What is a Class A Motorhome? (With Pictures!)

It’s the retirement dream of many American’s to buy an RV and start traveling around, but about the same amount of retiring Americans are also woefully ignorant about what exactly they are looking for: for example, maybe they are looking for a Class A motor home but they keep coming up with search results for Class B and C motor homes because they don’t know quite what to search for.

So, what is a Class A motorhome? Class A motorhomes are built on a commercial bus chassis, a commercial truck chassis, or a motor vehicle chassis. They look a lot like a bus, and are around 40 feet long. They are completely motorized and can sleep around 8 people.

Of course, those are just the basics; there is so much more that goes into a Class A motorhome that makes it fantastic. I’ll give you a more in depth report of a Class A motor home, advantages and disadvantages of owning and friving one, explain the differnt engines, and provide some examples of Class A motorhomes.

Class A Motor Homes

Class A motor homes are essentially a fixed home. They have easy access to all living accommodations straight from the driver’s and passenger’s seats.

They are also completely motorized, which means you can drive them around without hooking them onto another vehicle and towing them behind you.

In addition, Class A motor homes usually have multiple slide outs, averaging out at two slide outs per motor home. This increases the living space while still keeping the motor home skinny enough while driving to fit in the road lane.

Most Class A motor homes have a few beds, couches and tables that fold down into beds, a full bathroom, a kitchen, washer and dryer machines, and a living room complete with a sound system. Of course, each motor home is going to be different, so you’re going to want to tour many Class A motor homes before you find the one that you think is right for you.

Ranging from 21 to 40 feet long, Class A motor homes don’t require any specific or specialized licensing in order to drive. However, that being said, Class A motor homes are typically large and wide and take a lot of skill to drive and maneuver around. They cost anywhere from $75,000 up to the millions.

Advantages

Many people will buy a Class A motor home if they plan on staying in one area for a long time or if they plan on traveling with a big family. I know an older couple with an empty nest who uses a Class A motor home to travel from state to state and stay in each of their kids’ back yards throughout the year (just cycles through them over and over again.) This can be nice because it gives you the freedom to visit family, travel, and still live comfortably.

Others will get Class A motor homes because they want to simplify but still enjoy cooking on a full range and showering without constantly hitting their shins on the toilet.

Any motor home you get ensures that you will be simplifying (if you’re living in it full time, that is). However, Class A motor homes have the most storage, the most space, and the biggest living accommodations. You can also store a lot of food at once thanks to the large refrigerator, so you can buy in bulk and save that way instead of having to go to the store every few days to restock.

Many campgrounds will give discounts for extended visits as well, so that is another way that you can save and simplify. Without a constant payment on a house or plot of land, you can breathe a little easier and live a little freer. Most of the time, people will sell their houses, cars, and furniture to pay for a Class A motor home and then travel around debt free. There are many ways to earn money while traveling on an RV, so it can even become a permanent lifestyle.

Disadvantages

Class A motor homes are expensive. Really expensive. The average price of a Class A motor home hovers around the hundreds of thousands. You’ll find new ones cost around $500,000 dollars.

The price goes up as you add more and more perks. Electric awnings, decks, heated floors, dishwashers, large screens, extra safety measures, you name it.

Speaking of safety measures, Class A motor homes aren’t exactly the safest vehicle to be driving. Though they do have seatbelts, most who ride in Class A motor homes- or similar vehicles- freely admit that those seatbelts are rarely used. The cockpit is also designed without a whole lot of protection for the diver and passenger seats in the event of an accident. You would have the advantage of size, but that should never be enough for you.

Class A motor homes are also large. They are large enough that it can be extremely difficult to travel and maneuver the vehicle around from place to place. On the interstate, you’ll be fine. But in cities and mountain roads, you’re going to have to be careful driving.

After you arrive at your destination, if you want to move around, you’re going to need to have another car to drive (the Class A motor home is way too inconvenient). You could either rent a car, thus accruing additional costs and spoiling your simplistic lifestyle, or you could tow along a small car, making your Class A motor home longer, heavier, and harder to drive.

The fuel economy for Class A motor homes is terrible. It will cost a lot to fuel up your motor home and hit the road. Class A motor homes come in two varieties: gas powered and diesel powered motor homes. Diesel powered motor homes will cost even more and are not as environmentally friendly.

Repairs to your Class A motor home are going to be costly too. If anything breaks down, the parts are likely so big or so specialized that it is going to cost, perhaps not an arm and a leg, but definitely an arm to fix.

Diesel Motor Homes

There are two kinds of motor homes that run on diesel: diesel pushers and diesel pullers. The pushing verse pulling just refers to where the engine is placed. Diesel pushers have an engine in the back of the motor home while diesel pullers have an engine in the front of the motor home. Diesel pushers are the most common of the diesel powered motor homes. RV’s that run on diesel will be more expensive than their gas fuel counterparts.

Most large RV’s only get six to seven miles per gallon on the average day, so fueling up an RV takes a lot of money. And if you’re going to fuel up your RV with diesel, the price goes up even more because diesel is more expensive than unleaded gas.

Putting oil in a diesel motor home is going to cost more as well. Servicing a diesel motor home will cost a minimum of $100, and they need new oil every 500,000 miles or so.

Many people choose diesel because it give you a much better ride. Diesel pushers typically ride smoother. They also give more torque for climbing hills and pulling trailer or towing additional vehicles. They have better braking and air ride suspension, and can pull more weight.

It can actually be better to get a diesel pusher if you are going to get a Class A motor home. Once you exceed 35 feet (which most Class A motor homes do), the extra power the diesel gives the RV will be welcome. Diesel powered engines also have twice the lifespan of gas powered engines.

Diesel pushes use air brakes, meaning there is no brake fluid to worry about, and the maintenance is simpler. Diesel also gets better miles to the gallon, clocking in at around eight to fourteen miles to the gallon. You can tow more with a diesel pusher as well. 

Engines that are powered by diesel work very much the same as regular engines, meaning that they rely on combustion. However, while gasoline powered engines use a spark to ignite the fuel, diesel powered engines use the heat of compression. This gives diesel powered engines a high thermal capacity. This of course also means that diesel engines are harder to start up in colder weather. 

When you go to get your diesel pusher Class A motor home serviced (which you should do every year for a check up, just like going to the doctor), you will most likely have to take it in to a truck servicing center. Not many vehicle servicing centers are big enough to fit a Class A motor home. The larger your motor home, the more often you’re going to have to service it, and the more expensive it is going to be.

Examples of Some Class A Motor Homes

Some of the most popular Class A motor homes include:

  • Newmar Dutch Star (Diesel)
  • Forest River Berkshire
  • Winnebago Adventurer (Gas)
  • Holiday Rambler Navigator
  • Thor Palazzo
  • Tiffin Phaeton (Diesel)
  • Winnebago Grand Tour 
  • Thor A.C.E (Gas)

Each one is a bon a fide Class A motor home that promises you’ll travel in style and comfort. They come with slightly different fixtures, but they all allow you to live like you’re the king of the road. 

I’m going to go into more detail now about a few of the Class A motor homes listed above. This should help give you an idea of the kind of motor home that you are looking for.

2019 Thor Palazzo 33.3 Motor Home Class A – Diesel

This model comes with bunk beds, a private bedroom, six floor plans, five TV’s, and cruise control.

The Thor Palazzo 33.3, if bought used, costs around $120,000 on sites like rvtrader.com.

Some of the specifics for the 2019 Thor Palazzo 33.3 Motor Home Class A are listed below:

Sleeps9
Slides2
Length34 ft 9 in
Ext Width8 ft 5 in
Ext Height11 ft 10 in
Gross Weight26000 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity95 gals
Grey Water Capacity40 gals
Black Water Capacity40 gals
Fuel TypeDiesel
Refrigerator Size16 cu ft
Convection CookingYes
Cooktop Burners3
Shower Size30″ x 36″
LP Tank Capacity105 lbs.
Water Heater Capacity10 gal.
Basement Storage216 cu. ft.

Table information provided courtesy of rvingplanet.com.

2019 Forest River Berkshire 38A 360HP Motor Home Class A – Diesel

This model comes with a washer and drier, bunk beds, four TV’s, a fireplace, a full bathroom, and a half bathroom. It has a steel basement structure and six floor plans available.

The Forest River Berkshire 38A 360HP, if bought used, costs around $200,000 on sites like rvtrader.com.

Some of the specifics for the 2019 Forest River Berkshire 38A 360HP Motor Home Class A are listed below:

Sleeps8
Slides3
Length39 ft 5 in
Ext Width8 ft 4 in
Ext Height12 ft 7 in
Gross Weight33350 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity103 gals
Grey Water Capacity66 gals
Black Water Capacity42 gals
Fuel TypeDiesel
Refrigerator TypeTwo Door Residential
Convection CookingYes
Cooktop Burners3
LP Tank Capacity24.5 lbs.
Basement Storage183 cu. ft.
Washer/Dryer AvailableYes

Table information provided courtesy of rvingplanet.com.

2017 Winnebago Grand Tour 42HL Motor Home Class A – Diesel

This model has a full and a half bathroom, four slide outs, a private bedroom, a double kitchen sink, a fireplace, and 50 inch retractable TV. There are three different floor plans available, including some with pullout dressers and buffets. 

A Winnebago Grand Tour 42HL, if bought used, will cost around $260,000 on sites like rvtrader.com.

Some of the specifics for the 2017 Winnebago Grand Tour 42HL Motor Home Class A are listed below:

Sleeps3
Slides4
Length43 ft
Ext Width8 ft 6 in
Ext Height12 ft 10 in
Gross Weight45660 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity85 gals
Grey Water Capacity95 gals
Black Water Capacity51 gals
Fuel TypeDiesel

Table information provided courtesy of rvingplanet.com.

2017 Newmar Dutch Star 4312 Motor Home Class A- Diesel

This model includes a bunk house, three slide outs, a full and a half bathroom, a washer and drier, a private bedroom, and a roll out dinette. There are 18 available floor plans and a lot of counter space.

The Newmar Dutch Star 4312, if bought used, costs around $470,000 on sites like rvtrader.com.

Some of the specifics for the 2017 Newmar Dutch Star 4312 Motor Home Class A are listed below:

Sleeps7
Slides3
Length43 ft 9 in
Ext Width8 ft 6 in
Ext Height13 ft
Gross Weight47000 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity105 gals
Grey Water Capacity65 gals
Black Water Capacity45 gals
Fuel TypeDiesel

Table information provided courtesy of rvingplanet.com.

2019 Holiday Rambler Navigator 38F Motor Home Class A – Diesel

This model includes a full bathroom, a private bedroom, pass through storage, a fireplace, two sinks, a washer and dryer, and an on demand water heater. There are two different floor plans available, hardwood surfaces, and an air suspension dump switch.

The Holiday Rambler Navigator 38F, if bought used, costs around $200,000 on sites like rvtrader.com.

Some of the specifics for the 2019 Holiday Rambler Navigator 38F Motor Home Class A are listed below:

Sleeps4
Slides4
Length30 ft 1 in
Ext Width8 ft 6 in
Ext Height12 ft 10 in
Hitch Weight10000 lbs
Fresh Water Capacity100 gals
Grey Water Capacity75 gals
Black Water Capacity50 gals
Fuel TypeDiesel
Refrigerator Size19 cu ft
Convection CookingYes
Cooktop Burners3
Water Heater Capacity16 gal.
Basement Storage156 cu. ft.
Washer/Dryer AvailableYes

Table information provided courtesy of rvingplanet.com.

Related Questions

What is a Class B Motor Home? A Class B motor home is basically a very large van. It has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities. They are typically around 15 feet long, completely motorized, and cost on average between $40,000 to $80,000. 

What is a Class C Motor Home? A Class C motor home is very similar to a Class B motor home, except it includes a sleeping area that extends over the cab of the vehicle. It is also completely motorized and a little smaller than the Class B motor home while being a little more expensive. 

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