By Tony Barthel
There has been a tremendous amount of media and coverage of the Winnebago EKKO lately, including my own review on it a few days ago. That motorhome is similar to European RVs. However, there’s another rig that has predated the EKKO – the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB.
Leisure Travel Vans in Winkler, Manitoba, Canada, has been building RVs for half a century. There are presently two main lines for the company: the Unity and Wonder. Unity models like the Unity FX are built on the Mercedes Sprinter cutaway chassis, whereas the Wonder line models are built on the Ford Transit Cutaway chassis.
With the rapid disdain for diesels, predominantly in government circles after the diesel emissions cheat by VW, more and more companies are shying away from building them. Ford is probably in the lead with their new “Godzilla” V8. That’s relevant here because the Wonder line from Leisure Travel Vans now only has a gasoline power plant: the Ford 3.5 liter twin turbo V6.
As with almost all gasoline turbocharged engines, this means you’ll be buying from the premium fuel pump. This is due to knowing that the V6 is going to be putting its best foot forward to shove that motorhome around.
The Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB
In the article I wrote about the Winnebago EKKO I was particularly enamored with the floor plan. I likened it to those I had seen shown in Europe at the Caravan Salon. The Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB has an interpretation of the same floor plan. You can see how differently similar ideas play out by comparing this with the EKKO and with the similar Coachmen Cross Trek 20XG.
There are enough differences among the similarities that one is going to be a clear winner. This will depend, of course, on your own taste… or budget.
Let’s start with the front. The Leisure Travel Van Wonder RTB has four seats. These include the two cockpit seats along with two rear-facing seats, one on either side of the coach. The company includes a Lagun table that can be divided among the four occupants with fold-open sections to double its size. I’m a convert on these Lagun tables. I now want them everywhere because they’re so flexible in their height and position.
But, unlike in the EKKO, there will be no sitting on the two rear-facing seats while the vehicle is in motion. These are only there for when it’s parked. Furthermore, the galley is an “L”-shaped one with Corian countertops. There’s a countertop extension that folds down from the road-side wall and right over the road-side seat. That puts that one out of commission when the cook demands more space.
I don’t want to imply that this is a bad thing. It’s a nice counter extension – but it’s something to be aware of.
The galley in the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB
The galley consists of a round sink and a two-burner propane cooktop. The overhead cabinets are described as being deep enough for plates. They have nice, curved doors keeping everything in place.
Over on the camp side is a two-way refrigerator. This is the newer Dometic unit that has doors for the fridge or freezer that can open either from the front or back. It’s slick, but I’ve read a few complaints that the mechanism isn’t as durable as it was in a 1950s Philco. But, truly, are any appliances anywhere near as well made as they were in the ’50s and ’60s?
Above that fridge is a convection microwave. It can operate on the vehicle’s built-in 2,000-watt inverter along with many of the standard wall plugs throughout the coach. The company includes 200-watt hours of AGM batteries aboard. However, you can also opt for lithium power instead. Unfortunately, that upgrade is a shocking (darn right that pun’s intended!) $3,770 for two 100-amp-hour lithium batteries. Holy moly! For the same price I can buy four Lion Energy 1,300-watt cells and have more than double the power available.
Before we leave the galley, it’s important to look up and see a huge skylight that can be opened. There’s a screen across the whole thing, if you need, and a light-blocking cover as well. But you can really let a lot of outside air in – it’s a much larger opening than the typical RV skylight.
There are also two high-performance fans in this coach: one in the shower and the other in the hallway. The amount of fresh air you can suck into or blow out of this small space is impressive with the combination of the windows, the ceiling vent and those fans.
The bathroom could be a deal maker or breaker in the Wonder RTB
Moving to the center of the coach you’ll find what may be a huge deal maker or breaker for this choice: a dry bathroom.
That bathroom starts with a shower closet on the camp side of the coach. If you open that door all the way it can latch against the opposite wall, thereby separating the front and rear of the coach. This can really give someone both a lot of space and privacy for dressing and just getting ready for the day.
Opposite the shower closet is the toilet, which is of the macerator style. In the same space is a small sink. While regular readers know that I’m not a huge fan of touch screen lighting controls, I do like the fact that you can use the touch screen to turn on the water pump while seated on the decision-making seat.
The toilet and shower are a good place to take note of the plentiful little storage and hanging spaces that Leisure is so good at putting throughout the interior. Cubbies, hanging things, hooks and holders are abundant in this coach.
At the rear are twin beds and under each is a full hanging closet. It’s impressive. There’s also a platform that you can put between the beds that turns the entire rear of the coach into a large sleeping area. That Lagun table I mentioned previously can also come join you here in the back. It effectively turns the two beds into two couches, or you can just use them as day beds.
Storage in the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB
One of the principal benefits of those raised rear beds is the fact that that configuration leaves room for a big storage bay at the outside rear of the coach. In the case of this model, Leisure Travel Vans put a large sliding drawer in the bottom of the storage area. This makes it easier to get to whatever rolls into the middle during transit.
The company also has other storage bays, one of which would be taken up if you choose the optional Onan 4kw generator. You can opt for a remote key fob that unlocks the cockpit doors as well as the main entry door to the coach body for $371. However, I wish that that fob could also lock and unlock the baggage doors while they’re at it. The technology’s out there – an ambulance that a friend of mine drives has exactly this feature.
It would be a tough decision to choose between this and the Winnebago EKKO. You can also get the Wonder RTB with all-wheel-drive as an option ($6,500), so there’s that. Both rigs are very tasteful in their decor in very different ways. Winnebago looks more adventurous and the RTB looks more like it would fit into an upscale RV park.
One thing that really surprised me is the retail price of the options for the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB. $1,476 for a single 200-watt flexible solar panel? $3,770 for two lithium batteries? Holy highway robbery, Batman, I would steer far clear of the option sheet and go my own route and pocket the difference. I can go buy a Renogy 200-watt solar charge kit (with controller) for $429. Then I could pay someone to glue it to the roof and still have almost $1,000 left over for beer.
I also don’t like that the awning needs support poles to prevent damage. Honestly, this makes someone less likely to put the thing in if there’s a question about wind, and I can see this resulting in more damaged awnings.
The Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB is beautifully made
These are beautifully made vehicles with very, very tasteful and well-thought-out interiors. Even if you have zero intention of ever buying one of these vans, you have to watch the video walk-through. It’s fun to watch and the presenter does a great job.
In fact, the website, videos and the whole shopping experience are examples that almost every other RV company should evaluate. As I spend my time remotely looking at RVs to share with you, having actual information available from these companies is few and far between. Leisure Travel Vans does an outstanding job of presenting it.
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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