Today’s review is of the Hoosier Custom Cruiser RV, a B+ or C-type RV built on the Ford E-450 chassis. Most of the times these reviews focus on the product only. That makes sense because many RVs are built by a publicly traded company where the employees clock in and then go home at the end of the day.
Hoosier Custom Cruiser
Hoosier Custom Cruiser is a company with ten people who brought their years of RV experience together and each invested equally to start the company. At the present time they only build one floor plan, although they will customize it, and they only sell that floor plan directly.
The interesting thing, to me, is that the team members aren’t just the office types, but the people who work on the line and actually do the building of these RVs. It might sound cliche to write they build them like they would buy them themselves, but that’s literally what they’re doing.
In fact, when I called Earl Robbins early in the morning, thinking I was calling him in Indiana, I was, in fact, calling him while he was on the road enjoying a vacation in his own Hoosier Custom Cruiser. It’s almost crazy to write about an RV company decision-maker who actually goes RVing—and in his own product!
This is a very different RV from a very different company… and that’s a good thing.
If you were going to build your own RV, how would you do it? You’d probably make the cabinets out of solid wood instead of pictures of nice wood glued to cheaper wood, first of all. Well, that’s what they’re doing here. Genuine maple cabinetry including the cabinet and closet doors. But the construction of the cabinets, too, is all maple.
The upholstery for the captain’s chairs in the cockpit and the material on the sofa is all real leather.
The fixtures including things like the faucet for the kitchen sink are actual residential fixtures of high quality. I’ve seen so many people have so many issues with failing faucets on the various antisocial media forums I troll. But I don’t think you’ll see that here. The shower, too, is a high-quality fixture.
The walls are laminated with a gel coat outer layer and utilize Azdel substrate. Further, the ceiling is thicker than is typical in the industry, and the windows are all dual-pane.
On one of the company’s videos that I saw, they started the video with the slide room in, demonstrating that you can access everything in the coach but the hide-a-bed sofa’s bed functionality with the slide room in.
Clearly the folks at Hoosier Custom Cruiser are using their decades of RV experience to the customer’s advantage.
What’s inside the Custom Cruiser
At the present time, the company essentially makes one floor plan. That floor plan feaures a unique sofa in the large road-side slide room. That sofa starts as a two-place sofa. But you can pull out footrests from under the sofa. So now you have an even more comfortable place to sit. But then there are power adjustments to the sofa so it makes into a 54” X 74” bed.
Each side of the sofa reclines independently. That means you could just have one bed and one seat or one recliner or whatever. That sofa sits directly opposite the TV in the main living quarters.
Since this is a B+ rig, there is no bunk over the cockpit. That space is reserved for some storage in those maple cabinets, along with a control center.
The kitchen features a two-burner propane stove set into an “L”-shaped counter. But Earl indicated that you can also get an induction cooktop instead. The oven in this rig is a 31” convection microwave unit—so you’re covered there.
One of the unusual things about this is not the fact that the counter has a counter extension, but the fact that it’s hinged such that it’s flush with the top of the counter when it’s up. So many of these that I see sit below the main counter because it’s just easier to hinge them to do that.
The floor plan of this model incorporates two twin beds at the back of the coach and, interestingly, they’re two different sizes. The one on the camp side is 74” long, while the one on the road side is 72” long.
Above those are cabinets, again made of maple. Inside the rear-most cabinet, which would arguably be where your head would be when sleeping, is a place to specifically put a CPAP machine. The cabinet features a 120-volt electrical outlet. There’s a hole at the bottom of the cabinet so the noisy CPAP mechanism can be in there, and the hose drops down and serves the sleeper.
Finally, the bathroom is pretty substantial, taking the entire width of the coach at the very back. There’s a good-sized shower and the toilet is porcelain, as you would expect based on the materials used elsewhere.
Interestingly, the sink has a unique design on it which you can illuminate in the color of your choice with a remote.
Boondocking and Travel Access
As already mentioned, this RV is fully accessible with the slide room in.
If there was one fly in the Hoosier Custom Cruiser ointment it might be that the holding tanks are rather small. But you could always use my electric drill water system to refill the fresh tank, as the gray tank is pretty sizable.
This rig comes standard with two 150-watt solar panels on the roof which feed two house batteries. You can start with AGM batteries, but you also have the option of upgrading to lithium.
Those batteries, in turn, feed a 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter. The company uses a propane-electric fridge, so the inverter basically runs the outlets and TVs.
If the solar and batteries don’t do the trick, there’s also an Onan 4000 generator aboard.
Innovative electrical in the Custom Cruiser
One of the things that really caught my attention was Hoosier’s electrical system. Those two solar panels on the roof recharge not only the two house batteries, but also the main engine battery as well.
Further, the company uses Ford’s higher-performance alternator but wires the rig such that it takes full advantage of this. Another unusual thing is that, should you somehow need a boost, you can actually tie all three batteries together. in other words, you can essentially jumpstart your own vehicle with your vehicle. Of course, there is an isolation circuit such that shore power doesn’t charge the engine battery of the vehicle if you’re on shore power.
There was more that I liked about the Hoosier Custom Cruiser. One thing is the fact that they include a tablet that attaches to the dash magnetically. The tablet includes a Garmin GPS system. What I like about this is that with tablet computers and other portable devices being so quickly upgraded, you’re not stuck with old technology a few years down the road. That situation is evidenced by many Class A motorhomes with cabinetry built around tube-type televisions over the cockpit.
While I really like some of the Class B+ and C motorhomes that I’ve seen from companies like Leisure Travel Vans, the fact that this is built on the far more capable E-450 chassis is already a step ahead.
Seeing what’s possible when people who run the company also build the product is demonstrable here. The quality of much of what I saw was pretty impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing this coach in person at the FMCA rally next week in Tucson, Arizona.
How do I know which one I’ll be seeing? Earl Robbins, the company spokesperson, bought the rig that was shown at the Tampa show after so many people walked through it. He is now traveling with it and will be at the FMCA Convention, as will I.
Right now the company only sells directly through their website. That is part of why the price is much lower than you might expect for a rig of this build quality.
Come see the Custom Coach, and my wife and me, at the FMCA Convention
Oh, and if you want to see a Hoosier Custom Coach in person or even attend one of the three seminars my wife and I will be giving, come join us next week at the FMCA Convention from March 26 through 29. I hope to see you there!
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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.
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There is very little difference between an e350 and an e450 if installed under the same coach. Sometimes just a rear axle gear or one of the stabilizer bars, or a leaf in the rear spring. Chassis are otherwise the same.
Very interesting, but it doesn’t look like it has much outside storage at all. Am I missing something?
Good floorplans never die! I have a nearly identical floorplan, but without the slide, in a similar-sized RV from 1974: the FWD GMC. Now if we could only convince those folks in Indiana that many of us are over 6′ tall (they only need to add 6″ to the RV length) , we might be able to sleep in their beds.
First of all, you have one of the coolest and most ground-breaking RVs ever built! Those GMC Motorhomes were absolutely some of the best motorhomes ever made and yours has that beautiful 455 Olds engine in it if it’s all original.
Hoosier actually indicated that they could build a long version in the video I shared with the article so they may be willing to do so.
So is yours the 23′ shortie or the 25′ GMC? Do you still travel with it much?
Sorry for the confusion, Tony. I left out the word “seen” in my response. A good friend owns the GMC and it is the 25′ with twin beds, 455, and not quite all original. First, on his way home from Alaska in 2012, his transmission crapped out in Smithers, BC. If you’ve been to Smithers (central BC on the Yellowhead Highway), it is big for that region, but small compared to most U.S. towns. The only RV shop in town could not rebuild his old FWD Hydramatic, but they had some spare transmissions in a tarp-covered trailer parked in the woods outside town. One of those transmissions was from an early ’70’s FWD Cadillac Eldorado. So, in two days, my friend was on his way home with a “new” (60,000 mile) Hydramatic! He also had the GMC repainted during one of his snowbird trips to Mexico. Incidentally, he was president of the GMC Motorhome Club a few years ago. And, yea, GMC was way ahead of its time!
PS: My friend also had his toad, a 4WD Geo Tracker (remember GM’s Geo division?), repainted to match his new motorhome paint design!
Does the 10′ height include the AC unit?
Great review. I appreciate it when reviews discuss quality and build info….good or bad.
It’s good to see some people in the industry focused on real value, not just cheap price by cutting quality.
PS For a class B, I thought those holding tanks were relatively generous.
Holding tanks ARE relatively generous for a Class B…this rig is a Class C. Also, where’s the outside storage? I prefer the LTV Unity for their layout and abundant outside storage compartments.
We talk about moving to something short, but every Class B we’ve seen just hasn’t been right to even contemplate making that move. Mostly, it’s been the bathroom configuration. This floor plan is near perfect…except for the twin beds.
Exactly right Diane. The twin bed thing is the deal killer right there. Otherwise, I really like this coach. And I honestly believe that with only ten (was it ten?) people in the whole company building these coaches, the quality HAS to be there. What a concept! But, they need to hire Josh Winters to do their walk-through! 🙂 🙂
Twin beds are a plus for me!
Great detailed review. We toured this motorhome at the Tampa RV show and talked with the two folks there. Inspiring story. Just one note- please stop perpetuating the salesmen’s myth of the Class B+. As I’m sure you are well aware, the RVIA recognizes only Class A, B and C motorhomes. Class Bs are built in the original van shell provided by the automotive manufacturer. It has nothing to do with the bed over the cab. Anything built on a cutaway chassis, as this one and all LTVs are, is a Class C. LTV identifies their RVs very clearly on their website as Class Cs for both the Wonder and Unity model lines. Class B+ is a myth – a classic example of marketing misinformation.
Well – here’s my thinking. If I call it a B+ then I think people will be able to identify with it a little more accurately. But, yeah, you’re right. Technically there are really only three classes and this is a C although it deserves an “A”!
You are both wrong.
Great review of a great mini motor home. See you in Tucson!
Very good review, finally a motorhome that’s not got a hugely blown up price.
I didn’t see a price in the article. What IS the price of the unit that is shown?
It’s in the chart.
Always interested in your RV reviews. I view this on a IPad. My complaint is that on almost every RV review the picture showing the RV floor diagram has the rear most part has 4 to 6 feet not even showing. On todays review the rear bathroom is not even shown. I don’t know if it is just my IPad or does it happen with other devices?
Your iPad picture is proportional, it is the supplied picture. It would be cut off if you were looking at it on a 70” TV screen.
I tried this on my Mac, my iPhone and iPad. Perhaps you didn’t realize if you tap on the picture it expands it to fit the size of the screen you’re looking at and there is a whole gallery of photos that I include with almost every article? You can then tap on an image and get to the next one. Hope this helps and thank you!
Really liked the construction until I got to the interior height. I’m 6’4.
Remove your shoes
This company is run by former Phoenix Cruiser folks and they have kept PC’s philosophy of keeping the coach low for stability. Right now it seems they offer only one floorpan. I look forward to some smaller concepts and, hopefully, some tech upgrades. AGM batteries-really? Propane fridge-come on! Propane cooktop? These are archaic. The price of lithium batteries drops every day and with solar, a reliable, safer, and less-expensive 12 volt compressor fridge is quite doable, as is an induction cooktop. Let’s get propane out of the passenger compartment as much as possible.With that big V-8 engine, they could even do engine-assist hot water.
Gee Richard, I actually LIKE our propane (and AC) fridge, I like the absolute convenience of a propane stove (like cooking at home), and not everyone boondocks, and unless you DO boondock, lithium batts aren’t worth the expense. This doesn’t sound like your new coach. Just sayin’.
Yeah Richard, your opinions are just those-your own. Tommy and me like the propane things and the more reasonable AGM or L/A batteries.
I like this model layout, I own a class B van, and have only 21 feet and “IF” I could park this at my home like I am doing with my van I would buy this in a heartbeat. About the solar, most of the time you can never put more solar panels on roof compare to batteries, once you add one or more lith batteries you will be on the downsize of charging. To me, a better alternator or 2nd one is all you really need, charge fully in 1 hour compare to 10 or 6 hr solar charge. And being on a Ford chassis they make one. So this would be the only up grade to this RV, remove Gen and use this for a battery box and call it done.
What about furnace? Need propane for that!!
You probably want to keep your eye on the small Class A units with lots of headroom.