Do you know your RV ABCs? There’s no jingle to help you with this one, but don’t worry! We’ve got the full scoop below. Keep reading to learn the features, advantages, and disadvantages that come with Class A, B, and C RV motorhomes.
What Are the Three Types of RV Motorhomes?
When you think of the term “motorhome,” you probably have an image that immediately pops into your mind. Perhaps it’s an old Winnebago Itasca from the 1980s or a shiny new Newmar Dutch Star. But did you know there are three different classes of motorhomes?
Class A, B, and C RV motorhomes vary tremendously in size, price, features, and construction. But they’re all drivable RVs, which means they fall under the umbrella of “motorhomes.”
Class A motorhomes are the most expensive, luxurious, and largest options. They come equipped with a diesel or gas engine and have a large towing capacity, which is why many travelers tow separate vehicles.
Class B motorhomes look similar to a cargo van. They’re much smaller and less expensive.
Class C motorhomes are easily recognizable by the cabover bed. They can be just as long as Class As but are usually less expensive, so you get more bang for your buck.
There are two subsets of these RV’s that are the super B (or B+) and Super C motorhomes. A B+ is typically built on the same chassis as a B but usually has a wider body. A super C is usually built on a semi-truck chassis and frequently has the largest hauling capacities of all motorhomes.
What Are the Differences Among Class A, B, and C Motorhomes?
The three classes of motorhomes are built differently and have varying features. Depending on your travel lifestyle, one type may fit you better than another.
There is no “best” type of motorhome. A Class B is great for its flexibility , but a Class C may be a better and more affordable choice when you have children. If you’re looking for luxury, a Class A or Super C may be the best option.
Let’s look at some of the key differences between Class A, B, and C RV motorhomes.
Pro Tip: When shopping for a motorhome, it’s critical to make a list of what’s most important to you as there are tons of options. Here are the 10 Things We Looked for When Buying Our Used Class A Motorhome.
Chassis and Engines
One of the biggest differences between Class A, B, and C motorhomes is the chassis. Class As are built on a bus or large commercial truck chassis because they’re very heavy, weighing anywhere from 13,000 lbs to 50,000 lbs.
Even though some Class Cs can be 35 ft in length, they’re built on a smaller truck or cutaway van chassis because they usually only weigh 10,000 to 15,000 pounds. Finally, the smallest and lightest motorhomes, the Class Bs, are built on van chassis.
All three types of motorhomes feature diesel and gas engine options. Also known as “diesel pushers,” you’ll find more Class As equipped with a diesel engine in the back than Class Bs or Cs.
The largest Class As usually have diesel engines and they’re also the most expensive. Why? Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient and have a whole lot more crankshaft torque, but they cost more to maintain and fill up.
Class Bs are the smallest of the motorhomes. They aren’t much bigger than a cargo van and usually don’t have slide-outs. Some have wet baths, while others don’t have baths at all. B+ size units tend to offer a bit more space as they are wider, and some even have dry baths.
Class As are usually the longest, tallest, and heaviest. They typically have more slides than Class Cs because of their added length. The class A design is mostly a big box providing the most interior space as well.
Class Cs are somewhere in the middle and vary in length. Some will be 25 ft long, while others will be 35 ft long. However, Class Cs usually sleep more people because of the cabover bed in the front and bedroom in the rear. Sometimes the middle sofa and/or dinette will also convert into a sleeping space.
The construction process begins with the chassis. As already mentioned, Class A, B, and C motorhomes have different chassis. The tires are also much bigger and higher grade on Class A motorhomes because they carry enormous weight.
Class Bs look like vans and don’t have slide-outs. Often people will convert van shells into sleeping and living spaces to be able to travel. Class Cs are constructed with a cabover bed, which means more sleeping space and a larger living area than Class Bs.
Class A motorhomes look like tour buses and the addition of numerous slide-outs can make up for the loss of square footage due to the cab area. These are the most luxurious motorhomes, which we’ll examine further below.
The quality is the biggest difference between Class A and Class C motorhomes (other than the construction). Class As can cost $250,000 or upwards of $1,000,000 because you’ll find fireplaces, porcelain tile floors, heated flooring, and ample storage. They usually feature a large main bedroom with a queen or king bed and ensuite. It’s like a small luxury apartment on wheels. Higher-end Class A’s have weight capacities similar to a semi-truck and engines just as big.
Because Class As aren’t affordable for all RVers, Class Cs make great options. They feature similar amenities found in Class As at a fraction of the cost. Typically, they’ll have at least two slide-outs, a rear main bedroom, and the standard cabover bunk for additional sleeping space. They’re also easier to drive than Class As.
Some Class Bs will feature dinettes, bathrooms, and a separate sleeping space. This all depends on the length of the model. Smaller vans will have multi-functional spaces like a table that converts to a bed or pull-out countertops you can stow away when not in use.
There is a huge difference in price among Class A, B, and C RV motorhomes. It all depends on the particular unit and whether you buy new or used.
Class As are the most expensive and can range between $250,000 for a basic unit to over a million dollars for the most luxurious models. Conversely, Class Bs will cost between $50,000 and $200,000. Class Cs are typically a little more expensive than Class Bs. However, you usually get more square footage for the price with a Class C motorhome.
What’s the Smallest RV Motorhome: Class A, B, or C?
As already mentioned, Class Bs are the smallest type of motorhome. They usually range from 18 ft to 24 ft in length. Sometimes you’ll hear them referred to as van campers or camper vans. They look similar to a cargo van or city vans like the Ford Transit, Ram Promaster or Mercedes sprinter.
Tip: Ford Transit vans are commonly converted into campers, but are they any good? Find out: Is a Ford Transit a Good Camper Van?
There are three primary advantages to owning a Class B. They’re generally cheaper than Class As and Class Cs, much easier to drive, and easier to get into tight campsites. Usually, campers who want to boondock often or get into national parks and stay overnight appreciate the smaller design of Class B motorhomes.
A smaller size also has its disadvantages. If you’re a family, traveling in a Class B isn’t feasible because of the tight living quarters. There’s also limited storage space, which can be problematic for long camping trips.
What Is the Easiest Motorized RV to Drive: Class A, B, or C?
Class B motorhomes also take top prize in this category. Because they’re smaller, it’s not much different from driving a minivan. New owners won’t feel like they need to take a driving lesson to operate a Class B safely.
If you need to go to the grocery store, it’s easy to drive there and park in a regular parking spot. You won’t have trouble navigating through most city streets or dealing with high-volume traffic areas. You also don’t have to deal with the added setup and hassle of towing an additional vehicle.
What Is the Most Popular Type of RV Motorhome: Class A, B, or C?
Class C has been the forerunner in popularity for years. However, Class Bs have picked up speed more recently.
Travelers like the smaller space and ease of travel. Solo travelers especially love being able to take a Class B anywhere without worrying if the vehicle will fit. They can pull up to the side of a cliff and dry camp for the night or pull into a tiny national park site for a stunning view. In fact, according to USA Today, the hashtag #vanlife has been used over 12 million times on Instagram, mostly among millennials.
But van life isn’t the right choice for all campers. Class As and Class Cs are also great options for travelers in different seasons of life. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure it fits your travel needs.
Do you drive a Class A, B, or C RV motorhome? What do you love about it? Drop a comment below.
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