Friday, December 15, 2017

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse Review

2018 Winnebago Fuse 23T

I was able to take a look at the new 2018.5 Winnebago Fuse.  Both the 23A and 23T versions.   They were debuted at the RVIA show in Louisville and then moved down to LazyDays RV in Tampa for the SuperShow happening at the Florida State Fairgrounds in early January.

First things first.  If you have never been to LazyDays in Tampa, go!  They have a stellar facility and it is an experience just to visit.

Now for my perspective.  I have a 2017 Fuse 23A.  A very early 2017 23A, one of the first.  I am going to wind up comparing the 2018.5 to my 2017.   There have been changes in the 2017.5 and 2018 models, but from what I have seen they were mostly refinements.  The 2018.5 makes serious changes to an already good motorhome.  If some of these changes were on the 17.5 or 18 forgive me for pointing them out.


2018.5 Winnebago Fuse

The first thing I noticed looking at the 2018.5 Fuse is the color.  It is now a Dark Grey and White.  The pattern is called Winter Gray.  Color is a personal thing.  I don't discuss color much, but it looks reasonably sharp.

As I walked around the unit I saw several differences:

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse hatch

On the 23A the passenger side access panel for the batteries and LP have been combined into one long access panel.   I like this better.  The larger opening makes it much easier to get to the LP and batteries.  You no longer have to navigate through the 2 small access hatches.  I am sure it also makes the manufacturing process easier.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse battery compartment 23a
Group 24 Batteries - Fuse 24A
2018.5 Winnebago Fuse battery compartment 23T
Group 31 Batteries - Fuse 23T
The battery bracket inside the hatch also appears to be new.  It is designed to hold 2 batteries (Winnebago has made 2 batteries standard now) just like the last bracket.   The new part is that is is sized to hold Group 24, Group 27 or Group 31 batteries.  With AGM group 31 batteries you can have 250 amp hours of capacity if you choose.  They are shipping standard wth group 24 wet cell batteries for 160 amp hours of storage.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse zamp solar controller

Speaking of power, the Fuse also comes with 200w of solar now.  Still uses the same Zamp solar controller which is a nice controller.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23a storage compartment2018.5 Winnebago Fuse winter flush

On the 23A and T the winterization valves and the slide controller (both located in the upper rear storage bay on the 23A) are now well labeled.  Making things easily identifiable is one thing I really appreciate since it helps with all of the general maintenance tasks.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 12018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 2

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 32018.5 Winnebago Fuse bike rack 4

The bike rack is new.  It is a summit bike rack that was discussed on this post.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse license tag

The license plate holder has been moved up from the bumper and is much better illuminated.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse black tank flush

The black tank flush and city water connections have been moved up some and the black tank flush is now on top.  This is good since on my fuse the septic system cover can not be locked open when you have a hose connected to the black tank flush.
2018.5 Winnebago Fuse slope

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 12018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 2

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 32018.5 Winnebago Fuse rear slope 4

The biggest change on the exterior is that Winnebago sloped off the rear end.  This is a big, big deal.  The Fuse is a low rider.  One of the reasons I like my Fuse is that it is close to the ground and easy to get in and out of.  Well several of us have managed to scrap our rear ends going up steep driveways or getting onto crowned roads.   Well Winnebago sloped up the rear end.  Starting from about 4 feet from the rear, Winnebago sloped the rear end up 2".  On the 23A that means it goes from a 12" clearance to a 14" clearance at the rear bumper.  On the 23T it went from 11" to 13".  A good improvement.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse stair height

The stairs have also been a point of concern as they are low as well.   In this picture of the 23A stairs you can see the body is at 11".

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse aluminum wheels

Both units I saw had the optional aluminum wheels.  In addition to just looking nice, since they do not use the wheel simulators that the standard Fuse has, checking the air on the outside tires should be much easier.

The floorpans are the same.  I have not noticed any changes.

One of the main changes to Fuse for 2018.5 is a new compressor refrigerator.   They are different units on the 23A and 23T, but both are from Nova Kool.   On the 23A it is the model RFU6209 DC.  On the 23T it is the model DE0061R.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator control

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T freezer2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23T refrigerator open

The model DE0061R on the 23T looks like a normal everyday refrigerator.  Freezer on top, refrigerator on bottom.  It runs on 12 or 110v automatically switching as necessary.  It is nice and large

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A refrigerator open2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 23A freezer

The Fuse 23A has a Nova Kool model RFU6209 DC.   This one appears to be 12v only.  Not sure this really matters since if you are plugged into 110v current, the converter in the Fuse will convert to 12v anyhow simplifying everything.   The different thing about this refrigerator is that the freezer is on bottom instead of on top.  Why would Winnebago do this?  Easy, with the 23A drivers side bed extension out for a tall person the refrigerator door is blocked.  By putting the freezer on bottom, the bed can be made out and you can still have access to the refrigerator.   A pretty decent design tradeoff if you ask me.

Why is a compressor refrigerator such a big deal? Well a compressor refrigerator is the same type as you have at your house.  Most RV refrigerators, including the ones in previous Fuses are absorption refrigerators.  They can be powered by electricity or LP gas which is a big plus.  They use ammonia as the refrigerant and have to be level to operate. If you are not reasonably level they will not work and eventually will break. The compressor refrigerator can operate at pretty much any angle but they only work off of electricity.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse inverter control

Another thing that is now available on both Fuse models is an inverter. It is a 1000w Magnum pure sine wave inverter.  The plugs next to the TVs are connected to the inverter in addition to a separate plug next to the bed(s).

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse usb plug2018.5 Winnebago Fuse 12v plug

Another feature that Winnebago has added is 12v outlets next to each of the USB outlets.  This is a nice feature especially if you have a CPAP machine or have other devices that will work off of a cigarette lighter plug.  You could even recharge your laptop without having to use the inverter (not the most efficient way) or turning on the generator (even less efficient).

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bathroom fan2018.5 Winnebago Fuse bathroom fan blades

The exhaust fan in the bathroom appears to be slightly different. It is probably just a newer model but it was quieter than mine.

2018.5 Winnebago Fuse Window panel

One other point of confusion I will clarify is the privacy shades/panels for the cab windows.  The new brochure called them shades.  All Winnebago did was change the description.  They are still the same panels that have been supplied since the first Fuse.  I found them in the closet and they were definitely the same as mine.


  1. So if I'm understanding this correctly the new refrigerators will not work while dry camping? Or do they run off the battery? If off the battery wouldn't they kill it pretty quickly?

    1. They will work fine dry camping. The new compressor refrigerators run off of the batteries. They really don't use that much power. Winnebago has first of all made 2 batteries standard on the 2018.5 Fuse. They also have made 2 100w solar panels standard as well. This should be more than enough to keep the refrigerator running unless you just have several really cloudy/dark days. If that happens you can just run the generator, plug in or drive around for an hour and the batteries will get recharged. If you are really concerned the battery tray is now large enough to take group 31 batteries that hold more amp hours. I hope Winnebago makes the bigger batteries an option in the future. Not sure I would nee them but I always want as much power reserve as I can get.

  2. I have a Travato K that uses a compressor fridge from NOVAKOOL. It is extremely efficient and only runs when it needs to so is a slow drain on the batteries. We have 100W of solar and have dry camped for days with no issues. The batteries recharge as you drive and since most people would not have a toad with this (or the travato) as you go about your day you are charging the batteris up. If you are camping and not moving, as stated easily running the genny or just idling the engine for a bit will charge the batteries enough with he solar. IM very happy that they are going to compressor fridges, so much easier than the other style that could really be a PITA to run on propane. (not to mention recharging the battery is free, and no need to use paid propane for the fridge). Note the Travato Uses AGM batteries.