23 Reasons Why I’m Choosing a Class A RV (And NOT a Class C!)

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I recently asked a few salesmen at RV lots about the preferences of buyers.  I asked what style of RV buyers tend to stick with, and which styles they see buyers return and change from.

The salesmen I talked to all said the same thing–if you buy a Class C, you’re extremely likely to come trade it in for a Class A.  If you already have a Class A, it’s rare that you’ll see that buyer ever switch.

I’m sure there are loads of exceptions to that.  There are many great reasons to choose a Class C, but the fact is that most motorhome buyers tend to choose the Class A (at least according to the two salesmen I talked to, who have been selling for over 5 years each).

Another signal is looking at full-time RVers.  The vast majority of full-timers choose the Class A over the Class C.  That certainly isn’t to say that there aren’t many who choose the Class C, but just that the majority go with the A class.

Purchasing a Class A RV is a significant investment that requires a lot of time and research. One way we recommend doing your due diligence is trying one before you make a purchase. Outdoorsy is a great way to try a Class A RV for your next camping trip.  You can see the current rental inventory in your area by clicking here.

Automatic Leveling

Most Class C motorhomes do not have automatic leveling because they are lower to the ground and the automatic jacks take up too much room below the coach, which limits clearance.  There are some that have the feature, such as some of the Jayco models, but it’s rare.

In contrast, nearly every Class A being produced today has automatic leveling.  This is a major factor for me since leveling and stabilizers has been one of the most cumbersome parts of owning my travel trailer.

Spacious Seating in the Driving Area

A Class C has the width of a truck, but the actual box of the living area is much wider.  This means when you’re driving, you’re stuck in an area that isn’t as wide as on a Class A.  To me, the driving area on a class C is too squishy–especially when you consider the dog house.

Full Underbelly Storage

No comparison.  Class A RVs have far more storage than on a Class C because the Class C is lower to the ground.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t Class Cs with lots of storage, however.  For me personally since I roadtrip in my RV but don’t live in it full time, I have MORE than enough storage already.  But more never hurt!

The photo on the left is on a Class A. The photo on the right shows the open pipes on a Class C. To be clear, there ARE Class C RVs that have enclosed pipes, but many or most don't. Almost all Class A RVs have enclosed pipes.
The photo on the left is on a Class A. The photo on the right shows the open pipes on a Class C. To be clear, there ARE Class C RVs that have enclosed pipes, but many or most don’t. Almost all Class A RVs have enclosed pipes.

True Four Season Weatherproofing

Without question, there are Class Cs which are excellently prepared for winter camping; however, they are more the exception than the rule.

Most Class Cs have their dump valves and pipes extending open below the coach.  This is an obvious freezing point.  I don’t recall seeing a Class A that doesn’t have the dump valves and pipes tucked up in an insulated compartment.

Overall Length

The largest Class C motorhomes are usually 35′ long.  The very longest Class C is the Jayco Seneca at 39′ 1″, but that is definitely an anomaly.  Most Class C motorhomes are in the 27-32′ range.

Class A RVs can get much larger.  The longest Class A is the Gulf Stream Constellation at 45′.  Don’t expect to fit in any national park camp sites at that length!  But the average Class A is in the 35-40′ range.

Forward Aerodynamics

While a Class A RV is taller and therefore more likely to face problems in the wind and with rollover, the Class C has a huge cup-shaped cab-over that is terrible for forward-facing aerodynamics.  This creates much more wind noise and problems going down the road.

Roof Durability

Many Class C motorhomes use a rubber ceiling, which is more likely to face durability problems down the road.  Most Class A motorhomes, on the other hand, use fiberglass roofs.  There are plenty of exceptions both ways, but in general, Class As have better roofs.

Sturdier Chassis

A class A basically just starts as a steering column, engine, and a long chassis.  A Class C comes as basically a truck with no bed in the back.  The Class A chassis is sturdier–very much like a semi.

Depreciation

In my research, I’m finding that Class C motorhomes depreciate faster than Class A motorhomes; however, there are plenty of exceptions to that.  I asked a few salesmen who said that Class C motorhomes usually sell very quickly because they are at a lower price point that many travel trailer buyers can stretch for.

However, in general, I see a slightly lower percentage depreciation on used Class A compared to Class C motorhomes.

class-c-driver-vision

Driver Vision

The most annoying part of a class c in my opinion is the visibility in the driver’s seat.  The cab over portion blocks the top of your view, you can’t see to the sides behind you because the box of the living area is wider than the driving area, and you’re low to the ground.

Driving a Class C feels a lot like driving through a tunnel.  In a class A, I feel like I’m in the Millenium Falcon with windows everywhere around me.

Wasted Living Area

It’s no surprise that Class A RVs are larger, but they also don’t have wasted living space.  In a Class A, the driver’s and passenger’s chairs usually spin around to become comfortable living room chairs.  This enlarges the living room, provides extra seating, and wastes less area.

In a Class C, the driver and passenger chairs are usually lower and constrained by tight side walls that cover part of the back of the chairs.  This makes them dead space once you’re parked and living.  This is a significant reason to choose a Class A, in my opinion.

Wasting 7 feet of the length of the vehicle (hood to the end of the driving chairs) just for driving without providing any living area is a significant drawback.

Passenger Visibility

Because the front windshield is so huge, it’s more fun for the passengers in the coach who can still clearly see out the front windshield.  On a Class C, riders can’t see much out the front.

Washer and Dryer

There are some Class C motorhomes that have washers and dryers, but they are very few and far between.  If you want a washer/dryer, then a Class A will probably be the right choice for you.

Moving Between Driving/Living Areas

In a Class A, it’s much easier to move between the driving area and the living area.  Just spin around your chair or walk between the driving chairs and you’re there!  In a Class C, it’s a hunched over, climb over the dog house ordeal to get to the living area.

Cab-Over Leakage

Class Cs are notorious for problem with leaks in the cab-over portion of the RV.  In a class A, this is obviously not an issue.

Smooth Ride

The ride on a Class A motorhome is much smoother than on a Class C.  Riding in a Class C feels a lot like driving a Uhaul (since that’s basically what it is), whereas a Class A is more like riding in a city bus.

Heating and Cooling

A Class A typically has two air conditioning units, while most Class C motorhomes have only one.  Even considering the larger size of the class A, there is more air conditioner compared to interior size on a typical Class A.

Larger Tanks for Water, Gas, Black, and Gray

Since more people are living in Class A RVs compared to Class Cs, the tanks are generally significantly larger in a Class A.  This is also due to available space in the underbelly.

Conclusion

The Class A is far from a perfect choice for any camper, but for me personally, the befits of the Class A outweigh the drawbacks when compared to a Class C.  Hope this overview was helpful!

21 Comments

  1. Been watching Chris & G Travels or the wynn’s they both drive class A’s, I still haven’t made up my mind which way to go. Where Nomadic Fanatic drives a class c. All seem to have their problems. The sales people are always arguing back and forth as to which RV is the best. If u want good gas mileage the best would be a bumper pull with a V nose. 🙂

  2. Once again, Class “A” vs class “C”, and the writer makes as many points for the “A” as he does for the “C”. When referring to the doghouse, you forget there is no doghouse in a diesel pusher. Another thing is not only were diesel “pushers” class “A’s ignored, but so were the big boy Super “C’s” ignored too. some of those have overhead beds, some don’t (it can be optional). Butin either case you don’t have that overhang, that you listed as a negative, because it cuts down on visibility. Oh and the torque that they bring to the table and engine braking. No more white-knuckle driving as you lose speed going up a long incline, or while riding the brake (hopefully they don’t completely fade) on a long decline… So many things left out!!!
    Those are just a few, re-write this after you have had some experiences, compare and you have a good smile….

  3. Stanley Sokolow

    What about air bags? Do Class A’s have them? My 2003 Class C on a Ford F-350 chassis has them, and the engine sticks out ahead of the driver like a pickup truck’s engine does, giving more distance between you and whatever hits you head on. With a Class A, if someone drives into you head on, they’ll be in your lap probably, since the driver is right up there in front with the engine in the rear end. I’m pretty sure a mechanic in any small town could fix my engine because the front end is just like any F-350 truck. With a Class A I’d need to go to a motorhome repair center which could be far away.

    The RV Geeks (YouTube channel) have commented that if they were to do over their decision about buying their big Class A, they’d buy something smaller. I think their Class A is either 40′ or 44′.

    If I were going to travel just from RV park to RV park, I’d probably get a Class A, but since I want to go to state parks, national forest lands, etc., smaller is better. The Class C I bought was used, with upgrades by the prior owner, such as solar panels and big capacity house batteries (Trojan), new floor covering, new tires, Dish tv antenna, Oxygenics shower head, etc. , and it was the right size for most state parks (24′), so I’m a happy camper so far. But I just use it for vacations, not full time.

  4. I have been doing a lot of research on both, I like the size of the Class A and a lot of the amenities however, I notice yes new they are more costly but used on a year to year comparison seems that they Class A do not sell for as much as a Class C. Repairs are much easier on a class c for on the road repairs. Now before someone tells me that i am wrong, yes I do not have an RV yet. I plan on it sometime in the near future. I really like the C’s more. This is more my preference, not to mention that a Class C will fit better in my driveway at home. Another thing is that i do not plan on full time living in it, but some trips to my wife’s family and some weekend trips for fun. I did go to a couple RV sales places and when they realized that i was only doing research they treated me like I was a mare parasite to them. I hope that this is not what to expect getting into this adventure. At the moment I am a greener than greenhorn at this. I may even consider a beater C at first to see if i like it. (I am sure I will).

    • Sherry Kerley

      Steve, being able to keep our Class c in our driveway is a bonus, no need to pay for a rental storage also saves money!!

  5. The author says not to expect to get into national parks. that is hooey. I have a 40′ Class A and have been in most of them and most State parks, BLM, Corp of Engineers, City parks. There are very few I haven’t been able to get in. In those instances a nearby park had vacancies. Our living accommodations are better, we avoid laundromats, we also pull a horse trailer on occasion. For repairs access to the engine on a Class A beats a B or C. I have rear access and side radiator so I get a twenty dollar an hour break on labor cost. Visits at friends and relatives I have had no issues parking. If you do some forward thinking and plan you will have no inconvenience and have spacious driver accommodations and enjoy the perks only a Class A can offer. We have had trailers, slide in campers and Class C. The Class A we have enjoyed the most. You can get good ones with low mileage and save a bundle of money. Get our favorite beverage and do some forward planning. Have a back up plan ready. Don’t expect to show up late at night and shoe horn yourself into a crowded RV park or camp. Happy trails. Not everyone is going to be comfortable driving a Volkswagen. Some will prefer pickup or a Cadillac. To each his own. After all the guy doing the driving has to be happy and in the comfort and safety zone. Good luck

  6. Muchas gracias, muy util la informacion, en resumen seguridad V/S Confort ….thanks

  7. I considered a lot of what is discussed here before purchasing a JAYCO 32Ft. Class C.
    Safety was a big issue. The ford chassis is strong and would provide better protection out on this country’s highway’s. The other thing I strongly considered was cost of ownership. Insurance, Tax’s License, Fuel and engine performance. Ford’s 6.8 V10 gas gets me up a 3 mile 6% incline at 45 to 55 MPH. MPG is about 8 MPG. Same as a diesel but cheaper gas.
    Most pushers need to have 380 to 400 HP to match that.
    Resale is not near as good with this Class C as with a Class A diesel, but If I keep it for 5 years or more, it won’t much matter.
    The Model I have has plenty of storage. I would say it is within 20% of what I have seen on Class A’s.
    I drove several Class A’s before I made my decision, and Front Vision was not that much greater than the Ford.
    One thing is clearly true, with self leveling jacks on the Jayco, you have to be careful of ground clearance.

  8. This is such a great list. I have a class B and want a Class A. I worry the Class A would have a larger maintenance bill. But, I see there are both pros and cons to each type of RV. I haven’t been to impressed with the Class C for my taste, but then again the overhang is not to attractive. I like the look and feel of the busses and think the value will hold better on them especially if they are a diesel.

  9. It’s money plain and simple. We’d all take a A if we had it…but we don’t, so we compromise.

    • I don’t know if that is entirely true. There are some high-end Class B RVs (Road Trek, Pleasure Way, Leisure) that can cost more than a low-end Class A. Some People like being able to zip around in something small with better front-end crash protection than plod along in a large, cumbersome gas guzzler.

      For the record, I have had a Class A, a custom tour bus, and a Class B.

      Tryst me, it’s more about lifestyle choice and usage than it is about money.

  10. There is hardly ever an independent opinion when it comes to these things. In this article alone, there are 4-5 mentions of “exceptions” after a point is made against a Class C, clarifying it’s not all Class C’s that are affected by this.

    On top of all the other mentioned points, I personally believe you’re dealing with a few other different things:

    1. Class C’s, as with most non Class A RV’s are more versatile in regards to construction, allowing for the variations in builds that lead to many of the “exceptions” listed. This is why you have Class A RV parks, and no exclusive Class B, C, Travel Trailer, or other type of exclusive parks. Class A’s have less variety, especially from the exterior perspective, that make this possible. Some might consider this a negative, others a positive, it’s just is what it is.

    2. I personally like the versatility of Class C’s engine ability to be serviced and worked on by significantly more people. This seems hardly ever mentioned, but you can get a Class C serviced by a dealership of whomever the chassis is on as well as even regular auto shops in some cases. Class A’s are more limiting, and end up costing more, and have longer turnaround times.

    3. Tying in with the second item, I prefer having an engine in front of me in the event of an accident. Having been around RV’s and seeing things like this for over 25 years, you would really have to convince me to drive with just a few feet between me and the outside world in a Class A, compared to the Class C.

    There is no right or wrong answer, just one that you’re happy with. Arguments like this never cease because you can always manipulate data and information to work towards your argument.

  11. That was good information, what you did not say, and one of the things that you did not mention, and i already decided I never want to deal with them, are slideouts. It seems you cannot get a newish A class without the damnable things. I suppose I could wait until i could order up one brand new and have them not include a slideouts. When the rig is moving how much room are they taking up? You speak of wasted space and being cramped, would those slides take up much room when the rig is moving, and is that better than having the wasted driving cockpit of a C when parked?

  12. Melissa Kirby

    Great info

  13. nobody has mentioned engine noise. I’ve read complaints in owner forums of class c engine noise so loud that you cannot carry on a conversation, as opposed to a diesel pusher, Class A, with rear engine and an extremely quiet ride.

  14. We loved our Class A for all those reasons. But I felt so disconnected from the engine being in the rear

  15. About the class c overhang. My wife loves it. It provides sun shade like an awning.

  16. Mark Wisner

    The article has too many inaccurate generalizations.
    I have a 2018 Forest River 3271S.

    My class C has automatic leveling as did all but a few I looked at.
    My Class C does not have sewer and water pipes exposed to the elements. I have a wet bay similar to most Class A’s.
    Yes, mine is only 31.5′ but I can get into 83% of national parks. Any more than that the % of parks you can access drops significantly.
    My Class C has a fiberglass roof.
    A Class A maybe on a sturdier chassis, but my Class C has airbags, crumple zones, and side doors to protect the front passengers. We also have 4 ways to exit, 2 front doors, the coach door, and the emergency exit in the bedroom. In a Class A, your face is only a couple of inches from the bumper. Many class A’s only have 2 exits, on the front passenger side and an emergency exit in the rear.

    Each Class has it purpose and benefits. No class of RV is right for everybody’s needs, wants, and budget.

  17. Sherry kerley

    I love our class C RV! It is a short one about 20’ with a bathroom, kitchen, couch, table eating area, of course a bed above the driver and can sleeps 4 adults and a large Labrador!! It is very cozy and comfortable and we like that driving it is like driving a truck! We can always find camping spots for it because it’s short. We have seen those rv’s that are too long to fit anywhere and the drivers seem to have problems driving them in some of the parks because they are just too big!!!

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