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Class A Motorhome


The Class A motorhome is the largest of the motorized RV classes. Due to its high-spec, residential amenities the Class A motorhome is widely considered to be the top-of-the-line RV. 

Class A Motorhomes can run on either gasoline or diesel fuel and are distinguished by their bus-like shape. Class A’s contain high-specification residential amenities such as a full bathroom, kitchen, dinette, multiple beds and entertainment center options.

KEY TAKEAWAYS CLASS A MOTORHOME

  • Large, comfortable spaces for groups of people and pets.
  • Residential amenities such as dedicated bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
  • More challenging to park and maneuver than smaller RV classes.
  • Worst fuel economy of any RV class (8-10mpg).

 

Understanding Class A Motorhomes

The Class A motorhome is the largest and most impressive of the motorized RV classes. Due to its high specifications, it is often the most luxurious and expensive model of RV making it perfect for long trips for people who want the feeling of home on the road.

The Class A motorhome is typically built on either a commercial truck or bus chassis. A “chassis” is the load-bearing framework which structurally supports the body of the Class A motorhome in its construction and function. 

Class A Motorhome
The typical Class A motorhome can be anywhere between 20-45 feet in length. Photo Credit: WikiMedia – Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

Class A motorhomes can run on either diesel or gas, depending on the type of engine. A Diesel Pusher is a Class A motorhome powered by a diesel engine mounted in the rear of the RV. The main distinction between diesel pushers and other Class A RVs is that diesel pushers have a diesel engine while the other types are gas (petrol) powered. 

While a driver does not typically require a special license to drive a Class A Motorhome, due to their length between 20-45 feet, they can be difficult for a first-time Class A driver to maneuver and park. The large size of the RV mean drivers need to be aware of the height, weight and width restrictions on all planned routes.

Benefits of the Class A Motorhome

 

Luxurious Amenities

Class A RVs have high-end amenities that replicate the comforts of home. Most Class As contain multiple living spaces such as a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. Class As generally come equipped with an indoor shower, toilet and sinks. 

Class A motorhomes usually include kitchen appliances such as a refrigerator, freezer, stovetop range and either a microwave/convection oven. Some Class As even have small dishwashers and laundry washers and dryers for increased convenience.

Space for Multiple People

Another benefit of Class A RVs over other motorhome classes is that the space for multiple people to co-habitate comfortably. With several separate living and sleeping areas, family and friends can easily retreat to their own individual rooms for privacy. 

Most Class As have multiple sleeping areas, such as a bedroom, a kitchenette that folds down into a bed, a pull-out sleeper sofa, or even bunk beds for children. Many Class As also have “slide outs” – portions of the walls that can be expanded when safely parked, to create an even more spacious interior.

Traveling with Pets

When camping with pets, there is an advantage to traveling in a camper with an attached coach and chassis. Many places have laws against driving with animals unattended in pull-behind RV model such as a travel trailer or pop-up camper

Dog at Steering WHeel of Car
There’s plenty of room for your furry friend in a Class A motorhome.

While steps should still be taken to secure pets when traveling, using a self contained motorhome allows pets more freedom. Instead of being packed in crates or carriers small enough to fit in a truck cab, they can be given more spacious accommodations while driving. Additionally, Class A RVs have more space than Class Bs and Cs to let animals stretch their legs.

Drawbacks of the Class A Motorhome

Driveability

While no special license or training is required to drive a Class A, their size can be difficult to manage for some drivers. Reaching up to 45 feet in length, their length and wide base can be difficult to manuever in tight spaces. 

With this large size also comes great weight, so care should be taken to plan routes in advance to ensure chosen roads are capable of handling the height, weight, and width. Navigation apps for big rig truckers can be helpful in route planning, as many have options to input vehicle specifications and select appropriate roads.

Another aspect that should be considered is elevation of chosen routes and destinations. Class As are quite heavy, which can create difficulties when driving up and down steep terrain, such as mountains. When driving such a large vehicle downshifting on steep declines is essential in controlling the vehicle and keeping brakes operating effectively. 

Class A RV
 Class As can be very difficult to drive for beginners – especially in cities.

In mountainous regions with steep inclines and declines Class A drivers navigate these terrains very slowly, which can be frustrating for other drivers on the road. Accepting this as an unfortunate fact before setting out in mountainous regions can help to relieve stress while driving.

While careful driving is essential when operating any recreational vehicle, Class As take more practice and attention to detail because of their large size and increased weight.

Poor Gas Mileage

For all of their benefits of size, Class As generally have the worst gas mileage of any RV class. The average range for a large Class A is generally between 8 and 13 miles per gallon, although it can be even lower depending on the vehicle’s weight, what is packed inside it, and if it will be towing another vehicle. 

Diesel RVs have slightly better gas mileage, but are generally more costly than their gas counterparts. Gas engines on average will run around 30% efficiency, but diesel engines generally run closer to 45%. This means you’ll get more gas mileage and have lower fuel costs with a diesel pusher compered to a gas-powered Class A. [1]Sky River RV

Large RV In Park
Class A Motorhomes can hit you in the wallet due to poor gas mileage.

While Class As may have poor miles per gallon, there are some tips for better fuel mileage:

  • Travel Light: Reducing the weight of an RV will put less stress on the engine, which will improve gas mileage. Limiting travel gear to essentials only helps to keep an RV as light as possible.
  • Drive Slower: The speed at which a vehicle generally achieves maximum fuel efficiency is between approximately 55 and 60 miles per hour. Fuel economy is drastically reduced above this range, so driving slower will help save gas. Driving a large Class A slowly on the interstate can be unnerving, therefore using highways and local roads can be preferable to some.

Related RV Terms

For related RV terminology, please reference the RV definitions below:

  • Class B Motorhome: The smallest class of RV, usually a van converted with limited amenities.
  • Class C Motorhome: A small to medium-sized motor home, distinguishable by the over-cab sleeping area.
  • Diesel Pusher: A luxurious, Class A motorhome powered by a diesel engine mounted in the rear of the RV. 
  • Pop-Up Camper: A class of recreational vehicle (RV) with collapsible roof and walls. 

References

References
1 Sky River RV

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