Leisure Travel Vans’ flagship motorhome gets it right in all the right places
Good things come in small packages.
We’ve all heard this expression, which, of course, relates to tiny crushed-velvet boxes with sparkling contents. But when it comes to motorhomes, usually the opposite is true – we’ve come to associate big coaches with unfettered opulence, and smaller ones with compromise. However, as the demand for maneuverable, fuel-efficient motorhomes continues to grow, manufacturers have become more adept at building high-quality products, and equipping them with the luxury features we would expect to find in a much larger coach. Leisure Travel Vans (LTV) of Manitoba, Canada, is one of them.
As a brand of Triple E RV, which built its first product almost 50 years ago, Leisure Travel Vans has steadily raised the bar for its Sprinter-based Class B and C motorhomes in the face of increasingly stiff competition from manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada. Its top contender is the Unity, a luxury Class C available in four cleverly designed floorplans that include the Twin Bed, Island Bed, Corner Bed and the unit we tested, Murphy Bed – a single slideout design that makes the most of the motorhome’s available living space.
Typically, the term “Murphy bed” doesn’t so much remind one of luxury as it does a crowded apartment or European hotel room, but in the Unity it works to great effect. Walk inside, and the unit feels open and airy – and the combination of the test unit’s solid-wood Espresso Brown cabinetry and white upholstery evoke the feel of a high-rise Manhattan apartment, or perhaps a private jet. And, without having to allocate space for a bed, LTV’s designers were able to fit this floorplan with a luxurious rear bath area that rivals many Class A’s in size and style.
Motorhomes of this ilk are often billed as “touring coaches,” but offer little in the way of storage to put your things while on the road. As we prepared the Unity for our road trip to an RV resort in Palm Springs, California, we found that it offered an impressive amount of storage for its size. In addition to a small compartment on the lower rear curbside, there are two underneath the slideout, and the compartments are built into the room so they extend with it. Anyone who has crawled underneath a slideout to retrieve their belongings will certainly appreciate this thoughtful feature. For larger items, a wardrobe-sized rear compartment, complete with shelving and a small pass-through into the bath area, is perfect for folding chairs, a patio rug or other large/bulky items.
The Unity’s exterior is one of the best looking we’ve seen in this class. Contoured exterior walls, full-body paint and frameless windows create an elegant, cohesive appearance, and we particularly liked how the graphic treatment flows from the sides to the rear taillights, where the paint shifts to red in order to mimic automotive-style lenses. It’s a small detail, but if you’ve seen other motorhomes with a flat rear cap broken up only by a few colorless LED lights, you can certainly appreciate the extra effort taken here. The Unity is a high-end motorhome, and it looks like one.
Taking to the road, we settled into the Unity’s cockpit, which features the usual Sprinter seats, which aren’t terribly comfortable or supportive, but they are covered in white Ultraleather for an upscale appearance. For a driving stint of a few hours, they’ll do just fine, but we didn’t relish the idea of spending a whole day in them. In fairness to LTV, these are the seats that are supplied with the cutaway chassis, and every Sprinter-based product we’ve tested uses them. On the upside, the cockpit features a telescoping wheel, cruise control and an in-dash AM/FM radio that incorporates Bluetooth functionality as well as navigation and a backup camera. The dash is well laid out and functional, and visibility is outstanding.
Powered by a 3-liter Mercedes-Benz turbodiesel V-6 producing 188 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, the 10,000-pound Unity is no rocket ship, but merging into highway traffic was no problem and we were able to crest a 6 percent grade at nearly 60 mph, which isn’t bad. Driving on smooth payment, the Unity’s ride was very quiet, with no squeaks or rattles emanating from the cabinets or appliances. Overall, the ride is smooth, although the Sprinter’s commercial roots reveal themselves over harsh pavement transitions that have a tendency to boom through the interior. Steering and handling is adequate for highway work, although we found the brakes to be a bit more spongy than we’d like.
As noted, part of the appeal of a small motorhome is its maneuverability, and we enjoyed the freedom to stop at roadside attractions and shopping centers along our route without any parking fears. Once at our destination, we found the Unity took minutes to set up; we deployed the streetside slideout, hooked up, and were able to enjoy our surroundings in minutes. LTV did a commendable job with the utility center, which organizes everything neatly within the two rear streetside baggage doors. The galvanized steel-lined compartments house the winterizing/water selector valves, exterior shower, cable TV hookup, propane fill/shut-off, black tank flush and gray/black dump handles. A nice surprise was that this unit was also equipped with the optional RV Sani-Con macerator system, which is not only clean and convenient to use, but contributes to the motorhome’s tidy exterior appearance – no low-hanging sewer outlet here.
Livability in the Unity is among the best we’ve experienced in a motorhome of this size. The unit’s “Leisure Lounge” system allows for six completely different living and seating arrangements while the Murphy bed is stowed in the streetside slideout. Most of the time, we left it in the theater seating configuration, where one can enjoy two roomy seats and a center armrest with cup holders. But move a few cushions and panels around, and the area can be converted into a dinette with opposing or forward-facing seats, a small bed and more. The table, with its offset base, slides for easy accessibility and its post stores in a corner cabinet just inside the entry door. We found that the arrangement works well for the most part, but the table was a bit wobbly. It will work for snacks and such, but we would be hesitant to serve a large meal on it.
The Leisure Lounge is placed directly across from a large window, which admits plenty of light. Push a button inside the entryway, and a 32-inch flat-screen TV emerges from the surface, ideally positioned for viewing from the upright or supine position. The television deploys mechanically with spring/hydraulic assist, and stows simply by pushing down firmly on the top of the TV. The entertainment unit is located just above the cockpit on the passenger’s side, and the sound from the speakers, placed directly above the lounge, was very impressive. In fact, the speakers can be heard quite clearly while lounging under the power patio awning.
A few steps back is the streetside galley, which is small but thoughtfully laid out. The solid-surface countertop is arranged in an L-shape, with a two-burner stove with glass top to your left, and round stainless-steel sink with cover to the right. We liked the design of the sink cover, which has a small half-moon relief in it so you can use it as a prep space, yet still scoop vegetable trimmings and the like into the sink. There’s a countertop extension for more space, and even a small trash chute in the back corner – we wish more motorhomes had this handy feature. There is plenty of drawer and cabinet space here, and on the curbside is a 6.7-cubic-foot refrigerator, a small microwave and a pullout pantry/spice rack.
When it’s time to turn in for the evening, simply move some cushions, unlatch the bed and pull it down; there are no legs to deploy or any other steps to complete before lying down. We found the queen-size bed to be firm but comfortable, and we particularly appreciated the thoughtful entry stairwell cover that LTV supplies to prevent you from falling down the steps when walking around the foot of the bed. It’s a thoughtful detail that shows this manufacturer has thought this floorplan through thoroughly. Also of note are the MCD blackout shades and cover over the large skylight above, which kept the interior reasonably dark in the early morning hours.
As mentioned earlier, the rear bath is expansive and nicely furnished. A large wardrobe on the curbside had plenty of room for our hanging items, and two drawers beneath accommodated folding clothes. Adjacent to this a roomy linen closet, the bottom shelf of which mysteriously passes through to the exterior compartment – perhaps so you can retrieve towels from outside? On the rear wall is the sink vanity, which has a surprising amount of countertop space and a nice-sized medicine cabinet with mirror and overhead lights. The corner shower with glass doors and residential-style fixtures was light and bright and had more than enough elbowroom. Just inside and to the right is a porcelain toilet, and above is a towel bar, another cabinet, and a Fan-Tastic Vent. The bath area can be separated from the living quarters with a pocket door that felt substantial and had a mirror on the inside for primping.
Unity is a good name for this motorhome, as it successfully unites maneuverability and fuel economy with luxury features and good build quality. In this case, good things do come in a small package.
Leisure Travel Vans
A brand of Triple E Recreational Vehicles
877-992-9906 | www.leisurevans.com