Sleek, modern design and inventive use of space are hallmarks of this Type B-plus motorhome built on a Ford cutaway chassis.
By Lazelle Jones
Leisure Travel Vans, manufacturer of the Wonder Type B-plus motorhome, is part of Triple E, a company located in Winkler, Manitoba. In the world of motorhome manufacturers, Manitoba may seem a bit off the beaten path, but the in-house talent at Leisure Travel Vans — in the areas of design, engineering, manufacturing, and pure imagination — manifests itself in the innovative RVs the company has produced for the past 55 years. Add to that the design enhancements Ford made to its 2020 Transit cutaway chassis (see the accompanying Ford Transit sidebar), and the 2021 Wonder is even more amazing.
The giant leap forward Leisure Travel Vans has taken with its 2021 Wonder became apparent during my detailed look-see into what lies beneath the elegant exterior lines and color schemes of the motor-home. Creative genius is evidenced at every turn.
The Wonder measures 24 feet 9 inches long, 95 inches wide, and just under 10 feet high (including the standard 15,000-Btu roof air conditioner).
The 2020 Ford Transit cutaway chassis is powered by a Ford 3.5-liter, 310-horsepower V-6 twin-turbo EcoBoost gas engine. The engine delivers 400 pound-feet of torque via a 10-speed electronic transmission. The Ford Transit is rated to tow 4,000 pounds; however, because of its configuration, the Wonder RTB (rear twin bed) model I examined can tow a maximum of 2,000 pounds (other Wonder floor plans can tow up to 4,000 pounds). The Wonder is offered with Ford’s optional intelligent all-wheel-drive system, which adds approximately $5,850 to the cost of the Wonder RTB model’s base price of $125,995. When the Wonder RTB is fully equipped with all options, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price comes to $137,690.
The motorhome walls, roof, and floor feature welded boxed tubular aluminum framing. Polystyrene block-foam insulation that measures 1.5 inches thick is used in the walls. This insulation has an R-value of 4.2 per inch and is cut to fit the framing. Gel-coat fiberglass forms the exterior walls, while the interior wall material consists of Azdel composite board, which is vacuum-bonded to create one-piece walls that measure 2 inches thick.
The rear molded-fiberglass mask is insulated with polystyrene block insulation as well; for the front cap, foil-wrapped fiberglass-batt insulation is used. The domed FRP Flexroof also is constructed using boxed aluminum framing and a vacuum-bonding process. The 2-inch-thick floor incorporates water-resistant TekModo CosmoLite material on the road-facing surface. Low-maintenance, custom-color vinyl that has the look of ceramic tile dresses the interior floor.
Vacuum-bonded walls, roof, and floor create the house portion of the Wonder. Front and rear molded fiberglass caps, which are insulated, create a smooth transition onto the Ford Transit chassis. All underfloor tanks and lower galvanized sheet-metal compartments are polyurethane spray-foamed for sound deadening and to protect them from road hazards.
The frameless, black-tinted, awning-style windows can be opened for ventilation even if it is raining cats and dogs outside. A living area skylight also opens to provide ventilation. It comes with a screen, as well as a blackout shade.
The front and rear bumpers and the bottom cargo bay doors and service doors are contoured, adding to the visual appeal of the exterior. Seven exterior paint choices are available, and all incorporate a total of five layers of full-body paint and clear coat.
The Wonder RTB yields plentiful exterior storage capacity, totaling 67 cubic feet. The rear compartment extends the width of the coach and has large access hatches on both sides of the vehicle. Two bicycles can be stored in this bay. A glide-out tray on the curb side provides ease of access to gear stowed in the center of the coach. This compartment also contains the toggle switch for the Carefree electric awning, which measures 11 feet wide and extends out 7 feet. The awning’s telescoping legs can be extended to the ground or attached to the side of the patio wall via brackets to stabilize the awning.
For outside enjoyment, buyers can opt for a table that fastens to brackets on the exterior wall of the coach and has two fold-down legs. When not in service, the table stows in the large rear cargo bay. Pick up a couple of chairs at your local camping supply store, and you’re set. The chairs also can be stored in the rear bay.
The Wonder RTB comes with a 1-inch receiver hitch that can be used to tow up to 2,000 pounds. The receiver hitch also can be used to transport a bicycle or cargo rack, accommodating up to 200 pounds.
The electrics on the Wonder RTB merit a detailed look. Standard equipment includes two 6-volt AGM deep-cycle batteries, along with a 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter to power designated 120-volt-AC receptacles and the DVD player, TV, and similar electronics.
One option that makes primitive RV camping more enjoyable is to add two 12-volt lithium batteries in concert with a 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter. The 2,000-watt inverter powers almost everything on board, including the 1,000-watt microwave-convection oven. The only exception is the 15,000-Btu, low-profile, direct-ducted roof air conditioner. To power the roof A/C, either 30-amp shore power is needed or the optional Cummins Onan 4-kw gasoline-powered auxiliary generator needs to be operating.
The generator comes with an auto-start feature that activates it when the interior of the RV reaches the temperature set via the Firefly Integrations multiplex wiring system touch-screen monitor or when batteries need to be charged.
Buyers also can select, as an option, two 100-watt roof-mounted solar panels or four 100-watt solar panels. These help to take primitive RV camping to the next level.
A 16,000-Btu propane-fueled forced-air furnace and a heat pump that also are controlled by the multiplex system provide heat for the Wonder. Adjustable furnace registers deliver warm air to the bathroom and to the living area.
A 12-volt power-adjustable ceiling vent is located in the galley area and in the water closet; an optional rain sensor upgrade is available. A 13-gallon propane tank fuels the furnace, the two-burner cooktop, the three-way refrigerator/freezer, and an outside quick connect for a barbecue grill.
Inside, the Wonder is packed with utility and boasts imaginative features. The cockpit seats swivel to face the living area. This area also incorporates two upholstered seats that face one another, located against opposing exterior walls. Ultraleather material covers all the seats. A removable table mounts on a post that inserts in the floor. The hinged leaves of the table can be configured in a variety of ways to suit needs at the time. With the table in place and the cockpit seats turned rearward, up to four people can be accommodated for dining, table games, etc.
Immediately aft of the driver-side living area seat is a full-service L-shaped galley, which includes floor-to-countertop storage space with drawers and cabinets. The solid-surface countertop is offered in two shades: Antarctica and Concrete.
The customer can choose one of two standard cabinetry colors: Natural Rift or Cashmere. The optional Glamour Package gives two additional choices for the overhead cabinets: Bianco White or Grigio Shadow. All overhead cabinets throughout the unit are slightly curved, giving the galley and the rest of the coach interior a very upscale, residential look.
The round stainless-steel sink is accessorized with a matching faucet. The two-burner propane cooktop includes a fold-down cover. A flip-down galley counter extension adds extra prep space as needed. Across the center aisle on the curbside of the Wonder RTB is a Dometic RMD10 6.7-cubic-foot, 3-way refrigerator. The upper freezer door and the lower refrigerator door both open to the left and to the right for added convenience. The aforementioned 1,000-watt microwave-convection oven sits above the refrigerator. A Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus on-demand system provides continuous hot water to the shower and to the galley and bathroom sinks.
The shower, located immediately aft of the galley, can accommodate individuals as tall as 6 feet 4 inches or so. A shower screen extends from and retracts into the side of the door frame. When privacy from the front of the coach is desired, the solid, hinged door that isolates the stand-up shower can be opened and latched into place to block off the center aisle.
Opposite the shower, on the other side of the center aisle, is a private water closet that includes a porcelain toilet equipped with a macerator. An optional macerator pump in the black holding tank comes with a 20-foot hose for dumping. An additional 30 feet of hose can be attached for dumping up to 50 feet away.
A solid-surface counter surrounds the stainless-steel lavatory sink. A large mirror hangs above it. The mirror has hinges along one side that permit it to be swung around 90 degrees to cover the exterior window in the water closet for privacy. On the back side of this privacy window covering is another full-size mirror. The medicine cabinet sits above and to the left of the toilet and is attached to the exterior wall.
Leisure Travel Vans officials tout the vehicle’s space and storage management, and, indeed, designers have handled this very well. The outside rear garage is a good example. Another example of this and of the creativity of the Leisure Travel Vans team is found inside the Wonder RTB’s rear bedroom. Both twin beds are hinged and can be raised and held open by pneumatic struts. This provides access to the hanging closets found under each bed. With the 32-inch-by-76-inch twin beds in their ready position, fold-down platforms permit the RV owners to form a queen-size bed that measures 64 inches by 76 inches. The roof-mounted air conditioner is in the rear bedroom, which means the A/C can be operated at a lower setting yet still keep the RV comfortable for sleeping during high outside temperatures and humidity.
The Wonder RTB has two televisions. The 24-inch LED TV in the rear bedroom is mounted on the interior wall that separates the bedroom and the shower. Up front, a 28-inch LED television attaches to the forward-facing wall in the galley and can be viewed while relaxing in the comfort of the two permanent lounge seats or the captains chairs when they are swiveled to face the living area.
Several multiplex system control panels throughout the unit permit customizing the lighting; turning on and off the water pump; viewing levels in tanks; and dialing in features such as the furnace heat, heat pump, air conditioner, and auto generator start.
Buyers have the option of two wood colors, three Ultraleather colors, and two Corian countertop colors, plus two glamour packages.
Other available options on the Wonder RTB include remote key fob entry, a satellite dish, an exterior ladder, an exterior table, a fan upgrade, and the aforementioned all-wheel drive.
The Wonder RTB offers an innovative floor plan, flexibility, and comfort, all with a modern flair that should appeal to many RV buyers.
About The Ford Transit Cutaway Chassis
Leisure Travel Vans is building the 2021 Wonder Type B-plus motorhome on the 2020 Ford Transit 350 HD cutaway chassis, which offers an increased gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 11,000 pounds. The Transit’s twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine provides 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.
The upgraded engine features direct injection and auto start-stop technology, and it is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The chassis is available with intelligent all-wheel drive. The chassis also includes electric power-assisted steering (EPAS), four-wheel antilock disc brakes, and a 25-gallon fuel tank. Driver-activated auto high-beam headlamps sense when the high beams need to come on and when to dim to low beams to reduce glare.
Other features include an antitheft system with engine immobilizer, a post-crash alert system, a tire pressure monitoring system, and side wind stabilization. Exterior elements include front fog lamps and automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers. The 2021 Wonder will come standard with 16-inch forged aluminum wheels.
Interior components include the Ford Sync 3 navigation system with an 8-inch touch screen. Standard driver-side and passenger-side seat swivels help to integrate the cab area into the house area of the Wonder.
The Ford Transit chassis also incorporates driver-assist technology. The forward collision warning system — known as pre-collision assist with auto emergency braking (AEB) — alerts the driver via a visual display and an audible alert if it senses a potential accident with a vehicle in front. If the driver doesn’t react in time, the brakes precharge and increase brake-assist sensitivity to provide full responsiveness when he or she does brake. If the driver does not take action and a collision seems imminent, the brakes apply automatically.
Post-collision braking can potentially lessen the severity of a secondary collision by automatically applying moderate brake pressure when an initial collision event is detected.
The lane-keeping system scans the vehicle’s position between the lines in the road ahead and can alert the driver if he or she starts to edge out of the lane. If the driver drifts a few times, a coffee cup icon appears, letting him or her know it’s time to take a break.
SPECS | LEISURE TRAVEL VANS WONDER RTB
Leisure Travel Vans, 301 Roblin Blvd., Winkler MB R6W 4C4; (877) 992-9906; www.leisurevans.com
Rear Twin Bed (RTB)
Ford Transit 350 HD
Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6; 310 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm; 400 pound-feet torque @ 2,500 rpm
Ford 10-speed automatic SelectShift with overdrive
3.73 to 1
205/75R16C BSW all season
16 inches, forged aluminum
four-wheel antilock power disc
independent McPherson strut/leaf springs
electric power-assisted steering
chassis — (2), 780 cca;
house — (2) AGM deep-cycle 6-volt batteries, standard; dual 12-volt lithium batteries, optional
4.0-kw Onan gasoline (optional)
24 feet 9 inches
9 feet 11.5 inches (with A/C)
6 feet 5 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY
OCCUPANT AND CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (OCCC)
block polystyrene, R-value 4.2 per inch
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 28 gallons;
black water — 28 gallons
Truma AquaGo Comfort Plus — instant, propane-fueled
16,000-Btu forced air
15,000-Btu with heat pump
Dometic RMD10, 6.7 cubic feet, 3-way
porcelain with macerator
2 years/24,000 miles limited;
3 years limited on structure
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS REVIEWED