These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive 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.
By Tony Barthel
Canadian-based company Leisure Travel Vans has come out with new intriguing floor plans as part of its “Wonder” series. Based on the Ford Transit cutaway chassis, these motorhomes are being used even as daily drivers by some due to their manageable size while offering the amenities of a proper motorhome.
For example, I looked at the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RL model, which was named Top Debut by RVBusiness just last month. This motorhome almost defies the laws of space with the way the interior is designed, featuring a very usable rear lounge (RL) as well as a front dining area.
Let’s start at the rear lounge, since that was the “wow factor” for me. Along the back wall is a couch and/or a day bed in an “L” shape, with the section going along the driver side of the motorhome. This area can be used like a couch, a lounge, a day bed, or even as an office. My wife saw this and said it reminded her of a passenger compartment of a European express train.
There is a TV back here too, but you may also be entertained by the two large windows on the camp side of the coach, one lower to see what’s going on with the squirrels outside. The usefulness of this space really strikes a chord with me. But wait, there’s more! (As they say on late-night TV.)
When it does come time for lights out there’s a Murphy bed. This is an east-west bed but Leisure has set it up so either person can get out without disturbing the other. It’s exceptionally well done.
Oh, and on the subject of lighting, I love the LED lighting in this coach. The ceiling fixtures, recessed lighting, and cabinet lighting are beautiful. They’re also controlled by a Firefly multiplex system but there are buttons for lights so you’re not forced to use the control panel. You can also use your smartphone to control and monitor systems.
Leisure has provided a single table on a peg leg that serves a number of purposes. You can bring it to the rear and use it in the lounge, which will turn that into a dining or office area. Or, you can bring it up front and use it as a four-person dining area by swiveling the driver and passenger seats around to face the interior of the coach. The table also unfolds and spins so it’s flexible in size and design.
One of the things I’m seeing in more high-end units is a split bathroom.
Essentially there is a shower stall on one side of the RV and the toilet and sink on the other. A door swings closed to split this RV in half with the front being the galley and dinette area and the back being that lounge or bedroom.
While I have not driven this motorhome, Mike and Jennifer Wendland of The RV Podcast own a similar model and Mike has talked extensively about using his as a second car.
Ford has made a number of changes to the Transit cutaway chassis that include digital safety nannies along with some usability changes. Among those changes is lane departure assist, which helps you stay in your lane, and frontal impact avoidance that basically looks ahead and applies the brakes if the rig thinks you’re going to hit something.
One of the advantages of having a Class C motorhome on a chassis designed by an automaker is that they go through the safety systems using their experience with the whole line of cars and trucks.
According to Mike Wendland, the twin-turbo 3.5 liter V6 and ten-speed automatic make this motorhome feel more like a car with good over-the-road performance and handling. In fact, he said he prefers this vehicle to his previous one which was based on a Sprinter chassis, although Mercedes-Benz has also been making improvements to that chassis as well.
On the subject of power, there is an Onan 4kW gasoline-powered generator, and you can get this rig with either a 200- or 400-watt solar system on the roof. Power features also include a 2000-watt pure sine wave inverter as well, which can power the microwave and all the plugs.
That generator has some neat options through the Firefly system where you can have it kick on if the vehicle reaches specified temperatures. So let’s say the motorhome is sitting in a campground unattended but Fido’s in there hanging out. You can have the system kick on the AC and generator if temps get too high. You can also limit the generator’s operating times to exclude “quiet times” at a campground.
My one issue is one brought up by the Wendlands and that’s Dometic’s 6.7-cubic-foot absorption (gas/electric) refrigerator. The bonus on this is that the door can open either left-hinged or right-hinged depending on how you open it, but the Wendlands are not the first people whom I’ve heard who have had issues with this mechanism. It’s just something to note.
Overall the styling and performance and usability of this motorhome in so many ways make it very attractive to me. Check out this walk-through video with Dean from Leisure Travel Vans who might be the happiest reviewer I’ve ever seen – but with this thing, I can see why he’s smiling.
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