Towing Capacity of a 1996 Winnebago Rialtaby Christopher Jackson
Following in the footsteps of the Renault-based LeSharo, the Winnebago Rialta was produced from 1994 until 2005 as the motor home manufacturer's compact, front-wheel drive offering. This streamlined RV is considered a Class C or a "Class B-plus" and rides on an extended Volkswagen EuroVan cab-chassis.
The 1996 Rialta measured 20 feet 8 inches long with a 152-inch wheelbase. Later, Rialtas added a foot of overall length as the series continued. The gross vehicle weight rating is 7,000 pounds on early models and 7,275 on later Rialtas. The gross vehicle combined weight rating is 9,000 pounds, rising to 9,275 on the later vehicles, which enables the Rialta to safely tow up to 2,000 pounds.
The 1996 model is powered by a 2.5 L five-cylinder engine, while 1997 and later Rialtas have a more powerful 201-horsepower 2.8 L V6 engine. The compact Rialta is easy to maneuver and can get up to 21 mpg on the freeway. It's still a fully self-contained motor home in spite of its small size, however. Standard equipment on the Rialta includes a water heater and water pump, rooftop air conditioner, bathroom with shower, a stove and a 20-gallon fresh water tank.
Winnebago built approximately eight thousand Rialtas during the production run, which actually outlasted the Eurovan's production by two years. It was replaced in the lineup by a larger, Mercedes Sprinter-based Class B RV.
Christopher "Emmy" Jackson has been an automotive writer since 1999. His self-syndicated auto column appears weekly in print and online, and his work has appeared in "Grassroots Motorsports," "AutoWeek" and "African-Americans on Wheels." He is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with degrees in English and creative writing, and spends most of his free time reviewing new cars and working on new automotive projects.