Driving differences Class A and C

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Sweetsurrender

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Apr 14, 2019
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Home is in Henderson, Nevada
We are getting closer to getting our RV, and originally were thinking Class C. Finding the little things that are important to us (me actually. He is real flexible and not quite as picky as me?), seems to lead us to Class A. Our needs are under 30', stationary island bed as opposed to "bendy" bed in a slide, double sink, and reasonable bathroom accomodations.

The question here is, is there a major difference in how Class A  and Class C  handle on the road?  Any wise words for us?

Thank you!!
 
They definitely handle differently.

A Class C probably feels more comfortable to someone not used to driving large vehicles, due to the conventional cab layout.

In a Class A you?re sitting over, or in front of, the front wheels. That takes a bit of getting used to when cornering. You sit higher in a Class A, and visibility is generally better.

I wouldn?t make handling a major consideration in your decision ? it?s about floorplan and features that make the unit livable.
 
I would say the adjustment to driving a class A is harder than adjusting to a class C, though this is not a bad thing.  With a class C it is easy to forget how wide and tall the coach is behind you since the cab area feels like you are driving a regular van.  With a class A the driver position is up higher and farther outboard, which tends to give a much more commanding view of the road, as well as a better feel for where the left side of the coach is.
 
Sweetsurrender said:
We are getting closer to getting our RV, and originally were thinking Class C. Finding the little things that are important to us (me actually. He is real flexible and not quite as picky as me?), seems to lead us to Class A. Our needs are under 30', stationary island bed as opposed to "bendy" bed in a slide, double sink, and reasonable bathroom accomodations.

The question here is, is there a major difference in how Class A  and Class C  handle on the road?  Any wise words for us?

Thank you!!
Well some of the differences, Most of the class A coaches have more. More load carrying capacity larger tanks, more towing capacity.
Have you looked at a diesel pusher? they come with more a lot more to and a better ride.
Bill
 
Hi Sweetsurrender,

One thing that I find myself telling a lot of people who seek advise on here, if you are considering a class c, be sure to check the cargo capacity on it. When we were looking and thought a C might be the way to go, when we looked at some of these, they had very little in the way of cargo capacity. Add water, gas and you & your partner and you could be close to max! I'd suggest at least one slide on a C and two would be better. You need a bit of space so you can live in the coach as it will be your home on wheels. It took me a bit of time to get the hang of driving our Class A but it comes naturally. Just drive on the road when it isn't so busy and you'll get use to it. I rented a Class C to see what they were like and like the way the larger Class A drives now. You might try renting to find out for yourselves. When driving a RV it is a bit more tiring so don't drive long distances. Just drive 200 to 300 miles a day and enjoy the trip.

There are some Class A's that are smaller 26 foot or so that are kind of like a class C but more room. They are on a lighter frame. Getting something larger like a Class A might seem excessive now but later on you might be happy you went the extra length. If you aren't happy and trade your first RV, you are more likely to loose money. Then you buy again in hopes you will pick better. I know I am very happy that I listen to some of the forum members on here and bought the coach we did. So far we have no intention of selling it. Best and happy hunting!
 
Thank you all. You've given some good points. Putting it all together, it seems that both require an adjustment period to get it right, and driving either will come with practice. Given that, I have found so little storage available in most smaller class "C"s (thanks for bringing it up, Camper Al, that explains a lot as to why that might be),  that an A might be a better fit for us.  Even for short trips, we like our "stuff" and comfort.

The search continues. Not much time left before the summer heat descends here (southern Nevada), so we gotta decide soon.

You guys are the best. I hope someday we can be of help to someone else here. Stay safe out there! Hope to see you on the road soon.
 
In addition to all the above, I wouldn't limit myself to 30' or less, since in most cases a difference of 2 to 4 feet in length makes little difference in where you can go or how well you can maneuver, but can make a lot of difference in storage, comfort and floor plan convenience, including more desirable bed choices.
 
I have to disagree with Larry here, a lot depends on how you travel and if you drag a car around, with a sub 30 ft coach without a TOAD you can get into and park at a lot of places on travel days that you would not fit into otherwise.    In the case of my 28 ft (29'5" bumper to bumper) class A coach with 178 inch wheel base, if I can back in and overhang the curb  I can just about fit in a standard parking space, though  getting in and out of that space would likely mean intruding on neighbouring spaces on either side, due to off tracking and tail swing.

See my stop at the Blue Bell Icecream factory tour in Texas as an example
 

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Both are good points. We do find many more options if going up to 33 feet, especially in Class C's, thanks for the reminder on that, Larry.  Although we haven't ruled that out, for the reason stated by Isaac, I am more prone to shorter.  That photo says a whole lot that I never imagined one could do with a motorhome! Sweet!  We have our eye on a 28ft Georgetown, with which we too could amaze our fellow visitors in a parking lot. Lol.. :)  Seriously, it puts things in perspective.

 
Some of the saddest people I have run into are ones who fell for the idea you need a small rv so you don't need a towed. Not having a towed will eliminate 75-80% of the things you can see and do. Having a little RV (so you can fit in tight RV parks) will do you no good when you pull in and they are all full. Why would you limit yourself? I am speaking from experience, I have a 38ft diesel pusher and I do travel. As a matter of fact I am on the road now for a short 7 week trip. Just got set up in Loretta Lynn's park Tenn.
Bill
 
 
The 2 advantages I have experienced in a class C over an A is with the smaller cab area and bunk overhang it cools much better on a hot day. Class A's have that wonderful high position and large picture window windshield but on a hot day it can be a chore to keep the greenhouse cool. The second advantage is when you need two  dedicated sleeping areas, that over-cab bunk works out pretty good on a class C. But for me those advantages don't outweigh that large open space feel you get with a class A. I have a 23'6" class A that is perfect for my wife and I (+ small dog)

As for needing a "towed", we haven't missed a thing yet not having one and we travel both the back roads and in the cities. If UPS, Fedex etc can get there so can I.
 
Rick doesn't miss a toad, and there are several others here who are without one, but when we got our 33 ft. Bounder years ago, we went almost a year without a toad, finding that it was rather limiting for the way we operate. For example at Quartzsite we had to beg a ride in to town in order to see the big tent and flea market, among other things. And we had no way to participate in the 4WD trips that occur from time to time.

Every year I help with a special week-long Scout program where we camp in a campground, but must transport kids and equipment several miles on a narrow dirt road that even a Sprinter chassis wouldn't traverse.

And, with a toad, we don't have to take down camp just to go sightseeing, go to the store, eat at restaurants, and so much more. And it would be difficult to find a parking place for even a small class C in Ouray, Ridgeway and many other places, including many interesting spots in Yellowstone, Tetons and other National and State parks.

So it depends so very much on your operating style and the things you want to do.
 
Keep in mind just because you have a smaller coach does not mean that you can't also have a TOAD, and just because you have a car set up for TOAD duty does not mean you have to bring it on every trip.  Right now I am in the process of setting up a car for TOAD duty, but also expect to only take it on maybe 50% of our trips, maybe less. 

The above posters do have a point about not pulling a TOAD is limiting, I know that on some trips I have spent more time around the campgrounds than I otherwise would if I had a car handy, particularly when it comes to driving around sight seeing.  Of course there are other options out there, carrying an electric bicycle or scooter can really open up the local commuting options near your destination.

There is also the option of renting a car at your destination, something we will be doing in a couple of weeks.    Sure I could have hurried up and finished setting our car up for TOAD duty before our upcoming trip, but why when we can rent a car at our destination for under $220 for 7 days including tax it really does not make sense to me to drag our car around for nearly a thousand miles, once you consider added wear as well as fuel to haul it there.  If I were to loose 2 mpg while towing, fuel cost to drag our car along on this trip at current rates would be close to $90, so nearly half the cost of renting a mid size car for a week at our destination.

Then of course there is planning trips to places with public transportation options, places with shuttle buses that pick up and drop off at the campgrounds, etc.  Sure this is not every place, but some places we want to go have this as an option, 2 years ago we spent a long weekend at the Hot Springs Arkansas, we stayed at the KOA because they have an on demand shuttle for about $5 per person to and from the downtown tourist district (which has mostly pay parking anyway), last summer we went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas where there is a hop on hop off tourist trolley that makes a loop  between the local lodging options including our RV park to the downtown area and other tourist spots, I think it was $12 per person for a 2 day pass, again cheaper than fuel cost would be to drag a car there...
 
You make some good points, Isaac, but:

carrying an electric bicycle or scooter can really open up the local commuting options near your destination.
With emphasis on near.

There is also the option of renting a car at your destination
At some destinations, but nowhere near all.

If I were to loose 2 mpg while towing,
For me it's more like 0.5 mpg loss.

we stayed at the KOA because they have an on demand shuttle for about $5 per person to and from the downtown tourist district
Nashville has this for many RV parks and hotels -- it's great, for downtown, but doesn't do much for the rest of the area.
 
Some Class C's have a long rear overhang coupled with a relatively short wheelbase.  If a direct on side view looks like the house is balancing on the rear axle, that long rear overhang acts like a sail on the highway and makes it sensitive to crosswinds and passing trucks.

Another thing to check is your passenger's comfort. On the Ford class C chassis, the engine housing is offset to the right to provide more footroom for the driver.  The corollary is limited room (width) on the passenger side.  Make sure you or your significant other will be comfortable sitting there during long drives.
 
Good to know, Lou. Didn't have any idea about that passenger area thing, we will keep an eye on that.

As we dont plan on full timing, we thought about renting a car when in an appropriate area if needed, and just using a chase car when going to the sticks. Been thinking it out, and feel a toad is inevitably in our future, though not until at least one of us is comfortable driving the house on wheels by itself.  Baby steps!

Thanks for the input. ? it is appreciated and noted.
 
Be aware some recommendations may come from people who spent several hundred grand on their Class A.  If you can afford that more power to ya.  If not IMHO it comes down to what you will use it for. If you intend to full time, go mostly on long extended trips, or intend to spend more time inside than outside then definitely a class A. Conversely if you will be taking mostly short trips and just need a place to sleep and spend a couple hours in the evening then what does it matter?  In that case the destination is more important than the transportation. Almost all allow for 500 lbs and that is a lot of extra stuff so don't be overly concerned about weight.  Either one will pull a Jeep behind it. Some class C's have as much basement storage as a Class A.

Your main question was driving it.  Something that looks like a Greyhound bus is going to drive like a Greyhound bus.  Sure, you get used to it but a class C drives more like a car, period. The seating position is the same and all the controls are where you expect them to be.  The width is a concern on either one.  I like the shorter wheelbase with a long overhang because I can have a longer body but still navigate narrow roads with sharp right hand turns without getting a wheel in the ditch. A class A and a class C are both huge sails on wheels. High winds bother me but a semi passing is barely noticeable. Your front end in good alignment and the suspension in good shape is what makes the difference.
 
Despite the perception that A's cost more, it's not really true on an apples-to-apples basis.  Sure, there are very expensive Class A's but there are some mighty pricey C's as well (look at the Renegade, for example).  For a given size and level of amenities, an A or C will be about the same price. I'll grant that the smallest C's reach a lower price point that the smallest A's, but the nicely equipped 29-32 foot C's that most people are buying are very close in price, running $120k-$150k.
 
If you think 500 pounds of cargo carrying capacity is enough, I have to suspect you are the sort of minimalist hiker who cuts the handle off of your toothbrush to save weight.

As to either one pulling a jeep, that depends, a lot of coaches over 12 or so years of age only have 4,000 pounds of towing capacity, and all but the most bare 2 door Jeeps weigh in somewhat over 4,000 pounds.
 
With a class A being 8-8.5 feet wide, your driving position (seat) will be closer to the center stripe. At first you'll find yourself driving with the right tires on the shoulder. Use your rear view mirrors to find the center of the lane. Another option that works well for some is to try and position your right foot on the dark oily stripe in the center of the lane. That will put the coach where it needs to be. Others use a screw on the dash or a piece of tape on the windshield to sight over and line up with the center stripe. It may be exhausting at first but it gets easier in a couple of hours. We are in our mid 70s and the wife negotiates the back roads of Arkansas like a pro.  What ever you purchase, be prepared for maintenance expenses above and beyond what you're used to with a car. Imagine jacking up your house and shaking it down the road on a steel frame. Things do fail. So far our cat has traveled from Key West ,FL to Fairbanks, AL and an we've been along to feed and care for her.
 

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