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Old 01-18-2018, 04:37 AM   #1
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Default LTV Wonder vs. RT Zion vs. Hymer Aktiv 1 or 2

hello,
I am new to the forum... I've been researching first Class C motorhomes (I think will be too big for me and as a newbie to RV'ing, too much of a learning curve), then B+ and now adding B to the mix. This would not be for full timing. Weekend road trips and possibly a week or two in the summer. Down the road would love to do a cross country road trip.

Considering the Leisure Travel Wonder as a B+, I like the extra width (don't have a basis to judge how it would be driving it vs. a B -- can imagine the less wide the better in terms of parking, navigating, etc.). The thing I don't like about the LTV Wonder is that it only has seat belts for two in the front. I'd like the option of taking both my kids, and a friend of two of theirs to camp in a tent alongside the RV. But otherwise I like the layout very much and also the modern styling.

After what seemed like exhaustive research I came across the Hymer Aktiv 2.0 and while i have not been in one, I love the layout and think it would be enough for me. I love that it has seatbelts for four. It appears to sleep three comfortably and that too is an additional benefit over the wider LTV Wonder. I think the bathroom in the LTV seems superior in every way and if I were living in it full time (and a couple, not someone with kids), that would be a major factor. It seems to have some of the features that I read LTV owners complaining about (the lack of on the LTV), namely under the hood generator, Eco Trek and Volt Start. Because of my lack of experience RV'ing, I don't really understand fully the practical benefits of those features (or I should say I don't have practical experience to judge their value, but from reading can see they seem like fantastic features). This one has a cassette toilet - would imagine for full timing this would get old but for what I have in mind, perhaps easier?? Anyone who can offer an opinion on that?

The Roadtrek Zion seems like it has everything you could want... a lot of the same features of the Aktiv. Maybe the styling is a little less plush looking from the pictures on the internet. They both have the same Ram ProMaster 3500 chassis. The difference between this and the Ford Transit chassis on the LTV - beats me?!

If anyone out there has done similar research and zeroed in on these options, could you please opine? I was ready to pull the trigger on the LTV Wonder but when I realized it only has two seatbelts my thoughts changed and that very well may be a deal breaker despite how awesome it appears to be.

Thanks so much and sorry so long.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:07 AM   #2
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.

You said you want seating for 4?

All the RVs you mentioned do not qualify.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:15 AM   #3
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.

First, you have to define how you are going to use the RV.
It might be difficult at the moment because you are "new" to RVing,
and also whatever you think you want to do now will definitely change later.

But you need a starting point.

If you are going to RV campsites (either commercial or state parks) with electrical plug in, water hookup, toilet and showers, your need for the RV in-house facility might not be as important.

If you are planning to be adventurous. eg. go off to BLM with no facilities, then you need to think about the equipments a bit more.

eg. the Aktiv has a small cassette toilet. It won't support 4 people for more than a day.


This is a starter. I hope it gets your imaginations going.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:16 AM   #4
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per Roadtrek's website the Zion has seatbelts for five and the Aktiv seatbelts for four.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:22 AM   #5
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hi Thanks, I had written (a lot) but in the first paragraph this: "This would not be for full timing. Weekend road trips and possibly a week or two in the summer. Down the road would love to do a cross country road trip." To be more specific, I imagine the beginning at campgrounds and as I gain some confidence OTBP. I think primarily it would be my son and me as my daughter is not much of a camper but if she were to go, imagining she'd have a friend with her (thus the need for the seatbelt) and they'd stay in a tent and use the campground facilities. If we are in campgrounds, I think it is pretty easy to take it easy on the cassette toilet and use their toilets. If I were to go cross country, likely just me and one other person (perhaps an SO??, who at this point is a phantom). Not sure if the cassette toilet could hold up to that type of usage? I would like to imagine that I'd be boon docking one day but of course you must walk before you run! thank you again.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:27 AM   #6
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We couldnít get exactly what we want so we converted 2013 passenger Sprinter. It is finished, a few improvements still on the list. We also did not look for long term camping, just few days camping trips occasionally a few weeks.

I am listing our objectives so you can evaluate them regarding your needs:

1. Windows 360 degree, either for driving or camping we like to soak ourselves with outdoor scenery.
2. Old Westfalias like layout, we drew from our experience based on 1977/85 Westfalia campers.
3. Rock and roll style sofa bed quickly deployable for night or day.
4. Hot water always available at the sink.
5. No inside shower, with 170Ē wheel base we would consider it but we wanted 144Ē shorter version Sprinter. We do have a transom shower.
6. Cassette toilet, easy to dump in restrooms, ne need to kneel near dump stations Black Holes. But, be careful with this topic, it is like choosing a religion.
7. We donít have under hood generator, we donít have Lithium batteries, we donít have Eco Trek, we donít have Volt Start, and guess, we are still alive. As far I am concern it is a current fad.

Without experience I would suggest test drive different lengths vans to settle on that important decision factor and ideally rent a B/B+/C-class to get a direct experience.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:35 AM   #7
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You could consider Sportsmobile or a like with a pop up roof, I think it is called Penthouse, just like old Westfalias. We had 3 kids sleeping on our Westfalia, 2 on the top, we slept on the bottom bed, and the youngest one in the hammock across the front seat. https://sportsmobile.com/penthouse-top/ https://www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/en...alifornia.html
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:36 AM   #8
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hi GeorgeRa,
Thank you so much for all of that food for thought. I looked at your pictures -wow, great camper! I am hoping to get an idea of the size of the various options this weekend in Toronto. Heading up there for the RV show as all of the ones on my list will be present. The idea to rent first is EXCELLENT! I've learned of the website outdoorsy and while we seemed to be underrepresented in the RV arena in the Boston area, maybe I will find one of my choices on that website. Maybe my choices will change after visiting the show this weekend. Originally I had dreams of buying a cheap old RV and fixing it up but while I am inclined with design, not so much mechanically. I got scared off of that fantasy after reading zillions of forum posts about the multitude of problems that seem to crop up. Thank you again.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:40 AM   #9
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Those Westfalia-esque campers are very cool. In all my roving around the internet, never came across them. Would love that feeling of the outdoors coming in.
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:04 PM   #10
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hi GeorgeRa,
Thank you so much for all of that food for thought. I looked at your pictures -wow, great camper! I am hoping to get an idea of the size of the various options this weekend in Toronto. Heading up there for the RV show as all of the ones on my list will be present. The idea to rent first is EXCELLENT! I've learned of the website outdoorsy and while we seemed to be underrepresented in the RV arena in the Boston area, maybe I will find one of my choices on that website. Maybe my choices will change after visiting the show this weekend. Originally I had dreams of buying a cheap old RV and fixing it up but while I am inclined with design, not so much mechanically. I got scared off of that fantasy after reading zillions of forum posts about the multitude of problems that seem to crop up. Thank you again.
A good idea to attend an RV show. We are in Toronto and although we have a 2004 Roadtrek 190 we attend the Toronto RV shows every year just to see what is out there and gawk!

When we were interested in purchasing, we attended the January show in 2014 and were drawn to the larger rigs for the space. Then after seeing the rigs and walking away, the practicality side over-ruled the decision for a larger rig. One of us had RVed before but the other had not. So the decision to spend >100K $CDN for something we were not sure one of us would enjoy weighed on the decision to buy used. One of the local dealers had a used RT and when we contacted them, they agreed to bring the RT to the second Toronto RV show in March. We were able to test drive it and then go inside to the show and compare it to the new RV offerings. We have had that RT for four years now. Sure it's not new and we had to add solar panels, an inverter and new batteries. It was in great shape (and it has 4 belted seats up front!). But we are so glad, we made the decision to buy used as we now have a much better understanding as to what we 'need' versus 'want'. Eventually we will get a newer rig as we transition from weekender/short vacations to longer travel/retirement mode.

We will be there on Saturday. If you are interested in meeting up, you can PM us. Good luck in your search!
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:39 PM   #11
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cruisefx, I would actively prefer a used RV (for financial reasons and avoiding the depreciation hit) so glad to hear you're happy having gone that route. I think it's great that you were able to get the dealer to bring the RV to you! I am seeing that many of the used RVs for the models I am looking at are on the West Coast - don't mind driving a bit but that is TOO far starting in Boston. I am reading on the forums about electronic issues related to the more advanced systems in the RT and Hymer - going to read some more to see if this is related to the EcoTrek and Volt Start... maybe an older used model is better if it means fewer issues? Although it did seem those were great features if you want to go off the beaten path (something I aspire to).

I am excited about the Toronto show - I will PM you. They will have for me to see both the Aktiv 1 and 2 as well as the Zion and as well as the Unity and Serenity (not the Wonder that is my first choice from LTV - but would still require me to let go of having additional seat belts - something I'm not sure I can do). I went to the RV show in Boston last weekend and didn't see too much of interest. This show will seem to have the models I am most interested in which appear to be Canadian made. I think the Alto by Safari Condo will be there... I had been thinking about a TT for a long time and that was at the top of my list. The hitching and unhitching etc. sort of put me off as I go to thinking about it. I am definitely interested though in seeing one of those close up.
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:10 PM   #12
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...This would not be for full timing. Weekend road trips and possibly a week or two in the summer. Down the road would love to do a cross country road trip...

...I'd like the option of taking both my kids, and a friend of two of theirs to camp in a tent alongside the RV...

... some of the features that I read LTV owners complaining about (the lack of on the LTV), namely under the hood generator, Eco Trek and Volt Start. Because of my lack of experience RV'ing, I don't really understand fully the practical benefits of those features (or I should say I don't have practical experience to judge their value, but from reading can see they seem like fantastic features). This one has a cassette toilet - would imagine for full timing this would get old but for what I have in mind, perhaps easier?? Anyone who can offer an opinion on that?

The Roadtrek Zion seems like it has everything you could want... a lot of the same features of the Aktiv. Maybe the styling is a little less plush looking from the pictures on the internet. They both have the same Ram ProMaster 3500 chassis. The difference between this and the Ford Transit chassis on the LTV - beats me?!...
OK, let's see if we can break this down:

SEAT BELTS: Almost all RVs that have a rear sofa across the back doors will have at least two seat belts on them. Many of the "dinette" style RVs with two facing benches also have additional seat belts, but passengers are not as protected in an accident and the opportunity for motion sickness is greater when not facing forward. So you should narrow your search to either a unit with a sofa or one that has extra seats up front (e.g., RoadTrek Adventurous).

CHASSIS: Modern diesels have some requirements that were not issues on those built before 2009, such as a limit on the proportion of biodiesel that is added to the fuel and a need to get the engine hot periodically. Many people drive modern diesels without an issue and in the Boston area you will have Mercedes dealers and diesel available.

If you choose to go with regular gas, your choices are the Dodge Promaster, which is a front-wheel drive vehicle or the Ford Transit, which is rear wheel drive and, usually, dual rear wheels. Both are fine - the Dodge has a lower center of gravity because the floor is lower, but the dual rear wheels on the Ford add a lot of stability. The Promaster seating position is unique and folks seem to either love it or hate it and this is not a decision you can make via internet searching - you will have to actually drive it. The Promaster comes in a variety of lengths, up to 21 ft, but the Ford Transit is 22 ft only. The Ford comes with two gas engines, a 3.7 L six and a 3.5 L twin turbo that is exceptionally powerful.

TOILET: Your choices are a cassette toilet, which must be removed to be emptied (think about your ability to do that), or a toilet with a dumping option. Of the latter, there are two types of dumps, gravity, where you hook up a 4" hose and open a valve and contents drain into an opening in the ground at a dump station, or the Macerator type, which has something akin to a garbage disposal. I understand the macerator type can use a much thinner hose and can be dumped uphill, meaning you could be lower than the place you are piping the refuse into. With a cassette toilet, you don't need a dump station - you can carry the cassette into a campground restroom and empty the contents into a toilet.

ELECTRONICS: There are two basic battery types, Lithium and Lead Acid. Lithiums are expensive and require care. Given your self-professed lack of knowledge, I would avoid them for now. If you only want to be off the grid for a couple of days, 200 amp hours of Lead Acid batteries and 100 Watts of solar will be sufficient. The solar is helpful because the lead acid batteries take a charge from the engine or generator quickly up to about 80% but then want a slower charge after that and the solar provides what they need.

Some people want to avoid having propane or a generator so go with the Lithiums, but for a first timer, I would recommend the tried-and-true basic systems. Propane is less explosive than your gas tank.

There have been many discussions on this forum regarding the Voltstart and Eco Trek so I might suggest you perform a search and familiarize yourself with the pros and cons before deciding whether you want it or not.

RENTALS: We could not find a Class B to rent from a regular company, but there is a website RVshare.com where private owners rent their Class Bs so you might find something there.

BUYING: In addition to Roadtrek (Hymer), Winnebago and Pleasureway, there are other, smaller manufacturers that provide a nice van. You might go to RVT.com and look at the Class Bs that are for sale there - they often show interior pictures and provide floor plans. "Show" pricing at RV shows is rarely any better than internet pricing and sites like RVT.com or RVTrader.com will give you a feel for the prices you might pay. Look at the lowest advertised prices - usually you can get those from any dealer, despite what is listed on their website.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:03 PM   #13
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I personally love the Wonder as LTV builds one of the best quality units in the business. It is actually a Class C, what with a "B+" being a salesman term, not an accepted separate class by RVIA. But that is another old argument. It is a diesel too which would be a drawback to me. But still lacks the 3rd and 4th seatbelt, but you could ask about it at the RV show.

For your use, I agree that you don't need all the fancy electronics used by those that want to boondock in the middle of nowhere for weeks on end. AGM batteries rather than Lithiums, no need at all for voltstart as that is again mainly for boondockers or those that want to leave their pets alone in the vehicle while they take a long hike. I personally like the underhood generator as the Onan is too labor intensive and temperatmental for the non-mechanical. Solar panels are great for keeping the batteries topped up and need little input/work from us.

I would also take a look at the Pleasureway Lexor on the Promaster, and they also have some small Class C's like the Wonder that may appeal to you.

Definitely rent to try things out. Most rentals are Class C rigs.

Have fun at the RV show...
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:25 PM   #14
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Phoebe3, I can't begin to express my gratitude for the time you took in your response. Incredibly helpful for me to get that sort of input. I hadn't a clue that Lithium batteries have a learning curve! There is so much to know. I appreciate your thoughts on the electronics too. It sounds as if the LTV Unity twin bed might be a good bet for me but I really liked the lower price point of the Wonder. Perhaps keeping my eye open for a used model?? I will see the Unity this weekend. In shifting gears and thinking more about the Aktiv, I came across the blog by the Russo's and got a walk through on a video of their Aktiv 2.0. It is intriguing for sure. I LOVE the screens on the back and side doors and that would be a must for me in whatever model I choose. I would prioritize that over the gas/diesel decision or the cassette or not toilet decision. I attract mosquitos - they love me, would be very uncomfortable without the screens.

Mumkin, Thanks so much for your thoughts. I had not looked at the Pleasureway Lexor - looks very nice and by luck that model will also be in Toronto this weekend so I will have a chance to see it up close. You are seconding Phoebe3's thoughts on sticking with the lower tech solution. I had shown the 2018 LTV Wonder video by Dean to my son yesterday and he wanted me to buy it sight unseen - absolutely loved it. If he finds out about the Volt Start on these others I think he will want it as we have a dog that I assumed would stay behind such that we wouldn't be tied to a campground. The Volt Start does allow the dog to come with us and my son loving that dog so much would probably see the value in that feature. As suggested I will bone up on the issues and problems of the Volt Start and Eco Trek features - they seem controversial. Again, thank you so much.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:40 PM   #15
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Although twin bed versions will have seatbelts, if the safety and comfort of your passengers is important, you should stick with a sofa or additional seats up front.

At the risk of seeming like a shill, I might suggest you consider the Coachmen Crossfit 22C. It has front and rear screens and a power sofa with three additional seatbelts. Comes with lead acid batteries and solar standard. It is on the Transit platform and, depending on the engine you select, is pretty economical as Class Bs go - you can probably get one for less than $85K. I've seen the 3.7 L engine with the twin beds for $80K, but, again, side-facing seatbelts are not very safe.

If you want a recent used model, the Roadtrek CS adventurous has three or four seats up front and at least one of them can be turned around to create a third bed for a single person. Other, older models of various manufacturers are available with multiple front seats and these can be found periodically on the websites I mentioned earlier. Older models may require some work to get them up to good condition, which will either take time or money or both, depending on your skill level. Screens can be added to darn near anything.

WRT voltstart, the consensus is that you shouldn't trust your pet's life to it. You can add a remote start feature to your van and get a temperature monitoring app for your phone that will probably work as well. In any case, you can run the AC as long as you run the generator or are plugged into shore power. If you want to run the AC for very long on batteries alone, you will have to go the lithium route and that will probably add $15K to the purchase price.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:48 PM   #16
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The cooling for a pet can be accomplished with a Fantastic(or similar) roof vent fan if it's not crazy hot. Our 6lb attack killer long hair Chihuahua does just fine up to about 85-90 with the fan on high.*

*She loves laying out in the summer sun in FLA with temps in the mid 90's. Your puppy may not like it so much.

And do check out posts from Booster, lotsa good tech info.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:06 AM   #17
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I'm a rank newbie to all of this, too. And it sounds like we have similar concerns. We saw a LTV, the Unity TB, not the Wonder, at a local RV show and were very impressed with the layout, modern interior design, and what we could see of the build quality. Not so crazy about the 3-way fridge (rather have a compressor model) and use of propane (would prefer an induction cooktop, and diesel-fired hot water heater/furnace). Also wish the LTV had more than two, forward facing captains chairs with real 3-point seatbelts.

The Hymer Aktiv is interesting, but there's the propane thing again, and that second row seat is really only big enough for one add'l adult. Maybe two smaller kids, if they get along There's a Youtube channel called "We're the Russos" about a couple who full-time in an Aktiv. Worth checking out.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:39 AM   #18
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Although twin bed versions will have seatbelts, if the safety and comfort of your passengers is important, you should stick with a sofa or additional seats up front.

At the risk of seeming like a shill, I might suggest you consider the Coachmen Crossfit 22C. It has front and rear screens and a power sofa with three additional seatbelts. Comes with lead acid batteries and solar standard. It is on the Transit platform and, depending on the engine you select, is pretty economical as Class Bs go - you can probably get one for less than $85K. I've seen the 3.7 L engine with the twin beds for $80K, but, again, side-facing seatbelts are not very safe.

If you want a recent used model, the Roadtrek CS adventurous has three or four seats up front and at least one of them can be turned around to create a third bed for a single person. Other, older models of various manufacturers are available with multiple front seats and these can be found periodically on the websites I mentioned earlier. Older models may require some work to get them up to good condition, which will either take time or money or both, depending on your skill level. Screens can be added to darn near anything.

WRT voltstart, the consensus is that you shouldn't trust your pet's life to it. You can add a remote start feature to your van and get a temperature monitoring app for your phone that will probably work as well. In any case, you can run the AC as long as you run the generator or are plugged into shore power. If you want to run the AC for very long on batteries alone, you will have to go the lithium route and that will probably add $15K to the purchase price.
Phoebe3 - thank you for suggesting the Crossfit. I put it on my list. And immediately went to the show info for Toronto, unfortunately that won't be shown. The layout seems very similar to the Zion but a bit longer. Can you put a bed across the front seats? They show being able to do that on the website for the Zion but a dealer I spoke to wasn't aware of that and wondered if it was a glitch with the Roadtrek website.

After doing a cursory search on the Volt Start, I am clearly 100% talked out of it. I like the idea of the remote start and the reality is, if we had to leave the dog for a super long time because of plans (day at a non-dog friendly beach, etc.) we'd likely leave him home with his other parent (my ex-husband).

LOVE the idea of a used Roadtrek CS Adventurous. I love the layout and the extra length. Buying something used would be great if I can find such a thing. Thank you!
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:41 AM   #19
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The cooling for a pet can be accomplished with a Fantastic(or similar) roof vent fan if it's not crazy hot. Our 6lb attack killer long hair Chihuahua does just fine up to about 85-90 with the fan on high.*

*She loves laying out in the summer sun in FLA with temps in the mid 90's. Your puppy may not like it so much.

And do check out posts from Booster, lotsa good tech info.
Steve, Will definitely look at Booster's info - came across already. I am in the northern climate and the campgrounds I've been (primarily Maine) don't really get that hot. Seems so not worth it to put something in that is not only expensive but also potentially glitchy and worse of all give false positive about leaving the dog.

Glad to hear the roof fan is a good way to go. That is an option on the LTV's and I was curious if it was worth it. Sounds like it is...
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:46 AM   #20
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I'm a rank newbie to all of this, too. And it sounds like we have similar concerns. We saw a LTV, the Unity TB, not the Wonder, at a local RV show and were very impressed with the layout, modern interior design, and what we could see of the build quality. Not so crazy about the 3-way fridge (rather have a compressor model) and use of propane (would prefer an induction cooktop, and diesel-fired hot water heater/furnace). Also wish the LTV had more than two, forward facing captains chairs with real 3-point seatbelts.

The Hymer Aktiv is interesting, but there's the propane thing again, and that second row seat is really only big enough for one add'l adult. Maybe two smaller kids, if they get along There's a Youtube channel called "We're the Russos" about a couple who full-time in an Aktiv. Worth checking out.
hi dhuff, glad to hear I am in good company as a newbie here! I will be seeing the Unity TB this weekend in Toronto and very curious. I love what i see online but after reading so much online these past few weeks and more intensely these past few days (following the Boston RV expo and ahead of the Toronto expo), I am starting to really get jazzed about a B vs. the C (or B+ if that's appropriate?). I am betting for how i would travel that getting in and out of cities and towns would be really helpful. I like to go to museums and walk around the quaint historic towns we have here in the North East. I think the smaller rig would be helpful for that. -- So in terms of the fridge, you are clearly not the newbie I am because I haven't a clue why the 3 way fridge is not as good as the compressor! -- I do know that front facing seats with real seatbelts would make me feel more comfortable so hopefully that is a possibility. I'd be okay with the rear side facing ones but padding the side of the cabinet as some have suggested just in case there is a quick stop. Clearly that's not ideal.
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