything like it being made again anytime soon. Thanks for sharing your experience Karen!

  • Ben

    Why in the world wouldn’t Monaco sponsor the Wynns? I can’t think of a better form of promotion than your blog. I love the conversational style of your writing.

  • Romal

    Hello Wynns, very nice stuff you wrote about.I have been online researhing Vestas and found your helpful blogs.I read your post about an upgrade to the engine to increase horsepower. What upgrade did you do? I really like the vesta so far, still doing reviews to see what others have to say about it. The mattress I know will need to be upgraded, I hate when they bowl shape!!

  • Hey Guys! We just saw one of these in person (in a campground just outside of Dallas, TX of all places!) for the first time. Yeah, we did an extend-a-look for sure. Great looking ride from the outside.

    So, even though we roll a 1978 Bluebird Wanderlodge, we have a Front Engine Diesel and weigh 30,000 lbs as well. I was surprised to see that weight on such a new, and 4′ smaller rig.

    We DO have an ENGINE BREAK for our beast. Haven’t used it yet, but it surely feels good to know it’s there.

    I really like the height and width ratio on the Vesta with the larger tires as well. The top heavy units with small wheels are a turn off to us. Our ol’ ’78 is well proportioned and it feels so much nicer when driving then our previous class c.

    Gotta give kudos to the Vesta though, it is taking queues from the past and applying them to the new tech. Smart. We hope more is to come… with better beds and doors of course!

    Nice write up guys, look forward to seeing you on the road.

    • Hey guys! It’s interesting to hear your thoughts considering the rig you drive now. We really like some of the older model RV’s and would have one ourselves except for the fact that we suck at mechanics. We had a VW Vanagon for years that we used for camping and road trips. That thing broke down about every 500 – 1000 miles and always cost around $1500 – $2000 to fix each time because we didn’t know how to fix it ourselves. Sooo, we thought something new with a warranty was the best bet for us. It’s been almost 3 years now and we do still love our Vesta. It’s a shame they are not making them anymore.

  • Jim Holcomb

    Hi again Jason sorry I forgot to ask did Monaco change the door in 2012?

  • Dean P

    Great post. How would you rate the driving characteristics? I drove a Vesta this weekend and it was a slug. I thought there was something wrong with it but the salesman said it was normal. Floored it just barely did the speed limit. In your opinion how does it do? My wife loves the coach but since I’m the driver I want to at least keep up with traffic. We have a 32′ gas fleetwood now that I set on 75 on the interstate and it does great. I’ll look forward to your reply. Thanks.

  • Carol

    I saw your episode of House Hunters. I couldn’t believe they showed the Vesta. I have had my heart set on one for a couple of years. Would you recommend this RV for a single woman? Is it easy to maneuver into RV parks and campgrounds? How long did it take to feel confident when operating it?


  • Fred

    Thank you. I’m considering a 2011 Holiday Rambler TRIP still on a dealers lot. Appears to be the same as the 32′ Vesta. pros or cons, or should I wait for a 2012 Vesta or TRIP? What is the difference in the 260 vs 300 HP Force 7 diesel engine?

  • Karen

    I also have a vesta the engine noise is not an issue while driving.

  • Mark

    Hi, nice review! My question(s) is this, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, how is the interior noise level at 60 MPH? Also how do you access the engine? Thanks

  • Alan & Kathy

    We have a 2010 Montana 3400RL 5th Wheel. It is much larger at 38+’, 4 slides with a lot of room and storage. Downside: 38+’, requires a large truck to pull. Upside: 38+’,great living space, very comfortable. We don’t need it but we also drive a car which gets close to 30MPG (truck 11MPG). My wife wants a MH like yours, but with two slides. Main difference is that our total rig cost was less than $100,000 (truck & trailer), so a switch to a MH will be expensive. Enjoy your posts

  • Nice review, we appreciate your candor and insights. The mattress failure is not surprising — it would have lasted months for a weekend-only user. We had the same experience in our Airstream trailer. Now we have a first-rate mattress.

    We like the Vesta as a moho platform for full-timing. For now, we’re married to our trailer. Visited local dealer to tour the Vesta — very very nice!


      • JIm Holcomb

        Jason I see the 2012 Vesta has an engine brake, what changed? Do you know why Monaco isn’t making a 2013 Vesta and hasn’t commeted to a 2014 either?

        Are you keeping Windy now?



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