What is a Class B + Motorhome?

Class B + motorhome? Hmmm…

In general, when the various classes of motorhomes are discussed, Class A, B, and Cs are covered. But motorhomes are limited to Class A, B, and C rigs. Or are they?

We know that Class A motorhomes are the largest and most luxurious of the three classes of motorhomes (with diesel pushers sitting at the top of that class), Class B is the smallest (often referred to as a campervan), and Class C is the middle child usually distinguished by a bed or entertainment center/storage covering the entire area over the cab.

But you may have heard of a newer class of motorhomes notably the Class B +. But what exactly is a Class B + motorhome, how will you know one when you see one, and why might you want one?

In today’s post, I’m covering the ins and outs of the Class B + motorhome—what it is, how it differs from Class A, B, and C motorhomes, and what would it cost to buy one?

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is a Class B + motorhome?

From the perspective of federal regulations, a Class B + motorhome is technically a Class C motorhome. Let’s say that again for the sake of clarity.

A Class B + is technically not in a class of its own but is instead a type of Class C motorhome. All federal regulations that apply to Class C motorhomes apply to the Class B + category of motorhomes, too.

Now that I’ve dropped that little bombshell and absorbed that interesting information, let’s look at what makes a motorhome a Class B +.

As you might imagine, the term Class B + refers to a motorhome that sits somewhere between Class B and Class C. Like Class C, the B + is wider than Class B and is built on a truck chassis.

Unlike Class C motorhomes, the Class B Plus doesn’t have a bunk (or storage/entertainment area) stretching over the cab. And that obvious structural difference is pretty much how you can tell the difference between a Class B Plus motorhome and a Class C motorhome when you see one driving down the road.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What’s the difference between a Class B and Class B +?

As I’ve established, a Class B + is built on a truck chassis. A Class B motorhome on the other hand is built from a van. Often referred to as a camper van, Class Bs are essentially long, high-top vans made into motorhomes with all (or most of) the features of a larger rig but in a smaller package. The traditional Class B contains all of the features of a motorhome within the van body without any additional walls, floors, or roofs added in.

As a result, Class B motorhomes pack their bathrooms into tight spaces which is why most have a wet bath—that is, a shower, toilet, and tiny sink occupying one small space (and yes, they all get wet when the showers used, hence the term wet bath).

Class B motorhomes typically have smaller refrigerators, two-burner propane stovetops, and storage everywhere there’s a space for things to be stored. They usually don’t have the space for a dedicated dinette but they do often have front captain’s seats that swivel around to face the rear of the motorhome and small tables (sometimes one in the front and a second in the back) that can be placed in use or stored.

Class B + rigs can be laid out somewhat similarly but because they’re wider, longer, and taller, differences are afforded by the additional space. For example, a Class B + might have a little dinette, a larger refrigerator, a slide, and sleep 1-2 more people than a Class B motorhome could sleep. (All of this depends on where you obtain your information. More on that in a moment!)

One of the most appreciated features of a Class B + compared with a Class B is that a Class B + is often large enough to accommodate a dry bath, that is, a separate toilet and shower area (so you’re not showering all over the little sink and toilet as you would in a wet bath).

Class B + rigs also tend to offer more storage on both the interior and exterior of the motorhome and somewhat larger fresh, gray, and black holding tanks as well. In addition, the larger chassis affords the Class B + motorhome more towing capacity and a greater GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).

When reviewing the differences between a Class B and B + it’s easy to see why the Class B + is technically classified as a member of the Class C family. The B + is quite clearly more like a Class C than a Class B.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How big are Class B+ motorhomes?

A typical Class B + motorhome is between 23 feet and 25 feet in length but they can be longer. They’re generally easy to park and maneuver through city streets or over terrain that may be a bit more remote.

There are versions of the Class B + that are able to accommodate a slide or two offering even more room to the interior living space. The larger the Class B + rig is, the larger the holding tanks tend to be and the more storage and sleeping capacity the rig affords.

Most Class B + motorhomes come with exterior storage large enough to accommodate such things as bicycles, kayaks (especially inflatable ones), and golf clubs. And, they’re typically designed to comfortably travel and sleep 2-4 people whereas Class C motorhomes are large enough to accommodate more.

With all of that said, if you do a little research online, you’ll find lots of conflicting information on Class B + rigs. Some articles say they’re built for no more than two people. Others say the larger units have slides and plenty of room to sleep four or more.

The truth is this: The Class B + evolved from requests from folks in the market for a Class C-sized rig who were asking for a Class C without the over-cab piece. So a Class C-sized motorhome with a cutaway truck chassis was designed and the term Class B + was born strictly as a marketing tool.

That’s right—it’s a made-up marketing term to indicate the design difference and to appeal to a particular audience. (Reminder: these so-called Class B Plus rigs are technically Class C motorhomes.)

So, it’s no wonder that the details of Class B + motorhomes vary depending on who’s reporting. A Class B + isn’t so much a specific entity as it is a marketing tool.

Features and amenities of a Class B + motorhome

Class B + rigs are often marketed as small luxury RVs with many of the amenities of a Class A rig, only smaller. Class B + motorhomes are indeed often high-end, small motorhomes for sure (and their prices tend to reflect this—more on that in the next section).

A Class B + motorhome has a permanent bed, most often a queen though some manufacturers have begun to offer Murphy beds which make for additional interior space during the day. Some are all-wheel-drive and many have features such as lighted awnings, roof-mounted solar panels and inverters, larger refrigerators than their Class B counterparts, entertainment centers with storage over the back of the cab area, dinette lounges, high-end galley (kitchen) amenities, and fairly spacious showers.

Many of the Class B + motorhomes offer European design with sleek exterior lines and relatively fine interior finishes.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How much does a Class B+ cost?

Many people look toward the Class B + as a nice midway between the smaller, van-like Class B and larger, more boxy Class C motorhomes with what they suspect will be lower cost compared with the Class Cs. Not so!

Class B + motorhomes are often priced quite high running anywhere from around $90,000 to upward of $300,000. It’s a big price range that’s largely dependent on the model, amenities, and manufacturer.

A Class B + motorhome may afford you a sweet ride and a relatively luxurious small motorhome but it won’t offer you a budget RV by any means and it won’t save you money over a Class C. Class C motorhomes are almost always less expensive than Class B + motorhome. 

How many people can a Class B+ sleep?

I touched on this earlier in the article but most Class B + motorhomes are designed to accommodate two adults and maybe a small child or two comfortably (in the converted dinette) though some manufacturers offer floor plans that can sleep three or four adults.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are Class B + motorhomes good for full-time living?

This is a tough question for someone who lives in a 38-foot diesel pusher. I prefer a fair amount of room for full-time living, working, and traveling (although I’d happily downsize if there was a 35-foot Class A diesel pusher floorplan we wanted).

Conclusion

Despite the fact that it’s sort of a fake class created as a marketing tool that belongs to the Class C family, a Class B + motorhome is a great traveling rig with just the right amenities for the right travelers. Larger and therefore roomier than a Class B and less boxy and top-heavy than a Class C, the Class B + offers plenty of comfort and ease of driving that delivers just the right balance for many RV owners and renters.

Worth Pondering…

Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.

—C.W. Ceran