In Depth Review of Leisure Travel Vans Unity 24IB


We got derailed on our recent RV trip and stuck in Oregon.  We took a day and drove to Portland to see the 2013 Unity 24IB by Leisure Travel Vans.  This coach is on our short list for our next RV, and I wanted to really review it thoroughly.  We met up with the good folks at Johnson RV in Sandy, OR, and they let me get as close of a look at the Unity as possible.  The only way I could get to know more about it would be to own one.

I came armed with a bicycle (had to find a spot to fit it!), tape measure, and a 47-point checklist of things I wanted to see.  I’ve attached the checklist at the bottom of this article, if you want my detailed notes.  I prepped for the visit by watching all the videos Leisure Travel Vans puts out, and even a few competitors videos.  All in all, I spent about two and a half hours crawling under, over, and inside this coach.  I am amazed and very appreciative that Johnson RV let me take this much time getting down and dirty with a brand new coach.

So how did we like it?

The Unity IB has kept its place on our short list.  There were a lot of things we liked, and a few that we didn’t.  You’ll have to watch the video or read the checklist to see them all.  I’ve come to realize that – unless I build it myself – no RV is going to be perfect for us right off the lot.  The LTV Unity comes close though, and would be a good fit for us.  Honestly, if my bike had fit in that large compartment in the back – I probably would have driven it off the lot.  But it didn’t, and it is a huge purchase for us.  So we rolled back to Medford to wait for our current RV to get repaired.

After we filmed this review, Leisure Travel Vans came out with some improvements for the 2014 models that address some of the items on our list.  For example, when solar panels are factory installed, the converter/charger setup likely changes a bit.  The batteries change to 6v golf cart batteries.  etc. etc. etc.  If you’re seriously considering a Unity, it’s worth it to check the LTV page for the 2014 updates.  You can find my checklist right below.  I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, post them here and I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.  Thanks for looking!

Unity checklist



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he's also an IT consultant.


    39 thoughts on “In Depth Review of Leisure Travel Vans Unity 24IB

    1. Mike B

      James,

      Great reviews, I’m really learning a lot.

      My wife and I are looking into class Bs for our family. We like the Unity corner bed with U shaped dining in the slide out.

      Thank you also for sharing the checklist. In my inexperience I wouldn’t even think to look or ask about some of that stuff. I plan on using it when we actually go to check out some vehicles. Question #24 reads: Verify if bathroom sink drains to black tank or not. If not, is there some way to fill black tank other than holding toilet open? My question for you is Why is it important to need to fill the black tank?

      Also, in almost all of the reviews and forums I’ve been reading it seems like everyone wants more battery power in almost all of the class Bs. Why is this? What would those other batteries run? I’m not a very handy guy so how easy is it to do and is it something I could ask to be included from the factory?

      Thanks,
      Mike

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hi Mike – Glad you’re finding the site useful. Now, about your questions:

        Regarding filling the black tank. It’s generally accepted wisdom that your black tank should be two thirds full or more when you dump it. I agree with this practice, but I’ve not done an experiment to test it out. Yet… Anyway, a fuller tank will have a greater fluid velocity when you start to empty it, and the theory is that this will help evacuate material from your black tank. So, if we want to dump and the tank isn’t very full, we’ll use the bathroom sink to fill the black tank to 80 or 90% before dumping. It’s clean, easy, convenient, and we don’t have to hold open a toilet and look down into a partially filled tank during the process.

        Battery capacity is always a good thing. When we first got Das Bus, we ran her out of battery capacity in one evening of dry camping watching TV and running the heater. Our fridge is also 12v only, so it’s important to us. You can spend as much as you want for batteries: lithium batteries, for example, can cost thousands. At the other end of the spectrum, a standard lead-acid battery can be pretty affordable. If it’s possible, I’d ask the manufacturer for the extra battery capacity. It would be easier for them to do while building. But it’s not impossible after the fact, it just takes some work. The batteries are generally pretty heavy, so you’ll want to consider the weight when you’re deciding where to put them.

        Hope this helps!

        Reply
      2. Mike B

        Thanks James,

        I have a couple more questions if that is OK? My wife and I seem to have settled on the Unity. I noticed that the 2015s come with a solar panel similar to the road trek trek series. Since the solar doesn’t power everything, is the Unity diesel and does that fuel run the generator or is there also a propane generator?

        Thanks
        Mike

        Reply
        1. James - Post author

          No problem, Mike. Here’s how it works.

          The Unity is built on a Mercedes Sprinter cut-away chassis. That Sprinter itself is Diesel. Leisure Travel Vans offers either a diesel or a propane generator on the Unity. Even if you get the diesel generator, you’ll still have a propane tank and system on board, which will power the cooktop, the furnace, and the refrigerator. I believe you could also opt to have no generator at all. If you were going to stay primarily in RV parks with hookups, that might work for you. If you want to run your microwave and hair dryer in the woods, you’ll need a generator. But any way you slice it, you’ll use both diesel and propane fuels.

          Hope that made sense!

    2. Rufus Thomas

      Hi James,
      Thanks so much for yours and Steph’ s excellent reviews of the Sprinter based Rvs that we’re so excited about. Can you tell me if the Leisure Travel Unity models have exterior connectors for low pressure propane so your could hook up a small gas grill outside? Also, do they have an exterior 110 outlet for TV or electric grill? Thanks!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hello! You’re in luck. If you check out the latest Leisure Travel Vans video, you’ll see that they’ve added a low pressure propane hookup for 2015. All of the Unity models also have a GFCI outlet outside (they call it “patio”). I believe the Twin Bed and the Island Bed models even have a removable TV in the bedroom that you can move outside – they’ve already pre-wired it for you (that may be an option – check with your dealer). So, YES to all of your questions!

        Reply
    3. jjva

      My wife and I are retired and plan to buy an RV in the next few months. After reading about how low the miles per gallon achieved by most class-A RVs is (6-9 mpg for some of the bigger rigs), I’ve been researchng the smaller RVs using the Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis with their six-cylinder diesel engine. Now, I’ve noticed that Mercedes Benz has recently introduced a new four-cylinder base engine for their Sprinters, in addition to the six-cylinder one. “(T)he 2014MY Sprinter now features a 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine as standard equipment. It produces 161 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque at 1,400-2,400 rpm.”http://blogs.cars.com/files/2014-sprinter—press-release.pdf.” It’s supposed to achieve at least 18% better mileage figures. Have you by chance communicated with the Leisure Van people as to whether they intend to offer this engine in any or all of their models? I like the idea that the Leisure Van people are Canadians and therefore are making units that, without huge modifications, can be used in cold climates. Thanks for your video. Now that I know about the two of you and have watched this video, I’m going to search to see what other videos, or check lists, you’ve produced.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I know the Leisure Vans crew has been experimenting with the four cylinder sprinter, and they’re offering it in the Free Spirit. I’ve driven one myself, and in a Class B, I don’t think there’s any reason to bother with the 6 cylinder.

        I think you’ll find more manufacturers eventually offering it in a class B. But I don’t foresee anyone offering it in a B+ (small C) motorhome. To be clear, I do think it would work just fine. Even the four cylinder has more power and torque than the first generation sprinters – and those old motorhomes work just fine. But there’s the perception that you need lots of extra power to haul the larger motorhome. For the way most people use their motorhomes, you really don’t, but it’s that whole “more power, bigger is better” mindset at work. Kind of like buying a 3/4 ton truck to haul a jet ski to the lake twice a year…

        You could always ask LTV if they would be willing to build up a unity on a 4 cylinder. They might do it, but they would have to order the chassis special. Personally, I’d love to see them offer it as an option. Maybe if they sense enough demand, they will.

        Reply
    4. frank Gochnour

      the leisure travel vans unity IB and unity tb motorhomes are on my wish list of the kind of motorhome that i would love to own. something small with no slide something bigger than a normal van but not as big as a class c or class a motorhome. i drove trucks when i was in the military but that was years ago. i’m in my mid 50’s and own a small car. just never wanted a motorhome until i saw the unity on the mercedes benz sprinter chassis this looks like something that i could drive and really love for the last vehicle purchase of my life well my retirement vehicle my retirement home.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        That’s my kind of thinking, Frank. Stef and I really like the smaller motorhomes. If you’ve got the time, and are serious about the LTV lineup, you should arrange a trip to the factory!

        Reply
    5. David & Kim

      Thanks very much for your review! We’re looking at a Unity now trying to decide between the TB (more storage) and the MB (larger lounge). Any thoughts on this?

      Also,we’d like to customize so we can be bullet proof to boondocks for 2-3 days. To do so we’d like to have more panels on the top, more batteries (upgraded as well) and a larger inverter (2000w). How difficult do you think this would be to accomplish if we hire an accomplished pro to do this? Thanks.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        David & Kim – I think you’ll find plenty of storage in either the MB or the TB. The MB does have the larger lounge, and feels very spacious. However, you will both be going to bed and getting up at the same time, whereas in the TB, you don’t have to since the living space is not obstructed by the beds. Also, in the MB, you can’t deploy the bed without deploying the streetside slide (although there is the daybed you can do with the slide in). The TB has no slide, so you could park most anywhere and sleep.
        Since you’re thinking of “bulletproof”, you may be interested to know that the fresh water tank on the MB is underneath the floor (meaning, outside). On the TB, it’s inside. I’m pretty sure I am remembering that correctly, but double check with LTV on that one if it matters to you.
        The mods you describe sound like things I would be comfortable doing myself, so if you’ve got a professional handling them for you, it should be very do-able. At worst, you might have to relocate a couple batteries to a storage compartment that you reinforce. And I believe the stock inverter works only on select circuits, so you may have to change that up a bit. But all the mods are very much possible.
        However, don’t take my word on these as gospel. Do contact the LTV crew before pulling the trigger for official answers. I’m excited for you, and hope you come back and let us know which one you wind up with.
        See you on the road!

        Reply
    6. Martie Weatherman

      Thank you for this detailed review. We are considering an RV and the Leisure came up early in our search. Having never owned an RV, (we did have a 24’ camper years ago), we are drawn to the Murphy Bed. Do you have any recommendations on this model, the shower is bigger in it and that is one item that we like. Also, it appears that the bed could remain made up and folded away for storage then folded out when ready for bed. We would also consider the Island Bed model. Do you advise towing a trailer with a car with this model? (Not sure if we would need it, though.) Just looking ahead for retirement use!

      p.s. Take a look at the KUAT bike racks, very spendy but worth every dime.
      They have build in locking system and you could consider covering your
      bikes and using a bungee cord to wrap them up. Best bike rack ever!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hey Martie – The Unity Murphy Bed is a great floor plan. It’s very spacious, and that is very appealing. Starting in 2014, the lounge in the MB can be made into a day bed. But to use the big bed, you’ll have to put the slide out. You’re right that you can leave the bed made up when you put it away – you can see the strap in the videos. Like everything in RVing, it’s a trade off. With the MB, you have a lot more room and a palatial bathroom, but you have to put the slide out to sleep 2, and you have to convert the space from lounge to bed. With the Island Bed, you have no slides, and a full-time bed (meaning everyone doesn’t have to go to bed and wake up at the same time), but with no slide, it doesn’t have as much space as the MB. It’s all about figuring out what’s important to you. You won’t go wrong with either model, they’re both built very well.
        As far as towing a car. They’re capable of it, but I don’t think I would need to. You could get a Unity most any place. And hooking up a tow vehicle just seems like a hassle to me – we break camp every day or every other day at the longest. That’s part of the appeal of the smaller motorhome – more mobility and fewer hassles! Hopefully, we’ll see you out on the road soon, which ever way you decide. Cheers!

        Reply
    7. John Daly

      I really enjoyed your review. My question as a first time RV’er would you recommend a gas or diesel model. I am not familiar with any mileage posted on the website?
      John

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hi John. This is a popular question, and usually, the recommendation is for the diesel. They last longer, pull harder, and get better mileage. In our Sprinter van for example, I get 20 mpg without even trying. However, diesels cost more up front.
        But if you’re a first time RVer, I think I would strongly consider a gas model. Here’s why: You’re’ going to learn a lot with your first RV – how you like to use it, what you MUST have, what you MUST avoid, features you want, etc. This means you’re probably going to trade up at some point early in your RV career. If you know a trade up is coming, you won’t need the longevity, and the extra up-front cost of a diesel might be money out the window. There are plenty of good models out there whichever way you decide. Thanks for reading!

        Reply
        1. John Daly

          Thanks for the feed back. I am actually thinking long term for the first one. As my wife and I are eager to retire and be on the road several moths out of the year and in the off time our children will probable use the RV. So I want to get one that will last for.
          But I will check out others as it is wise to review others to get a better perspective of whats available and so forth.
          Thanks again. John

      2. Judy

        Loved your video since I am trading my 2013 Class C Fleetwood Tioga Ranger for a 2014 Leisure Travel Unity with twin beds! Your comments were positive so that makes me feel good since I have not seen my unit yet. It is presently being built in Canada and I will pick it up in September in Davis, CA. You are so right in saying first timer RVers usually trade in a short time because they know what they need or do not need. I found that bunks in my unit were a complete waste of space as was the bed over the cabin so I am downsizing to the Unity, thinking it will give me more mobility with the shorter length plus I realize I don’t need the extra living area since I am solo. Great video and I appreciate your comments. I think I am going to love the 2014 Unity!

        Reply
        1. James - Post author

          Judy – we’re excited for you! As a solo RVer, you won’t miss that extra space, and the quality of the LTV unit is something you’ll appreciate over the long haul. Hope to see you out on the road in your new Unity!

    8. Michael Wyatt

      Just wondering if you have purchased a Unity? If so, how is the refrigerator working for you. I have read a lot of horror stories about that particular single door refer.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Unfortunately, no. We’re still rolling in Das Bus, and haven’t picked up a Unity… (yet?) I don’t have any particular knowledge of that refrigerator. What sort of problems are you hearing about? With the propane operation? Electric? Both? Do tell!

        Reply
    9. gregory

      why didnt you remove the bike seat post,that looks like 5 in to me..ill bet the bike would fit w/o the seat post….i have a folding swiss-bike mountain bike,based on the video you did,i know it will fit…i love my swiss -bike…it rolls so easy and rides so nice,all it needs is the right rv..im leaning towards liesure travel because they insulate all their rigs incredibly well,for both cold and hot wx…

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hey Gregory – There are a few reasons I didn’t remove the seatpost. First – our bikes are racing bikes. We’ve actually had bike fittings done and paid folks money to adjust the seat and other aspects of the bike to exact millimeters, etc. One of my bikes has even been into the wind tunnel to get it adjusted. I don’t want to take a chance messing that up. The other reason is that the bikes are made of carbon fiber, and to adjust or re-secure the seat post, you need a special assembly paste (with grit in it) and a torque wrench. When I’m running late on race-day morning, I don’t want to set myself up for any extra hassles.

        Having said that – I realize that for most people, these kinds of restrictions don’t apply. So you’re most likely correct. However, they’ve made that compartment smaller in the 2014 models! Check out the new video on the home page.

        I’ll have to keep a lookout for the Jayco Melbourne. Thanks for the request!

        Reply
    10. Asage

      Great , thorough , helpful video of the Unity IB. Just wondering why you wouldn’t put your bike on a bike rack using the hitch?

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, we could put them on a hitch mount rack…
        But they’re high end racing bikes. They’re rather expensive, and we usually travel with two. Not the kind of thing I want to leave out in the elements, road grime, potential theft, etc. etc.

        Reply
    11. Tom Boles

      Hi, thanks for the review! Coming from a couple of folks who actually have a B on the MB Sprinter and have done a fair amount of work on theirs, your review is a breath of fresh air.
      So, I noticed your comment on the absence of the “Crazy Table” and wonder if you’d say more? It *seems* like a good idea from Dean’s breathless clips…
      The shot of the two round legs rolling on the floor and then carrying the table through the coach from the under the table storage was worth a thousand words. Pre kids, we were week-end sailors and always hated having to erect the bed in the salon from bits and chunks, so our RV’ing started with a tent trailer with two always up beds and we never looked back.
      Also, do you think you could make the corner bed work for you? If the inside sleeper needs to get up iin the middle of the night it could be a much bigger production than it really should be, for everyone’s sake…

      Thanks again for your reviews!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Yes, the “Crazy Table” (like the one in the Serenity) is something we talked about with Dean at the Pomona show. I can tell you that they make the mechanism in-house at LTV. As a woodworker, that table intrigues me. Funny you should mention the Corner Bed model – they made a change to that for 2014 as well that is making me consider it. I’ll put the Leisure Travel Vans video up this week. (that’s my goal anyway…)

        Reply
    12. John Phetteplace

      I have been doing my homework for a couple years to replace my truckcamper with the best class B under 10′ height. I believe I found it in the liesure travel Libero. Correct me if I am wrong.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        The Libero and the Serenity are basically similar coaches. I think they actually do a few more things with the Libero to make it more cold-hardy. Stef and I have been looking mostly at Mercedes Benz diesel RVs, so we’ve not looked at the Libero in depth. But I have seen a Serenity up close. It’s even nicer than the Unity that I reviewed here. And if you want to stay around ten feet tall, Leisure Travel Vans may be the only game in town.

        The quality of the LTV units is top-notch – but you’ll pay for what you get. If the Libero is anything as nice as the Serenity (and I’m sure it is), you’ve made an excellent choice.

        Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Thanks! Other motorhomes we’re thinking about are the Tioga DSL, and perhaps something like the Thor Citation Sprinter. We really like the mileage in the Sprinter RVs, so that’s what we’re concentrating on.

        Reply
        1. Mike Smith

          First, I was able to speak directly with manufacturer by email to all my questions like a double rear tv for the TB model along with added mirror for the IB model to open up the rear since no rear window. I even was told they custom change the paint to your preference for $1,000.00 which was reasonable. The 2014 Unity receives many changes and lots of better sizes for the TV’s etc. The IB model receives a lower bed, especially since the ceiling is lower! For this price point its on my short list only compared to Pleasure Way Pursuit (2014) and Phoenix Cruisers which BUILDS to your EXACT preference and includes ANYTHING you want. If you want a 4×4 RV Tiger Adventure vehicles has two excellent models (siberian) love it! better build than Earth Roamers at half the price! Phoenix Cruisers also does 4×4 RV too. If you want an after market 4×4 rv Quadvan and Quiggly both do EXCELLENT conversions which can include hidden winches and recessed 6 inch fog driving lights etc. With economy MSRP of $110,00 is currently selling for $80,000.00 out the door pricing for PURSUIT (check the internet) without specialized options!

        2. James - Post author

          Whoa! Lots of good information there Mike, thanks. I’ve also been looking at Coach House, but I think I may need to take a look at Phoenix as well. I’ll post a revised short list soon. Those Tiger rigs are nice, for sure. Now I just need to win the lottery so we can afford one. Thanks for the info. Cheers!

        3. Rhonda

          I am a single middle-age woman who is strongly considering buying a Class B motorhome, and I’ve narrowed my search to those in the “Sprinter family.” The fit and finish issues are very important to me because I don’t want to be back and forth to a dealership getting small annoyances fixed. I am interested in the Thor model, but in reading the user’s forum, it seems like people are so frustrated with the quality of the workmanship. In your opinion, which of the Sprinter units do you think is put together the best?

        4. James - Post author

          Well, I certainly can’t claim to have seen ALL of the Sprinter based RVs. But the ones I have reviewed on this site, I have seen in person, and they’re generally well made. I particularly like Leisure Travel Vans because they do some neat things with their cabinetry that I know from experience take a great deal of care (laminating a reverse curved cabinet front, for example, is very time consuming). But other makers also put out a quality product. I’ve not yet reviewed a PleasureWay in person, for example, but their quality is also reputed to be extremely good.

          If you’re looking at a Class B and you want quality, I would limit my search to those manufacturers that specialize in class Bs, rather than include ones who also make Class A’s, Class C’s, etc. Those manufacturers might also happen to make a Sprinter based B, and it may be a good product, but it’s just a small part of what they do. I’d feel better checking out the Sprinter specialists.

          I know that’s not a single-name recommendation, but it should help narrow your field down. Thanks for reading!

    13. Geri

      James
      Thanks so much for your in depth review.
      I’m curious what you use in place of the front curtains and where to obtain them.
      We’re looking forward to the MB model once our property sells in the Methow Valley.
      Geri

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hi Geri – Glad you liked the review!
        We use a set of pleated shades in place of the curtains. They fold up into the window pillars when not in use, so there’s nothing to store. You can see them on our Sprinter (sadly, not a Unity) here. It’s about three-quarters of the way down the page.

        I bought them from eurocampers.com. They were a bit spendy, but it’s been nice having them. Here’s a link to the product page where I ordered them.

        Envious of your soon-to-be new MB!

        Reply

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