It’s as simple as A, B, C. Motorhomes come in three classes (and a few derivatives): A, B, or C.
However, it does not mean A is better than B which is better than C. That, my camping friends, all depends upon what adventures you are planning on taking.
Let’s take a walk through all of them, starting from the smallest—the Class B—and ending at the largest—the Class A. No, they don’t go in alphabetical order by size. Not sure why, really.
Class B Motorhomes
The motorhome that looks like a tall van and that yes, in fact, is built on a van chassis.
Class B models can sleep anywhere from two to four but are truly ideal for couples who want the ability to travel with what they want and the added ability to park pretty much anywhere.
Most of them are the length of your typical cargo van, so hovering around 20 feet. There are a few that stretch it out a bit more. These have their own special classification: B+.
Class B coaches can be found in both gas or diesel. From a gas standpoint you’re looking at a Dodge Ram Promaster or Ford Transit engine V6 with 280 horses and 360 pound-feet torque or 275 horses and 260 pound-feet torque respectively. Regarding the diesel version, you’re looking at a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis with 188 horses and 325 pound-feet torque.
With a Class B, you’re not really looking at any ‘oomph’ to get up passes for the overall Class B weight isn’t substantial enough to require it. Therefore, your engine option comes down to preference in gas or diesel/domestic or Mercedes.
Wait, what’s torque?
In basic terms, torque is simply a rotating force created by your engine’s crankshaft. As such, the more power you get in torque, the greater your engine’s ability to perform work. This work is put into a sweet little equation called units pound-feet.
As such, if anyone decides to try to ‘out-engine’ you with some ‘power talk’ regarding their Class B gas versus your Class B (or Class C or Class A) gas, just smile and nod. You now know better. Class A Diesels will differ—we’ll get to that.
Can you haul toys with a Class B? If your toys are bicycles, then yes. Most of the new models have the ability to add a nifty bike rack to their exterior, some on the top, but most on the back.
Class B models range in price from around $80,000 up to $180,000.
Class C Motorhomes
The motorhome that looks like a motorhome but is built on a van chassis.
There are a few models blurring the lines between Class B and Class C. They’ll run shorter, around 24 feet, but still have the boxy look of a C. These will come in gas or diesel: Ford E-350 or Chevy 3500 chassis for gas; Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for diesel.
Once you get into the longer class C models – until you get to the Super C models – there’s a high probability your chassis will be the standard gas engine Ford E-450 with 320 horses and 450 pound-feet torque. These longer class C motorhomes run from 25 feet up to nearly 33 feet and you can find a Class C toy hauler for your needs too. Now onto the…
Super C motorhomes. Generally more luxurious, these hover in the upper 30’s in length and come in both the classic E-450 gas chassis as well as Freightliner diesel chassis. Not only will they be lengthier, Super C models will all have multiple slide-outs, some will have stacked bunks, and a few will be come with a bath-and-a-half.
So what’s the price tag for a Class C? In the range from around $65,000 up to over $200,000.
Class A Motorhomes
The most popular, and with the widest variety, are your Class A gas models. They run from about 25 feet all the way up to around 40 feet. Most will be able to sleep at least five, with a few having enough room via twin bunks and drop-down queen bunks to sleep up to eight. You’ll also find a select few Class A toy haulers as well.
All Class A gas motorhomes have the same chassis – a Ford F53 with 320 horses and 460 pound-feet of torque.
What if you are planning on hitting the Rockies on a frequent basis and truly need more torque to climb those passes as you tow along your car or SUV? Then you’ll need to consider a Class A Diesel.
Not only do they have a range of horsepower and torque, they come in a wider variety of floorplans. Some are designed for couples, others for families. But let’s get back to torque talk.
Depending upon the size of your Class A Diesel – they can run nearly 45 feet in length – you’ll be looking at anything from 300 horses/660 pound-feet torque up to a whopping 605 horses/1,950 pound feet torque. Diesels are also ‘pushers’ meaning the engine is in the back. Large than 40 feet you’ll be looking at tag axle pushers, motorhomes with a dual set of axles on the back end.
As far as the sticker? You can get a new production Class A motorhome for under $100,000… or you can get one for nearly $1,000,000. Plus, there are also some custom-built models that will definitely run more.
So that’s it… mostly. There’s also the Thor Industry ‘RUV’ which is effectively, a Class C motorhome in terms of engine and chassis, but built in the common rectangular shape of a Class A. It’s like a stealth Class A… or a crafty Class C. It blurs the lines, but the vast majority will fall into these three classes.
Do you have any questions? Any favorites? What’s your preference? Drop us a note and we’ll be happy to respond to any and all questions. Also, if you’re in the market, check out the models for sale at Camping World.