Text and photos by Norm Rosen
We had the pleasure of visiting the team at Ingersoll RV, Ingersoll, Ontario, to check out the 2016 Sonic Lite 167 VMS by Venture RV, one of the leading names in lightweight and ultra lightweight travel trailers. Venture RV is a division of K-Z RV of Shipshewana, Indiana, a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc. one of the world’s largest RV manufacturing groups.
Founded in 1972, K-Z RV specializes in building travel trailers and fifth wheels for active RV families. The Venture RV line of lightweight towable trailers was created several years ago to build travel trailers specifically designed to match the towing capabilities of today’s family vehicles. From the outset, Venture RV earned an excellent reputation for building quality products, winning the RVDA Dealer Satisfaction Award for travel trailers for the past 15 years – an accomplishment unrivalled in the RV industry. Designed by engineers who enjoy camping, the trailers embody many innovative features that enhance your camping experience.
The Sonic Lite 167 embodies some of the leading edge technology in the RV industry, with a one-piece fibreglass roof spanning the trailer from the front profile to the rear bumper. This construction concept virtually eliminates the possibility of leaks around the sidewall seams, windows, doors, compartments and corner seams. The Sonic Lite trailers have aluminum framed floor, sidewalls and roof structure for lightweight durability. The aluminum roof rafters reduce weight and help to lower the centre of gravity of the unit, which enhances handling characteristics. The aerodynamic shape adds to the excellent towing per-formance, and the fiberglass exterior is infused with colour to keep the Sonic Lite looking great for years to come.
This trailer is designed to travel, with self adjusting brakes, and radial tires on high polished aluminum rims. The Norco BAL E-Coated and epoxy painted Huck bolted frame is ideally suited for a trailer of this size. A Darco moisture barrier keeps the underbelly sealed from moisture and insects. The front panel has a Diamond Plate rock guard to repel road dirt and debris.
The Sonic Lite is built for a variety of weather conditions. The 16,000 BTU furnace allows you to enjoy three-season camping comfort – the R-14 fiberglass insulated roof and floor keep the trailer warm in the cool weather, and cool in the hot summer sun.
Exterior features include large pass-through storage with motorhome style slam latch cargo doors, tinted safety glass windows, and a lighted safety step.
IN THE GALLEY
For a compact travel trailer, the Sonic Lite 167 provides a very well equipped rear galley, complete with sink, two-burner cook top, convection microwave, vented range hood and 4.2 cu. Ft. refrigerator. The L-shaped countertop is spacious for an RV of this size, with over-head and under counter cabinets that are very well finished and designed by engineers who have obviously had camping experience – every component is ideally placed and very well finished. We were very impressed with the over-all fit and finish of the interior components of this trailer. From the use of roller ball bearing drawer glides to the high efficiency LED lighting, the Sonic Lite is outfitted with quality materials that are an excellent value at this price point. We liked the Lux Maple mortise and tenon hardwood cabinet doors and the attention to detail in the galley area – the mocha latte mosaic back-splash is a styling touch that adds function and flair to the unit. Every square inch of usable space is planned out for your convenience – there is even a “shoe cubby” under the cabinet beside the door so you don’t track dirt into the trailer.
While the Sonic Lite is compact on the outside, the slide-out dinette section provides a very comfortable expansion o the interior living area. The U-shaped dinette area has Flip Side reversible cushions and a table that can be lowered to form a very comfortable bed. Overhead and under seat storage areas provide easy access to your gear. The “Black Diamond” décor package is lively and attractive, and all upholstery is high quality.
BRIGHT AND CHEERFUL INTERIOR
The interior layout and décor of a compact travel trailer can transform the unit into a home away from home, and the Sonic Lite gets top marks for comfort and design. From the designer carefree Congolese® linoleum flooring (with three-year warranty) to the skylight overhead, this little trailer has all the fea-tures your family needs for a comfort-able camping experience. Tall campers will love the 82” interior headroom in this unit. We liked the use of pleated nightshades on the windows. Entertaining the family in the Sonic Lite 167 is a matter of taste – the trailer has a very good Bluetooth DVD/CD/MP3/AM/FM stereo system with remote control and two interior speakers, and you can order the optional LED TV.On warm summer days, the standard residential type 8,000 BTU A/C works well. If you camp in very hot weather, the optional 13,500 BTU roof A/C would be a good idea.
IN THE BATHROOM
While the Sonic Lite 167 is a compact travel trailer, the bathroom is quite spa-cious, with a 36” bathtub in the shower/tub surround and a foot flush toilet. The 6 gallon DSI gas/electric water heater supplies the shower and galley with enough hot water for a family of four. A tank monitor system lets you keep an eye on your fresh water, grey water, and black water levels. The Lux Maple mirrored medicine cabinet provides storage. A large sky-light with power vent and high efficiency LED lighting brighten the bathroom.
IN THE BEDROOM
The front bedroom area features a 60” x 74” bed, a shirt closet wardrobe, and overhead storage above the designer padded headboard. The memory foam mattress is very comfortable, and the reversible quilted comforter is a nice décor touch. The bedroom window has a designer valance and pleated nightshades.
VENTURE RV SONIC LITE 167VMS
Height: 9’ 5”
Interior height: 82”
Weight (UVW): 2,898 lbs
Hitch weight (dry): 350 lbs
GVWR: 4,000 lbs
NCC (net cargo capacity): 1,102 lbs
Water heater: 6 gal DSI
Fresh water: 39 gal
Black water: 30 gal
Grey water: 30 gal
Furnace (opt): 16,000 BTU
LP Gas: 20 lbs
MSRP as tested: $24,952
F.O.B. Ingersoll, Ontario
Many thanks to the team at Ingersoll RV for their assistance with this road test project.
IN THE CAMPGROUND
The Sonic Lite is outfitted with a mandatory Exterior Luxury Package that includes many of the features you need to enjoy the RV experience. Park the trailer at a campsite and it only takes a few minutes to stabilize the unit with the four Secure Stance BAL scissor jacks, then connect your 30-amp marine type electrical hookup and extend the slide-out and the awning. If you arrive after dark, you will find the exterior lighting to be very convenient, with exterior com-partment lights, multi directional LEDs on the awning, a porch light, and a con-venient motorhome-style lighted grab handle at the front door. On a warm summer day you can relax under the awning and enjoy stereo sound from the twin marine grade speakers. The Sonic Lite has an exterior shower with hot and cold water, and a black tank flush system. Your sewer hose stores in the rear bumper, and there is a water heater bypass valve to drain the system for winterizing.
While the Sonic Lite is very well equipped with a full range of standard equipment, there are a few options that you may want to include when you order your trailer. The low-profile 13,500 BTU roof air conditioner is a good idea if you enjoy warm weather camping, and the lighted power tongue jack is a big help if you hitch and unhitch on a regular basis. The LED TV with swing arm bracket is a must-have option for many families.The trailer is pre-wired for an option-al Zamp® Solar panel and an optional backup camera.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Venture RV Sonic Lite 167 VMS is a compact and lightweight travel trailer that meets the needs of today’s RV travelers. Easy to tow, and easy on the budget, this trailer embodies the latest in RV design and technology to match many of the popular family tow vehicles.
TOWING THE SONIC 167
We paired the Sonic 167 with a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox LT, provided for our road test project by Searles Motor Products of Ingersoll, Ontario. This popu-lar family vehicle is manufactured at the GM of Canada CAMI Automotive Plant in Ingersoll, which employs approximately 3,000 people. The Equinox is the second most popular vehicle in the GM line.
The Equinox LT is a crossover utility vehicle that can tow up to 3,500 pounds when powered by the optional 3.6-liter V6 engine with 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission. This combination produces 301 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque.
Fuel efficiency for the LT FWD model with the V6 engine is rated at 13.8 L/100 KM city, 9.8 highway, 11.75 combined. The AWD version sips just a bit more fuel, but offers the advantages of all-wheel drive. Fuel efficiency while tow-ing will vary depending on load, road conditions, topography, and your driv-ing style.