The Pros and Cons of the various types of RVs depend on who is looking and what they are looking for. Your choice will depend on your needs as well as your budget. Class A, B, C, and Bus Conversions are motorized vehicles, the non-motorized rvs are trailers of one sort or another. Following are the most popular types of rvs on the market today.
Class A – PROs: Because of their popularity, there is a ready market when selling and a good selection of used units to choose from when buying. Class As have quite good repair records even though they represent everything in a typical house, plus everything you’d find in a typical car, and then some.
Since they are built as a complete unit, passengers can move about while someone is driving. This is especially important if you’re traveling with children. It’s easy to “boondock” without hookups, since all you have to do is go to a parking lot just about anywhere, park, and go to sleep.
CONs: Class A motorhomes are almost the most expensive types of rvs per linear foot. They range in size from about 27’ to 40’, weigh a lot, and get pretty poor gas mileage. Unless you’re towing a vehicle, you have to unhook everything in order to drive to town. And, if it breaks down, you may have to find someplace else to stay while it’s in the shop.
Class B Camper Vans – PROs: This type of rv has the versatility of the family SUV, while providing the self-contained RV amenities of a much bigger unit. They’re easy to drive and park, can fit in small off-road spots that a bigger motor home can’t, and get great gas mileage.
CONs: Except for the fanciest bus conversions, the Class B is generally the most expensive per linear foot. The small interior space in these types of rvs is best for one or, at the most, two people – especially if going for more than a weekend. You’ll usually pay the same amount as a 40’ RV at a campground. And, replacing appliances can be difficult and/or more expensive as they are apt to be specially sized.
Class C – PROs: Class C recreational vehicles give you most of the same conveniences, and as much living space as the smaller Class A types of rvs do. And, they cost less. If the overhead compartment is fitted out as a bed, rather than an entertainment center, it offers better sleeping arrangements for a family.
Travel Trailer – PROs: These types of RVs cost a lot less than a motorized RV, and, if you already own a truck, you can use it to tow the trailer, and still have use of the truck bed. Smaller travel trailers can be towed with a car or van. If the trailer needs repairs, you can leave it at the repair place and use the tow vehicle to get around. Travel trailers also have a much lower profile than fifth wheels, so you don’t have to worry about overpasses as much.
CONs: Large trailers are the hardest to steer, drive and brake; handling can be a problem as they have quite a bit of sway. They also can be harder to hitch up than fifth wheels. You have to leave your tow vehicle to enter your "home" - an important consideration for some people.
Fifth Wheel – PROs: Again, the cost per square foot for these types of rvs is much less than motorized RVs, and if you already own a heavy duty truck that could be used to tow it, you’re way ahead of the game. A fifth wheel can be left at a dealer’s place for repairs if needed, and you’ve still got a way to get around.
The “gooseneck” which is the raised neck section of the fifth wheel, connects over the bed of the tow vehicle to the fifth wheel hitch, and the overall length of the two vehicles is reduced by this overlap. Since this tongue weight is over the rear axle of the truck, you’ll have better traction and handling.
The main bedroom is in this raised section, which results in a split-level floor plan. Fifth wheels can have multiple slide-outs and offer excellent living space.
CONs: The higher profile of the fifth wheel can result in a tendency to get blown around some on highways and in strong winds. The fifth wheel hitch limits use of the truck bed, and you can’t use a car or van to tow them. And again, many people don’t like that you have to get out of your tow vehicle to enter your home.
Bus Conversion – PROs: These MCI, Eagle and Prevost bus conversions are called “million mile coaches” and they are. Their body, engine, chassis, and transmission are designed to last a lifetime. Wealthy RVers, rock stars, movie stars and politicians often call them home for much of the year, so these types of rvs offer the most luxurious choices.
Although the prices for new ones are extravagantly high, they are the very best choice from an investment perspective. Properly maintained the conversion coach doesn’t depreciate much, if at all, after its tenth year, so if you buy a 10-year-old bus conversion coach and use it for five years, you can probably sell it for the same price you paid.
Conversions are the safest of all recreational vehicles on the road, offer a smoother, quieter, more comfortable ride, don’t get blown around in bad weather, and are the warmest if you have to deal with cold weather.
Parts for the major brands can be found for even 30-40 year old coaches from licensed dealers.
CONs: The bus conversions are definitely the most expensive option, and, for some, scary to drive due to their great size and weight. You must generally get parts and service from big bus and repair shops, which can be hard to locate.