There's so much to see on our new Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RV on the 2020 Ford Transit cutaway chassis that we had to make a Part 2, this one concentrating on the redesigned cab, safety features and some of the options we've installed.
The Leisure Travel Vans Wonder model that we just bought (June 24, 2021) is the Rear Twin Bed Model. Over the past month, we've spent a lot of time getting familiar with it and customizing it with some of the accessories we like. We're far from done but thought you might like this second part of our review, concentrating mostly on the redesigned 2020 Ford Transit cab, it's safety features, and what extras we've installed.
(Keep reading… we'll share links to the extras we installed further down in this article)
For this article and our video review of the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB on the Ford Transit chassis I also asked Jennifer to get behind the wheel and offer her thoughts. She talks at length about them in the video.
First, in case you missed part one:
- CLICK HERE to see Part One of our Review of the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB on the Ford Transit chassis.
- CLICK HERE to see Part One of our YouTube video review of the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB on the Ford Transit chassis.
Part one consisted of our review and reveal of the exterior and interior features of the Wonder.
Our Part 2 video review picks where that one left off. And this article will amplify on what we show in Part 2 with links and more info on the initial accessories we've added, as well as Jennifer's thoughts.
Here's the Part 2 video of our review of the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB on the Ford Transit chassis.
The Leisure Travel Vans Wonder is on the Ford Transit Cutaway Chassis
Let's talk for a minute about the Ford Transit. You no doubt have seen many of the Transit vans on the street. They have become one of the best selling utility vans in North America. RV manufacturers are also discovering them, buying the chassis, and then upfitting them with galleys, bathrooms, and sleeping quarters.
The ones that use the traditional Transit van bodies are categorized as Class B RVs. The RV maker gets an empty panel van and customizes it, constrained by the existing panel walls of the van.
The Ford Transit chassis we have is what is known as a cutaway chassis. It consists of the Ford Transit engine and cab and the skeleton rails and wheels that make up the rest of the vehicle. There are no walls or panels built on. It's shipped to the RV manufacturers as a cutaway chassis and they then build the motorhome area as a separate box that they then securely attach to the cutaway chassis.
RVs built on the cutaway chassis are officially designated by the industry as Class C RVs, though you may hear some models like the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder referred to as a Class B Plus because they are a bit sleeker looking and don't have the traditional cabover bed section that sits atop the cab of the motorhome on the conventional Class C.
Okay. Now, what's to like about the Ford Transit cutaway chassis that our new Leisure Travel Vans Wonder RTB is built on?
The Ford Transit Cutaway Chassis has been upgraded and redesigned and we've added some of our own extras!
For one thing, the dash has been completely redesigned. There's an awesome 8-inch touch screen that controls the entertainment system and Ford's Sync 3 navigation system. As I showed in the video, I use my Apple iPhone and the Apple Car Play function built into the Ford entertainment system.
The first accessory I showed in the video is the Weathertech Cup Phone holder for my iPhone. It sits in a cup holder that Ford placed to the left of the steering wheel. I connect my phone to a USB jack recessed into the top of the dash and then use the Ford Transit's Apple Play feature to run all my phone apps through the entertainment system. Here's my Amazon affiliate link for the cup holder, which costs $52 and comes in various sizes that will fit just about any cup holder you have in any vehicle – https://amzn.to/2OSXnzZ
As I show in the video, I use the Waze app for navigation almost exclusively. I also use my Apple Podcast app to listen to podcasts and the iHeartRadio app to tune into my favorite radio stations from wherever I am in the country.
The cup holder is a pretty simple little extra but it really makes things convenient for me.
The next extra we added is a bit more involved. It's an always-on rear-facing outside camera and a dedicated 7-inch video monitor installed at the top and the center of the windshield.
We had such a system in our previous RV and before we took possession of our new one, we asked our dealer – Holland Motorhomes in Holland, MI – to install a similar system in our new Leisure Travel Vans Wonder on the Ford Transit chassis. They mounted the camera on the top back of the RV and the monitor at the top of the windshield right behind the cover for the Transit's forward-facing crash detection system.
The monitor we bought is the Voyager VOM18 7-inch display. You can see it on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2ZXf7k5.
The camera we had mounted is the Voyager VCMS17B Super CMOS Color Rear Mount Observation Camera with LED Low-Light Assist available at https://amzn.to/32Tqpb2
We chose a wired system rather than a wireless system. Wireless systems like this are probably fine and are usually less costly (because installation is something you can do yourself), but we chose to have a wired system installed by the dealer to minimize the problem of interference, which wireless cameras and monitors can be subject to.
The monitor cost about $415. The camera $125. The dealer charged their hourly shop rate to install it, which took about three hours.
Frankly, I didn't shop around for this very much. The dealer had this system in stock in their parts store and that was good enough for me. They did a super good job installing it and having that camera always on giving us a wide and clear view of what's behind us is – in our opinion – a necessary safety feature very much worth the investment. The Transit cutaway does have a rearview camera but it is only activated when in reverse.
There is another camera we added to the cab of our new Leisure Travel Vans Wonder on the Ford Transits cutaway chassis – a dashcam. I bought the same system I had put on our previous RV – the Blackvue DR 9005 2 Ch dashcam system. It sells for $413. Here's an Amazon link – https://amzn.to/2ZXCUQQ
Again, you can find a lot less expensive dashcam systems that do a fine job.
I chose this system because of my previous experience with it and the excellent video the two cameras provide (it's called a 2 Channel system because it has two cameras that record simultaneously). The high definition images of the cameras are astounding. One is facing front to record what we see out the windshield. The smaller camera faces back towards us so we can capture our perspective. The system records audio (which you can disable), can save the video to the cloud as well as a mini SD card, and is a regular part of our Vlogging geat,
It's wired into a 12-volt outlet in the recessed area of the Ford Transit dashboard and automatically turns on and starts recording as soon as I start the engine.
As I said, you can get much more affordable dashcams. We use ours for the video quality Blakvue is known for,
The one other accessory I showed in our YouTube video is another camera, the new GoPro Hero 8 Black, with the media mod that offers a built-in high-quality shotgun microphone. We love GoPro cameras and use them all the time in our videos.
This one is mounted on the dash and is used to record Jennifer and I as we do our video standups. I know a lot of you do this, too, so we thought we'd show you what we are now using. The camera costs $399 and we bought it with the accessories in this Amazon link – https://amzn.to/32PLXoQ
The media mod is $79 and is available at https://amzn.to/2OW5Fao
If you are interested in more of the gear we use in producing our videos and our RV Lifestyle Travel Blog Reports, check out this article we wrote a few weeks ago on the best new gadgets and gizmos for vlogging.
The YouTube video that accompanies this article goes over some of the nice changes and upgrades to the Ford Transit, The redesigned dash is impressive, as is the ability of both the front and passenger seats on the Wonder to fully swivel around. In previous Transit models, only the passenger seat could swivel. Now both do.
Notable safety and security features include an anti-theft system with engine immobilization, a lane-keeping system, pre-collision assist with automatic braking, tire pressure monitoring system, side wind stabilization, electric power-assist steering, auto start-stop technology, and a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Our Wonder also has Ford's optional Intelligent-All-Wheel-Drive feature, new this year for Leisure Travel Vans.
The video also features Jennifer driving our Wonder.
Her conclusion: It just might be the easiest RV we have ever driven, quiet, stable and so comfortable to operate it feels like you are in a high-end SUV.
I know a lot of you are curious about how much the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder on the Ford Transit chassis costs. It starts at $119,210.You can price out one with the options you'd like at https://leisurevans.com/build/wonder/
We've only had this unit for a month now and we have lots of other things we want to add. But first, we're ready to set off on some camping adventures.
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