Coachmen Orion – Now on the Ford Transit – Our Quick Review


The Coachmen Orion has been around for a while now, but when we saw this one at the Pomona RV show last fall, we had to take a closer look.  You see, if you search the internet for “Coachmen Orion”, you’ll find hundreds of pictures and RVs for sale.  But this small Class C (or call it a B+ if you want to) has previously been built on the Ram ProMaster chassis, and that’s all you’ll find online – even on Coachmen’s own website!

So to see one built on a Ford Transit was a bit unusual.  I actually called Coachmen before putting this footage together, and they assured me that the Ford Transit build was no fluke.  In fact, that’s all they’re building any more.  So, what you see here represents the future of the Orion model.  The model we looked at was the T24RB.

 

It was too miserably hot to go into a really detailed review.  At 110 degrees, I had no interest in crawling on asphalt underneath RVs!  But from what we saw, the Orion looked like a decent option for those looking to get into a small Class C RV with good gas mileage at a lower price.  At the prices they’re asking for the Orion, you won’t find lithium batteries, tankless water heaters, and china toilets, but you will find proven RV systems and appliances, and plenty of space to spread out without resorting to slides.

One final thought on the Orion, and it has to do with towing.  Basically, you can’t.  But what’s unique about the Orion is that Coachmen doesn’t try to hide that from you.  Their rear receiver is clearly labeled for bikes and luggage racks only.  Some might consider that a negative, but I don’t.  I’ve seen many RVs out there where they put a 5000 pound hitch on a vehicle that is already close to chassis weight limits from the factory.  The hitch gives the impression that you can tow up to 5000 pounds – but you really shouldn’t if you want to be safe.  So, in this case, I think it’s a good thing that Coachmen has only given the capability to tow what the chassis can safely handle.

 



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 works for a large IT company.


    21 thoughts on “Coachmen Orion – Now on the Ford Transit – Our Quick Review

      1. Teresa

        I just bought one, first thing, the tires are too small and trying to go with taller ones, mpg, I am getting 15 -16 and up on freeway.
        also had issues with the exhaust hanging lower then skid plates in back, other then that, it drives like a dream, and I’ve drove for a living 12 years in San Francisco, CA

        Reply
    1. Lisa K

      Would love to get your opinion(s)! Dynamax REV 24RB on the Promaster or the Coachmen Orion T24RB on the Ford transit? I favor the REV but my biggest concern is the single rear wheels. And, do you think it’s possible to put in larger holding tanks? Thanks for all the great videos! 🙂

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Well, bear in mind that we’ve never driven either of these rigs…
        But having said that, we really like our ProMaster chassis. The front-wheel-drive-in-an-RV thing is something you just need to experience. I wouldn’t worry too much about the single rear wheels (though it does look funny when they sit way underneath).
        I’d have to drive them one-after-the-other to give you a real opinion though.

        Reply
      2. Stefany

        Hi Lisa! I wouldn’t count on changing out the holding tanks to larger ones. That would be a huge costly undertaking. And James is right, the driving experience is everything when deciding on an RV! If you can, do a good long thorough test-drive of each. I bet after you do that, you’ll know which one is right for you. Best of luck in your RV hunt! Keep us posted! xoxo

        Reply
    2. Sandy and Allen Emert

      So glad I found you. My husband and I are now retired and selling the house to go full time rv’g. Just saw a Leisure van today on the road and was glad to read your review on it. We will have to live whatever comes with the van since we are not as talented as you with how you changed the Winnabago. We are getting very excited about traveling but are now very confused in what to purchase. It will be a class b plus or a small C. My husband would never be able to drive the big rigs. I will keep reading your blogs with hopes we pick what us right for us. Thanks

      Reply
    3. Tom Hawk

      James, do you think Coachmen Orion RB with drop down bed will be built soon on diesel Ford Transit with dual rear wheels? I like the interior space on this floor plan without the need for a slide. Since Compass and Fuse models came out, I expected more floor plans with the diesel dually Ford Tramsit from various manufacturers. Finally, does diesel Trnasit have more than 2000# hitch? Thanks.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I can’t speak for Coachmen’s future product plans, but here are some things to think about:
        The video already shows the dually chassis with the RB floor plan. So you’re probably just interested in the diesel.
        The GVWR is the same for all the engine varieties of the Transit (http://www.ford.com/commercial-trucks/transitcommercial/specifications/).
        So changing from gas to diesel won’t affect the towing capacity.
        The Transit has less GVWR than Sprinter chassis – and I don’t think that’s going to change.
        I appreciate Coachmen ‘s honesty in not putting a huge hitch on the Orion to make you think you can tow more than is safe.

        I’ve heard that there are a few reasons that the Transit chassis hasn’t taken off.
        The lack of factory swivel seats is one. That annoying doghouse that makes it so you can’t get up and go to the back is another.
        Ford knows these are issues for RV upfitters. They may choose to address these in future years of the Transit, and maybe you’ll see it take off then.

        Reply
    4. BobB

      Stove vent hood with outside exhaust! That should be a standard on RV’s! Hope we see more of those, especially on Class B’s where space is tight anyway and it would be nice to exhaust cooking odors for better air quality. I know they have a ceiling vent, but venting at the source just works better. IMO

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        I actually didn’t check, but you’re right, at that price, I would assume yes. Ford seems to want an extra $5k or so for the diesel.

        Reply
    5. Tom Franta

      Hey James
      Was wondering if you had a chance to look at the “underbelly” of the Hymer when you did the review
      My question was whether any part was hanging lower then chassis like the Travato
      Thanks

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Actually no, we didn’t. If we get to do a detailed review of the Hymer, we will certainly hit those kinds of details.

        Reply

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