Pelican Flyer • May 28, 2021
What’s the only thing better than traveling the world? Why, bringing along the comforts of home, of course. RVing is an incredible way to explore the great outdoors without sacrificing the small luxuries of modern living that can make traveling so much easier.
If you’re ready to embrace the RV lifestyle, there is a lot to consider before you decide to buy an RV of your own. One of the first big decisions you’ll need to make is figuring out which RV class is right for you. In this guide, we’ll break down the key differences between RV classes so you can choose the perfect motorhome for your family.
First, let’s start with the basics. There are two types of RVs: motorized vehicles (aka, motorhomes) and non-motorized vehicles (aka, towable rigs such as fifth wheels and travel trailers). Motorhomes can be further broken down into three main classes: Class A, B or C. Class A is the largest in size, followed by Class C and then Class B.
There is no “best RV class” because each one has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. As you weigh the pros and cons of each RV class, you’ll want to take different factors into consideration, such as how much space you want, which specific features you’re looking for and if/where you plan to boondock.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the three different RV classes and why each one may or may not be right for you.
The largest and most luxurious of the three RV classes, the Class A motorhome is the quintessential modern RV. This RV class is generally defined by its large, flat and slightly slanted windshield which gives it a bus-like appearance. Class A RVs are usually equipped with six wheels and come in a variety of sizes, ranging from about 25 feet to 45 feet.
Class A motorhomes come with two engine options: a gas engine—which is typically located at the front of the RV—or a diesel engine, which is usually located in the rear of the RV. If you hear someone call their RV a “pusher,” they’re referring to a Class A diesel RV.
Class B motorhomes (aka, camper vans) are the smallest type of motorhome. Some start out as vans and are converted into Class B’s by installing new hardware, raising the roof height and increasing the chassis length.
Class B motorhomes can range from about 17 feet to 23 feet and may come in a variety of designs and layouts. But no matter how large or small, camper vans always look like…well, a van.
For a new Class B motorhome, you’re looking at a price range of about $40,000 to $125,000. This may come as a surprise when you compare this price range to that of a larger Class C motorhome (see below). The higher price tag is due to how camper vans are made. They’re made on an expensive chassis and are generally more difficult to make.
If you want the comfortable camping experience of a Class A without the hassle or the expense, a Class C motorhome is a fantastic mid-sized option. Class C’s are popular in the RV world because they’re easier to maneuver than Class A’s. They’re also more affordable with a price range of about $50,000 to $120,000 for a new Class C motorhome.
Class C’s are built on either a truck or a van chassis. The length of a Class C motorhome can vary greatly, with some being as small as 20 feet and others extending beyond 40 feet.
One of the easiest ways to distinguish a Class C motorhome is by its additional section that extends over the vehicle's cab. This overhang usually serves as an extra sleeping bunk.
However, not all Class C’s have this overhang. Within the Class C family, there is an RV called the “Super C,” which may not have the cab-over bunk area. The Super C RV is similar in design to a Class C motorhome, except that it has a considerably larger chassis, higher towing capacity, stronger engine and a more spacious floor plan.
There is an endless array of RV options out there for enthusiastic campers, with benefits and downsides to each. Campers who prefer to live a minimalist lifestyle may prefer a Class B motorhome, while retirees with plenty of time on their hands may find Class A’s more to their liking. But no matter which RV you choose, the RV community is sure to welcome you with open arms. See you on the open road!
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