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Maintaining an RV-related website does have a few perks. (OK. Not many, but there are a few.) Usually these are things like complimentary rolls of new RV toilet tissue to try out. Yay. But every once in a while, we get to do something so cool, that it actually doesn’t seem like a second job. Something like this:
Winnebago is set to begin offering a new small Class C RV based on the Ford Transit diesel chassis. They’re calling it the Fuse, and when we were visiting them in Forest City recently, the offered to let us try out the prototype for a couple of days. Quicker than they could say, “uhhh…. please return it with a full tank…” we had transferred our gear out of our Travato and into the Fuse, and headed off to a campground!
This video is the result of those few days of camping. We had such a blast! We review a lot of RVs, and this was so much fun, I’m thinking of making “take it for a trial run” part of our standard review process.
But about the Fuse. Most of our observations , thoughts, and breakfast made it into the video. But if you want the Reader’s Digest version of the review, here you go:
The Fuse is based on the Ford Transit Diesel Chassis – this chassis has enough GVWR to allow for a slide. Our demo coach had a curb-side bedroom slide which provided a well-windowed, walk-around queen bed that I had trouble getting Stef to give back.
Galley with a full oven! Usually, in smaller coaches, you get a compromise – a convection microwave. Full ovens are typically found in larger Class Cs. But this coach had a real oven, and regardless of what Stef says about healthy eating in the video, we made frozen pizzas in this RV.
Storage for Days! In the video, you’ll see lots of empty cabinets and drawers. This isn’t because we’re hiding our things (though we did pick up our dirty socks for the video – you can thank us later). Rather, it’s because even when we took everything out of our Class B, we just couldn’t fill up the storage in the Fuse. Inside and outside, there’s a lot of storage.
And the bathroom. This is another thing I think Stef had trouble giving back. The shower in the Fuse was quite large and Stef had plenty of room to fill with whatever it is that people who still have hair use in the shower. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have hair, but I was impressed with the size of the grey and black tanks in the Fuse.
And there’s more to like about the fuse, as you’ll see in the video. All in all, we enjoyed our time with the Fuse, and we’re hoping Winnebago starts pumping out even more new models that they need a couple seasoned campers to test out. (hint, hint…)
Oh yeah, and Stef wants me to point out our wardrobe was provided by Ecoths and Aventura…eco-friendly clothes great for active RVers and outdoor enthusiasts. Check them out!
What I find disconcerting is that in the picture of the Fuse, it looks like it is leaning heavily to the one side with the slide extended. Other than that, it looks like a great little RV for 2.
OK. I see what you mean about the picture.
I think that says more about our photography skills and the Winnebago parking lot than it does about the Fuse though.
Honestly, we don’t recall any issues with it being un-level while we were using it. And I would have noticed! I’m a freak about being level, as you can see in this post.
It is very nice unit. We have a Model 23T
James, great review and I am enjoying your videos as a newcomer to RV’ing. I lucked out and found a used (basically new) 2017 Fuse T with only 3K miles at a deep discount through a private seller. She’s worked out the majority of the kinks,thankfully, but your video gives me some great pointers at what I should also be looking at before hitting the road. Anyway, my question parallels one you got two years ago but didn’t respond to – is the slide-out pretty much useless when closed? In other words, with it in, can someone lie solo across the end of the bed or could a child sleep on the end with the slide closed? Thanks for the great posts and info!
The mattress folds (going off memory here). So if you really want to lie on the bed with the slide in, you would have to figure out a way to lie on or around the mattress where it is doubled up.
I remember it being a tight fit, but I believe you could still get back there. Just a folded over mattress to deal with.
Hi – we are just starting our look for an RV. One of the first ones we have looked at is the Fuse. Love the lay out and glad to hear the roof is fiberglass and not rubber. Could someone please provide some comments on how much lower it is compared to other C styles? We are concerned about scraping. Thanks.
Well, we didn’t have any issues in our time with it. I didn’t measure and compare it to other Class Cs though.
My passing impression is that it was no better or worse than any other small C.
I watched a video of a new owner tell about his first two days with a Fuse. I was surprised when the owner said there is no inverter. I checked the specs and saw that there is a AC to DC convertor for charging the batteries from the Onan generator but no AC can be provided by the batteries thru the convertor. That seems completely crazy to me as does the absorption fridge. I need a Roadtrek in a B+ or C.
An auto-changeover absorption fridge is less of a hassle than the manual changeover we had.
We are seriously considering a Fuse but we’ve found it very difficult to find a list of the various options that are available – the brochure has options listed but it can’t be all of them (e.g. missing the possibility of a full oven or a diesel generator). Also, not clear if it can tow a car – looks like maybe one up to 3000 lbs, which isn’t many models, but is this correct?
I don’t remember offhand the towing capacity of the Fuse. And then there’s some math you’d have to do to figure out how much you could safely tow.
I wrote it all up in this post: How Much Can You Tow With a Small Motorhome.
I’d suggest going to a dealer or RV show and having a look at the weight rating plates.
As far as the options, I’d ask your dealer. They should have lists of currently available options. (They change from time to time…)
can tow up to 5000 lbs
Purchased the Fuse 23A with the twin beds. Loved the layout. We traded a 33 foot class C for this. Wanted to downsize because we want to get into more places the larger one couldn’t get us into and also not tow a car. Surprisingly I got most of my belongings that was in the larger rv into this smaller one. There is a lot of storage in it. Then everything went downhill. Brake lights burnt out, engine is very hard to start, shake in the front end, e-brake beeper continuously beeps while brake is NOT on (when you put on the e-brake the beeper stops, its working the opposite of how it should) and the engine malfunction light has come on. We haven’t been able to use the rv yet. Its currently at the Ford garage for repairs on the Ford part of it then it has to go to the rv dealer for Winnebago repairs. Glad you folks had better luck then we are having 🙁
We have the same beeping from park brake on our 2017 Winnebago Fuse. Can you tell me what was the cause? It did it on the test drive and RV dealer said they fixed it but it is now back. RV dealer told us to take it to Ford. Thanking all in advance for any feedback.
Had this issue on a test drive. It turns out there are some magnets under the passenger seat that have to be engaged or the RV thinks the swivel seat is not secure. Access the underneath of the seat from the rear and push the magnet into place.
James, Great review. We, like others mentioned here, are new to RVing. Price wise and product reputation wise, we have stuck with the Winnebago brand. For us retired folks with a pet, the C class seemed to offer the room and drive-ability we are looking for. I am aware that you pay for what you get most of the time and the Navion/View have all the bells and whistles, but a higher price tag. I liked the drive-ability of the smaller Fuse. Both were diesels with the Sprinter for the Navion/View and the Ford for the Fuse. Our sales person indicated that it would be easier getting service for the Ford based product. Is this the case? We live a rural area. Also, The Fuse has a propane generator. My understanding is it would not be as efficient or run as long/tank as the diesel. True? Which of these two models would you expect to hold it’s value better? Appreciate any help you can give as we seem to be strangers in a strange land.
When Mercedes Benz first started selling their Sprinters in the US, places that could properly service them were few and far between. That situation has improved quite a bit in the past 10 years, and finding service for a Sprinter is easier now. I haven’t ever tried to get service on a Transit. I don’t know if all Ford dealers will service them, or just certain ones.
I wouldn’t worry about a propane generator. We had one, and had no issues with it. And you don’t have to worry about fuel going bad in it and gunking it up.
As to which one would hold it’s value better… I can’t even begin to speculate on that. The Fuse is pretty new. But you should be able to go to RV Trader or something and get reasonable estimates for older Views and Navions.
Best of luck in your search!
We have had quite a hard time finding mechanics to work on our 2012 View Mercedes…there seems to be only one Mercedes willing to work on the motor in each state. This is the reason we are considering the Ford Transit in the Fuse…ease of finding someone to work in them.
Best review of the Fuse on YT! Thanks for posting that and your experiences while living in it. Cheers
(Hope it was as much fun to watch as it was to hang out in!)
Have enjoyed your many reviews of RVs. Just began my search for a RV abut a month or so ago as a recent retiree. My wife & I plan a cross country trip with our boxer dog this spring along with frequent future trips. Would like a relatively compact RV for maneuverability and would like to avoid a toad, but still be able to access the occasional metropolitan area as well as our National Parks etc. Initially was drawn to Class Bs such as the Travato but realized it was too small–little storage, small undesirable wet bath, low ceiling height (I’m about 6’5″ in shoes). Was drawn to the Winnebago Trend and have placed a deposit on one. The Sprinter based models are a bit pricey and Trend seems to have most of what we would need space-wise. I do have some concern about the Trend’s single rear wheels and long rear overhang. Is the vehicle stable? I note the Fuse has dual rear wheels and has an occupant and cargo carrying capacity of nearly 1600 lbs. vs just under 1200 lbs. for the Trend. Towing capacity is apparently about the same. Is the lack of dual rear wheels a reason for concern regarding stability for the Trend? Is the cargo carrying capacity of the Trend too limited for a couple and a dog–combined total weight of about 380lbs? Would anticipate carrying 2 sets of golf clubs as well as typical amounts of gear. Although towing capacity is not a current concern, I’m not sure about the future. We’ve never done any RVing. Maybe we’ll find out that not having a toad is too limiting and we can’t access things we want to see even with this small Class C RV. Perhaps I should consider Sprinter based C class RV. I have noted one B+ model–the Leisure Travel Unity which does have 6’5″ ceiling height but that is well above what we’d like to spend. Ideal would be a true B class RV with a real bathroom and 6’5″ ceiling height at an affordable price but that doesn’t seem to be out there.
The Trend is going to be a front wheel drive coach. As long as the weight capacity is there (which it is), you’ll find that the front wheel drive Trend simply drives better than any Sprinter-based RV, regardless if that RV has two rear wheels or four. The physics of front wheel drive mean that the coach is always going to be pulling itself straight.
As far as your cargo weight, I think that seems reasonable, but it all depends on what you travel with.
You might want to check out Leisure Travel Van’s just announced “Wonder” class B+ built on 178-inch wheelbase Ford Transit diesel chassis. We haven’t seen it yet ourselves but we love the quality of their other offerings. The Wonder will have an MSRP around $105K, so considerably less than their Unity models. All the details are not yet available, but here is the latest info:
I would also love to see a “First Look” review of the Wonder from The Fit RV!
I believe it is (or was) at the Tampa show. We haven’t seen one personally yet.
Who saw the fuse in tampa rV show this weekend? Impressions?
I am totally new to driving RV’s and would be traveling alone. Considering Trend, Travato and now the Fuse. One of my concerns is something I can handle driving and understand how to work everything. I just hit 68 and have not driven anything bigger than a van. Also miles per gallon is a concern. I think I read the range for Trend and Travato was 18-20. What is the Fuse? Great reviews by the way! Might be your fault if I end up purchasing one and hitting the road!
You wouldn’t be the first that we’ve brought into the RVing fold! The ProMaster based RVs (Travato, Trend in your list), being front wheel drive, definitely get our vote as being easier to drive. That’s not to say the Fuse was difficult – far from it. But the front wheel drive ProMasters handle crosswinds better. That’s just physics.
Anyway – please do chirp back here and let us know what you wind up with. Maybe we’ll see you out on the road!
I saw one at the Lazy Days Tampa lot on Sunday. It is there for the Tampa RV show in mid January. If it was for sale, I would have come home with it. For what I have been looking for, it is really close to perfect.
Some things that I wish were different about the twin bed model after looking at it close, but still a great looking unit:
1) The generator is LP only . I wish there was a diesel option so It would use fuel from the main tank.
2) Needs to have a placement option up front for the table when the slide is in. There is only one hole on the floor for the table and it is covered when the slide is in.
3) Needs an option to delete the slide
4) Needs an option for an Inverter though I am sure one could be added later
5) The external storage in the passenger rear needs to be combined (there are two compartments) so a larger object could be stored. With the two compartments, any object would have to be skinny.
6) A partition curtain between the beds and seating area/kitchen. There are loops on the ceiling so it was at least thought about.
Things we really liked
1) The window in the bathroom
2) The pocket door for the bathroom
3) The bath in the rear makes the unit feel larger/more airy than the view 24v were were close to buying
Again it seems like a great unit and assuming nothing else shows up at the Tampa RV show in Jan. I think we will have one in the spring
Just to follow up. I bought the 23a motorhome about a month ago. so far so good. We are very happy. We are getting about 15mpg going 68-70mph down the interstate in Florida. You can follow at http://confusedrv.com
Don – Congrats on the new rig!!
(As an aside – everyone I hear from in Florida gets better mileage than we do here in Utah!)
‘Awesome news and excellent review, thank you !
As a mountain biker with non-crap (ie expensive carbon) 29ers, do you think one of floor plan works better than the other if having to carry one or two bikes inside ? Or any other thoughts as far as transporting them, other than on a rack out back ?
Our road bikes are definitely non-crap, so I get it.
There’s a twin bed model of the Fuse that might work better for bike storage inside – at least while traveling. The bikes could remain in the aisle way while driving. You’d still probably want to put them outside once you landed though. I think the rack would work well to keep them locked up, and by traveling with them inside, you’d keep the road grime off them.
When you drove the demo did you feel it had enough power? We noticed the engine is 185HP. Thank you!
We had no complaints about power during the time we had it. It’s really torque that you want and diesel engines have it going on in that department.
Thanks for the great review – keep them coming! Curious, do you know how big an inverter comes with it?
No inverter in the one we had. Although, there was PLENTY of room to add one, and extra batteries, if you were so inclined.
Nice review. It will be very interesting to watch the Ford Diesel hit the market. It could be a real game changer…
P.S. Great clothes!
We shall see. I wonder how many more of them we’ll see in Louisville next week.
And thanks to our Sponsors, Aventura and Ecoths, for the clothes.
Great job on providing insight into the new Fuse! Just one question.. Do you remember if the TV swivels so you can sit straight on couch to watch it or do you have to twist your neck to view TV? Thanks
As far as I recall, the big TV in the front just faces rearward. It did open, to the right, as you saw in the video. I’ll confess though that we didn’t try to watch it.
I do know the one in the bedroom was pretty comfortable to watch from bed – as it should be!
Looks like you’ve started a new trend…..
Jeff Johnston from “Rollin on TV” just camped a few days in a Sprinter chassis prototype for the new Jayco Melbourne
Maybe Stef will be up to trying out a luxurious 45 ft Newmar prototype sometime in the future LOL!.
It would be fun, but very different!
I’m in the market for a 24-26 foot C or B+ motorhome for my travel as an IT Consultant, Baseball Instructor and Horse Show dad. I would also like to boondock up north in the summer.
Both floor plans look nice and seem to have slightly different priorities. The 23A layout reminds me of the the Phoenix Cruiser 2551, and of course the Travato 59K. Can’t wait to see them both in person at the Tampa RV show in January!
Aside from the fact that the Fuse is really a B+ and not a C, I wish they hadn’t cheaped out on the countertops. From the pictures I’ve seen, they look rather cheesy compared to the Corian they now use in the Travato. The solar panel option from the Travato was a nice carryover but I’m wondering how easy it will be to add additional panels to the Fuse without that trusty Travato luggage rack.
Additional solar panels should mount as easily as the one they’ve got up there already. Screws, VHB tape, and Dicor should get the job done.
I think some of the interior choices were made in an effort to keep from pricing the Fuse right alongside the View/Navion coaches.
Thank you for the clarification on the solar panel installation. While I’m pretty mechanically inclined, I’ve never done an installation like this before and wouldn’t want to drill holes in the roof. After building several Hackintosh computers from PC parts, this one shouldn’t be too difficult.
Regarding the Fuse interior, I believe you’re right about the cost factor. I’m just wondering how much more it would cost to put Corian in the kitchen. It gives a nice upscale look and the interior will look less dated in a few years. Look how much better the 2016 Travato kitchen looks with them included!
My other checklist box that isn’t filled in for the Fuse is a tankless water heater. That can be upgraded in many cases but it would be nice if you could get one installed from the factory. Heck, even the Trend and Viva have one as standard equipment. High efficiency is the future.
In the “not quite there” category would be the lack of convection a microwave in the 23T, which is the model I am currently leaning toward. I know there is a propane oven available in that model, but I don’t use microwaves for anything and it would just be wasted space for me. In most cases, if I had both a convection and propane oven, I would usually choose to warm food with convection, as I try not to use too many gas appliances in such tight quarters. If the item(s) to be heated take up a large enough space, the propane oven is often preferable, especially if you’re boon-docking.
The attributes I like most about the Fuse are: Nice large windows all around, efficient and flexible floor plans, 24 feet – perfect size for my needs, torquey and efficient diesel engine, stable and agile handling, comfortable (looking) beds, large stainless steel kitchen sink, large shower, Four season capability with optional tank heaters, solar charging option, power vent fan option, 32″ TV (for the rare occasions that I watch TV), dual batteries, spacious wardrobes and cabinets, and much more.
By the way, in my last post I stated as a fact that the Fuse is a Class B+, which was a little too strong. Let me state that more clearly: The Fuse seems to exhibit more traits of a Class B+ than it does a Class C. How’s that? Hee hee.
In the next month or so I’m going to post some blog entries on my website about my search for a motorhome, which I plan to purchase within the next 3-6 months. I’m keeping a motorhome standings list and the Fuse has soared to the top. I viewed, drove and evaluated several 30+ foot gas Class A and C units and didn’t like the sloppy handling, fuel consumption and lack of manuverability. I always felt they had more space and bulk than I needed. The 2016 Tampa RV show in January should be instructive (and fun)!
One of my business associates is a former MLB player, hitting coach and manager who could also be in the market for an RV. We will be launching a new baseball training product and podcast early next year. There will be a lot to talk about!
Wayne, it is a “camper” as if you can call any of these motor homes “campers” but if Corian counter tops are essential to your list of possible rv’s have it installed after market — you might even be able to have it special ordered from Winnebago Industries during the build. Or, buy a View, only a foot longer.
Really love that you guys pointed out one of the coolest features – the Fuse appears to be a four-season camper! Or did I miss something? No exposed water lines and all-interior freshwater tanks plus tank heaters equals cold weather camping in my book, but maybe you can elaborate on that?
Also, more attention should be given to what happens to the bed when the slide is in. Does the bedroom become totally unuseable with the slide in? Your video seems to indicate that there is a small daybed remaining but not sure. It’s not just you guys – this is something that many if not all video reviews of RV’s with bedroom slides beglect, probably because the retracted room becomes wasted space. Thor has addressed this question in their Transit-based Gemini – the bed becomes a seating/gaming area when retracted. So that makes it a marketing point that I would like to see Winnebago respond to.
Terrific review by you both! Looking at Ford’s site they offer a gas engine too (standard). It’s a 3.7L V-6 at 275hp with 260 ft.lbs. of torque. Winne’s site only mentions the Diesel right now.
The cutaway chassis is currently only available in the diesel, if I’m not mistaken.
Looks really nice, love the layout with both a true bedroom and an entertaining area up front in a 24″ coach!
It’s a pity the Transit is so lightweight in terms of GVWR and GCWR. 2000lb tow rating? Meh. We already have two other chassis that can’t really tow in this class in the Sprinter and ProMaster, it’s too bad all the chassis with towing capability are ancient Fords and Chevys.
At 24 feet, I don’t know if we’d bother towing. Not a car anyway. Maybe a small trailer for bikes or something, but that would be about it.
Hey James and Stefany thanks for another great review. Glad to finally see a Transit based RV. I am guessing this is not officially a four season vehicle but it looks pretty close. I am not a fan of slides but if I were looking at a C class I would definitely give this one a look (Leisure Travel Vans was number one on my class c list until I saw this)
In the event the slide motor breaks is there a way to retract and lock it manually?
Can the Truma combi be installed?
Frankly, I’m not sure about manually retracting the slide. (We’re certainly not slide experts.) It seems like there should be a manual option, but that’s just a guess on my part.
As for installing a Truma Combi – I’d have to say that’s a no-go. There would be too much re-routing of plumbing and ducting to make that work – on this coach, the water heater and furnace were on different sides of the rig!
Along with Chris, I am also curious as to the roof composition.
Excellent video and exciting RV! For awhile there, the View seemed to be one of the only small C options and I’m not particularly fond of the floor plans.
I wonder if Winnie jumped the gun by creating the Trend just b/c the Travato was first to release their new chassis. The Fuse isn’t that much more money but the additional storage, head room, and bed sizes are night and day. I love your Travato but the Trend seems a bit large for a single rear wheel and front wheel drive.
What were your impressions of the diesel engine in the Transit? I saw your review of the diesel ProMaster and the transmission didn’t seem desirable. MPG estimates with this also if you have them? Thanks!!
I didn’t walk on or pay much attention to the roof. Sorry!
But I can tell you about the Transit diesel. The transmission was COMPLETELY NORMAL, and I thought the rig drove really well.
During our time with the Fuse, we were averaging about 15mpg. But I wasn’t exactly trying to nurse it for mileage, if you know what I mean.
Roof is fiberglass. (Just got word.)
That is a WOW for a 24′ class C. It is good to see Winnebago has finally rethought and nailed interior storage in a big way. The 2 Fuse models sort of look like the Travato G & K’s EXPANDED.
These should be a big winner for the class C crowd. KUDOS to Russ & the designers.
Just wondering if they will introduce a gas version to the lineup?
Thanks for the great review,
Andy & Kim
The article I read when these were first announced said that you can get gas engines as a option. I would think it would drop the price a bit.
I don’t believe that Ford is offering the cutaway chassis with a gas engine yet. (I don’t know if they even plan to.)
Glad you liked the review. You two are awesome!
In case anyone wanted to see, heres a picture of the interior of the twin bed model.
As for gas, I thought they just werent doing the Ecoboost gas engine in a cutaway yet. But maybe you are right.
If this is just diesel then im afraid its a no go for me, and kind of a bummer. The main reason we want a Transit RV over a sprinter is so we can have a gas RV with a great service network.
But at least I like the layout. Im sure a gas option will be offered at some point.
The Fuse looks very comparable to the Thor Vegas we ended up buying a couple months ago. We ended up with one because we felt we’d be more comfortable towing a dingy car to do “hub and spoke” exploring and be able to leave the dog safely in the RV. I stayed away from models with bedroom slides because extending them in a parking lot to take a quick nap is a big “no no”. I’d also be concerned about walking into the extended slide because it’s on the patio side of the campsite. The tight space next to the doghouse would also be a concern. I bruised my knee to get into the back while renting a “Cruise America” class C earlier this year.
On the plus side, the Ford Transit looks like it’s very stable to drive. My Vegas drives pretty well, but I can’t take my hands off the wheel while driving (still need to get the alignment done and beef up the suspension). How does the Fuse do when Big Rig’s pass at freeway speeds? Do you feel any bow shock? Does it stay in the lane?
Right now my rig is being stored in a commercial garage, so I can’t do any modifications like “drilling cup holders” when the wife isn’t looking.
About the bedroom slide – for a quick nap – I’d hit the couch, which is plenty big enough for that. And as far as walking into the slide – it’s pretty much at eye-level. I suppose it could happen, but neither Stef nor I walked into it during the time we had it – and we’re definitely not used to having slides!
The Transit is stable. I didn’t realize how stable it was until I saw the video clips and how much I took my hands off the wheel. Watch for it during the driving segment. You can feel it a little bit when big rigs blow by, but it was pretty mild. It tracks and stays in its lane easily.
Comparable to a Thor Vegas Class A with a V-10 gas engine. Really?
Great video guys, I was looking forward to seeing these. Have they said a price yet on each model?
Were you able to see a twin bed version? Im interested in seeing that layout.
Do you have the exterior dimensions?
Is that corner bed usable with the slide in?
Hi Chris – Not sure about the pricing yet, and we didn’t get to see the other floor plan.
You can see it at one point in the video towards the end where Stef walks back there, but the corner bed is not super useable with the slide in. For a quick nap like that, I’d use the couch, which was plenty big for that.
The exterior dimensions can be found on the Winnebago Fuse Overview page.
Ah, ok they didnt have a page up when I looked the other week. 95k starting msrp. So with a typical Winnebago discount you may not be too far off the price of a REV or its competitors. And I would pay extra for the Ford.
That also seems to be the base price for the diesel. I wonder if getting it with the gas engine would save a few bucks, and thats what I prefer anyway.
Love the length and width. From looking at it I thought it would be wider, good news.
Does it have a rubber roof?
Not sure on the roof. But since you’re not the only one asking, I’ll try to find out.
Just found out. It’s fiberglass.