A Guide to Class A Motorhomes

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A Class A motorhome is a great option for family road trips and exploring the world. At a moment’s notice, you can hit the road and let the day decide where you end up, all while bringing the conveniences and comfort of home along the way.

But if you’re new to RVing, you might be wondering, what is a Class A RV? And is this the right option for me?

Read on for more info on Class A recreational vehicles, including their specs, pros and cons, pricing, and more. 

What Is a Class A RV?

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Photo by Camping World

In basic terms, a Class A RV is a type of recreational vehicle. They are great for taking the family on long road trips or seeing the open road with friends. However, there are a few characteristics that set them apart from other RV classes. 

Common Class A RV Features

Class A motorhomes are distinguished by their large, flat front windshields. They’re the only type of RV with that feature, as other motorhomes are more like camper vans or cabover campers. Here are some of the other commonalities that most Class A RVs share:

  • One of the largest and most luxurious RV options
  • Anywhere from 29-45 feet long
  • Capable of sleeping 4+ people
  • Fueled by gas or diesel 
  • Designed to handle a bigger load
  • At least two slide-outs for an expanded living space
  • A feel of home with spacious interiors that include a kitchen

What is a Class A RV Chassis?

Since a Class A RV is larger than most vehicles, it needs a heavier frame. They are usually built on a bus chassis, a specially designed RV chassis, or a commercial truck chassis. Learn more about RV chassis and how they impact ride quality, structural integrity, and what can be built on top of them.

Class A Diesel Pushers versus Class A Gas Motorhomes

Like all motorhomes, you’ll find Class A RVs powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. Of course, this impacts how much you pay at the pump and can impact the availability of fuel in the case of diesel pushers. Until I bought my diesel truck, I wasn’t aware that every gas station doesn’t necessarily offer diesel fuel. So an important thing to remember if you’re considering a diesel pusher is that you’ll need to be more strategic about fuel stops.

Beyond fuel price and availability, there are several other important distinctions between Class A gas motorhomes and diesel pushers:

  • Engine Location. Most manufacturers place the engine in a diesel pusher at the rear of the coach, as opposed to at the front of the coach in a gas Class A motorhome.
  • Towing Capacity and Torque. Diesel pushers generally have more towing capacity and increased torque or power.
  • Ride Comfort. The inclusion of air ride suspension and air braking systems makes diesel pushers ride more smoothly (although you’ll find those suspension and braking components on some gas motorhomes).
  • Highway Noise. Because the engine is located at the rear of the coach, you’ll experience a quieter ride in a diesel Class A motorhome than in a gas model.
  • Resale Value. Diesel motorhomes tend to hold their value on the resale market better than gas RVs.

How Does It Look and Feel Inside a Class A RV?

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Photo by Camping World

Some might call these “classy” RVs since they have many luxury features. So, what’s inside a Class A RV that makes them beyond fancy? Depending on the model, you could get:

  • Wood accents
  • Queen or king-sized beds
  • A coffee table between the driver and front seat
  • A TV in the bedroom and living area
  • A drop-down overhead bunk bed
  • Closets
  • Shower
  • Microwave
  • Pantry
  • Electric cooktop
  • Many sleeping areas
  • Seatbelts for every seat
  • Oven
  • Fireplace
  • Washer/dryer (or at least prep for one)

Pros and Cons of Class A RVs

As with any class of RV, there are pros and cons that you’ll want to be aware of before making a purchase. 

ProsCons
Great for family road tripsCost
Large windows mean great viewsFuel economy
Easy to dockLarge blind spots
Nearly theft-proofFlat front, no airbags
Onboard generatorHot cockpit
Plenty of space and storageNo noise buffer
Can have a “toad”Can’t tow more than one item
Diesel and gas optionsNot all mechanics understand Class A RVs

Pros

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Photo by Camping World

Let’s take a closer look at the major advantages of owning and traveling in a Class A motorhome.

Great For Family Road Trips

The kids can have their own spacious seating while you hunker down in front. They’ll have a table for their books, games, or tablets. Plus, with all the beds, bunk beds, and pullouts on board, you won’t have to worry about finding a hotel. Calling a Class A RV a motorhome is not just a name. With all the amenities on board, it will feel like a motorized home.

Great Views

Do you want to see the world? Do you want to look up from your steering wheel and be amazed at what’s before you? The large windows of a Class A RV allow you to see the road in a new way. Lush trees and large mountains are only a sampling of the great bounty your eyes can feast on. In the elevated cockpit of a Class A, you have more visibility on the road, other vehicles, and the surrounding landscape. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

No Trailer Required

If you’ve ever been apprehensive about towing a travel trailer, fifth wheel, or toy hauler, Class A RVs don’t require the added stress or expensive equipment needed for towing. Driving one will take some acclimation, but many RVers appreciate that it’s one independent unit.

Nearly Theft-Proof

If you lock it while out and keep the keys with you, no one can take it. Plus, if you start to feel unsafe, you can quickly lock up and drive away, though a cumbersome option. Class As are formidable RVs you can easily secure. Just ensure you lock your cargo bays, too.

Onboard Generator

Anyone who suddenly lost power knows how life-saving a generator can be. Having an onboard generator helps in case the campsite lights go off. Class A motorhomes come equipped with an onboard generator, and they are helpful beyond emergencies. Onboard generators make your RV more capable of boondocking in a pinch.

Plenty of Space and Storage

One thing you might wonder about is space. Is there enough space to have a moment to yourself? Will your family feel like packed sardines? Nope. Even with the expandable sides tucked in, you’ll have plenty of room.  In addition to space to relax, you’ll also have more than enough storage space. You could pack beach toys, small appliances, and tools too!

You Can Have a “Toad”

Are you going to be in one area for a long while? Maybe head to the beach for the summer? Or what about heading out to the lake? The beauty of A Class A RV is that you can tow your car with you. That way, you’ll be able to take the car into town without taking the RV. Towing the car along is called having a “toad.”

Your toad doesn’t have to be a car; you can tow a boat for some extra lake fun, or you might opt for a Class A toy hauler if you’re more into dirt biking and ATVing.  

Diesel and Gas Options

If you like having options, you’ll be happy to know that there are Class A diesel motorhomes and gas models. There are also Class A diesel bunkhouse RVs that’ll sleep your whole family and then some. 

Cons of Class A Motorhomes

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Photo by Camping World

Despite their many advantages, there are some downsides of Class A RVs that you should know.

Fuel Economy

Depending on your model, most Class A gas motorhomes average 6-10 miles per gallon. Diesel pushers don’t average much better at 7-10 miles per gallon.

Large Blind Spots

Class A RVs are large vehicles with blind spots to match. It can take some time to get used to driving them, especially when it comes to turning and backing up. When turning, be sure to take a wider turn than you would with your car to ensure there’s space to get around. Before backing up, check to ensure that a person, animal, or vehicle is not behind you.

Finally, you will have a wide view of the road and tall adults. But small children standing right up against the RV will be harder to see. So before taking off, it’s best to check that no one is in front or behind the RV. 

Flat Fronts

RVs don’t have anything sticking out from the front windshield. Their flat fronts provide little protection in a head-on collision. Also, they typically don’t have airbags. You should be seated and belted when the vehicle is moving. Also, the flat front makes it hard to access the engine, so only go in if you know what you’re doing. Never open it up to “just explore.”

The Cockpit Can Be Hot

The engine sits in the front of the RV, making the cockpit a little hot. The wide windshield driving directly into the sun’s rays doesn’t help either. So, what can you do to cool things off? Turn on the A/C while packing for the trip. When it’s time to hit the road, the cockpit will be comfortable. 

No Noise Buffer

Sometimes, you need quiet while on the road. That will be hard to come by since there’s only one level. One way to combat that is to ask that people wear headphones when listening to music/watching movies. 

Can’t Tow Two Things

Towing your car along is a great advantage. Who needs the whole RV to stop by the store for eggs or sunscreen? However, you can’t tow your car and a boat. So, if you want to tow toys to the lake, you’ll have to leave the car at home. 

Not All Mechanics Understand Class A RVs

Your trusted mechanic might know what’s going on with your Ford, but RVs are a different story. You’ll need to search for a shop that knows RVs and how to work on them.

Cost

Prices for Class A RVs can be a little high. They range anywhere from $100,000 to more than $200,000.

But there is some good news here! Camping World offers RV services for maintenance and collision repair, so you can rest assured your camper receives the best care possible. 

What is a Common Class A RV Price?

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Photo by Camping World

As mentioned above, $100,000-$200,000+ is the average Class A RV price. But there are some ways to lower that cost. One is to look into a used model. Buying a used Class A RV allows you to afford features you might not have otherwise and stay closer to the lower end of the price range. 

Another is to consider which features are needs and which are wants. Forgoing some wants (e.g., certain luxury features) could mean a lower price. 

Class A versus Other RV Classes

Besides Class A, there are two other classes of RVs: Class B and Class C. 

What Are Class B RVs?

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Compared to a Class A motorhome, camper vans (as they’re also known) are on the complete opposite end of the motorhome spectrum. You might assume that a Class B RV would be a medium-sized RV, but it’s the smallest of the three classes. They’re much easier to drive than a Class A RV and also much easier to park.

However, there’s very little interior living area. It’s basically just enough space to cook, sleep, and retreat out of the elements when the weather isn’t great. Most Class B RVs have a wet bathroom as well. That means the shower and toilet are in the same room. Sure, they have innovative solutions to keep your RV toilet paper dry when you’re showering, but the toilet might need to dry for a bit before you use it after a shower.

Still, sleeping in a van camper is a major upgrade from car or tent camping, especially for those interested in taking road trips solo or with your partner. 

Depending on the model, Class B RVs are/can have:

  • Around 17-24 feet long
  • Built on a van chassis
  • 18-22 miles per gallon
  • Able to sleep up to two people
  • A dinette that converts into a bed
  • Storage space for gear

What Are Class C RVs?

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The “C” in Class C RV doesn’t stand for classic, but it might as well. It’s the RV people picture when thinking about RVs. You’re likely already picturing it; the iconic cabover area above the driver’s cockpit. That cabover bunk is the defining feature of a Class C RV, but you’ll find a ton of variety when exploring Class C floorplans. You’ll also find variety in what’s under the hood (i.e., regular class C versus Super C RVs).

Some people think of Class C motorhomes as medium-sized RVs that have some space, but not as much as Class A. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Nowadays, you’ll find luxury Class C motorhomes packed with residential amenities, full-length slide-outs, and the kind of upgrades that were. once reserved for the Class A crowd.

That being said, there does tend to be a marked difference in cost from an average class C to an average class A motorhome. If you want an RV that has plenty of amenities but costs a little less than a Class A, consider a Class C.  Class C RVs usually are/have:

  • 20-35 long
  • Built on a truck or cutaway van chassis
  • The ability to sleep two to eight people
  • Full kitchenette
  • Entertainment system
  • Heating and cooling
  • A full bath

Is a Class A RV Right for You?

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Photo by Camping World

Is Class A right for you? Well, that depends. If you’re looking for an RV that feels like a real home on wheels, then yes, Class A could be for you. 

Class A RVs are great for families who like to get outdoors while still having access to amenities like a bathroom, kitchen, and soft bed to sleep in. They are the quintessential glamping camper. If you want something slightly smaller with a full bathroom and kitchenette, consider a Class C. Those who love vans, and the van lifestyle would enjoy a Class B. 

Looking to buy or rent? Shop Class A RVs today so you can hit the open road in class.


Want to continue your RV research? Here are a few more resources you might find helpful:

What questions do you have about Class A RVs and whether one is right for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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