When it comes to buying RVs, a lot of RVers debate between Wonder vs Unity. Both of these Class C motorhomes are from Leisure Travel Vans. We've owned both. Here's a head-to-head comparison!
First, let me say we've had six RVs – including a Unity model – built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Cab Chassis. They are rugged, reliable, and make an excellent van or chassis to be outfitted and used as an RV. We truly have loved our Sprinters. We may get another someday.
But when it came time to get a new RV earlier this year (we like to swap out RVs every year or two so we have experience with different brands and chassis), we ordered a 2020 Leisure Travel Vans Wonder Rear Twin Bed model built on the 178-in Ford Transit cutaway chassis. Technically, it's a class C though it's marketed as a Class B+ motorhome.
In short, we're well-qualified to help you understand the difference between the two so let's get started!
Dimensions Wonder vs Unity
Let's start with a side-by-side comparison of some spec sheet stats:
|GVWR||11,000 lbs.||11,030 lbs.|
|Fresh Water Capacity||33.5 – 36.5 Gal.*||25.6 – 36.5 Gal.*|
|Grey Holding Tank Capacity||26.4 – 35 Gal.*||35 Gal.|
|Black Holding Tank Capacity||26.4 – 35 Gal.*||30.6 Gal.|
|Fuel Capacity||25 Gal.||24.5 Gal.|
|Propane Capacity||13.2 Gal||15.8 Gal.|
|Exterior Storage Capacity||15 cu. ft – 67 cu. ft.*||30 cu. ft. – 63 cu. ft.*|
|Source: Leisure Travel Vans
*Varies by model
Chassis Wonder vs Unity
For the Unity, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Cab Chassis provides unprecedented levels of luxury, comfort, and safety. With its 3L V6 BlueTEC diesel engine under the hood, LTV says you'll enjoy a smooth yet powerful ride with class-leading fuel economy estimated at 16-18 mpg.
The Unity also comes standard with the all-new MBUX multimedia system with a 10.25″ touchscreen, heated and electric driver and passenger seats, Traffic Sign Assist, Attention Assist, cruise control with Active Distance Assist Distronic, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and more. See the full list of Sprinter upgrades.
The Wonder is powered by the Ford Transit — a powerful twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6 gas engine and LTV’s first-ever offering of optional intelligent all-wheel-drive that the company says is sure to “open up new possibilities to Wonder drivers.”
Here's the most recent tour we did of our Wonder RTB model
Features such as advanced driver-assist technology, auto start-stop, and electric power-assisted steering make driving the Wonder a pleasure. The new Ford Transit also includes many notable safety features, including Forward Collision Warning, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Post-Collison Braking, Lane-Keeping System, Side Wind Stabilization, and much more.
Gas vs Diesel, Wonder vs Unity
As noted, the Sprinter-based Unity runs on diesel while the Transit-based Wonder is gas-powered.
I have been pleased with the gas-powered Wonder for numerous reasons:
- Gas prices are reasonable and currently better than diesel.
- Owners can opt for higher octane gas (I go with 89 octane on hard-driving trips).
- Gas is easier to find
Additionally, the diesel sensors and related technology on Sprinters can be costly to fix. And while I generally found the Mercedes warranty to be excellent, diesel engines are by nature more expensive to repair. There's also Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). My Sprinters needed a jug or two every 4,000-6,o00 miles, at about $20 a fill-up. I won't need that with the Transit.
The biggest downside to gas?
Mileage is not as good. On our first tank of gas, driving about 300 miles, I averaged 12.3 mpg in the Wonder. After 5,000 miles, the mileage on the Transit based Wonder is 12.7 mpg. My Sprinter-based Unity typically for 14.5-15 mpg of diesel. Cost-wise, because gas is cheaper, it's a wash. And 2 or 3 mpg less is no big deal to me.
Service and maintenance Wonder vs Unity
It's no secret that Mercedes Benz and Sprinter maintenance is expensive. Parts and service cost more. One reason is that all the Sprinter parts are made in Germany. True, they're now building the Sprinter in the U.S., but most of their parts come from a long way away and are at premium costs.
Another issue is service centers. There just are not that many places where Sprinters can be serviced. Many Mercedes dealers flat out refuse to service them. Sprinter repair facilities can be hard to find. On a couple of occasions over the years, we had to drive several hundred miles out of our way to get the necessary service on the road for our Sprinters.
Parts and labor are cheaper with the Wonder.
With Ford, there's a dealer in just about every town. And while not all Ford dealers service the Transit, there are many more Transit service shops than Sprinter service shops.
There is some anecdotal evidence I've recently heard from Wonder owners that getting Transit service may not be as easy as one might assume, even with Ford dealerships in or near just about every town in America.
However, those were issues we also had with the Sprinter. I guess I'll soon find out whether they also hold true for the Transit, though calls to a couple of Michigan dealers near me seem to indicate I'll have no problems. If this changes, I'll be sure to let you know.
Quality of Ride Wonder vs Unity
That was the first thing we noticed with our new Wonder: How quiet and smooth it was to ride in. All six of our previous Sprinter RVs rode much rougher. Some were better. Some, like the 4WD one, was worse. But all of the Sprinters had more of a truck-like ride.
The Wonder, as I said, feels more like a car. Or SUV. Not completely. But mostly.
Our Sprinters were also noisy. So noisy sometimes we could hardly record useable audio for our videos as we were driving down the road at high speeds. Wind noise. Tire noise.
Maybe because the Transit is not quite so high as the Sprinter, we find it considerably quieter. We are able to more easily carry on a conversation, especially when videoing. Don't get me wrong. The Sprinter is generally comfortable and pleasant to drive. But I'd be less than honest if I didn't point out the cab noise.
Last year when we borrowed an LTV Wonder for a 2,000-mile test ride for a review we immediately noticed the quieter, smoother ride. This new one is even better.
Here's the video review we did on the 2019 Wonder we tested out on a 2,000-mile trip last year:
Acceleration Wonder vs Unity
As mentioned above where we talked about AWD, the transit is quick off the stop. At least quick when compared to the diesel Sprinter. True, the Sprinter has more sheer pulling power. But it is ponderous when taking off from a dead stop.
The Transit let me quickly accelerate and merge into heavy interstate traffic (sometimes a bit of a challenge for the Sprinter) and at stoplights, it never brings frustrated honks from the line of vehicles behind.
Our Transit has a turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 engine that generates 310 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
A Car and Driver review tested a Transit engine like ours doing 0 to 60 mpg in 6,8 seconds. A 2019 Sprinter like we had does the same 0 to 60 in 11.3 seconds.
Both the Sprinter Unity and the Transit Wonder models have some 11,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating. The Unity could tow 5,000 pounds. We can only tow 2,000 pounds with our Transit RTB model. Other Transit LTV Wonder floor plans can tow 3,000 pounds. Our Wonder is less because of the extra 500 pounds of storage that can be loaded in the rear garage of the Wonder twin bed model.
I think the peppier acceleration makes up for the lower towing capacity.
Exterior Design Wonder vs Unity
The Unity is available in eight stunning, European-inspired full-body paint options. Each Unity is painted using LTV's five-coat process, and the company says this will help your vehicle “look great for years to come.
The Wonder's stylish interior is matched by its sleek exterior featuring contoured sidewalls, a fiberglass flex roof, and aerodynamic, integrated front and rear fiberglass caps. The Wonder also is painted using LTV's five-coat process.
Interior Wonder vs Unity
The Unity is available in five floorplans.
The Wonder is available in four floorplans.
We love the Wonder floor plan with the rear twin beds. The rear twin beds are always made up. When it's time to stop, there's nothing that has to be set up or pulled down when it's time to turn in, as we did with the Murphy Bed on the Sprinter-based Unity.
Those Wonder twin beds can easily be pushed together to make a Queen-sized bed, too.
And one more thing that the Wonder had that we really wanted: A garage.
This was a big factor in our choosing the Transit vs Sprinter – the pass-through rear garage on the Wonder that can hold two bicycles
A massive pass-through rear storage bay can hold two bikes, full-sized lawn chairs, and lots more gear. And inside, just beneath both of the beds, is a cavernous storage area that serves as a hanging wardrobe and storage area.
Price Wonder vs Unity
The Unity ranges in price from $138,460 to $143,725.
The Wonder ranges in price from $119,210 to $130,000.
That's a big deal for anyone interested in lower-cost options.
We spent a long time on a recent Ask Us Anything live stream on our RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube talking about our new Wonder and even showing a video tour of the interior features. If you'd like to check that out, click the play arrow below.
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