What Are The Differences Between Class A, B and C RVs?
Recreational vehicles come in many sizes, price points and classes.
Deciding which type of RV to rent is a challenge – especially if you’re not familiar with the various classes.
Having a basic understanding goes a long way toward informing your decision.
That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to the various classes of RVs.
RVs are typically classified by their body styles. Although there are many classifications of RV, they all fall under only two categories:
Class A RVs, Class B RVs, and Class C RVs are all a part of the motorized category.
Each of these classes allow passengers to travel in comfort and enjoy various amenities while en route to their destinations.
Non-motorized units, such as trailers, are transported by medium or heavy duty tow vehicles equipped with the proper tow hitches and adapters.
It is against the law (not to mention unsafe) for passengers and pets to ride in a vehicle which is being towed.
While motorized Class A and Class C RV rentals are more commonplace, towable and conversion units are more difficult to find.
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Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are an ideal combination of transportation, accommodations, dining and entertainment.
This winning formula makes them the most versatile choice for both RV rentals – and even full time RVing.
Class A RV rentals come in both front-engine gas models and rear-mounted diesel models (commonly referred to as diesel pushers).
Class A diesel pusher motorhomes are considered the ultimate choice in recreational vehicles as they are the most luxurious of all RV rentals.
Allstar Coaches LLC offers only high-end Class A diesels to provide you with the very best luxury motorhome rental experience.
These long and sleek bus-style RVs come in lengths up to 45 feet and feature huge one-piece windshields that treat both driver and passengers to an impressive view of the road ahead.
Class A motorhome rental units are generally equipped with multiple slide-outs which nearly double the interior living space when extended.
These units also feature amenities which rival those usually found in high-end hotels, including:
- Travertine flooring
- Solid wood cabinetry
- Residential stainless steel appliances
- State-of-the-art DirecTV home theater systems
It is not uncommon to find Class A RV rentals with additional standout features such as:
- Separate bathrooms
- Sleep Number™ luxury king beds
- Full wall slides create additional space.
Additionally, most Class A motorhomes have full underbelly storage, outdoor showers, and automatic awnings. Some are equipped with patio entertainment systems and integrated outdoor grill stations.
Built on heavy duty steel and alloy chassis with large bus tires and air braking systems, these motorhomes are among the safest and most durable of all recreational vehicles.
Class A RVs have powerful engines, advanced cooling systems, and heavy duty air suspensions designed specifically to handle the weight and balance of the coach.
With all that technology and power, you may think they are difficult to handle.
However, Class A motorhomes are surprisingly easy to drive and offer a solid, comfortable and confident ride.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes are the most common RV rentals since they are typically very basic and inexpensive.
Most available Class C RVs are between 21’ and 35’ long. These types of vehicles are the very same campers you frequently see on roadways.
The “C” in Class C stands for “cutaway” chassis.
These RVs are typically a 12 or 15 passenger van frame retrofitted with an oversized camper top.
Essentially, Class C RVs are passenger vans with thousands of awkwardly displaced additional pounds resting atop of a light duty chassis that was not designed to handle this amount of weight.
Due to the additional weight, these vehicles have poor centers of gravity which results in a bouncy and unstable ride. On a windy day, with the added sway, it’s quite challenging to drive a Class C RV.
In addition to the frame and weight factor, Class C RVs have the same light duty engines, transmissions, cooling, and braking systems as regular passenger vans. These systems were not designed to endure higher workloads. As such, they have to work much harder to compensate for the extra weight. These conditions often lead to a much higher percentage of system failures and mechanical breakdowns.
Blowouts are also a very common problem with Class C RVs since the increased friction and wear from the added weight is too much for the small OEM tires to handle.
In terms of amenities, Class C motorhomes are equipped with the basics, including:
- Standard bed
- Compact kitchenette
Some units may have an additional sleeping space in the cab-over bed. Otherwise, they typically offer no luxurious perks.
Limited storage and small holding tanks can put a damper on trips that include dry camping (camping without full hookups).
A Class C vehicle may be an okay RV rental option under certain circumstances (tailgating at a sporting event) or a road trip that doesn’t require driving a great distance.
Class A vs. Class C Vehicles
When it comes to luxury, quality, and safety, there really is no comparison between Class A and Class C motorhomes.
Class C RVs may be less expensive. However, many choose to upgrade to a Class A following a poor experience with a Class C rental.
Luxury Class A RVs are at the very top end of the RV scale and feature:
- Large, luxurious cabins
- Plush furniture
- Multiple slide outs
- Home entertainment systems
- Countless other comforts and amenities you can’t find anywhere else on wheels.
Often referred to as “land yachts”, Class A RVs are built on heavy-duty alloy and steel chassis and equipped with large powerful diesel engines (except for gas model units).
They also feature air brakes, Allison transmissions, hydraulic cooling systems, and full sized bus tires.
Class A coaches are designed specifically for their size, weight and purpose. This design allows them to handle even the steepest grades and the toughest road conditions with ease.
Operating a Class A motorhome is surprisingly easy due to a more solid, stable and responsive ride than operating a Class C. The suspension system makes you feel like you are driving on air.
A large, one-piece windshield gives both driver and passengers a panoramic perspective of the road ahead.
One of the few possible downsides to Class A vehicles is their sleeping capacity. Although large motorhomes are generally more comfortable, their sleeping capacity typically tops out at six to eight people.
For larger groups, Class C units may be a better alternative as they can sometimes sleep as many as 12 people. However, the overall experience is lacking.
Although mechanical issues and breakdowns can occur with any vehicle, Class A RVs are built to be more durable than Class C RVs. Class A RVs experience only a fraction of the mechanical issues and breakdowns that Class C units do. For that reason alone, Class A units are much better suited to be rented.
Best of all, Allstar Coaches provides a full orientation and training for all RV rentals.
Class B Conversion Vans
A Class B motorhome is a conventional van with an interior converted with compact sleeping and living areas.
These motorhomes are not only the least expensive of the motorized RVs, they’re also the easiest to operate.
Since they are actual vans, they can travel to the smallest campsites and parks without restriction. They can also park in driveways like any other vehicle.
A Class B RV has limited space, making it a very tight fit even for the coziest of couples.
More popular in Europe and Australia, there aren’t many companies here in the United States who rent Class B units since the demand is rather low.
Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels, and Pop Ups
Travel trailers, fifth wheels and pop-ups all fall into the towable category.
This means each of these units requires a vehicle with the proper towing system and enough power to transport them.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is that passengers cannot ride in towable units.
Pop-up campers are the lightest and most economical of all towable RVs. They also offer the most basic accommodations. A pop-up camper is essentially a tent on wheels that can be pulled by most vehicles with a tow hitch.
Travel trailers are a step up from pop-ups, Yet, they still offer very basic, no frills accommodations.
Typically, they range in length from about 15’ to 30’. Since they’re heavier than pop-ups, they need to be towed with a vehicle that has ample power.
Fifth Wheels offer the most luxury and versatility of all towable RVs.
They can be found in lengths upwards of 40’ with slide outs and many other upscale amenities.
They are also the heaviest of towable RVs. Because of that fact, these units require a lot of experience towing and an extremely heavy duty truck with a fifth wheel mounting system.
Choosing the Right RV Rental
How do you know which RV rental option is right for you?
The best advice we can offer is to carefully review the information we shared above.
Consider each option. Compare pricing and availability. And don’t be afraid to ask questions.
A quality RV rental company will not only help you select the right RV, they’ll also offer you some guidance and tips to help you book a great RV trip.
We invite you to check out our wide selection of available luxury RV rentals.
When you’re ready to get started, you can request a quote online.