From the sleek front cap to the sensational rear ramp that doubles as a patio deck, the Crossroads Elevation is sure to turn heads in any campground!
Road test and photos by Norm Rosen
It’s no surprise that the Crossroads division of THOR has scored a big hit with the Elevation series of sport-utility RVs (SURVs) – these multipurpose trailers combine all of the features of a high end RV with the functionality of a toy hauler – and deliver the goods in a lightweight package that incorporates the latest in RV technology and design.
We visited Hitch’n’Go RV in Delhi, Ontario, to check out the 2014 Elevation TF-3612, a 39’5” tandem axle beauty that tips the scales at a dry weight of 10,910 pounds with a carrying capacity of 4,590 pounds – that’s perfect for a pair of motorcycles, an ATV, a golf cart, or a pair of snowmobiles and all of your camping gear.
The Elevation combines the rugged durability of a rear garage with the elegance of a luxury living area – an interesting combination that appeals to many RV buyers, whether they are looking for an SURV or a standard fifth wheel model. In fact, after spending some time in the TF-3612, you might wonder how you ever did without an optional rear patio deck.
Our test vehicle was loaded with all of the options – starting with the rear garage area, the Elevation features a ramp that doubles as a patio deck, a rear power awning, pull-down screen for the garage wall, and a Happijac Power Bed Lift with twin sofas. Your “pit crew” will enjoy the 24” LCD TV in the garage area, and when you park your toys outside, and extend the rear awning, the garage section of the trailer becomes “party central.”
The rear wall of the Elevation is hinged to serve as a loading ramp. It only takes a minute to set up the safety railings.
From a practical perspective, if you enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle, the Elevation TF-3612 provides the best of both worlds – the rear section has all of the features you need to transport and maintain your toys with durable flooring and storage capacity, tie-downs, an optional work station, 50-amp power and an optional 5.5 KW Onan gas generator.
The central section of the trailer has a fully equipped galley, an island bar with sink, one of the most comfortable leather sofa beds we have encountered in years, and a stunning décor that proves that you don’t have to “rough it” in this sport-utility RV.
We were very impressed that the engineers created a 39’5” fifth wheel that weighed just 10,910 pounds – that’s almost a ton lighter than some of the fifth wheels in this size range. The secret to the weight savings can be seen in several areas – for example, under the one-piece rolled edge rubber roof and 3/8-inch plywood roof decking the unit has aluminum roof trusses rather than the conventional wood construction – with a truss every sixteen inches, this alone accounts for a substantial weight saving.
Crossroads RV also utilizes state-ofthe- art wall and floor lamination at the Syracuse, Indiana factory – an innovation that first came on-line with the construction of the Crossroads RV plant in 2010 – the Redwood division of Crossroads takes advantage of this technology. Using this lamination process for selected components adds structural strength and saves weight.
The straight frame provides a full-width cargo or garage area. There is a screen enclosure to keep out the wildlife, and a rear awning for shade.
Crossroads uses a straight frame rather than the more common drop through frame construction, which gives the engineers the flexibility to design-in more cargo capacity – this design concept lets you enjoy large water tanks that are well suited for dry camping, a direct response to the needs of the motorsport enthusiasts who use their SURVs as toy haulers. The extra ground clearance provided by the straight frame is a welcome feature when you take the trailer to the motocross track, where uneven terrain is a major challenge for most trailers.
Crossroads uses a new concept in slide-out mechanisms from Schwinntek – once you understand the concept, you might wonder why all of the manufacturers don’t upgrade to this technology. Schwinntek uses two synchronized motors working independently of each other – they self-adjust to keep the slideout square. The system is compact and lightweight – all of the mechanism is within the rails, so you don’t need the big hydraulic rams that take out your space and add weight, and you don’t need the cables and pulleys either… it is a high-tech approach to slide-out construction, and the benefits are substantial in terms of weight savings, operational efficiency, and reliability.
With twin slides and an island galley, the Elevation living room is supremely comfortable. We often wonder why some RV manufacturers incorporate certain design features, and leave others out – in this case, it is obvious that the engineers fully understand the needs of their consumer audience, and build the trailers to match those needs. We like to see how manufacturers express confidence in the quality of their construction – this Crossroads model carries a 12 year structural warranty – need we say more?
On The Road
At just under 11,000 pounds, this fullsize fifth wheel is a delight to tow. The engineers have utilized the latest in RV slide-out technology to create a triple-slide model that works like a charm and tows like a dream. We liked the 16-inch aluminum wheels and Power Touring ST 235/80R16 trailer tires – a combination specifically designed for trailer applications.
We hitched the Elevation to a Ford F-250 Lariat with a 6.7-litre Power Stroke turbo diesel. This engine can run on the eco-friendly B20 fuel that is now becoming available in many states. This a very refined pickup, with lots of bells and whistles – ideally suited to tow a light to middleweight trailer or fifth wheel.
The Ford had almost every option – except the built-in navigation system – and that’s fine with us, because the new Ford electronics package can be quite distracting. Our road test teams use Magellan RoadMate GPS systems when we take out a vehicle that does not have the on-board nav system, and we find the Magellan 9165 T-LM model with a 7” screen and Bluetooth telephone feature to be ideal for a wide range of RV applications. We use a premium dashboard “beanbag” mount because in some states, the windshield suction mount is prohibited – and the beanbag keeps the GPS screen low and out of your line of vision.
We often pair the RoadMate GPS with Magellan’s Bluetooth Wireless Back-Up Camera that attaches to the license plate of the trailer and draws power from the back-up light circuit. When you shift into reverse, the backup lights come on and activate the camera – the camera’s Bluetooth sending unit sends a signal to a receiver that mounts behind the GPS screen, and presto – you have a wireless rear vision monitor system that transmits 45 feet – just enough to be ideal for any pickup and fifth wheel application.
With the ramp in “deck” mode, the Elevation provides a patio that turns the trailer into “entertainment central.”
With the bunks down, you can accommodate six people for lunch. Raise the bunks and you have a large working area.
We like the Magellan GPS and backup camera system because it is easy to move from one vehicle to another. We just tap into the backup light circuit to power the camera, and the receiver unit and GPS work off the tow vehicle’s 12V power outlet.
At the Motorsport Track
You would expect a “Toy Hauler” to be equipped with the specialized features appropriate to your recreational needs, and this model certainly meets and exceeds expectations. Our test unit had an optional 30-gallon fuel tank with gauge and timer switch. The cargo, or “garage” area is separated from the living area by a sliding door that helps keep noise and odours out of the living area. There are two entrance doors to the unit – one in the cargo area, and one in the living area, plus ramp access when the rear deck is in the lowered position.
We like the concept of twin Happijac bunk beds in the cargo area – these lift up to the ceiling when not in use. The lower bunk converts into two bench seats.
The “garage” area has diamond plate protective sheets and there are lots of overhead cupboards for your gear. Everything you need for motorsports technical support and crew comfort is at your disposal – power outlets, lights, you name it – all you have to add is your toys.
In The Campground
Whether you plan to use the Elevation TF-3612 in a campground, or in the pits at a motocross race, the trailer offers an impressive array of convenient features.
Our vehicle was not equipped with a navigation system, so we plugged in our Magellan RoadMate 9165 T-LM GPS – this 7″ screen model lets you hook up a wireless Bluetooth backup camera to see what is behind the trailer – try it out, you won’t leave home without one!
When you arrive at your destination, the first step is to use the electric power “landing jacks” to assist in the unhitching process and then level and stabilize the trailer. Connect the electric, water, and sewer hookups, and then you can transform the trailer into it’s full campsite configuration. The first time you lower the rear ramp, it takes a minute or two to attach the steel cables – after this is done, the ramp can be raised and lowered in seconds. Set up the safety railings, and you are ready to extend your slides, roll out the awnings, and get down to some serious recreation.
With so many RV and powersport systems on board, it was refreshing to see how well organized the various system controls and access ports are – everything is exactly where you expect it to be, and everything works like a charm. Water, sewer, and electrical hookups are well placed, and there are convenience lights at strategic locations throughout the trailer… the Redwood crew has certainly done their homework, and they did it at night, in a real camping situation… what a pleasure to road test a vehicle that has been designed and engineered by experienced campers!
In The Galley
With an eight-cu.ft. refrigerator, a microwave and a 22″ oven with 3-burner range in the galley slide-out, and the sofa in a large slide out on the facing wall, the central portion of the trailer is ideally suited to entertain friends and family. The island bar has a solid surface countertop, twin stainless steel sinks, and a convenient serving shelf. Our test vehicle came with two bar stools, and there is easily room for two more. You can dine and entertain eight people in comfort in the living room area, six more in the rear section, and six on the patio deck – the only item we would add is a compact refrigerator in the garage for pit crew refreshments.
The fully equipped galley is nestled into a slide-out, maximizing floor space in the central section of the unit.
Comfort and Convenience
Whether you haul your toys for winter sports, or head for the beach on a sweltering summer weekend, the Elevation fifth wheel provides a supremely comfortable environment for work and relaxation. The 15M BTU ceiling ducted roof air unit cools the trailer very well, and you can get a second roof air unit for the bedroom. We really liked the skylights in the galley and bathroom areas, and the 8’ ceiling really adds to the spacious interior of the centre and rear sections of the floor plan.
The front bedroom is very spacious for a vehicle of this size, with a full complement of overhead cupboards and closet space. The queen size bed is comfortable, with lots of clearance to make the bed.
The washroom is large and fully equipped, with a residential style toilet and a spacious vanity and sink. The Fan-Tastic ceiling vent is a welcome feature, especially when you have a trailer designed to accommodate so many active outdoor sports enthusiasts… it helps clear the humidity from showers, and keeps fresh air flowing through the bathroom area.
The front bedroom is spacious, with lots of storage space, and plenty of room to relax.
After a day on the trails, you can relax and listen to the Nitro Circus custom sound system – a very high performance setup for an RV – the stereo has a sub woofer and six speakers – four inside and two on the exterior of the trailer there is also a rear stereo with iPod/MP3 connectivity, Pandora link, and Kicker brand speakers.
For movie fans, the HD TV in the livingroom was a big hit, with Blu-Ray player and internet apps, and Vizio home theatre sound bar. The optional TVs in the garage and bedroom rounded out the multimedia entertainment options in the trailer.
Our test vehicle had the full technology package – including the first installation that we have seen of the Wi-Fi Ranger – an electronic signal booster that enhances the range and strength of your Wi-Fi capabilities – ideal for race track pit areas, campgrounds, and catching up on your internet browsing whenever you stop at a Wi-Fi enabled location along your route.
We were very impressed with the comfort and convenience features of this trailer. From the Lane residential furniture that is supremely comfortable, to the residential size shower and 10 gallon gas/electric with DSI, this fifth wheel provides all of the comforts of home. While the last thing on the minds of our road test team is laundry, we cannot deny that an active outdoor lifestyle generates a significant need for clean clothes, and the Elevation comes prewired for a washer/dryer combo that fits into a convenient corner in the rear cargo area, ideally suited for handling the active wardrobe of your motocross racers, and the normal RV laundry assignments.
The Bottom Line
With so many innovative features, and excellent design and craftsmanship, the Crossroads RV Elevation TF 3612 is an excellent multi-purpose fifth wheel for a wide range of RV enthusiasts.