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Classes of Motor Homes and RVs

Aug 18, 2007
When considering which motor home or recreational vehicle is appropriate for you, there is a great deal of information to sort through. In Canada and the United States, leading RV dealers supply vehicles made by more than 80 manufacturers, in at least nine distinct classes.

Smaller, used vehicles can start as low as $5,000, while new, high-end models can fetch more than $300,000 at sale. The most gratuitous vehicles which, among other luxuries, are capable of storing a small car within the main "hull" have been known to cost several million dollars! The features offered by the vehicles of different size, class, and make vary a great deal, and it is always wise to make your purchase knowing that you are an informed buyer.

There are nine different RV classes you should be familiar with when shopping around. The first three of these are what are strictly known as motor homes, although it is still correct to call some other classes of RV a motor home. Class A motor homes are usually built around a commercial sized truck or bus chassis and are usually more than 30 feet long. A second-hand unit can be found for as little as $11,000; however, Class A motor homes will be found between $100,000 and $300,000 when new.

Class B motor homes are smaller, usually between 19 and 30 feet long. You can easily recognize Class B vehicles by the more common name of camper vans. Built around a modified conventional van body, a new one will usually cost between $30,000 and $70,000.

Class C motor homes are more similar to Class A, being built on a truck chassis between 21 and 35 feet long, costing anywhere over $50,000 new. They are distinctive in that they always have a section which overhangs the truck's cabin, making the most of the available space.

The next largest class of recreational vehicle is what is known as a 5th wheel trailer. This is an RV trailer which hitches onto the back of a truck with a semi-trailer coupling. These are typically the heaviest-duty trailer hitching available, used by the largest trucks, and suitable for a large RV with a relatively heavy load. 5th wheel trailers are often modified from some other original vehicle, so prices and sizes vary, but they are usually between 30 and 40 feet long, fetching anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000.

Fifth wheels have the advantage of being able to unhook from the vehicle towing it, giving you much greater flexibility in how you use both your motor home, and your towing vehicle. Note that a 5th wheel coupling is unsuitable for retrofitting to most types of vehicle, so the preferred towing vehicle is a light commercial truck or something similar.

Next, are the smaller caravan-style trailers ranging from 13 feet to around 30 feet. These include the smallest class, folding campers, that have extensible fold-out awnings when deployed, and can be found for between $5,000 and around $20,000. These represent the lightest type of RV you can normally find. Slightly larger are bi-fold, conversion vans, and travel trailers - each of these is typically sized less than 30 feet.

Conversion vans resemble a really large camper van or light bus, and are available for around $90,000. Bi-fold RVs are large trailers of around 30 feet when deployed, but which are towed when 'folded' to make them much shorter and lower profile which makes them lighter, and easier for you to tow. Bi-folds and travel trailers are each usually found for between $15,000 and $40,000, and like conversion vans, may need external hookups for water, waste, and power, frequently available at properly equipped trailer parks.

With dozens of different types of RVs available, you are sure to be able to find a motor home or other recreational vehicle to suit your needs, whether you're a retiree, camper, on a college road-trip, move around a lot for work, or you're after a low-cost housing solution. Budgets can range anywhere between five thousand to three million dollars, depending on your needs.
About the Author
Bankston Motor Homes has provided sales, service and satisfaction for motor home owners and enthusiasts since 1970. Visit us at http://www.bankstonmotorhomes.com/ to see our great selection of Class A, Class B, and Class C motor homes , toy haulers, travel trailers and 5th wheels.
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