Take a tour in this 25-foot RV, which drives much like a passenger vehicle and fits where larger motorhomes do not.
By Mark Quasius, F333630
The BT Cruiser from Gulf Stream Coach is one of the original motorhomes designed for touring. In fact, the “T” in this model’s name stands for “touring.” And despite the “B” in its name, today’s BT Cruiser is a Type C coach. As such, it provides a bit more room than a typical Type B motorhome yet is still easy to drive and park. It handles like a large SUV and isn’t as imposing to drivers who may be uncomfortable piloting a bigger motorhome.
The BT Cruiser is 8 to 10 inches lower and 6 inches narrower than traditional Type Cs, which makes it more accommodating for parking, city driving, and exploring narrow streets and country roads.
An RV of this size offers varied uses: a home on wheels; a daily driver to take to the grocery store or to run other errands; a vehicle for tooling around the national parks without the need for a separate towed vehicle; and so on.
Chassis And Exterior
The BT Cruiser that I had the opportunity to inspect, the 5240, is one of six available floor plans that range from 22 feet 6 inches up to 28 feet 9 inches long. The 5240 has an overall length of 25 feet 5 inches. It is equipped with the new Ford 7.3-liter V-8 engine, which puts out 325 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque at 3,900 rpm, and is connected to the rear wheels by a TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode. A 55-gallon fuel tank and antilock disc brakes are standard on this chassis. The review unit also came with a 7,500-pound-rated trailer hitch with a trailer light connector and brake controller.
With full fuel, water, and propane, it crossed the scales at 10,510 pounds, providing 1,990 pounds of carrying capacity with its 12,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Various options are available from Gulf Stream, such as automatic leveling jacks and heated remote-control rearview mirrors with turn signals and sideview cameras.
The exterior of the coach supports high-gloss fiberglass walls with Azdel synthetic substrate, which reportedly will not mold, rot, mildew, or absorb moisture. The vacuum-laminated sidewalls encase a welded aluminum skeleton with rigid closed-cell foam insulation. Welded steel floor joists support a laminated floor that is fitted with a diamond-plate steel subfloor.
A one-piece fiberglass roof, roof ladder access, fiberglass running boards, and one-piece fiberglass front and rear caps provide an attractive yet functional look. Radiused windows with tinted safety glass, electric steps that lead to a friction-hinge entry door, and an electric patio awning with LED lighting and speakers finish off the exterior.
The 5240 is a single-slideout floor plan; the slideout contains a large sofa that converts to a Murphy bed. Because BT Cruisers are designed with touring in mind, the interior is laid out so that everything remains accessible when the slide is retracted.
The flooring material is a high-performance vinyl with a wood-plank look. The attractive cabinetry in this unit was finished in the Thoreau Cherry option; white cabinetry is also available. The interior décor choices are either Grotto or Fog.
The cockpit area is a standard Ford design, so driving the BT Cruiser isn’t much different from driving a Ford pickup truck or SUV. The dash includes an overhead monitor for the rearview camera. Storage cabinets have been added to the overhead area. Optional swiveling seats for the driver and front passenger are offered.
The living area is functional and doesn’t feel cramped for a motorhome of this size. As noted, the large, comfortable sofa makes into a Murphy bed when it’s time to call it a day. The sofa faces an array of storage cabinets that also include room for the entertainment center components and a 40-inch LED TV on a power lift. A fireplace in the lower cabinetry adds ambience and some extra heat if desired. Solid off-white roller shades in the living area provide privacy.
Next to the sofa is the galley. This area includes a propane-fired oven and a three-burner range with a ducted overhead exhaust fan. A microwave oven is located in the top cabinets. The stainless-steel sink is equipped with a pull-down sprayer faucet. On the opposite wall is a 6-cubic-foot, double-door, propane-electric refrigerator and freezer.
A compact coach of this size doesn’t have room for a dedicated dinette; however, the 5240 comes with a removable dinette table that can be placed in front of the sofa when needed. The table is long and rectangular to match the sofa and mounts to two aluminum posts that drop into sockets in the floor. It’s easy to set up and take down. When not in use, the table and posts can be stored in the pantry, a tall, narrow cabinet next to the refrigerator.
The bath area at the rear of the unit offers considerable storage space, with a wall full of cabinets and drawers on the curb side. Perpendicular to the cabinetry, against the rear wall, is a vanity with an undermount sink and an overhead mirrored medicine cabinet. The rear corner of the street-side wall holds a fiberglass shower stall with sliding glass doors and an overhead “skydome.” Immediately next to the shower is a foot-pedal-operated toilet. A power roof vent is also installed in this area.
A detachable 30-foot cord is used to connect to a 30-amp campground power receptacle. The BT Cruiser’s Onan 4.0-kilowatt generator provides plenty of power for times when shore power is not available. Heating and ventilation needs are met by a 25,000-Btu propane furnace and a 13,500-Btu ducted rooftop air conditioner. A 15,000-Btu air conditioner is available as an option. A 6-gallon propane/electronic-spark-ignition water heater provides domestic hot water.
The 33-gallon fresh-water tank, 38-gallon gray-water tank, and 38-gallon black-water tank are available with optional heat pads. Fresh water is supplied to the coach via an external connection, similar to the external black-tank-flush connection. A small hatch cover reveals a handy hot- and cold-water faucet with a quick-disconnect fitting that accepts a coiled water hose and sprayer. This setup is perfect for cleaning up muddy gear, rinsing sewer hoses, or giving the dog a bath. A 42-pound propane tank is mounted in a vented compartment on the driver’s side of the coach basement.
The BT Cruiser is a great choice for a motorhome that you can take anywhere. This 25-foot-long model was easy to drive and maneuver, yet it offered a reasonable amount of room for a coach of this size. It was not intimidating to drive and responded much like a large van. It can be parked in places where a larger RV won’t fit. Its size and configuration also eliminate the need to tow a second vehicle when traveling.
Access to various areas of the coach is still possible when the slideout is retracted; this is a big plus, as it gives occupants the ability to comfortably make lunch, use the bathroom, or just relax in the lounge and watch TV. Sleeping in the Murphy bed will require you to extend the slideout, but the vehicle is small enough that it shouldn’t be hard to find an overnight spot where that is possible.
The BT Cruiser offers a very livable floor plan, especially for its size. Its features and quality rival those found in many larger units, making this motorhome an excellent choice for a touring couple.
SPECIFICATIONS | GULF STREAM BT CRUISER
Gulf Stream Coach
P.O. Box 1005
Nappanee, IN 46550
Ford 7.3-liter V-8; 325 horsepower, 450 pound-feet torque at 3,900 rpm
Ford TorqShift 6-speed automatic with tow/haul mode, Select Shift manual mode, and Progressive Range Select
4.56 to 1
power self-adjusting antilock hydraulic disc
front axle — coil springs;
rear axle — multileaf single stage
chassis — (1) Group 27 HD, 78 AH/750 cca;
house — (1) Group 27, optional
4-kilowatt Onan gasoline-powered
25 feet 5 inches
10 feet 6 inches
6 feet 5 inches
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR)
GROSS COMBINATION WEIGHT RATING (GCWR)
GROSS AXLE WEIGHT RATING (GAWR)
front — 4,600 pounds;
rear — 8,500 pounds
CARGO CARRYING CAPACITY (CCC)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY
HOLDING TANK CAPACITIES
gray water — 38 gallons;
black water — 38 gallons
6-gallon propane/electric with electronic-spark ignition
25,000-Btu propane furnace
(1) 13,500-Btu rooftop unit, standard; (1) 15,000-Btu unit, optional
6-cubic-foot, double-door, propane-electric refrigerator-freezer
coach — 2 years/20,000 miles;
chassis — 3 years/30,000 miles
BASE SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE
PRICE AS TESTED