For many, camping by car means: Freedom. What exactly that looks like varies widely.
The camping car market includes compact vans with opening roofs, converted vans, and classic motor homes of various lengths and shapes. So newcomers quickly find themselves stunned by the range on offer.
What vehicles actually describe terms like “camper van,” “alcove,” “(partially) integrated,” and “liner”? What’s the difference between these classes in detail and which vehicle is appropriate for which style of recreation? We’ll explain it in an in-depth review of the different classes of RVs, and camping motor homes. They are sorted by size and comfort: the lower the class is listed in the text, the more luxurious it is to sleep in. On the other hand, the RV types listed at the beginning are more maneuverable, cheaper, and more suitable for everyday vacation use.
Class C RV
Alcove motorhomes are models that carry a so-called balcony above the driver’s cab, which allows additional sleeping space. On the floor plan of these versions can be seen up to six sleeping places, which makes this classic especially suitable for families with children. For the stowage of luggage, additional hanging lockers and a rear garage are usually available. Class C RVs are an integral part of the product range of almost all manufacturers.
The advantages of a Class C RV
The main advantage of the Class C RV is the excellent room layout. The relocation of the sleeping berths allows optimal use of the living space. Families particularly appreciate this circumstance, as the children like to sleep upstairs at night and can enjoy sufficient free space in bad weather. In the alcove models, manufacturers place great emphasis on a cozy seating area that allows several people to sit together comfortably. With its dimensions, the motorhome proves to be particularly maneuverable, even in tight city traffic. A weighty argument is always the price because in comparison to the fully integrated ones this partly integrated vehicle is clearly more favorable in the acquisition. Another advantage is the easy access to the engine compartment in case of technical problems.
The disadvantages of a Class C RV
The biggest disadvantage is obvious with the air resistance. Depending on the size and total mass of the chassis, this can be responsible for significantly increased fuel consumption. In this context, the buyer should also pay attention to the power of the engine to guarantee comfortable progress. The high body, which of course depends on the bed size, can become a challenge at some passages. Gas stations, tunnels, or barriers might have to be bypassed if the body is too high. Another disadvantage is the relatively high crosswind sensitivity of the motorhomes, which can already have a negative impact on driving comfort. When winter camping, alcove motorhomes can cool down quickly through the windows in the driver’s cab. It is then helpful to be able to partition off the living space.
Technical details of alcove motorhomes
The technical details are not insignificant. The power of the engine should fit the size and total mass. An Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill Holder provide valuable support when driving. Most motorhome drivers prefer a manual transmission, especially on difficult surfaces. A height-adjustable steering wheel provides the necessary driving comfort.
Class C RV Rental
With its functional layout and comfort, you can’t go wrong with an alcove motor home. The height and special design of an alcove RV usually increase wind resistance and thus fuel consumption. Keep this in mind when renting an alcove motor home, but remember that the fuel consumption is not much higher than other RVs.
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Class B RV
In semi-integrated motorhomes, the original manufacturer’s cab is partially integrated into the living space. The driver and passenger seats complete the seating group in most models. As a result, there is usually enough room for four people at the dining table.
Advantages of semi-integrated motorhomes
The Class B RV is an alternative to the alcove motorhome or panel van. The advantages of this series are obvious from the exterior view: without the bodywork of the alcove model, the entire vehicle is significantly lower and thus more streamlined. This results in a noticeably better driving experience. Fuel consumption is also considerably lower as a result.
Disadvantages of Class B RVs?
The challenge with partially Class B RVs is the sleeping berths. Basically, the choice is limited to two variants – with or without a lift bed. The latter is located directly under the roof in most versions and is lowered for sleeping. The disadvantage here is that the seating area is then obstructed by the bed. In some motorhomes, the door can also be locked, making it very difficult to leave the vehicle. Alternatively, there are models where the beds are located in the rear.
In addition to sleeping, the poorly insulated cab could also be a disadvantage. Although Class B RVs are excellent for winter camping – only for the driver’s cab must be found a solution, because it cools down quickly. The windows are darkened by curtains, but not insulated. An indestructible GRP double floor, high-quality frame windows without cold bridges, and a hot-air heating system could provide a remedy in this context.
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Class B RVs with beds in the rear
Especially, couples or families with small children are likely to choose the variant with beds in the rear. The bed size and the wishes of the campers can be better taken into account. A double bed is one of the most common installations. Manufacturers can also install single beds separated either by a small bedside table or a small middle bed for the offspring.
Class B RV rentals
If you are traveling with a small group of people and a Class A or C RV is too large, a Class B RV may be right for you. Class B motor homes are a great choice for small groups because of their versatility and relatively low rental cost compared to other vehicles.
Class A RV
In the case of a fully integrated vehicle, the vehicle manufacturer supplies the ready-to-run powerheads (chassis without cab) to the motorhome manufacturer. Depending on the body, a frame design must then be selected: Ladder frame, flat floor frame or low frame are the choices.
In the partially integrated motorhome a great deal of heat is lost via the driver’s cab. The fully integrated, on the other hand, represents the luxury variant and is designed to ensure perfect heat management.
The advantages of a fully integrated motorhome
As the floor plans immediately reveal, this design creates a very comfortable and spacious living experience for campers. The entire interior is like a single unit. The motorhome manufacturers have succeeded in optimizing the interior more and more, especially in the recent past. The equipment is therefore very luxurious compared to other body variants.
It is not uncommon for campers to be able to enjoy a magnificent panorama while driving thanks to the large front windows, or even on the campsite with the right stand. When it comes to designing the interior, buyers are left with the tricky question of positioning the beds themselves. A lifted bed that can be hidden in the ceiling during the day creates more free space. However, the lift bed is a rather poor choice when both the sleeping accommodation and the seating area are to be used. Quite a few campers opt for the king-size bed in the rear. Comfortable nights can be enjoyed there with enough space to unfold. Alternatively, the choice falls on two single beds, optionally with a middle bed for the offspring.
Further advantages are the comfortable height and the excellent insulation. If required, this can be extended with thermal protection mats and roller blinds. A generous kitchen and a spacious bathroom are almost a matter of course in fully Class A RVs.
The disadvantages of a fully Class A RV
Due to the diverse interior design, the total weight of the vehicle also increases. It is not uncommon for the 7700 lbs to be exceeded, making a new driver’s license Class necessary. The increased total mass should therefore be accompanied by more power so that the journey does not become a challenge.
Another disadvantage can be the high maintenance requirements for repairs. Due to the body, access to the engine is usually much more difficult. While manufacturers take care to ensure that high-maintenance parts are easily accessible, this, unfortunately, cannot always be guaranteed. Higher consequential costs would therefore have to be factored into the purchase. The comfortable travel pleasure goes unfortunately also with a high purchase price. Luxury has its price. Brands want to make the purchase price more appealing with their latest models
Class B RVs are the easiest to drive because they feel like driving a van. In some cases, RVers have even felt they drive similar to a regular vehicle. Certainly, it won’t feel like driving a family sedan, but it won’t feel like driving a bus either.
Class C Motorhomes are built on a truck or van chassis with an attached cab section, while Class Bs are built within the dimensions of a customized van. Essentially, this means that Class Bs are more expensive to make. Class C motorhomes range in size from 21 feet to 35 feet and come in both gas and diesel models.
A class C motorhome has a different size advantage than a class A motorhome. Because Class C motorhomes are usually smaller, they usually get better gas mileage than Class A motorhomes. This saves you both time and money at the gas pump. Class C motorhomes also tend to have engines that are easier to work on.