Monday, February 29, 2016

Why a Winnebago Fuse 23a

I posted in the Winnebago Trend Facebook group some of the reasons we chose the Winnebago Fuse 23a motorhome for our first RV.  This was in response to a call to see if anyone had bought the Trend 23d, which has basically the same floorpan.   I am going to try and explain how we got to our decision.

Several years ago, my wife and myself decided we wanted to get an RV.  Some of this was to start our preparation for retirement, some of this was a change in how we like to travel, some of this was that our children had grown up and vacationing was about to change.

When we started our search we had several things we wanted:
  • Twin beds in the back.
  • It had to be usable without extending a slide out or anything else so we could pull off at a rest stop and take a nap.
  • Something small enough so we did not have a tow car.
We looked on the Internet and came up with a short list:  The Winnebago View 24V,  Phoenix Cruiser 2551 and the Leisure Travel Van Unity TB bubbled to the top.  There were several others that fit the bill,  Thor, Villagio, Dynamax all seemed to qualify in our search  but for various reasons, we did not like them.

The LTV Unity was the best built of the bunch. It felt like a premium built unit but it had a major problem.   I did not fit in the bed.  I am 6' tall with size 13 feet and I just fit into the bed length wise and my feet did not fit in the space below the closet that overhung the foot of the bed.  They were priced a premium and had a long lead time, but if I had fit we would have probably gone that way.

The Phoenix Cruiser had a similar problem.  I just did not fit the bed.

The Winnebago View fit me and we were very close to buying one.  Even though the closet overhung the longer bed, my feet fit.  We were looking for a 2016 or better since the 16 View has a window over the kitchen area and that seemed to open the whole coach up.  The other thing we wanted was a coach without the cab over bed.  This feature seemed to be hard to find.   As we were looking and debating on ordering one, Winnebago announced the Fuse 23a and the Trend 23d.  These really seemed to offer additional options.

At this point I have to say that following the news groups and in particular a blog called really helped.  The yahoo newsgroups for the Winnebago View and Trend units let us know there were new options and did a video at the Louisville show that peaked our interest.  The video tours from Lichtsinn RV also helped.

We read that both of the prototype units were in Tampa waiting on the Tampa RV show and we went to look.   We looked at both units and both had pluses and minuses, but both were closer to what we wanted than the View.  The rear bath floorpan opened up the center of the unit making it seem much bigger than the Views mid-bath layout. Both chassis offered what seeming to us a better total cost of ownership proposition.  That part was just a feel based on costs associated with Sprinter maintenance expenses.

One of the great parts,  the beds in the back were 77-80 inches long with no overhangs.

We liked both of them and had a dilemma .

The Trend 23D
So what did we like about the Trend 23d.  The first thing was that generator was gasoline and got its fuel from the main fuel tank.  Another thing we liked was that it was gasoline powered and that implied a lower cost for fuel and overall maintenance expenses.

What we did not like was the smaller cargo capacity.  The lack of exterior storage space was another thing that caused concern.

The Fuse 23A
We looked at the Fuse and my wife loved the squared off cabinets.  The sliding doors on the cabinets were another thing she liked.  The inclusion of a widow in the bathroom and the pocket door to the bathroom also seemed to seal the deal for her.   I liked the exterior storage on the drivers side of the vehicle.   I also liked the greater carrying capacity.

What we did not care for was the LP generator and the drivers seat being fixed forward as opposed to being able to be turned around to add to the living space like in the Trend.  One thing that did not add any value to us was the large TV in the front.  The diesel engine was also something we could take or leave.

It really was a hard choice, but the cabinets, external storage and the bathroom window is what it came down to.  We know that nothing is perfect and there are lots of compromises, but I think we made the right decision for us.  Time will tell but we are happy so far.


  1. Thanks for your post and congrats on your purchase. My wife and I have been looking for several years and our search parallels yours. I just retired and she's done in June. Was ready to pull the trigger on the Unity TB, even with big $$ and the 9 month wait. Was just told by my dealer though that it will likely be closer to 12 months because a) they've just introduced two new models when they aren't keeping up with existing orders and b) we are at the end of the spring RV Show/Sale season - putting them even further behind. The Fuse is really the first viable option I've seen - for all the reasons you listed. I'm 6'4" tall by the way! The lower price point is very attractive. They've definitely cut some corners compared to LTV to get there, but it's a darn nice unit still. I'm convinced that that we can have 100% of the fun for a lot less money, and we can get started a lot sooner. Sounds like a good deal to me!

    Have you taken possession of your Fuse yet? None of our local dealers have any in stock yet. Which dealer did you buy from?

    Happy trails to you both and enjoy your new Fuse!

  2. Ah, I just found the rest of your blog. I see you do indeed have your Fuse already. Outstanding!

  3. The LTV is a Cadillac and the Winnebago is a Chevy. I think they are giving you value for the extra money, but if I figured it right the LTV Unity is about 30% more expensive than the Fuse. For that much money there is a lot of fun and upgrades that can be had. But again, I just not fit and that was the biggest problem. It would be no fun I could not sleep comfortably.

  4. Any thoughts about dual rear wheels on Fuse vs. Trend single?

  5. I have no factual info to share but can tell you what I read during my research.

    Some said that dual rear wheels gave some more security in case of a flat. You had some ability to get down the road a little further especially without a spare. Others said it did not matter much.

    My view is having the dual rear wheels is what is giving the Fuse the extra 500lbs of capacity over the Trend, but I would have to defer to someone who has more knowledge than me.

    I really think that it also comes down to front wheel drive vs rear wheel drive and which you like better.

  6. I would like to know what are some of the things you didn't like about the Dynamax (Rev, I'm assuming) as I really like the RB model in that one, although I'm also a fan of the Fuse.

  7. We looked at the REV 24TB unit when they just came out. We actually traveled to Tampa a year earlier (2015) to see them at the Tampa RV show. I was very excited about them given their low cost, Dynamax's reputation for quality and a review on website. We looked that day at Leisure Travel Van, Winnebago View, Phoenix cruiser and several others. It was great I could look by walking back and forth to compare all of them almost side by side.

    Note my comments are on a REV from early 2015, I have not looked at one since then so I do not know if they have improved. I was not happy with the build quality of the unit I saw at the show and another one we looked at about 3 months later. The fit and finish was not quite as nice as Winnebago and the cabinets did not seem quite as solid. It had a rubber roof which gave me pause but did not disqualify it. Sonya leaned up against the bathroom wall and it gave. I thought they had some real nice A/V features but my opinion was that they need to put more emphasis the basic build and not so much on the bling. I know Dynamax builds top notch mega C motorhomes and this was just not up to their past standards.

    I thought that the LTV was best of the units from a build quality. You would pay for it but it was definitely a step up from Winnebago and two steps up from REV. Take a look at their cabinets and construction, you would be impressed. But I had some issues with fitting in the bed and I am only 6' tall. At the end of the trip to Tampa we were pretty much sold on the View 24v.

    We never found a View that we thought was for us. A year later the Fuse came out and we knew almost at first sight that was the one for us.

    We took 2 good years and figured out what was important to us and what was not. It took a lot of looking and research but I think it paid off in the end.

  8. One more thing. I am not an expert. This is our first RV of any sort and we looked for several years before we purchased it. Researched and talked to as many people as much as we could during that time. I now have 6 months under my belt so I am still a newbie. So take what I report understanding it comes from the eyes of someone who is just starting this journey.