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What is the Difference Between a "Class A" and "Class C" Motorhome?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 27 June 2014
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Motorhomes, or motorized recreational vehicles (RVs), come in different classes. Two that are associated with each other and often confused are the Class A and Class C motorhomes.

A quick way to tell the difference between a Class A and Class C motorhome is by physical appearance. The former resembles a bus in design with a "flat" or vertical front end and large windows. Class C motorhomes by contrast have a "truck cab" with an over-cab bed, much like a camper.

Class A motorhomes are generally thought of as top of the line among RVs. Though smaller ones are harder to find they start at about 24 feet (7.3 meters) and can be as long as 40 feet (12 meters). Weight can range between 15,000 - 30,000 pounds (6,804 - 13,608 kg), and the undercarriage may be custom or a 3-10 ton truck chassis.

Another difference between a Class A and Class C motorhome is that Class A motorhomes come with every luxury. A kitchen, bathroom with shower and often a tub -- even a separate bedroom in the back depending on the floor plan. Heating and air conditioning, hot and cold running water, 100-125 volt electrical system, a dinette or living room area with couch and recliners, closets, and an entertainment center. It's all possible. Many Class A motorhomes are far more luxurious than most homes!

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Class A motorhomes are often used for successful touring bands because of their richness and comfort. All leather interiors, wet bars, big screen TVs, and advanced sound systems make them a livable choice for the rigors of the road. They are also the choice for many retirees who sell their homes in favor of traveling in their golden years.

A Class A and Class C motorhome can also differ in terms of the people they can sleep Depending on the model and floor plan, Class A RVs will sleep up to 8 people. But all of this luxury comes at a price. New lower-end models start close to $50,000 U.S. dollars, and a larger, nicer model will cost more than a house in many states, coming in at about $300,000+. Even a smaller used Class A several years old can sell for $30,000 - $40,000. The luxury line starts at about $325,000 up to over $1 million for the crème de la crème diesel-pusher with all the bells and whistles.

Class C motorhomes can come in very luxurious models, or more economical models affording more flexibility of pocketbook. They are lighter in weight, ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 pounds (4,536 - 6,804 kg) and generally run from just under 20 - 44 feet (6 - 13 m) in length.

Class C motorhomes are generally constructed on cutaway chassis depending on the model. The cab is similar to a truck, with a bunk above, plus a rear bedroom. Like the Class A, Class C motorhomes have all the conveniences of home including kitchen, bathroom, dinette, heating, A/C, and possibly entertainment features.

Dinettes aren't always present, depending on the floor plan, but where they are present they make into a double bed. When the dinette is not present it is replaced by two captains chairs, or may have a couch and chairs. The couch may also be a sleeper couch.

Because of the overcab bed, Class C motorhomes can sleep more than a comparable Class A motorhome, up to 10 people, depending. The cost of a new Class C ranges from $50,000 - $170,000.

One of the nicest features of both a Class A and Class C motorhome is the slide-out. With the touch of a button the wall of the living room expands outwards to extend the living space by several inches.

A Class B motorhome is also referred to as a van conversion, which perhaps describes it more aptly. These motorhomes look like pop-top camper vans and are self-contained but cramped compared to their big brothers. The advantage of a Class B motorhome is handling, and size if you don't happen to need the interior room. They are often advertised to sleep more than what is deemed comfortable by most people's standards, but can work well for very small families who don't mind the close quarters, or ideally, for couples who don't want the upkeep of a large motorhome. The Class B motorhome can also be used as a second car. These motorhomes come in at $38,000 - $75,000.

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Discuss this Article

jscott1000
Post 11

A vehicle registered in the USA as a motorhome may be driven by any person with a regular driver's license for that state, even if it's a converted bus or looks like a semi-truck. The RV lobby is powerful.

anon281706
Post 8

I have class C driver license. Can I drive an RV class A?

anon251008
Post 7

Thanks. Just what I needed. I clicked on three different EHOW articles and all were nearly identical copy and pastes from somewhere. Not one had the info I searched for.

anon170514
Post 6

The "title" will reflect the RV manufacturer model year. The reason being is the chassis, at least through the early part of a model year is purchased by RV manufacturer, ahead, so that they may be built as they become available.

When this has become a problem for many, occurs when a chassis manufacturer, Chevrolet for example, makes a big change, like to fuel injection, or transmissions, GVWR and such.

Typically, the "old chassis" are discounted a bit or don't reflect the increase in costs. One year there was a big change in warranty coverage. And so on.

anon50196
Post 3

ieg, It's the chassis that determines the age, registration number etc. of the vehicle, even if every other component from the engine/body to the aerial has been changed. For almost all purposes, the chassis is the vehicle. (Not that it's relevant, but a motorbike's frame is the same as a car's/truck's/bus's chassis)

This is the case in Europe and I presume it's the same worldwide. :)

anon24171
Post 2

I'm sure there is a federal regulation and I would recommend you ask the DMV. My guess is they will tell you that the original vehicle ID number, year and model is what counts, regardless of when or what happens to the livable portion of the vehicle, but you need to check with an authority.

ieg
Post 1

What is the correct registration/model year of a Class C RV built on a cutaway chassis where the engine is, say, built in 2005 and the RV body is attached in (i) 2006 or (ii) 2007? Is there a limit on the gap in time between the body build year and the engine year? Is there any federal regulation governing this?

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