Class C or Class A Motorhome? Which is best?

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Which style of RV travel is better – a Class C or Class A motorhome? After experiencing both, we’ve had a lot of questions about how the smaller Class C RV compares to our bigger Class A’s. Which do we like better? In this quick blog post, we compare the two types, and share our initial thoughts so far on what each setup has to offer.

The Back Story

We traveled in Class A’s for over 6 years when we were full timing, and we’ve been trying a Class C motorhome on for size, since December. 

We rented this Class C motorhome – a 2017 Winnebago Navion 24J – from a friend in Denver. We drove it south for the winter, from Colorado to the Florida Keys and beyond. We’ve been sharing our experience in short videos and posts on social media. You can find them here on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok

Before we dive into how we’re liking the Class C motorhome, let’s start with a quick recap of our Class A motorhomes, and what we liked about that travel style and setup.

Class A Motorhomes

We were full time RVers from 2014 – 2020, living, working and traveling in two Class A motorhomes. We do love the travel style, space and comfort offered by Class A RVs. 

Our first RV was a 36′ gas Class A with 4 slides, and our second RV was a 40′ diesel Class A with one slide, and towed a car for local exploring. We started with a Mini Cooper convertible on a tow dolly for the first few years, then switched to a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk (which we towed four-down).  

Our first Class A motorhome was a 2012, 36′ long, with 4 slides

Our gas motorhome had a bunkroom office, and separate bedroom with a queen bed

What did we think of our Class A motorhomes?

We loved the space and comfort that both of these Class A RVs offered. Especially as, with us both still working full time, we were able to create dedicated work spaces in each. We had a separate bedroom, and storage space – inside and out – was excellent.

But our gas RV had a weight issue – with tons of space but a lack of cargo carrying capacity (CCC) – hence one of the reasons we switched to a diesel motorhome. Albeit this was a much older and more affordable RV, which we fully renovated in our Ultimate RV makeover. You can take a tour of the ‘after’ here.

Our 1999 Class A diesel motorhome was 40′ with a single slide

We did a complete remodel, of our 2nd RV, creating two dedicated workspaces

Route Planning and Fuel Economy – Class A

A large motorhome and tow vehicle makes for a long vehicle setup (around 60 feet), so we needed to plan our travel routes more carefully.

Our average fuel economy on the motorhomes was 6.5 – 8 miles per gallon. We drove around 9,000 – 10,000 miles per year in the motorhomes, and around 10,000 miles per year with our tow vehicle. So a total of about 20K miles per year all up. The higher fuel economy of our tow vehicle(s) – in the mid 20’s mpg – helped offset the lower fuel economy of the motorhomes. You can find our in-depth report on fuel spend over 6 years of full timing here.

We loved both of our Class A motorhomes, but it just wasn’t practical to keep a rig that big, when we decided to get a home base and put full time RVing on pause for a while.

We kept the Jeep and bought a 17′ Casita camper instead. Since adding a puppy to our family, we soon learned the Casita camper was too small for the 3 of us. Since 2020, we had been toying with the idea of downsizing to a smaller motorhome, and even rented one in Florida to try it out. So we decided to revisit this idea.

Class C Motorhome

We headed south to Florida in December 2021, for what we anticipated would be a two month, 5,000 mile round trip, but it’s turned out to be longer, which has given us a chance to really put this RV to the test.

This Class C motorhome is a 2017 Winnebago Navion 24J, 25 feet in length, with a rear corner J bed. The bed is permanently set up, a bit smaller than a queen. and has a privacy curtain. And the kitchen and bathroom, while adequate, are limited in space. We end up working from the booth dinette most of the time, which doubles as the dining/lounging area.

The storage is actually quite impressive, but we do find ourselves brushing up against the cargo carrying capacity, so we have to be careful of what we bring with us, and avoid driving with full tanks of fresh or waste water. 

Click to watch a quick video tour of this Class C RV

Route Planning and Fuel Economy – Class C

While this RV is much smaller in terms of living space, we have really enjoyed how nimble it is. Especially the fact we can park it just about anywhere. We have gotten by just fine without a tow vehicle, and mostly plan our drive to include a stop at a grocery store en route. We mostly use our electric bikes to get around, or break camp to visit friends or go exploring.

We have been getting around 14-15mpg, which has been great, with the rising gas prices. Our route planning has actually revolved more around where we can fill up the tank using our discount fuel card, rather than based on vehicle size. Being a diesel on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis, it can’t accept fuel greater than B5 (biodiesel 5).

The more compact size, ease of driving, and simplicity of not towing a car (even though we could if we wanted to) actually make this little motorhome a terrific fit for our current needs and part time RV lifestyle. We like it… a lot!

Have we considered a Class B van?

In case you were wondering, we are not considering a Class B van. We actually borrowed an Airstream Interstate van from friends in 2020 when we were trying other, smaller RVs on for size. While we admire those who can live, work and travel in a rig that small, it’s just too small for us and our pup Sunny.

So what’s the verdict?

Class A or Class C? Honestly, we love traveling in them both! So it comes down to what kind of travel experience we are looking for at a particular time. We truly loved our 6+ years traveling full time in Class A’s. And we have also thoroughly enjoyed our time traveling in this Class C.

Could we see ourselves in another Class A someday down the road? Absolutely! What about a bigger Class C or a Super C? Yes! We could see ourselves in one of those, too. That’s the beauty of RV life – being able to change your rig to the one that best suits your needs, preferred travel style, and budget – at any given stage of your life and journeys.

With that said, we do believe that after the past few months of RV travels in this little 25′ Class C, an RV like this one would be an ideal fit for us and our lifestyle right now. 

Stay tuned as we share more about what’s next for us!

Class C Winnebago parked in our campsite at Sunshine Key RV Resort, Florida

What about you?

What kind of RV are you currently traveling in – or leaning toward for your next RV? We’d love to hear the reasons for your choices and preferences in the comments below!

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two blix ebikes with riders at beach

With our electric bikes at Sunshine Key RV Resort

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21 thoughts on “Class C or Class A Motorhome? Which is best?”

  1. We have a Leisure Travel Van Corner bed with two border collies and a cat. It’s very similar to your Navion. We did not pull a car our first year full timing it. We like having the car but it can be cumbersome at times. Like your cargo ebike idea. I too am a avid cyclist. I’m the lucky one because I have two bikes for myself; a mountain bike and a gravel bike! I know I’m going to have to give one up so my wife can have an ebike. Mark – do you miss your old bike?

    Reply
    • Hi Dave, I still have my mountain bike and my gravel bike too (when at home). The cargo bike was/is a great bike as a car replacement. Sure there are times in our travels that I miss having one of my more traditional bikes with me, but I really enjoyed riding the cargo bike, and if I wanted a harder workout, I just used less assist. That said… Blix just released (in fact I don’t think they are even shipping them until July) a new model that might be even better. It is called the Ultra. It is more of a mountain bike in appearance, with fat tires. But it is long and has huge list of options to accessorize into a cargo bike or other. It could be even more versatile than my Packa. Have a look at it at Blix.com. Pretty sure our coupon code still works for pre-ordering the Ultra. Maybe if you get that bike it would be easier for you to give up one of your others, and you and your wife could share the Ultra a bit. Hope that helps.-Marc

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    • Though a somewhat commonly used term, Class B+ is still not a formal designation. By our definition (and most others we know), a Class C RV is any motorized RV that starts with a cab and chassis then adds a wider and taller RV box behind the cab. Class B are motorized RVs that use the original manufacturers body panels for the entire van. So… by definition this actually is a class C motorhome. But if you want to consider it a Class B+ you are of course welcome to do so.

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  2. Go the best of both worlds….plenty of room, “neutral corners/doghouse” for those trying days, always a spare, show those Big Dogs a thing or two…..tow a C behind an A…. You’re welcome. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  3. Great comparison article, Julie, coming from really valid long-term personal experience! Type of rig is such a personal decision/choice, just like when buying a sticks n’ bricks home. Jeanne and I are loving our mid-size Class A (30’) for our fulltime traveling…not too big, not to small. Just right for us and Hershey Pup!
    But, we do talk about downsizing sometime when we settle down again. Maybe a smaller Class C or a B+. And as you’ve pointed out, folks’ needs and wants do evolve over time and stages of life. We’re glad you’ve enjoyed the Class C that fits y’all for now!

    Reply
    • Thanks Erik and Jeanne. Yes! Definitely a very personal choice. And as you mentioned, a 30′ Class A is an excellent “in-between”. Not a cumbersome 45′ Class A, but more living space than the small Cs. Glad you are living a loving the RV lifestyle in your coach! And when it comes time for a change, your experience will guide you to the next perfect fit for you. Thanks again!

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  4. We rented for about 5 years prior to purchasing and decided on a 26 ft Jayco Class C and reached same conclusions as you. Always comparing what we see, we have not changed our minds.

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  5. Loved your RV story and comments about each of your RV experiences. My wife and have been full timers since nice we retired over 9 years ago, and we have been from Florida to California and then to Maine. We did six years of that with a 2003 36 foot Keystone Hornet travel trailer with one slide, towed with a 1995 GMC Suburban turbo diesel. The Keystone had a forward second bedroom bunk bed set and second dinette, which we loved. But it had only one rooftop a/c unit that just couldn’t keep up with southern hot summers.

    We then bought a 2002 Winnebago Adventurer 35u gas engine Class A motor home, 36 feet with two slides. The bedroom slide was huge, offering a walk around bed and residential size clothes closet and lots of drawers for storage. Additionally, that model featured “basement” residential heat pump heat and a/c, as well as a propane furnace and one rooftop a/c (added by previous owner). Tons of basement storage and major travel and camping comfort. We towed our Land Rover all wheels up on a two axle trailer. We averaged 5-6 mpg which was fine until this year! We still have this motor home but we now own a home in Maine. What’s next? We still love to travel with our RV but fuel cost matters now. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on 9 years of full time, and also your new home base. Fuel prices are definitely a bit higher right now. Not sure when or if they will come back down. Still lower than many other countries. If the fuel prices are putting a squeeze on your budget, maybe just travel some shorter distances for longer stays this year and find other ways to save. We plan to share some more tips on how to save at the pump in an upcoming article. So keep an eye out for that one.

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  6. Hello Julie Bennett, I am Rosie Patterson. Steve and I are former tent campers. I have had the RV bug for about 8-10 yrs but Steve drags his feet. I have enjoyed reading your comments and seeing your videos over these last 5 years. We started thinking about a Class B then we realized they are too small. Then we leaned toward the Escape 5th wheel but we also like the Big Foot truck camper. I wish I knew more about trucks…Now we have rented a Class C for a quick camping trip this summer. We want to experience camping an in RV before we buy one. I love your Class C but I shy away from slide outs. I just signed up to receive your email newsletter and right away RV USA by NetSource media sent me something. I am thinking your email and contact info would be called RV LOVE, right? I feel like I know you and your hubby after watching all of your videos! Thank you and please confirm about your email name. THANK YOU! Have a GREAT day! Rosie

    Reply
    • Hello Rosie, Thanks for sharing and wishing you every success in finding the right fit for you and Steve. Yes, our emails will come from The Bennetts, or RVLove. The email you received from RV USA is a complete coincidence as we don’t have any connection with them or their email list. Thank you.

      Reply
    • HI Rosie – yes we are definitely RVLove – you will see emails from Marc and Julie | RVLove. We are nor associated with RV USA by NetSource media, so that must have just been a coincidence, nothing to do with signing up for our updates. You have a great day too!

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  7. Just got off the phone with my brother who owns a Super C and we were discussing just this issue. He has owned two Class C’s and both leaked from the roof overhang over the cab. I have had two small Class A’s (25’6″ MB diesel and 26′ Ford) and a Class C over the 27 years I have been RV’ing and my opinion is that a small gas Class A is the winner. Interiors will be similar in comparing the two classes, so it’s all about exteriors and the leaky cabover sleeping/storage compartment of the Class C, which is a good idea but in practice seems to be an achilles. Another thing is that the visibility while driving the Class A is much better.

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  8. We currently have a 2021 Tiffin Red 33aa. There’s only the two of us and our twenty pound dog. I can’t see us in anything any smaller then our current class a. We tow a 2011 Honda CR-V. We love our class a and it towing capacity. Thanks for your review and safe travels.

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  9. I see you have electric bikes. In your pics I don’t see how you haul them in your Class C. We have a Class C and just purchased some ebikes in the fall. To add a bike rack to the back to haul them on cost $700+. We are considering taking them inside when we travel, but they are so heavy it would be difficult.

    Reply
    • On our recent trip, we carried Julie’s small, folding ebike inside, and Marc’s larger cargo bike on a rack on the back. We plan to modify our current rack, or get a new one to allow us to carry both ebikes outside for future trips. It makes the RV a bit longer, but in most cases doesn’t make it much more difficult to find a parking spot. Carrying full size ebikes inside would significantly impact the ability to move around in the motorhome after the challenge of getting them inside. So, for us, the bike rack is better.

      Reply

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