Choosing the right motorhome can be a stressful experience, but it’s important to make a careful decision and make the right choice. Your motorhome is an investment, and you want to be sure what you buy is both what you need and want.
How do you know whether a Class A or Class C motorhome is right for you?
Here are a few things to consider.
Class A vs. Class C: What Do They Have In Common
While both Classes might have quite a few differences they also share some great similarities when being compared to other types of RVs and trailers.
The first is that they are both motorized, which means they don’t have to be towed and are much more convenient from an owner standpoint.
Second is that they are capable of sleeping 3 or more people.
Lastly, they almost always come with a full bathroom and shower.
Class A vs Class C: Key Differences
Let’s go over each of the primary differences between the two classes so that you can get a better idea of what you might be looking for in a motorhome.
Be prepared to spend a lot more for a Class A than a Class C. The average price for a Class A will be between $60,000 – $1,000,000, and even more depending on the type of luxury amenities you want to include – Sky’s the limit.
A standard range for a Class C will be between $45,000 to $200,000 and can often include many of the same amenities.
2. Size & Living Space
Class A RVs are well-known for their size and will definitely offer the most living space. That being said, the size of a Class A is not only going to be more difficult to maneuver it will also limit the types of parks you can visit since not every park can handle the size of a Class A which is something to consider.
Class A motorhomes will almost always have better amenities over a Class C due to the larger size. With A Class A you are essentially purchasing a home on wheels and the manufacturers like to make sure that you have everything you need. King-size beds, laundry facilities, showers, baths, full fridges and master bedrooms all come pretty standard in a Class A.
4. Fuel Cost
Class As and Class Cs both have the option for either diesel or gas but the Class C will provide you with much better fuel efficiency. This is due to the fact that Class C motorhomes are much smaller and weigh a lot less when compared to a Class A RV. The motor size is also much smaller in a Class C.
Costs associated with Class A motorhomes are going to be much higher than a Class C RV. With bigger motors and larger parts, Class As require special attention from a certified mechanic and often specialty ordered parts. Class Cs on the other hand are much more common and easily fixable. It’s not difficult to find a nearby mechanic that can fix a Class C if something goes wrong.
If safety is high on your list of must haves I would look towards purchasing a Class C over a Class A motorhome. Both motorhome types are built for safety, however Class C models are much better designed for front impact accidents.
When it comes to storage Class A is the clear winner simply due to the amount of living space, more sizable closets and larger kitchen pantries. There is also more exterior storage compared to a Class C.
Class A Motorhome
Class A motorhomes are considered the kings of the RV world and for those RV owners that want to make this a full time living situation. With ample living space and luxury style living with a Class A RV you won’t need to sacrifice on your style of living.
- Offers all the amenities of a standard home.
- Provides extra amenities so you can travel or live in comfort and not just make the best of basic amenities.
- Can offer extended square footage once the motorhome is stationary at a campsite or other location.
- Provides plenty of storage and you can add storage features if needed.
- Can usually sleep up to eight people comfortably.
- Easy to drive – if you’re towing anything it’s an additional vehicle for getting around when you aren’t behind the wheel of your RV.
- Provides full access to the living area even when on the road.
- Offers plenty of around-the-vehicle visibility and has a full-sized windshield.
- Features an elevated driver’s seat.
- Comes equipped with standard heat, air conditioning, and full bathroom facilities. (Consider installing a luxury handheld shower-head to make things even more convenient in the small space.).
- Offers a variety of upgrade and customization options in addition to the plethora of standard features.
- You won’t get a Class A motorhome into a tight space, so if your goal is to off-road camp or be able to get into tighter campground spaces, it’s not going to happen with a Class A RV.
- Backing up and having enough top clearance can be a problem. Installing a backup camera kit can save you some frustration and make things easier.
- Not all mechanics can work on Class A motorhomes, so if you need maintenance or repairs, you’ll be forced to visit a specialized shop.
- Class A motorhomes come with a hefty price tag. You can expect to pay at least $50,000 to $60,000 for a new Class A, and the range can go far higher depending on the amenities you’re looking for. It’s possible to pay as much as $1 million for a fully loaded Class A motorhome.
- You’ll need to have an alternate form of transportation if you’re living in your Class A motorhome full-time or you intend to travel around small towns during your trips.
- Skilled driving of a Class A motorhome has a learning curve. It can be easy once you’re used to it, but initially, it’s challenging.
- You’ll pay a pretty penny for gas in most cases because Class A vehicles have poor fuel economy.
- Some people are uncomfortable with having a single driving and living space.
Class C Motorhome
If you want the comfort of an RV but the maneuverability of a van a Class C motorhome is probably a good RV to consider. A great benefit of Class C RVs is that they easily fit into almost any campground space and compared to other types of RVs require much less setup and breakdown time.
- Has a number of safety features and is generally considered the safer option between Class A and Class C.
- Features all the basic amenities you need for life on the road, including A/C, heat, kitchen, bathroom, and a dining area.
- Has a more reasonable price range starting at $50,000 and coming fully loaded for less than $200,000, typically.
- Has better fuel economy than Class A models.
- Some offer expanding space with slide outs for extra square footage.
- Comes with a variety of entertainment options, including televisions mounted behind the cockpit or in the side of the living area.
- Can usually comfortably sleep up to 10 people – more than Class A models because of the overcab sleeping space.
- Can be easier to drive than Class A models and trailers – some class C owners compare it to driving a larger SUV.
- Can fit on most roads and into most camping spaces without too many challenges.
- Allow for full access to the living area while on the road.
In addition to all of the Class C models available, it’s also possible to get a Class C+, which offers more features, more size, and just as much luxury as a Class A motorhome.
- In most cases, Class C motorhomes are smaller than Class A, so if living space is important, you might want to consider the upgrade.
- Some Class C owners report feeling cramped when sleeping. If your goal is to live full-time in your RV, you’ll want to carefully consider where you want space and where you can cut corners.
- Some of the beds need assembly once you’ve reached your destination, so if this doesn’t appeal to you, then you’ll want to opt for a Class A vehicle or a Class C that keeps the living and sleeping quarters fully assembled at all times.
- You’ll be driving with a small front windshield, and this impeded vision bothers some drivers.
- Despite the improvement in gas mileage, you’re still driving a large, heavy vehicle, so if you’re concerned, neither Class A or Class C might be right for you.
- Class C is a more budget-friendly option than a Class A, but still pricey.
- Price tends to depreciate faster on Class C motorhomes than it does on Class A models. (Read the post I wrote here on RV Depreciate rates)
What’s Your Final Choice – Class A or Class C?
Ultimately, you’ll need to make your selection based on how you feel about driving and living in either a Class A or Class C motorhome.
Speak to other people who have owned each type of vehicle and see how they feel about the pros and cons.
Make sure you understand their circumstances, their travel itineraries, and their overall impressions.
It’s possible someone would love a Class C motorhome for their situation, but it would be the worst possible choice for you.
If you can, take your list of priorities with you when you shop.
This can help the salesperson narrow down your choices for you, as long as you’re comfortable missing out on motorhomes that are probably less than optimal for you and your family.
This strategy can help you from getting overwhelmed and make it possible to eliminate some duplicate choices from your list.
Sometimes, different manufacturers make similar products with just a small variation, and if that variation affects something important to you, you can narrow down your selection by at least one.
There’s never been a better time to commit to the open road and traveling and vacation in a motorhome. Hopefully this article has made it easier for you to choose between a Class A and Class C model.
I am a well traveled Marine Corps veteran that enjoys the outdoor and nomadic lifestyle that RV living provides. I am also a member of the National RV Inspectors Association (NRVIA.org). As the founder of Camperguide.org my goal is to provide you with well researched information so that you can enjoy the best of the RV lifestyle.