Part luxury RV and part rugged toy hauler, this home on wheels meets the demands of those who want to transport their equipment without sacrificing creature comforts.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
Toy haulers are the ideal solution for those who want to take along all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, or other large cargo when they travel. The popularity of the toy-hauler segment has prompted a number of manufacturers to offer RVs to fill that need, and KZ RV is no exception. KZ has been making towable RVs for 47 years, and their old-world craftsmanship and innovative ideas have made them one of the go-to brands for many potential buyers.
The KZ Venom model is a luxury fifth-wheel toy hauler; it blends a large garage area with a well-featured, upscale living space. The strong, durable RV is chock-full of features that make it a true all-season home on wheels. The high-end Venom is available in four floor plans. The review unit was the V4012TK, a triple-slideout floor plan.
KZ designers take no shortcuts in the construction of the Venom. The basic frame rails consist of 12-inch powder-coated-steel I-beams with a drop frame that allows for a large, 160-cubic-foot pass-through cargo storage area. The wide-body frame, at 101 inches, allows for the best possible support of the RV’s structure without requiring outrigger braces.
The floor structure consists of 2-inch-by-3-inch aluminum tube framing covered by 5/8-inch tongue-and-groove plywood that KZ employees screw and glue to the framework. They insert fiberglass-batt insulation into the floor assembly, and add Radiant Technology brand reflective foil in the underbelly and up the frame, resulting in an R-38 insulation value. A fully enclosed and heated underbelly with directly heated holding tanks completes the package.
The sidewalls are made from 2-inch-square aluminum tubing that is covered by high-gloss gel-coat fiberglass on the exterior and lauan plywood on the interior. The wall assembly is filled with block-foam insulation and then vacuum bonded to yield a durable sidewall with an R-11 value. Wood is inserted into the bottom tubing to add support for when the wall is mounted to the floor. The fiberglass one-piece front cap features full automotive paint. The one-piece welded steel frame for the rear ramp attaches directly to the main frame rails.
The roof structure incorporates 5-inch aluminum trusses on 16-inch centers. These trusses are covered with 3/8-inch roof decking and TPO roof material to create a walk-on roof. The roof assembly is filled with more fiberglass-batt insulation and reflective foil insulation, and forms a fully vented attic. A racetrack-style ducting system in the roof provides even, quiet air distribution from the three rooftop air conditioners. The All-Weather Insulation Package includes the roof, front cap, rear wall, and garage floor; all have an R-38 insulation value.
All water lines are enclosed in the floor and located above the insulation. The holding tank areas are fully enclosed, insulated to R-38, and heated. The end result is a true all-season RV that lends itself for use in cold weather as well as on warm, sunny days.
At 43 feet 7 inches in overall length, the Venom is big, and not lightweight, but it still has a respectable cargo capacity. The Venom’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 19,000 pounds, with a hitch weight of 3,190 pounds. Our test vehicle had an unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) of 14,930 pounds, which resulted in a cargo carrying capacity of 4,070 pounds.
The RV rides on three 7,000-pound-rated Dexter axles with electric brakes and Equa-Flex suspension. A Rota Flex hitch helps to absorb the shock caused by towing. The 16-inch G-rated radial tires are mounted on a set of attractive custom aluminum wheels. An automatic six-point hydraulic leveling system helps to make quick work of setting up camp.
The Lamilux high-gloss fiberglass on the sidewalls and the exterior of the rear ramp looks good and provides a smooth, easy-to-clean surface. The painted front cap is easy to clean as well and features LED accent lighting. In fact, all exterior lighting, from the DOT-approved trailer lighting to the accent or visual lighting, uses LEDs.
The SolidStep flip-up entry steps provide extremely stable access to the RV’s interior and have adjustable legs to compensate for uneven ground.
Frameless windows come standard, and frameless dual-pane windows can be added as an option, providing a comfortable interior environment. The test unit came with a pair of power patio awnings with LED lighting; the 15-foot front awning comes standard, and the 16-foot rear one is optional. A roadside compartment holds dual 30-pound propane tanks, while another sealed compartment secures the batteries, without the need for battery boxes. All baggage compartment doors measure 1-inch thick.
The standard equipment list includes an exterior entertainment center with a 32-inch LED TV and a refrigerator.
Wood-look vinyl flooring covers most of the living area. The bedroom is an exception, as it has 22-ounce residential-grade carpeting with 3/8-inch padding. The cabinetry and woodwork throughout the RV feature glazed maple hardwood, and all countertops and the vanity tops are fabricated from solid-surface material. The faux-leather furniture covering is attractive as well as durable. Slow-rise day and night dual-roller shades are fitted into every window valance.
As on the exterior, all interior lighting is LED, including the overhead pendant lights in the galley.
The Venom’s main living area is equipped with a sofa bed, as well as heated theater seats that recline and have a massage feature. Directly opposite the theater seating is an entertainment center that houses a 50-inch LED TV and a 40-inch-wide electric fireplace. Space is provided for various entertainment system components, such as the Blu-ray player and the surround-sound system with JBL speakers. The RV also comes prewired for satellite TV.
The U-shaped galley features a deep stainless-steel sink and a tall gooseneck faucet that has a pull-out spray head; counter space for food preparation; and a pantry. Across the aisle stands the three-burner gas cooktop and 22-inch built-in gas oven, all trimmed in stainless steel and part of the Chef’s Galley package. This package also includes a 30-inch-wide microwave-convection oven that resides in the overhead cabinetry. An 18-cubic-foot, four-door stainless-steel propane-electric RV refrigerator is located next to this; a residential fridge is available as an option.
Standard equipment includes a central vacuum system.
The bedroom is located in the front of the RV and accessible via a few steps. The 70-inch-by-80-inch electric-tilt king-size bed rests in the front cap, facing rearward. A large set of cabinets hangs above it. The bed has plenty of floor space around it, mainly because of the wardrobe that is built into its own slideout. The slideout really opens up the bedroom interior when extended. A 32-inch LED TV is mounted on the wall opposite the bed.
Next to the bedroom, at the top of the steps, is the full bathroom. It comes with a porcelain foot-operated toilet and a vanity with a recessed stainless-steel sink. The large, rectangular, one-piece fiberglass shower stall features a built-in seat and a glass enclosure.
Naturally, the heart of any toy hauler is the garage area. The Venom’s 12-foot-long garage is covered with rubberized diamond-plate flooring that is easy to clean or wash out with a hose and also provides a nonslip surface. Additional diamond-plate extends up the sides of the garage area to a height of 24 inches. E-track universal cargo mounting rails in the floor assist with tying down gear or toys.
The garage area is prepped for a washer and dryer pair, and it contains a 40-inch-by-96-inch loft bed that is accessible via a ladder. This area also includes a half bath with an attractive sink, vanity, and toilet and is almost too nice for a garage — although I’m sure no one will complain.
An optional 60-inch-by-84-inch Happi-Jac power bed is mounted at the ceiling and can be lowered to the floor at the touch of a button. This bed also can be used to create a seating area, as it converts into a pair of extremely comfortable sofas that face each other. A 32-inch LED TV and a sound system provide entertainment in the garage area.
The 88-inch-by-96-inch cargo door serves two functions. It can be used as a ramp to unload or load toys. It is solidly mounted to a steel frame that attaches to the main frame rails and is gusseted. It’s a zero-gravity counterbalanced ramp that can be lowered with one hand. Cargo latches secure it in the closed position for travel.
The ramp also can be used as a patio. This model was equipped with fencing that surrounds the patio. It also came with the optional overhead power awning and access steps. The standard roll-down screen wall was replaced by an optional tempered-glass door enclosure with screens. These door panels simply fold away and store against the sidewall when not in use.
The Venom is equipped with its own 40-gallon fuel tank, a fuel hose, and a nozzle to top off those thirsty ATVs, motorcycles, and other toys.
Electrical needs are met by a 50-amp shore power cord. An optional Onan 7.0-kw gas-powered generator is fed by its own 30-gallon fuel tank. The “Off the Grid” 190-watt solar package (optional) provides additional amp-hours for the deep-cycle house batteries, which also power a 1,200-watt Xantrex inverter to operate the living room TV as well as all of the receptacles throughout the vehicle.
A 35,000-Btu propane furnace heats the coach, while three 15,000-Btu rooftop air conditioners handle cooling needs.
Holding tank sizes are generous. The 100-gallon fresh-water tank, the 93-gallon gray-water tank, and the 53-gallon black-water tank are all housed in heated and insulated enclosures. A 12-gallon propane/electric water heater provides plenty of hot water.
The wet bay contains a sprayer hose for washing off people, animals, or gear. This heated compartment also contains all of the valves and controls required to manage the fresh-water system. These valves are color coded and easy for even a rookie to understand.
Virtually everything is controlled by the KZ Engage OneControl system, which is operated with a 7-inch screen and an app remote control. The system monitors tank levels and battery levels, and it operates the slide rooms, leveling system, awnings, dimmable interior lighting, and generator start. The HVAC controls include Wi-Fi prep and Connect-Anywhere prep for full-function access by mobile device.
Finally, an optional wireless rearview camera, with observation and Vision-S blind spot monitoring capabilities, allows the driver to keep track of what’s happening beside and behind the vehicle.
The Venom comes with a two-year hitch-to-bumper warranty. It has an impressive blend of features that create both a luxury RV and a rugged toy hauler. Its sturdy construction and high level of insulation make it an RV approved for full-time use. In short, the Venom rings all the bells.
SPECS | KZ VENOM FIFTH-WHEEL V4012TK
KZ Inc., 985 N. 900 W., Shipshewana, IN 46565; (260) 768-4016; kz-rv.com
16-inch G-rated radial; aluminum wheels
generator prep, standard; Onan 7.0-kw, gas-powered, with its own 30-gallon fuel tank
43 feet 7 inches (total length; center of hitch pin to rear wall)
13 feet 4 inches (with A/C)
8 feet 6 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
UNLOADED VEHICLE WEIGHT (UVW)
14,930 pounds (as tested)
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY
4,070 pounds (as tested)
GROSS AXLE RATING
7,000 pounds each
fiberglass batt and Radiant Technology reflective foil insulation in floor, roof, front cap, rear walls, and tanks – R-38; block foam in walls — R-11
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 93 gallons;
black water — 53 gallons
(2) 30-pound tanks
12-gallon; electric and propane with DSI
35,000-Btu propane furnace
(3) 15,000-Btu ducted units
18-cubic-foot gas-electric, standard; residential refrigerator optional
(2) porcelain with foot flush
2 years, hitch to bumper, limited
BASE MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS REVIEWED