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Motorized Recreational Vehicles

July 16, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Motorized recreational vehicles are any self-propelled vehicle that is operated from within. This broad definition includes converted mini vans to RVs that are the size of an 18-wheeler. The cost can range from a fairly inexpensive $5,000 for a used conversion van to well over $800,000 for great big top-of-the-line motor homes. Here’s a much more detailed breakdown of your options.

Class ‘A’ Motor Homes

This type of motorized RV is often characterized as being rectangular in shape. Typically, the front driver and passenger seats are designed to swivel around and serve the double purpose of living room furniture when you are parked for the day. If you have a large family or enjoy camping for extended periods, this could be a great choice for your needs.
  • Price Range: $50,000 - $800,000.
  • Handling: Class ‘A’ motor homes are easier to drive then most people think. Almost as easy as driving as a sedan or SUV. Backing up isn’t too difficult – unless you are towing.
  • Towing Capacity: Some of the larger Class ‘A’s are capable of towing a storage trailer, car or small boat.
  • Gas Mileage: Unfortunately, this class averages the worst overall mileage. Although it seems like an added expense, you can actually cut down on the cost of running this RV by using a towed car once you make camp. In RV speak, these are known as ‘toad’ vehicles.  
  • Amenities:
    • Defined areas can include a kitchen, eating area, living room, and bedroom along with a self-contained bathroom. 
    • You’ll have to use steps to get inside. But the layout is ranch style and easy to navigate once in the cabin. This is especially handy for people with a disability. 
    • There’s room to sleep up to eight and entertain a couple more.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Traveling with a large Class ‘A’ and ‘toad’ means that you’ll be maintaining not one but two vehicles. 
    • The steering wheel and instrument panel can’t be hidden when not in use. 
    • It can be more expensive to purchase a luxury Class ‘A’ and toad than it would be to run a fifth wheel trailer and truck.

Class ‘B’ Motor Homes

This mini motor home is quite simply a raised roof on the chassis of a van. The most classic example is the VW pop-top. Many of these Class ‘B’ RVs offer amenities similar to the larger Class ‘A’ vehicles – but on a much smaller scale. These motor homes can be expensive when you consider what you’re getting for the money. And most campers choose Class ‘A’ or ‘C’ models. However, if you don’t want to depend on KOA availability and enjoy taking off on short notice, the Class ‘B’ can be an attractive option.
  • Price Range: $35,000 to $75,000.
  • Handling: Although the turning radius is a bit wider, they handle pretty much just like a car. Much easier to maneuver than Class ‘A’ vehicles.
  • Towing Capacity: You can pull any trailer that a full-sized van can manage.
  • Gas Mileage: Considered very good for an RV.
  • Amenities:
    • Enough space for kitchen, eating area, living room, bedroom and bath. 
    • Sleeps two to four people.
  • Disadvantages:
    • New models are expensive when compared to the smaller Class ‘A’ RVs. 
    • There’s less space for sleeping than other small RVs provide.

Class ‘C’ Motor Homes

Built on a truck chassis, the Class ‘B’ is by far the most affordable type of motor home. Like its Class ‘B’ counterpart, amenities are offered on a smaller scale than what is found in Class ‘A’ RVs, but these motor homes represent a very smart alternative for small families as well as those who enjoy weekend trips and off-road exploring.
  • Price Range: $40,000 to $120,000.
  • Handling: Exactly like your family truck.
  • Towing Capacity: Anything your truck can handle; a boat, motorcycle or car.
  • Gas Mileage: Very respectable for an RV.
  • Amenities:
    • Room for defined kitchen, eating and living areas. The bathroom is enclosed and the bedroom is located atop the driver’s compartment. 
    • You can comfortably sleep up to eight.
  • Disadvantages: Getting into the elevated sleeping area requires the use of a ladder.

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