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.
Table of Contents
- Types of Drivable RVs
- 7 Reasons to Avoid a Drivable RV
- Can You See Yourself in a Drivable RV?
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.
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 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.
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.
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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