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Class A vs Class C Motorhome: What’s Right For You?


motorhome and tow vehicle in campsite - Class A vs Class C Motorhome: What's Right For You?

Class A vs Class C Motorhome: What’s Right For You?

Choosing a motorhome is no easy task, especially when you consider all the shapes, sizes, designs, and models on the market. When you’re looking at a Class A vs Class C motorhome, it can be tough to know which one will be best for you and your needs (especially if you’re new to the world of RVs).

To help you make the best possible choice, we’ve compiled some information on both of these motorhome designs. They both have their own pros and cons, and there’s no one design that’s objectively better than the other. They are better suited for different purposes though, so it’s a good idea to thoroughly compare them before making a decision.

What is a Class A motorhome?

Class A motorhomes are the largest types of motorhomes you’re likely to see on the roads. Even the smallest models are around 25 feet long. The largest ones can even be up to 45+ feet long!

These motorhomes resemble large tour buses and usually have a sleek, rounded design. They often have storage space underneath the living area and it can be accessed from the outside. Class A motorhomes almost always have slideouts and most of them have 2 or more. These vehicles are expensive to manufacture, so they tend to be on the more luxurious end of the scale. They are quite pricey, but are usually high-quality as a result.

Because of their massive size, Class A motorhomes are popular choices for people who live in their RVs year-round. Some models can fit multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and they tend to have a larger kitchen space as well. These vehicles can accommodate several people in comfort, so people with large families find them attractive.

If you’d like a full explanation about this type of RV, check out: What is a Class A Motorhome? (With Pictures!)

What is a Class C RV?

Class C motorhomes are closer to the classic motorhome design that most people picture. They are smaller and boxier compared to camper vans and Class A motorhomes. These motorhomes are built on the chassis of a van or truck and usually only incorporate 1 or 2 slideouts in their designs.

One staple of Class C motorhomes is their over-the-cab bunks. These motorhomes usually have an extension that stretches over the driver’s cab. This space is usually used for a loft bed, although sometimes it can be used for storage as well. Almost every Class C you’ll ever see will have this cab bed incorporated into the floor plan.

When comparing a Class A vs Class C motorhome, one of the biggest differences is the overall size. Class C motorhomes are much smaller and they also have more compact designs. Large families can still use a Class C motorhome (they can often accommodate 5 or more guests), but they will be packed in more tightly. Although this can be harder to work around, they are cheaper than Class A models as a result.

For more details about this motorhome subclass, look at the information found in: What is a Class C Motorhome (With Pictures!)

Pros and cons

Both of these RV designs are good in their own right, but they have drawbacks as well. When looking at a Class A vs Class C motorhome, it’s important to think about what you need it for.

If you plan to do a lot of traveling, a Class C motorhome might be the better option. They get better gas mileage and are easier to park in urban environments. It’s true that they are a bit longer than the average car, but you can usually find a spot to park them if you look for one.

Class A motorhomes are much harder to park. They are much larger than a standard car and can’t navigate things like parking garages very easily. They also get poor gas mileage because they are larger and heavier than many other vehicles.

One of the greatest blessings and curses of owning a Class A RV is its size. These luxury vehicles are loved because they incorporate the most comfortable bedrooms, spacious bathrooms, and most complete kitchens on the market. Their storage space is impossible to beat as well.

However, this size can also be their downfall. Some Class A models are around 45 feet long, which makes them difficult to drive. Turning is difficult, you’ll have to go slower than the cars around you, and you’ll need to refill the gas tank frequently.

Class C motorhomes are much more middle-of-the-road. They aren’t as comfortable or luxurious, but they’re easier to drive. They’re also easier for the average person to afford! You may have a less complete living space, but it’s a better vehicle for the road. Essentially the difference between these two RV designs is that Class A motorhomes are better for their living space, while Class C motorhomes are better for the driving experience.

To wrap up, let’s look at Class A vs Class C motorhomes and sum up their basic pros and cons.

Class A motorhome pros:

  • Luxurious designs
  • Spacious
  • More slideouts
  • Plenty of storage space

Class A motorhome cons:

  • Poor gas mileage
  • Difficult to find parking
  • Very expensive
  • Only fits in some RV park sites

Class C RV pros:

  • Fairly affordable
  • Decent gas mileage
  • Easier to park
  • Can accommodate large groups

Class C RV cons:

  • Limited storage space
  • Fewer floor plans designs
  • Boxy design leads to wind resistance
  • Not overly spacious or luxurious

Of course, these overviews are general. There are some Class A motorhomes that are similar in size to Class C motorhomes. This means that they can also get decent mileage and can be parked in crowded areas. Likewise, there are some Class C models that are large and luxurious, yet unwieldy on the roads.

It’s a good idea to know about the general similarities and differences of these two RV types, but you can make a good decision by comparing specific floor plans and models that you like. Some vehicles break the mold and find ways to overcome the weaknesses that are common for their overall design.

It can sometimes be hard to find a campsite that accommodates the size of a big RV. Use an RV-safe GPS like the RV LIFE App and check RV LIFE Campgrounds to learn whether or not a campground will be able to accommodate your RV.

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Author Emily Lawrence Avatar

Emily Lawrence

Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it's Emily's favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

4 thoughts on “Class A vs Class C Motorhome: What’s Right For You?

  1. I started out with a tent then moved to a pop-up camper. After that I bought a 36 foot fifth wheel and a new Dually diesel pick up pull it with. Next I bought a 34 foot class A gas motorhome. Now I own a new 27 ft class C motorhome.

    The problems with a tent and a pop-up camper are obvious. I found the big fifth wheel to be too much work setting up, breaking down, turning corners, and back in parking in most campsites, wife scared to pull. Was too big for 2 of us. I found that driving the class A was like driving a big city bus. I had the suspension upgraded but heavy winds made it very difficult to stay in one lane. Vision was very limited and fuel mileage was bad, and was hard to stop, wife very uncomfortable driving . The small class C is perfect for just two of us. Easy to drive, easy to back in sites, set up, break down, gets good mileage, my wife can drive if I can’t.

  2. The article does not address my biggest Class C con/peeve, i.e., limited upward visibility through the windshield. When you look up through a Class C windscreen, all you see is the underside of the cab-over protuberance. It’s like your windshield is wearing a long-peaked hat, pulled down low over it’s eyes.

    So, if you’re driving through majestic mountains in a Class C, you’ll never see those stunning mountain peaks cutting their sharp edges against the sky.

  3. The choice between a class A and a class C is purely based upon your desires abilities and limitations. A Class A allows you to carry what can you comfortably would want for your entire family. Most people are unaware that once you load a classy up your maximum capacity for storage could be between 350 to 500 pounds left for total weight loads. If a person is timid about driving a larger motorhome, they will find out if they just look at the mirrors and see that the white lines on either side of the vehicle, after about 500 to 1000 miles maximum, you’re very comfortably able to enjoy the drive.
    On pricing, consider a used 8 to 12-year-old Class A for the same price as a newer Class C. If you wisely choose a diesel, then you have advantage of the engine break, while going down hills without ever even needing to touch your brakes, because of the compression of the engine slowing the motorhome. Regarding mileage, most people don’t drive that far to their destination, where it really makes a big difference whether it’s 9 miles per gallon or 11 miles per gallon.
    The last , is to both get a third-party inspection prior to purchase, and also buy a mechanical warranty for the Motorhome.

  4. The Class A motor homes are also much more expensive to service and repair do to the complexity of their design whereas a Class C is generally on a Heavy duty truck style chassis and in most cases a standard GM, Ford or Dodge dealership can service or make some repairs.

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