Saturday, December 2, 2023


Keystone Cougar Premium 260MLE fifth wheel – Home run?

Today’s RV review is of the 2024 Keystone Cougar 260MLE. This is a new floor plan for the Cougar line and is part of their Premium series. There are actually three series in the Cougar line: Sport, Half-Ton (get a 3/4 ton truck, at least), and then Premium.

Knowing that I was in Indiana at RV Open House, a friend of mine messaged me and implored me to go look at this new floor plan, as she is interested in getting one. I always appreciate all of your collective ears to the ground, so I did as was requested. 

The people I know who are marketing folk over at Keystone are sharp and good at their job. But, for whatever reason, the website doesn’t reflect just how good this floor plan is. So let’s look at what makes this such a unique fifth wheel and one that I can see why my friend was all excited about. 


One of the things I’ve appreciated since I first got into RVs as a kiddo at the Los Angeles County Fair was things that can do more than just one thing. I love Murphy beds and flexible storage and use features. 

So that must be why I think the dining area on this trailer is such a great idea. 

When you walk in, the overwhelming feeling is how spacious this floor plan is, with counters that extend around the back of the trailer and come up the camp side. If you’re concerned about prep space, this might be a great choice for you. 

But what you don’t see is anywhere to sit and enjoy a meal or get some RV reviews done. Here’s where this is so cool. Flip down a door and there’s a table in there that slides out. That table can either be half-width or full-width. You could quite literally seat four people at this table. 

The TV is above this space. You might think it’s a neck wrecker, where it’s placed so high up in the cabinet. But Keystone has a new mount for this smart TV that’s also smart. That TV can be dropped down and angled toward the theater seats on the other side of the trailer. But I could also see, if you’re wanting to get some work done, you could tie-in to the TV with an HDMI cable and use it as a 50” display for your “confuser.” This whole arrangement is very, very well thought through. 

More smart stuff

There are other details about this that are smart, as well. One of those is the furnace vents. Now, I’m not a huge fan of floor vents but, if you’re going to have floor vents, these are the best ones I’ve seen. Your pooch isn’t likely to get his collar stuck in these as they’re designed so that dirt and dust and dog collars don’t get trapped in them. 

I also like that, for 2024, Keystone has a pull-out drawer in the cabinet with two garbage cans in it. Arguably you could use one for recycling, although campgrounds seem way, way behind the times in the recycling department. Not all, of course, but more than should be. 

I also appreciate the shoe garage in the first step up to the upper deck of this rig. 

The basics – done well

For 2024, the interiors of Keystone products are much brighter and more open feeling. For a smaller fifth wheel, this 260MLE is absolutely that. Walking in it feels very open and spacious. In fact, I walked in when I think an entire army was having a meeting and it still felt good. 

The kitchen features a 22” oven and large microwave, as well as a larger 16-cubic-foot, 12-volt refrigerator. 

Upstairs, the bathroom is spacious with a walk-in shower with a step/seat as you would expect in a premium fifth wheel. 

The bedroom comes standard with a queen-sized bed, but you can also opt for a king-sized bed. There are shelves over each side of the bed for your noisy toys or a CPAP machine, and there are power outlets behind each shelf. 

Power to the people

Something Keystone really took the lead on was making solar standard across the board. For 2024, this model still comes with 200 watts of solar as standard and is prewired for an inverter to power specific outlets, including those by the bed. 

There are upgraded packages including the SolarFlex 440i, which includes two 100 amp-hour Dragonfly batteries, a 2,000-watt inverter and a few other pieces as well—a nice setup for a standard factory package. 

Back in black

That SolarFlex 440i is part of what’s included should you choose to upgrade to one of two new optional paint packages. The Black Onyx full body paint or Phantom Gray full body paint ($7,500 each) offer a sinister dark appearance package for the Cougar. While the merits of a black RV can and will be addressed in the comments below, what absolutely bears merit is the anti-lock braking system that’s also a part of this package. 

Your tow vehicle likely already has this important safety feature installed, and now your towable can too. I think that’s a great thing. 

Since you’re going to need this, the dark paint packages also include two air conditioners. 

Keystone features

If you’ve been reading my reviews for a while you’ll know that I really like some of the things that come from Keystone’s Innovation Lab. The SolarFlex™ system is just one of many things that Keystone’s Innovation Lab has come up with. 

This also has something called a Blade Pure air conditioning system that Keystone reports provides about 20% increased air conditioning performance. But it also features a filtration system like you might have in your home. That system even incorporates filters you would likely find at a local hardware store. 

Almost no RVs have filtered AC systems, yet we take them where there is dust and bugs and all of that. 

Keystone also has a wiring system where all their offerings are wired intentionally such that a blue wire on this rig does the same thing as a blue wire on your neighbor’s Keystone rig. 

This might sound like a no brainer but is, again, highly unusual in the RV industry. Further, being intentional about the wiring makes diagnosing an issue that may arise easier. It also means that there is a much lower likelihood of an issue arising in the first place. The fuses, too, are the more expensive automotive-style bus fuses which are higher in quality but available at any auto parts store if something goes awry.  


Honestly, this fifth wheel has so many things right in the design it was tough to find things I’d suggest they change. There’s a lot to like about this model, including the fact that it now comes with Goodyear Endurance radials and a Road Armor suspension. These are little things that play out to be worthwhile features in the long run. 

Overall, this is a home run in my opinion. 

More about these RV reviews

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. receives no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive. 

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!


Tony Barthel
Tony Barthel
Tony worked at an RV dealership handling sales and warranty issues before deciding he wanted to review RVs and RV-related products. He also publishing a weekly RV podcast with his wife, Peggy, which you can find at



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Terry Hillegas (@guest_258826)
1 month ago

We just purchased a 260MLE and absolutely love it. After our children left home we has a lot of wasted space in our 40’ bunkhouse. This is the perfect size for the two of us. The only two things that I’d change are the location of the spare tire and the length of the overhang at the hitch. The spare is in the front compartment, which might not be bad, however the overhang on this unit is shorter. This means that when I’m hooked up I can’t open the front compartment door. I would have to unhook from the camper to get the spare out, not ideal on the side of the road. Thankfully Keystone installed a 2” receiver, so I’ll get a spare tire holder to fit that and solve this small issue.

Steve H (@guest_258794)
1 month ago

Hard to imagine any RV 31′ long and 12,000# GVWR being a “small” fifth wheel. Sure glad we got our fifth wheel when 26’7″ and 8,700# was a “small fiver.” Ours would actually fit in national park, monument, and USFS campgrounds that had not been rebuilt to handle today’s long, tall, heavy, 50A RVs!

Mikal H (@guest_258737)
1 month ago

This one looks like a real winner. Difficult to find a 31′ or less 5ver that offers a W/D option, which is something we get in our rigs. I like that the bath, bedroom, and it appears the rest of the rig, is accessible with the slides in. Sounds like they did well on suspension.

Hopefully 2 ACs is an option even in white. They should also offer a lighter colored paint package. One downside I see is lack of seating. Would rather have a loveseat or at least a recliner, in addition to the sofa, in the space where the hutch and pantry are, though it isn’t a deep enough space as is. Would also rather have a conv/micro and have drawers or a dishwasher option vs an oven.

Wayne (@guest_258700)
1 month ago

Finally a trailer that the awning covers the entire entrance area. It’s the first thing I’d look for. If it doesn’t I walk away.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_258676)
1 month ago

I got the impression that both the black and the grey colors were $7500 options. So, does that mean if you don’t opt for either of them, you might get a traditional white coach? The room in the kitchen is awesome, but I wish you could see out those windows without crouching down to do it. The guy doing the video didn’t mention the outside stove, which Tony’s pics show. Wonder why. To me, that’s just unnecessary added weight. Nice light colors make it look even more spacious. The Road Armor suspension is another nice add-on. Overall, I’ve always thought Cougar made some nice trailers. Two friends have them and really like them. My biggest complaint would be those “solid step” stairs.

BryanC (@guest_258644)
1 month ago

“Since you’re going to need this, the dark paint packages also include two air conditioners.”

IMO, That much black on the outside of an RV is an example of “form over function.”

Bob P (@guest_258664)
1 month ago
Reply to  BryanC

I’m sure sure that black paint will be a smash hit in the south, somebody wasn’t thinking very well with that idea. I talked with owners of a black motorhome in south FL 4 years ago, they said it was beautiful but the worst idea they’d had in many years as the 2 A/Cs couldn’t keep up when the outside temperature hits 90+. Otherwise I like it, good review!

WilBB (@guest_258636)
1 month ago

As long as black isn’t required, and since it’s extra that implies it’s not. It looks great but too hard to cool & keep clean.
I’d be interested, if we were looking.

Bob P (@guest_258667)
1 month ago
Reply to  WilBB

It would be very nice without the black, possibly a light beige.

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