“A-B-C, it’s easy as 1-2-3, as simple as Do Re Mi” – Jackson Five
Okay, maybe getting to know your RV types isn’t as simple as ABC, but that’s a great acronym for understanding the different classes within the motorhome space.
We’ve got class A, class B, and class C RVs – see? Simple.
Except one thing…
That’s not exactly how they rank in size, which can be kinda confusing (more on that in a bit).
If you’re looking for a new class C RV and want to know the details before making a purchase, then keep reading. If you’re just skimming and want to quickly know what a class C motorhome is and how it might benefit your next camping trip, then here’s the TL;DR:
A Class C RV (or class C motorhome) is the middle child of the motorhome RV type. They sit between Class A and Class B motorhomes. They start as a truck or van chassis, and have a much larger living space built around the frame along with a cab-overhead to look for extra space when sleeping. They are slightly difficult for full time RVing, but are a perfect RV for vacations multiple times a year with a family of 4 or 5.
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the details a bit more.
What’s A Class C RV?
I’m going to be upfront. You know a class C motorhome when you see it. Not to be harsh at all, but they’re goofy looking. And for good reason!
Whenever you come across a box on wheels, with an overhang (really important because that’s what makes a class C RV distinct compared to its peers), then you’re looking at a class C motorhome.
Now, there are two primary types of class C motorhomes:
- Regular Class C RV – as we talked about earlier. This option is the kinda awkward looking cab overhead box on wheels. They always look like they’re about to topple over right?
- Super C Motorhome – this is the bigger, stronger, brother of two. It’s built on a truck (often an F-series but sometimes a freightliner chassis) and is a juiced up version.
Either option you choose will be bigger and more spacious than the class B, and smaller and more nimble than the class A. You can also check out our other post Class A vs Class C RVs for a more in-depth look.
These motorhomes start off just like a class B, except the manufacturer cuts everything off except the front cab, and then puts a fiberglass box on top of the chassis which creates a significant amount of space for your RV needs.
The nice thing about class C motorhomes is they don’t feel so stressful to drive. Because they’re built on top of a van or truck chassis you get the manageability of a smaller vehicle, with the amenities of a larger RV.
This makes a class C a perfect choice for first-time RVers looking to travel 2-5 times per year (or more!).
Class C RV Quick Facts:
Let’s take a look at the stats below…
Often between 20-35 feet in length.
Anywhere from 8,000-15,000 pounds.
Between 4-8 people (depending on your floor plan).
Usually 10-15 miles per gallon.
Most of the options are rated between 6,000-10,000 pounds for towing.
Between $60,000 – $150,000
Benefits Of a Class C RV
Let’s take a look at the overall benefits of class C motorhomes and where they might fit in with your travel plans in the future.
Driving a class C is like operating any stereotypical moving van or a Uhaul truck. They’re easy to use, navigate with, and maneuver through tight corners. If you plan on going for extended camping trips, or need a reliable vehicle for a week long vacation (anyone say road trip!?) then you belong in a class C RV. You and your family will fit fairly comfortably, unless you’re the Brady Bunch, and you’ll have a decent amount of storage space to bring all those extras for a great glamping experience. Plus, a class C is your tow vehicle to bring any extra toys with you like boats or ATVs.
A class C motorhome is going to be more budget friendly compared to the other options available on the market. This is true even when compared to class B motorhomes. Why is that the case? Because the chassis being used is almost always more available compared to the Sprinter, and you’re also putting fairly cheap material (fiberglass in this case) as the box around the chassis. Instead of needing to build an interior with a prebuilt shell – which a class B offers – or needing to fill so much space and amenities compared to a class A.
A class C RV can offer the amenities of a class A RV, but without the same size or price tag attached. These amenities almost always feature larger kitchens (which include bigger refrigerators and stoves), a bathroom with a dedicated shower, and bigger bedding for sleeping space (some options include bunk beds which can be extra useful when you have guests or your family). You can also expect larger water tanks which can be useful if you’re boondocking!
Disadvantages Of a Class C RV
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows with a class C motorhome. While this class offers a lot, there are clear disadvantages you need to know before purchasing one.
You’re going to be limited by the storage space within a class C RV. There’s no other way to put it. Most class C motorhomes don’t offer a great amount of storage compared to the Class A RVs and the travel trailer options available on the market. If you have a ton of gear for a full family then you’re probably going to be disappointed by a class C. At best a class C motorhome is useful for going camping at national parks or other destinations which won’t require a ton of equipment. It’s also not often you find people full time RVing in class C motorhomes, and for good reason.
The gas mileage for a class C RV is going to be whack. Compared to class B motorhomes you’re going to be shocked when you’re having to go to the gas station A LOT to fill up. They’re typically going to be between 8- 15 miles per gallon, which is certainly better then the class A options on the market, but when you compare it to the gas mileage on a truck that’s just towing a trailer, you start to get a little sick at the costs. And they add up quickly, especially if you’re taking a long journey.
Speaking of high gas mileage, want to know what’s worse than sky high gas prices? Having to put your broken down RV into the auto shop and losing your home. Yes, it’s true, RVs break down and with motorhomes, it can be particularly frustrating because now you need to pay for extra lodging since your living space has now been effectively taken away from you. Talk about an expensive vacation!
How Are Class C RVs Built?
Now that you know the benefits, and disadvantages of a class C RV, it’s time to talk about how they’re made and what you can expect for interiors (including floor plan options).
Let’s get started on how every class C motorhome gets built…
Start With The Foundation
Every class C motorhome starts with a bare heavy duty chassis (either a van or truck) which breaks down into four main options which depend on the engine type you pick.
- Ford E-Series Chassis – one of the most popular options. Strong V8 engine with lots of towing capacity.
- Chevrolet Chassis – not as talked about as many of the other options available, but still a good choice for your camper.
- Mercedes Benz Sprinter Chassis – another popular choice because of the diesel engine and reliability.
- Ford F-Series – the F-series produced such a quality engine and it has a good deal of power to tow up to 10,000 pounds even when loaded down.
An important aspect to think about when choosing these different chassis options is to consider the gross combined weight rating for each frame and engine type. A class C motorhome is going to be fairly heavy (think 15,000 pounds fully loaded down) and this will affect the performance of the engine AND what you can tow behind it. This is important because if you want to visit the area you’re staying at, you won’t want to do it in your class C motorhome. If anything, class Cs operate best when they’re a tow vehicle pulling a toad. Food for thought when deciding on the chassis and engine type.
With the foundation selected, it’s time to talk about the interior!
Interior & Living Area
The next step in the process of building out a class C motorhome, is to add a shell around the frame which will make up the interior. In fact, the process of putting on the shell is almost identical to the class A in that the fabrication process includes laying out the foundation (which is steel wrapped in plywood and put through lamination) and then attaching the walls (which is made of fiberglass) and roof by anchoring it to the flooring.
When it comes to the actual interior, you have to know that the larger (really the longer) your class C motorhome gets, the more features can be added, and the more luxurious the experience will be.
With that said, you can expect everything from ultra-cheap cloth and flooring to ultra-luxurious seating areas and high-end appliances will be included in the interior design.
With newer models, particularly the larger class Cs (which include the super C motorhomes) you’ll usually see a bathroom with its own private shower stall in addition to a toilet.
With smaller traditional class C motorhomes, especially with the smaller layouts, the bathroom might be a wet one.
While out and about, you may whip up a dinner in the comfort of your kitchen, which is stocked with all the necessities.
Unless your home has a particularly large kitchen, you shouldn’t bank on having much room to prep food or set the table.
Included appliances include a fridge, sink, cupboards, and a gas stove with numerous burners.
A microwave and oven are common features in many models.
It will include a dinette set with a tabletop that folds out into a bed. In some larger models, the living room also features a sofa or other reclinable seating options.
Most class C motorhomes will have a private master bedroom where there’s almost always a queen mattress, although some models are large enough to fit a king.
Oftentimes, the restroom and the main bedroom are located in the same space in the back of the RV (corner bed).
If you’re planning to bring the whole family camping then you’ll be pleased to know you can find camper bunk bed beds in most models, making it possible to accommodate a group of four or more people. Guests who are just staying for a short time can make use of a sofa bed or another type of convertible seating.
There you have it! That’s basically everything you need to know about class C motorhomes. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Now, it’s up to you to make a decision on the best class c motorhome for your needs.
Let us know if you have any questions!
If you are interested in learning more about other RV Types, check out our other articles:
- The Ultimate Guide To RV Types & RV Classes
- Everything You Would Want To Know About Class A RVs
- Everything You Would Want To Know About A Class B RV
- Everything You Need To Know About Travel Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Fifth Wheel Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Toy Haulers
- Everything You Need To Know About Hybrid Travel Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Teardrop Trailers
- Everything You Need To Know About Pop Up Campers
- Everything You Need To Know About Truck Campers