Large and luxurious, small and nimble, or something in between, deciding what motorhome is right for you is all about understanding how you want to roll.
Motorized coaches, or motorhomes, generally fall into three categories, A, B or C with a few falling into a hybrid group sometimes called B-Plus coaches. The smallest of these are the sprightly, go anywhere- park-anywhere Class B, while the largest and most luxurious are the Class A. Class C motorhomes combine some features of both As and Bs. All are self-contained, with the driving and living areas integrated.
Start small with a Class B motor coach. Class B RVs are by far the smallest of the motorhomes, able to park in the tightest of camp sites and drive like the family van. Class B motor coaches get their start as full-sized, ¾-ton or 1-ton vans.
Manufacturers turn the vans into tiny homes on wheels, raising the roof, adding built-in cabinets, efficient kitchens with a stove or microwave and mini fridge and a seating area that converts into sleeping quarters. Tiny “wet bathrooms” that combine shower and toilet are added more for convenience than comfort. In some larger, luxury models the van’s wheelbase is extended, and a small slide that extends from the camper is added. These models may include an additional removable dining table at the front as well as an entertainment center.
Even in the most luxurious of Class B motorhomes, space is at a premium, making Class B motor coaches generally suitable for no more than two people or a family with one small child. Storage, while smart, may not be ample for long journeys with lots of gear. However, their small size and light weight means Class B motorhomes get the best gas mileage of any motorhome; their small size means they can be parked in most garages and fit easily into tiny or heavily wooded sites. Class B motorhomes are also among the most affordable of motorhomes.
Built on a truck chassis, Class C motorhomes are the burly middle child of the motorhome family, with more room to accommodate a family or guests and the oomph to tow a second vehicle. Built on a sturdy truck chassis with sleeping quarters tucked into a “cab over” they are easy to recognize on the highway as they take families on their next adventure. The driver compartment is in the original truck cab, making the handling more comfortable and familiar for some than the blocky Class A motor coach.
While floor plans will vary widely and sizes will range from about 20 feet upwards to about 35 feet, Class C motorhomes do have some things in common. The living area will generally be a step or two up from the cab. In most models, a bed will be tucked above the cab, creating more space below. The heavier truck chassis allows manufacturers to load on more amenities, including a complete bathroom, kitchen with storage, and a dinette that can convert into additional sleeping quarters. Depending on the size and the manufacturer, some Class C motor coaches will include one or two slide outs to increase living area and a separate master bedroom or rear bed. Unlike it’s little sibling, the Class B, most Class C motorhomes will have generous exterior storage. Class C motorhomes are an excellent choice for families and long journeys or extended stays. Also, if you crave the convenience of having a vehicle available for driving after you’ve set up camp, most Class C are able to tow a family vehicle.
If home-like comfort, luxury, and space for long stays or the long haul, are important, consider a Class A motorhome. Commonly built on a commercial truck or bus frame, with hefty 22.5-inch wheels, the Class A motor home is constructed to carry the heavy load of a home away from home.
Class A motorhomes are easily identifiable by the expansive windshield across the flat front of the cab. The driving compartment and living quarters are generally integrated, and on the same level. Most Class A motorhomes will have at least two slideouts, creating large living areas and lavish master suites.
Class A Motorhomes have extensive residential-style cabinetry, home-style kitchens, and full-sized bathrooms, making them ideal for seasonal stays and lengthy adventures.
Luxury has its price however, as Class A motorhomes have the worst fuel economy of any of the motorhome family, averaging less than 10 MPG. Most Class A motorhomes are also beefy enough to tow a family vehicle.
If the comfort of a second home beckons, consider a Class A motorhome for your RV adventure.
A relatively new entry into the motorhome family is the Class B-Plus, a marriage of the Class B and Class C motorhomes. The Class B-Plus is built on a truck chassis, but its more aerodynamic cab-over and shorter length make it more fuel efficient than a full-fledged Class C. The compact cab-over will be used for storage or perhaps an entertainment center, rather than sleeping. Most of these hybrids will have a more standard bathroom and more sleeping space in the rear, making it ideal for those who want to stay fuel efficient, but crave more space, or those not ready or able to handle a larger, heavier motorcoach.