The smallest of the motorized RV types is the Class B RV. Lately, they’ve surged in popularity among RVers.
Class B Motorhomes are built on cargo van chassis like the Mercedes Sprinter, the Ford Transit, or even the Ram ProMaster. They don’t often have slides, so they’re lighter, and they’re typically less than 30 feet long. This makes driving a Class B easier than driving a Class A or Class C RV for some people.
Class B RVs are popular with those who wish to focus on spending more time outside their RV rather than inside, prefer a quick travel pace, or those that adventure out of it rather than live in it full-time. They’re also popular with solo RVers as well as couples who are looking to switch into a rig that may be more comfortably driven by both partners.
So how do you know if a Class B RV is the one to buy? We take a look at the pros and cons of a Class B RV as well as a compromise to help you decide which RV is the one for you.
Class B RV Pros
A Class B RV dominates when it comes to ease of driving. Class B RVs are the easiest to drive because they feel like driving a van. In some cases, RVers have even felt they drive similar to a regular vehicle. Certainly, it won’t feel like driving a family sedan, but it won’t feel like driving a bus either. The on-road feel of Class B RVs is better due to their lower weight and more aerodynamic build.
In most cases, there’s also no hitching or unhitching a tow vehicle, which makes moving to the next campsite as simple as is possible in an RV.
Class B RVs are great if you are traveling at a fast pace. They can be a bit less taxing to drive, so if you RV in a manner that has you moving from place to place frequently, you may want to check out the Class B RVs at the dealership. Class B RVs really shine on cross-country trips because of their road-going nature. An additional point of flexibility is the ability of some smaller Class Bs to be used as a daily driver. They can easily be parked in many driveways and parking spots.
Flexibility in a Class B RV also comes in the way of alternate RV systems. Most American RVs have waste systems that rely on a black tank. The norm for RVs outside of the country is the use of cassette toilet systems. If this system appeals to you (there is much debate about whether cassette systems are better, and as with all things RV, it’s a matter of personal preference), you’ll likely only find this in a Class B. But, keep in mind most American Class Bs don’t have this option yet, it’s just beginning to pop up in some models.
In a Class B RV, you can reasonably expect to enjoy better gas mileage. Most Class B RVs will have you enjoying MPGs in the mid to high teens.
Class B RV Cons
Limited Living Space
The driveability and flexibility of Class B RVs come with a tradeoff in living space. If you want all the comforts of home in your RV or are looking to spend the majority of your time inside your RV, a Class B is probably not right for you. You won’t find recliners and comfy couches in a Class B. Most Class B RVs, like the Sunlight V1, don’t have slides to expand your living space either.
The limited living space can impact comfort and take some getting used to. First, you’ll need to get used to the fact that two people won’t be able to walk down the main aisle at the same time. If you travel with pets, they’ll have to get used to that as well. Though many RVers who travel in Class B RVs have pets of all sizes, you’ll want to figure out if you’d be comfortable in a Class B RV with a pet (or pets!) the size of yours. Dinette setups will also vary in Class B floorplans. In some floorplans, you’d be eating side by side, or one person would be sitting down to dinner on a swiveled driver’s seat.
Limited Storage Space
With the exception of Class B RVs that have a “gear garage” layout, Class B RVs are notorious for having very limited storage space. It could be difficult to bring along larger camp chairs, gas grills, and other camping accessories due to the lack of storage space. Some class B RV layouts have a “gear garage” which would give you a great deal of space, but you might then only have usable living space toward the front of your coach.
It’s really a matter of preference if a wet bath is truly a con. A wet bath is a bathroom where your toilet and shower spaces are one and the same. In larger RVs, there is a separate shower and the toilet isn’t in the shower. To save space, nearly all Class B floorplans use a wet bath.
Class B RVs are not usually the more inexpensive RV option. You might find yourself deciding between a Class B and Class C. If you do, you may be able to find a relatively similar-sized Class C with just a little more room for less.
A Class B Compromise
Some RV manufacturers offer a compromise between Class B and Class C, which you’ll see advertised as a “B+”. A B+ is often a Class B with a slide-out. You might see things like a full bath, or an additional sleeping area in a B+ floorplan. B+ vans also tend to keep the more aerodynamic build and shorter length of traditional Class Bs. Similar to a “Super C”, a B+ isn’t its own class, but rather a way for manufacturers to bridge the gap and offer you the best of both worlds.
Class B RVs are growing in popularity for good reason. However, as with anything RV-related, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. A Class B RV might be your dream RV, but it will all depend on your personal preference, finances, your RV travel style, and who you travel with. If, in the end, you decide a Class B isn’t right for you, no worries! Explore new and used travel trailers, new and used motorhomes, as well as the new Happier Camper.