The Fuse Ignites

Winnebago innovates on the new Ford Transit

Don Cohen Don Cohen  |  12.13.2015

I’m keeping an open mind about someday heading down the highway in a big, glamorous Class A motorhome.  But for now, I like shinnying through those narrow cone zones in our svelte Class C Navion.  And given that our current travel interests leans toward more diminutive RVs, I eagerly was awaiting the announcement of the Winnebago Fuse.

In adding the Ford Transit based Fuse to it’s product line-up Winnebago has done something no other North American RV manufacturer has accomplished:  it offers B and C products on all three of the most popular, fuel efficient, European style chassis.

The Fuse parks comfortably in the price and size gap between the Ram ProMaster Trend and the Mercedes Sprinter View/Navion.  But, with a wider range of choice now comes a challenge – which is the best fit for you?  That’s a hard question, there’s a lot to like in each one of the categories.

To me the Trend represents a great, no-compromise, entry-level Euro styled C that is actually fun to drive with a peppy gas Pentastar engine.  The View/Navion offer larger floorplans, more storage and many upgrades found in larger Class A coaches.  And the Fuse sort of splits the difference between the two.

Both the Trend and Fuse feel more car-like in their handling as you’re a little closer to the road.  With the View/Navion you sit up higher and have a driving impression that feels a little more like a larger RV.  What all three platforms have in common is their instant “I can drive this” comfort for anyone who’s the least bit intimidated in driving a motorhome.

Fuse ExteriorA side slideout makes room for a queen sized bed – very unusual for a compact motorhome.

While the Trend and View/Navion have deeply themed Euro interiors, the Fuse takes its styling cues from American contemporary.  The nickel cabinet hardware pairs well with the clean lines of the sliding top cabinets and deep storage drawers.  Taken altogether, the impression you get standing in the Fuse is one of being very modern, but with a few comforting notes of traditional interior design.

Fuse 23 A FloorplanFS-Twin Beds-16Tall sleepers can fully stretch out with the twin bed extension.

The Fuse will come in two floorplans.  The 23 A floorplan features two twin beds with one being 80” long – ideal for taller sleepers.  There’s a slideout in the front cabin which creates a larger sense of openness.

Fuse 23 T FloorplanThe 23T floorplan is very unique in this size class with a side slideout rear queen bed.  This is exceptional to see in a 24 foot length compact motorhome.  The tradeoff is that the front cabin area is reduced in size with a half-dinette.

Using the new WinnVision virtual reality technology you can get a much better feel of what it’s like to stand inside a Fuse by clicking here.

Fuse Front to RearWhen you stand inside the Fuse it feels larger than it’s petit 24 foot length.  The biggest reason for that is the 6’ 8” ceiling height which increases the sense of spaciousness.   Yet, even with that high interior ceiling, the exterior profile of the Fuse looks sleek and smoothly proportioned.

Fuse Rear to frontThere’s some other hidden differences to the Fuse that aren’t evident when you’re evaluating the coach, but become apparent when you compare it to it’s competitors.  When I was at the national RVIA industry show in Louisville, Kentucky, I spent an afternoon looking at competitive coaches.  What I saw in the competitive Transit-based products was frankly a bit surprising.  What was noticeable was the poor fit and finish of these competitive units.  Unfinished edges of wood trim, ugly velcro dots (for attaching privacy curtains), exposed screw heads, and block foam seat cushions (versus more comfortable sprung seats).  I was also struck by some of the decor schemes that seemed to be straight out of a 2002 design book.

Earlier this year I spent several days at the world’s largest RV show in Dusseldorf.  There were nearly 2,000 towables and motorhomes on display and after touring a mind boggling number of them, I came away with the impression that the Europeans are still more advanced in the compact RV class.  But, unlike other American Class C manufacturers, Winnebago has taken on that challenge with great success here in North America, and the Fuse is the latest in that trend.

In the process of filling out the industry’s widest array of fuel efficient motorhome chassis with the new Fuse, Winnebago has unintentionally created a problem of offering buyers almost too much choice — and I think that’s a very good problem to have.


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39 Comments

  1. Kasprzak Posted on 12.19.2015

    how about one with a lift to get in a wheelchair person

  2. Timothy H VonFeldt Posted on 12.19.2015

    I would like to see you include in your promotional material the relatively unknown fact that the majority of “Ford Dealerships” in this country WILL NOT provide basic maintenance service on RV’s, and motor homes mounted on the Ford Chassis, even though the dealership may provide basic service on the commercial trucks they sell…!

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 12.23.2015

      Ford has an excellent chassis support system within their large dealer network. If your local dealership is unable to provide adequate service, you should call the Ford support line at 1-800-444-3311, 24/7 for additional assistance.

  3. ronnie abrams Posted on 12.19.2015

    Looking for a class b, small c or very small class a with a washer/dryer. We have a 36′ Meridian but would love to go much smaller. I don’t want to go out to do laundry.

  4. mike gamache Posted on 12.19.2015

    What is the price of the fuse and where can I see one around Charlotte nc

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 12.23.2015

      Fuse models will start becoming available on dealer lots by early February. Here’s a link for the Winnebago Dealer Locator. This is a great tool for finding the closest dealers to you.

  5. Joan Snowberger Posted on 12.19.2015

    Oh man I want a Winnebago so bad, the problem is I am on a fixed income.
    That would take an act of Jesus and Santa working together. LOL
    Maybe some day, I will find a nice used one. I live in the mountains of Az,
    but was raised in Iowa. Just a Merry note to let you know, even those of us
    on fixed incomes can add you to our wish list. I need the one with best gas mileage too. Anyways have yourselves a Merry Christmas.

  6. mike gamache Posted on 12.19.2015

    Can you order the fuse with a ford diesal

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 12.19.2015

      Mike,

      The Fuse comes standard with the diesel and dual rear chassis.

  7. Humberto Mares Posted on 12.19.2015

    I agree with Mr. VonFeldt, since you have Ford Chassis on all of your RV’s, you should also make a deal with Ford to allow more Maintenance on all of their Dealerships, we have a tuff time locating a dealership that will perform at least a simple oil change!.

  8. Heath Padgett Posted on 12.19.2015

    This is a beauty.

  9. Roger Posted on 12.19.2015

    Timothy, that may be so, but given that there are far more Ford than Mercedes dealerships, and that many Mercedes dealers are not certified for Sprinters, your odds may bit a bit better on the Ford side of the equation.

  10. bill mancuso Posted on 12.19.2015

    I have a 2012 Pleasureway Excel on A Ford Superduty 350 chassis and never had a problem with Ford servicing in any state and Canada!

  11. Hubbard Posted on 12.19.2015

    We have Winnie Outlook 2006 and have loved it but your new 24ft with the Queen slideout looks like it might be our next buy.

  12. Paul T Posted on 12.20.2015

    I’ve been excited to see what RV manufacturers would do with the Transit body since it was introduced by Ford. I’ll admit the interior does look nice, but the exterior…ick!

    The Transit has these nice curves and then suddenly there’s a box behind it. Very disappointing!

    Winnebago could’ve done so much more!

  13. D H Posted on 12.20.2015

    What is the cost of the new RVs ? Do you have a smaller version of the bus size RV ? What type of license is needed to drive a Class A thru C Type RVs ? What type of financing is available ?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 12.20.2015

      A really good place to start your product research is on the http://www.winnebagoind.com web site. There you will find all the models, detailed specs, and the base prices. In the United States no special driver’s license is required (even for the big diesel pushers). Almost all RV dealers offer financing from major lending institutions. Depending on your credit history you can put as little as 10% down and finance for as long as 20 years.

  14. Jim Eshleman Posted on 12.20.2015

    There is a noticeable absence of interior pictures on the 23T model. What does that queen slide look like when not extended?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 12.20.2015

      Jim,
      A very good question. Generally, all interior photography is done with the slides out. As models start getting delivered to dealers in 2016 many will shoot their own pictures (often with the slides in). The queen bed’s mattress is articulated to fold when the slide is pulled in. In the retracted position, there isn’t any room for additional storage and the bed itself cannot be used.

  15. grif Posted on 12.22.2015

    I started inquiring with leisure and pleasureway about transit when it became available and was told it lacked the weight capacity needed.
    So glad American ingenuity has prevailed!
    How did Wini manage and can you provide a comparison?
    Other items on my wish list; Murphy bed and or rear slider.
    Love the 6’8″ ceiling I’m 6’7 1/2″ hence the need for a real world queen.

  16. Jayne Posted on 01.24.2016

    My wish list would be if you could put this floor plan on the Aspect platform. we loved the Aspect but hated the idea of losing cabinet space in the ‘bedroom’ due to the drop down bed. Rear bathrooms are the way to go in a smaller unit. We have a 36 ‘ Class A but are looking to move down in size. This was intriguing but I fear the 23’ length is a wee bit too small for us

  17. marsbarsct Posted on 03.04.2016

    I want one.

  18. Fladydoc Posted on 06.05.2016

    We just sold our 34 foot Class A and bought the Fuse. Odd name but now my husband Officially has a Short Fuse. Heehee. We love it. So easy to drive. Peppy. Comfortable. Adjusting to size decrease. Bed is big when slide out is out but I did use it when slide out was in, curled but comfy. We use it for short weekend trips around Florida. 85K with some upgrades. No regrets.

  19. Kat Posted on 07.22.2016

    Absolutely correct about Ford dealers/garages not working on rv’s. NOBODY in our area will service them. Its always the same story… we don’t have the space. We traveled an hour and a half yesterday to drop ours at a garage that will work on it. Just bought the Fuse 23A. Loved the layout. Immediately after getting it home we started having Ford and Winnebago issues. Haven’t been able to use the rv yet. Maybe some day!

  20. Dean Posted on 08.20.2016

    Looks like just the size and style we need but we’ll need to park it and drive something smaller sometimes. What size of car can you tow with the Fuse?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 08.20.2016

      The Fuse’s hitch is rated for 5,000 pounds. Taking loading the coach into account you would be fine in towing a 4,000 – 4,500 vehicle.

  21. Carolyn Posted on 10.30.2016

    My husband and I are first time RV buyers. We bought a 2017 24T and we are in love with it. If you can drive a conversion van, you can drive this, no problem. Great storage. Like how you can have additional riders sit at the table during the ride. Even the dog approves! When you leave the dog for a bit, you can pull down the table and pull down the cushions and you can have a large doggy bed. Fido will be safe in a controlled environment and safe till you get back. Then slide out the bench to the pulled down table and you have a near full size extra long bed. Nice! Side out queen in back is nice too. We make the bed and just turn the one part of the mattress over when we pull the slide in. Both sleeping areas do need an additional mattress padding for optimal comfort. Only downfall is wish there was a little more counter space.

  22. Tim Posted on 11.26.2016

    Interior looks great. Can the 23A’s over-cab TV be converted from left hinge to right hinge so that it can swing out for a better viewing angle for the sofa?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 12.02.2016

      Tim,

      In the current design, the hinge swap is not easy to accomplish. This kind of feedback is very important to the Winnebago engineers and your comment has been added to the future request list.

  23. JAMES KIBLER Posted on 01.07.2017

    Ok how about some specs. Can I tow my 2500lb Stick shift Scion? GVWR?

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 01.08.2017

      James, you should be able to tow your Scion. The Fuse specs rates the hitch for 5,000 pounds. https://winnebagoind.com/products/class-c/2017/fuse/specifications

  24. Wendell Posted on 01.21.2017

    Absolutely love our 23A, but why would you put the generator underneath so you have to crawl under just to check the oil? Also, slides for the batteries would help A LOT.

  25. Alan Posted on 04.08.2017

    Just got our first RV, the 23T. Love it, is there any chance of a double or longer slide out down the way that would incorporate the full queen and the extra living space?

  26. Mike Wagner Posted on 05.15.2017

    We have a 2017 23T Fuse which we love up front. Bed is not entirely comfortable and I would agree with Alan above. We were even thinking of sleeping up front – when you make that bed, it is nice and roomy and it would have my vote.
    My question:
    I’d like to add another Solar Panel to the one supllied by Winnebago – that is ZAMP 100 Watts. Can we add another 100 or 160 panel of DIFFERENT manufacturer and just plug it in ? Local dealer has gp.electric.com in stock >.
    Thank you.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 05.16.2017

      Do your research carefully, but you should be able to use other brands of solar panels.

  27. Dale Hardy Posted on 05.20.2017

    Greetings! My wife and I are agonizing over the Fuse vs. the Coachman Prism, but are now leaning toward the Fuse. One thing I noticed is that along the bottom of the Prism behind the rear wheels it angles up slightly so the back of the RV isn’t so close to the ground, giving a little more clearance in the back. Someone mentioned that the ground clearance on the Fuse was so low that they scraped the steps under the step well,
    and the back of the RV coming out of a driveway up on to the crown of the road. Has ground clearance been an issue for any of you other owners? Also, what kind of real world gas mileage are you getting with your fuse? Thanks

  28. Mike Wagner Posted on 06.24.2017

    What kind of diesel fuel additive you suggest for our Fuse ? Ford product or any available ?
    Thank you.

    We now have 260 Watts total solar power on the roof and it works very very well.
    We live up north in Yukon and rear clearance is most dissapointing on the unit and real issue every time we go off the pavement, we have to watch it.

  29. Alan Cullum Posted on 07.31.2017

    Re Don Cohen comment on towing, 01 08 2017.
    You state that it is possible to tow 5000 lbs.
    It was my understanding that if you towed anything over 2000 lbs your warranty was void. That doesn’t leave you with much that you could tow.
    Will try and locate the article.
    We have had our 23T for a couple of months and love it. A problem though with the door-we opened the door while in Nova Scotia and the wind grabbed it and ripped it off the tension bar! So keep a tight hold of the handle if it is windy.

    1. Don Cohen Posted on 08.08.2017

      Alan,

      The most common advice you often hear (which is pretty good) is to consult your owner’s manual. However, Ford really takes it up a notch by providing downloadable towing guides by year: http://www.fleet.ford.com/towing-guides/ These guides not only tell you how much a certain chassis can tow but also the suitability of their passenger vehicles for towing. There are no warranty issues as long as you tow under the maximum recommended weight. Winnebago builds to the Ford spec of 13,500 pounds of Gross Combined Vehicle Weight. The 2017 Ford guide indicates the max trailer weight is 7,500 pounds. Most of the popular tow vehicles fall in the 2,500 to 4,500 pound class.