ABCs of RV shopping: Two popular kinds of motorhomes

ABCs of RV shopping: Two popular kinds of motorhomes

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

If you’re in the market for your first RV, there’s plenty to be learned about the differences in RVs. This is the firsts installment of a multi-part series to help better acquaint you with your choices. This time we’ll talk about the two most popular kinds of motorhomes.

Class A motorhome

Often called a coach, a Class A motorhome is a unit built on a special chassis. Most have galleys (kitchens), central heating and air conditioning, and some sort of entertainment center. A Class A motorhome will range anywhere from 21 to 40 feet, and a few are even longer. Typical new prices run from $60,000 to $500,000. Got a lot of family or friends to tote? While size makes a difference, figure up to six can sleep aboard the larger rigs.

Class A units are considered “spacious” and “home like” by most. The more you invest, the more features you’ll find. Included in this “spacious” aspect is a lot of storage room. Most of these rigs have what RVers call “basement storage”—storage compartments accessed from outside the motorhome. Many have “slideouts”—sections that move outward from the unit at a push-button command. This enlarges the living space of the rig, and definitely increases the spacious feel.

Class A motorhomes are usually designed for towing another vehicle. Once in camp, a towed car (often called a “toad” by RVers) can be used for sightseeing and errands, while the coach stays parked comfortably. Speaking of driving, most Class A units can be driven by anyone with a standard driver’s license. Some states may require additional training or a license endorsement, depending on the weight of the motorhome or if they have air brakes.

Class C Motorhomes

Class CSometimes referred to as mini- motorhomes, Class C units are built on a van frame. While the front of the van is kept, you can expect a much wider body behind. A giveaway that you’re looking at a Class C motorhome is the “over the cab” sleeping area. Typical lengths range from 21 to 35 feet, with new prices starting at $43,000 and topping out at over $200,000. Depending on size and interior arrangement, you’ll find Class C motorhomes that sleep as many as eight.

Like Class A motorhome, Class C units provide a galley, bathroom with shower, entertainment systems and storage. Heating and air conditioning are standard, and many have capacity to tow a car behind them. Some of these motorhomes have a slideout or two.

A more recent industry innovation is the Super C motorhome. Built not on a van chassis but on a big truck chassis, the Super C motorhome has a higher vehicle weight capacity than a standard Class C motorhome. A bigger weight capacity often translates into a bigger motorhome, and it could also mean additional towing capacity, depending on what the manufacturer throws on the chassis. Here’s where the wise shopper looks closely at specifications. And if you’re looking for a diesel engine on a Class C motorhome, Super C motorhomes may be where you’ll need to go, as the regular C-class motorhome with a diesel engine is a vanishing breed.

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