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7 Reasons to Avoid a Drivable RV

7 Reasons to Avoid a Drivable RV

You’ve decided you want to give camping a try, maybe even tour the country a bit while you’re at it. You already know that you want an RV of sorts, but it’s hard to choose with so many options. Some travelers have decided that a drivable RV is the way to go. They enjoy having a vehicle and home all in one. But is it the right option for you? 

 Let’s explore why you might want to avoid a drivable recreational vehicle. 

Types of Drivable RVs

RVs aren’t as simple as just a towable or drivable option. Within the drivable RV category, a few different RV class options are vastly different from one another. Before we can look at the downsides to choosing one of these RVs, let’s first look at the types you’ll find at the dealership. 

The Largest Driveable RV: Class A Motorhome

Class A motorhomes are similar in style to a bus. They’re large (sometimes up to 45’ in length!) and are often very luxurious. They’re also popular with full-timers, thanks to their residential amenities. 

Class A Motorhome

These motorhomes sit on a large chassis with the option of diesel or gasoline engines. They tend to range in price from $50,000-$500,000 depending on size, brand, and amenities. These motorhomes can typically tow a vehicle behind them. 

The Smallest Drivable RV: Class B Motorhome

Class B motorhomes are the smallest of the drivable RV classes, and the RV community typically considers them camping conversion vans. 

They are often a popular choice for couples or solo travelers because they’re easy to maneuver and less intimidating than larger RVs. Though they’re remarkably more compact than Class A and Class C motorhomes, many Class Bs are surprisingly packed with features like bathrooms (even full showers!) and kitchens. These small motorhomes can be 16’-22’ in length. 

Class B Motorhome

Class C Motorhome

Looking for something in the middle? Class C Motorhomes are the perfect combination of Class A and Class B motorhomes. These RVs are more prominent but still relatively easy to maneuver at an average of 21’-35’ in length. 

If you’re a first-time RVer, this is a great choice! Class C motorhomes are easy to drive without sacrificing living space. They’re also typically capable of towing a vehicle behind them, which can be highly convenient.

Class C Motorhome

7 Reasons to Avoid a Drivable RV

Drivable RVs certainly have their place. Many campers prefer them to their towable counterparts. However, they aren’t for everyone, and they have their downfalls. Here are a few reasons you might not enjoy having a drivable RV. 

1. Engine and Living Area Combined

Even if you choose a diesel pusher (where the engine is in the back), the cab area will still eat up a noticeable portion of your living space. If you’re traveling in an RV, space is already at a premium, so having any unusable square footage is a significant con. Front engine models will have more of their living space depleted by the cab area. 

5 Reasons to Avoid Class B RVs

2. Drivable RVs Are More Expensive to Purchase Than Towables

Drivable RVs come with a hefty price tag. Many of the Class A motorhomes on the road cost more than a sticks and bricks house. Even used units can leave you with a high loan payment. Considering all RVs are quickly depreciating assets, it’s challenging to justify sinking so much money into them. 

Pro Tip: If you still have your heart set on a drivable RV, be sure to read How to Buy an Awesome RV Without Breaking the Bank.

3. Less Residential Feeling

Due to the combined living and driving area, these RVs can sometimes lack the residential feel that towable RVs often have. It can be hard to feel at home when there’s a large steering wheel in your living space. You can do some things to help give the area a home-like feel, but in the end, it’s still pretty clearly a functioning vehicle. 

4. Steeper Depreciation

RVs, in general, don’t hold their value. Much like a car, once you drive it off the lot, it’s worth dramatically less than what you paid for it. In fact, NADA Guides suggest that RVs depreciate by 25% immediately upon purchase! Drivable RVs take even more of a hit, with larger RVs depreciating faster than smaller ones over time. 

5. Driveable RVs Are More Expensive to Repair

Drivable RVs have engines to maintain and repair. These engines are complex pieces of machinery. If the engine of your drivable RV goes out, your repair options might be limited to the closest shop, which could be pricey. Additionally, drivable RVs are not cheap to tow, considering their size. 

6. Limited Floorplan Options

There are only so many floorplan options when looking at drivable RVs. The front must be the unit’s cab–there’s no way around it. For families, this means there can be no bunkhouse at the opposite end of the RV; all bunks will be mid-unit. 

Not to mention, in smaller Class Bs, the sofa and bed are often one and the same, which could be problematic for travelers who enjoy the convenience of separate spaces.

7. Driveable RVs Are Less Suitable for Large Families

In addition to limited options in floorplans, there are also fewer options for privacy. Sometimes with towable options, families will choose two-bedroom units where the master bedroom is on one end and a bunkhouse is on the other. This just isn’t an option with drivable RVs.

Additionally, interior storage is quickly used in these models, and in Class Bs, there may be no exterior storage at all. If you have more than two people living in a motorhome, this lack of storage can prove difficult.

Can You See Yourself in a Drivable RV?

Overall, there are many reasons campers choose drivable RVs over towable models. They can be a great option depending on your needs. That doesn’t make them ideal for everyone, however. When you’re ready to start RVing, it’s nice to know the potential downsides so you can make an informed choice. 

Can you see yourself in a drivable RV, or will you stick to a towable model?

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Hubert Hurst

Tuesday 1st of June 2021

Over the 70 years, I have been camping I have had class A's, B,s C, and a diesel pusher. Today on our trip to return home from Lake Okeechobee we stopped in Lake Wales and got lunch at MacDonald's. We parked under a shady tree, turned on the generator, and air conditioner to enjoyed lunch. My wife said we have it all, and I agree with her. Being able to travel around the USA and have all the comforts of home with us is wonderful. No matter what kind of RV we have owned, life without one would not be as great.

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

We also love having all of the comforts of home as we travel. It's one of the best parts of RVing. :)

e.a.f.

Monday 31st of May 2021

the thing about a motorhome is, if your engine breaks down and goes into the shop, there goes your transport and home. If you have a trailer and vehicle and the vehicle breaks down and goes into the shop you still have y0ur home and if your trailer needs repairs in a shop you still have your vehicle which gives you more options as to where you can go. I do like a small van though if you're on your own and travelling. If things don't look comfortable, just get in the front seat and drive away.

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

Good points. Thanks for sharing!

Bruce Parelskin

Sunday 30th of May 2021

It would be nice to share the upside to the drivable RV as well. We have a 25' class C based on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis and love it. Some advantages: 1. You can hit the head without going outside or extending a slide? 2. When dry camping, it's just a few minutes to slide in, pull up the auto-levelers and head out. 3. It's a super fast set up as well. Easy to back in, connect, level and slide. Backing in a trailer and disconnecting are a far more complex task than what you experience with and RV. 4. I can pull a boat! 5. I get 15 mpg. Both are great solutions. We love our class C.

Conrad

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

Even though technically a Class C there are lots of units that are marketed as Class B+ that are very suitable for 2 people especially the older demographics that do not need their own space, looking to downsize or simplify setting up, but needing more space that a Class B has to offer. The latter was a reason to choose a driveable Class B+ over a towable option which would have required a much bigger learning curve as first time RVers. When doing more road trip adventures rather then staying longer is few places, the quick access to a dry bathroom is a big advantage in a Class B+ Having swivel seats that can become part of the living space can create a feeling of a much bigger living space if the floor layout is well planned to take advantage of the swivel seats much like the picture in your post.

Jim Short

Saturday 22nd of May 2021

Caitlin and Tom, Style of camping is very important in the decision to purchase a towable or drivable. If you do destination vacations, or you’re a full-timer, and you stay in one location for week, month or season a towable rig is best. However, if you move often, staying one or two nights, and on rare occasions a week or so, the drivable might be a better choice. The rationale for this is the ease of hooking up and tearing down a camp site. Towable rigs often require more effort to level and some, such as Airstreams have minimal exterior storage, this requires creativity stowing things like power cables, water hoses, and sewer slinkies. The industry has made great improvements as of late to mitigate these time sucks, but setting up a large class-A motor home is a comparable breeze. With auto leveling, lots of exterior storage and available power retracting electric cable and water hose reels set up and tear down takes only a few minutes. Class-C and some class-B rigs are now offering these same options. While sitting all summer in a motorized RV will not damage it, it is not an ideal economic choice, and while moving often will not damage a towable it is not an ideal use of the precious time we have. Your article is very thoughtful and should be helpful to those people just entering, or considering the RV lifestyle, but don’t forget the style of use.

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 9th of June 2021

You're right. Style of camping is an important factor to consider with any RV purchase.

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