Comparing Class A vs. Class C Motorhomes – Which is Right for You?

Avatar photo

Tired of paying increasing rental rates for a small apartment? Feeling stuck in the hum-drum of city life? Longing for the ability to roam around the country at a moment’s notice?

If one (or more) of these apply to you, you relate to the estimated 10 million Americans living in motorhomes today.

Ready to untether yourself from the costs of traditional homeownership? You’ve come to the right place. It’s one thing to daydream about RV living and a whole other story to visit an RV dealership, RV show, or RV expo.

Once you make a decision on the right RV class for you, that’s where the rubber officially meets the road.

Whether you are just beginning your journey or are looking to change motorhomes, this guide will help you identify key points to consider when choosing between a Class A vs. a Class C motorhome.

Image source

Class A Motorhomes: The Luxury Choice

When it comes to luxury on the road, Class A motorhomes reign supreme. These magnificent motorhomes are built on a bus or large commercial truck chassis and are known for their spacious interiors, high-end amenities, and superior-quality construction.

However, with luxury comes a higher price tag and potential challenges in usage.

Let’s explore the driving experience and storage space of Class A motorhomes.

Photo source

Driving Experience

Class A motorhomes are designed for a smooth and comfortable driving experience, thanks to their extended wheelbase. The front cabin space of these motorhomes often features rotating chairs, pop-out footrests, and even an office setup, turning the driving area into a versatile living space when the motor home is parked.

While their large size can be intimidating for new drivers and can pose difficulties in maneuvering, especially in tight spaces or narrow roads, this shouldn’t be a reason not to rule out a Class A motorhome. 

Experienced RVers suggest focusing on the floor plan you prefer instead of what seems easier to drive, as with enough practice, driving any class of motorhome will become manageable.

Storage and Space

One of the most significant advantages of Class A motorhomes is the generous storage capacity offered. With ample interior and exterior storage, as well as larger holding tanks, Class A motorhomes are perfect for extended trips or even full-time living. 

The basement-style storage space beneath the flooring provides additional room for all your belongings and helps insulate pipes from cold weather during winter RV travel. If you plan to store winter equipment during the colder months, an RV’s available storage space isn’t a feature to overlook.

However, not all adventures require the space and storage that Class A motorhomes offer. For those seeking a more compact option without sacrificing comfort, Class Cs may be a better alternative.

Class C Motorhomes: The Versatile Option

Class C motorhomes, also known as C RVs, strike the perfect balance between luxury and practicality. Built on a truck chassis, these Class C models are smaller than their Class A counterparts but still offer a comfortable living space for families and travelers alike. 

With a driving experience more similar to a car and an over-cab storage or sleeping area available, Class C motorhomes are an excellent choice for those seeking versatility and ease of maneuverability, as well as compatibility with a tow vehicle for additional transportation options.

Let’s delve into the driving experience and storage space specific to Class Cs. 

Image source

Driving Experience

One of the main advantages of Class C motorhomes is the ease of driving. Due to their smaller size and shorter wheelbase, these motorhomes are much easier to maneuver and park compared to Class A motorhomes. This car-like driving experience makes Class C motorhomes appealing to a broader range of drivers, especially those new to the RV world.

Although the ride might not be as smooth as in a Class A motorhome, the ease of driving and parking more than makes up for it, especially when navigating through RV parks. If you’re looking for a smaller motorhome that won’t give you a headache on the road, a Class C motorhome might be the right choice for you.

Storage and Space

While Class Cs may not offer as much storage space as Class A motorhomes, they still provide ample room for families and their belongings. The clever use of space and design allows these motorhomes to accommodate large families, hosting up to five guests, albeit with slightly less space than a large Class A motorhome.

The over-cab space in Class C RVs is typically used as a bed, providing additional sleeping space for family members or guests. With a focus on practicality and efficient use of space, Class C motorhomes offer a comfortable and cozy living environment for smaller families or couples embarking on an adventure.

Image source

Comparing Amenities and Features

Both Class A and Class C motorhomes offer a range of differing amenities and features. Generally speaking, Class A motorhomes tend to focus on luxury and high-end features, while Class C motorhomes concentrate on practicality and versatility.

As a result, Class Cs tend to be more popular among families and budget-conscious travelers.

Let’s compare the luxury and practical aspects of these motorhomes, as well as their customization options.

Luxury vs. Practicality

Class. A motorhome is a symbol of luxury on the road, providing spacious interiors, sophisticated features, and a higher level of comfort for its occupants. This opulence comes at a cost, with Class As being significantly more expensive than Class B and Class C motorhomes.

On the other hand, Class Cs prioritize practicality and efficient use of space, making them ideal for families and travelers who value functionality over extravagance. While they may not offer the same level of luxury as Class A motorhomes, many Class C motorhomes still provide a comfortable and enjoyable living environment for their occupants.

Customization Options

Both Class A and Class C motorhomes offer customization options to cater to individual tastes and needs.

Typically, you can customize a Class-A motorhome with more high-end features, such as upgraded appliances, furniture, and fixtures. In addition, there are options for additional slide-outs to increase living space, as well as the option to customize materials, color schemes, and finishes.

Class Cs also offer customization options, albeit with a focus on practicality and functionality. For example, some Class Cs are built with slideouts (Note: In most cases, an RV of this class will only have one slideout available). Class C owners will have the option of interior upgrades such as new curtains, removable wallpaper, and peel-and-stick countertops—all of which can make a significant difference in the overall appearance and feel of the motorhome. Exterior customizations, such as paint colors, graphics, and decals, are also available to Class-C RV owners.

Whether you choose to purchase a Class A or a Class C, you’ll have the option of customizing your RV’s interior through the use of storage and organizational essentials for your RV in different ways. For example, you can opt for custom seating that doubles as storage or consider bunkbeds to free up floor space.

Save up to $1,200/year on RV storage & parking

Price and Maintenance Considerations

Price and maintenance are essential factors to consider when choosing between a Class A and a Class C motorhome. Class A motorhomes not only require a larger initial investment but also translate to higher ongoing expenses.

In contrast, Class C motorhomes are generally more budget-friendly and have lower ongoing costs.

Let’s explore the initial investment and ongoing expenses of both types of motorhomes.

Initial Investment

Class A motorhome is known for its luxury features and larger size, which comes at a higher price. The complexity of their design and high-end amenities can make them more costly to service and repair, adding to the overall investment required.

On the other hand, Class C motorhomes are more affordable and budget-friendly, making them an attractive option for those looking to enter the world of RVing without breaking the bank. With a wide range of price points depending on age, make, model, and size, Class C motorhomes cater to various budgets and preferences.

Ongoing Expenses

The ongoing expenses for Class A motorhomes may be higher due to factors such as fuel consumption and specialized maintenance. These motorhomes typically achieve 5 to 10 miles per gallon (mpg), which can significantly impact the overall cost of ownership. Additionally, insurance premiums, storage fees, and maintenance and repair costs should be factored into the overall cost of owning a Class A motorhome.

In contrast, Class C motorhomes typically have lower ongoing costs, with better fuel efficiency of 8 to 12 mpg. Insurance premiums, storage fees, and maintenance and repair costs are generally lower for Class C motorhomes compared to their Class A counterparts. This makes Class C motorhomes a more economical choice for those seeking a balance between comfort and affordability.

For those looking to reduce RV ownership expenses, seeking out affordable RV storage options is a great way to cut costs. By opting for peer-to-peer RV storage marketplaces, such as Neighbor, over traditional storage facilities, you can trim your monthly RV-related charges.

As a bonus, peer-to-peer storage options are more secure than traditional facilities that are prone to storage unit break-ins and theft.

Choosing the Right RV for Your Lifestyle

When it comes to choosing the right motorhome for your lifestyle, factors such as travel frequency, trip duration, and family size and needs play a significant role in making the right decision. One option to consider is a diesel or gas-engine motorhome, which can offer a balance between comfort and efficiency, especially when visiting national parks.

Let’s examine how these factors influence the choice between Class A and Class C motorhomes.

Travel Frequency and Duration

The frequency and duration of your travels can greatly impact the choice between a Class A and a Class C motorhome and may be the deal breaker in your decision-making. For full-time living or extended trips, Class A motorhomes offer the space and luxury needed to make your journey comfortable and enjoyable. 

If your travels rather consist of shorter getaways, a Class C motorhome might be the ideal choice. With a more compact design and easier maneuverability, Class C motorhomes are perfect for weekend trips or short vacations.

Family Size and Needs

Family size and needs are paramount when selecting the right motorhome. Class A motorhome offers more space and luxury for larger families, ensuring everyone has a comfortable place to relax and unwind during the journey. 

For smaller families or couples, a Class C motorhome provides the perfect balance between space and practicality, while a smaller Class B option might be more suitable for solo travelers or those seeking a more compact vehicle. With a focus on efficient use of space and a cozy living environment, Class C motorhomes, also known as Class C RVs, ensure that both families and couples can enjoy comfortable and memorable travels in a small-scale setting.

Other Things to Keep in Mind…

While we considered the main and most significant differences between Class A vs. Class C RVs, it will also greatly depend on the specific model you are looking at. For example, different models in the same class may differ in terms of towing capacity, safety features, storage compartments, and fuel economy. 

For these reasons, it is crucial to research the different model options (and stand-out features), once you’ve selected your preferred motorhome class.

Summary

Ultimately, the choice between a Class A or Class C motorhome comes down to your specific needs, preferences, and lifestyle. By considering factors such as travel frequency, trip duration, family size, and budget, you can make an informed decision and embark on an unforgettable RV adventure that perfectly fits your needs.

Once you have figured out what kind of RV is right for you, the work isn’t done. You’ll still need to look into how to properly store your RV, how to best organize it, and maintain it, so it can last for years on end.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, Class A or Class C?

Class Cs are more flexible and nimble than Class As and offer more camping options. Class A RVs, on the other hand, boast more space but require more planning when it comes to traveling.

The question of Class A vs. Class C motorhomes is complex and depends largely on your needs and preferences when it comes to trailer travel.

Is it worth buying a Class C RV?

Yes, absolutely! Class C RVs are an affordable and flexible option for those wanting to explore the RV lifestyle. With a variety of floor plans available, they can suit any family’s needs and provide comfort while camping. 

What is the gas mileage for Class A vs. Class C?

Class A RVs consume between 18-29 liters/100 km (7-13 mpg), while Class Cs offer a more fuel-efficient 16-23 liters/100 km (14-18 mpg). The most economical choice is the Class B RV with 11-13 liters/100 km (18-25 mpg).

What is it like to live in an RV?

RV experiences differ from person to person, of course. We would recommend looking at various testimonials to give you an idea of what the benefits and challenges are to come with motorhome living. Just as choosing the right RV depends largely on what you are looking to do with it, the way you live RV life will depend on what you are looking for – whether it is short-term travel or long-term living.

Related Posts