What is a Super C Motorhome?

There are different types and classes of RVs available to own, each with perks that are enjoyable and well worth having. But every RVer is different and we all have different priorities based on our lifestyles and styles of camping.

When it comes to motorized (vs towable) you can choose from Class A, B, or C, each of which has its pros and cons. But there’s another class of motorized RV on the market that might surprise you and today I explore it in depth. Welcome to the Super C motorhome.

Class A motorhome (diesel pusher) © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What are the classes of motorhomes?

As I mentioned above, there are several different classes of motorhome. What are they?

Class A motorhomes are the big, box-like vehicles that look the most like a bus and it’s what we drive. The house or living area extends from bumper to bumper giving Class A motorhomes the largest amount of living space for their length which is one reason for their popularity.

Class A motorhomes are available in two basic categories: Gas and diesel, obviously based on the fuel they use. Due to their rugged durability and higher torque, diesel engines are used to power the largest Class A motorhomes. Those powerful engines and the additional carrying capacity they bring allow for larger rigs with lots more heavy gear stuffed into them. Hence the higher price for a diesel-powered RV.

The engine in a Class A motorhome can be located at the front or the rear of the RV but gas rigs typically have front-mounted engines and diesel engines are usually in the rear. This is where the term diesel pusher comes from as the engine pushes the RV from the back.

Class A motorhomes come in a variety of lengths but because larger diesel models are built on rugged heavy-duty chassis they can extend up to 45 feet in length. Most diesel rigs also benefit from the luxurious ride that air suspension brings.

These large Class A motorhomes are great for people like us who live half-time plus in our RV. They can offer lots of space for both living and storage as well as large fresh, grey, and black tanks to accommodate more people and/or and more time in the boondocks. Depending on the size and floorplan, Class A motorhomes can sleep anywhere from 2 to 8 people and larger models provide ample storage space in full pass-through basement compartments.

New Class A motorhomes can range in price from over $100,000 to $2,000,000 (that’s mostly for the highest-end bus conversions) depending on their size, quality, and amenities. So the cost can be a big deterrent to owning one. And because they can get quite large, another drawback is that they can be more difficult to maneuver and harder to park. Some state and national parks won’t have sites large enough to accommodate them.

As they get larger, it becomes even more important to tow a small vehicle for exploring. Driving a Class A motorhome into town or to a remote trailhead falls somewhere between cumbersome and impossible depending on where you’re traveling.

Class B motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Contrary to what may seem logical, motorhome types (A, B, and C) aren’t in size order with A being the largest and B being the smallest. If they’d consulted with me when they were crafting the naming scheme, I would have told them to put them in order!

Class B motorhomes are at the opposite end of the spectrum from Class A motorhomes being the smallest and most fuel-efficient motorhomes available. They drive and park like a van because they’re primarily built using van-based chassis: traditionally from Ford or Chevy but these days the more common choice is either the Mercedes Sprinter or Ram ProMaster. Their small size makes them easy to maneuver on city streets as well as in the boondocks making them versatile as both a home base at camp AND a vehicle to go out and explore in.

The drawback of a Class B motorhome is that they’re highly limited in terms of space and don’t usually accommodate more than one or two (very close, very tolerant) people and maybe a small child (or a small pet or two). There are people who full-time in them for which I give major props!

Class C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class C motorhomes are the middle child of the motorized RVing world and can vary significantly in size and length. They’ll accommodate more people and have more amenities and larger tanks than Class B motorhomes and are less expensive and easier to drive and park than most Class A motorhomes. They’re recognizable because of the large over-cab extension that often houses an additional bed for kids or guests.

One surprising note about Class C motorhomes—if you need additional sleeping accommodations, many of them provide more than even the largest Class A rigs! That’s probably because they’re often designed with the ability to be the perfect family hauler.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So what is a Super C motorhome?

With all of the options listed above there are still travelers whose needs and desires are different. They want a motorhome that’s larger than a typical Class C with more luxury and more space but they don’t want the style of a Class A motorhome. They’re looking for a heavier vehicle, a larger chassis, and maybe a more significant towing capacity. What’s a traveler to do with this conundrum?

That’s where a Super C motorhome is perfect! It takes the best attributes of a Class C—and super-sizes it all

The benefits of choosing a Super C motorhome

Super C motorhomes have numerous benefits for travelers with specific needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of the greatest perks of owning one.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More robust chassis in a Super C motorhome

The foundation of a Super C motorhome is a larger, heavier-duty chassis than a standard Class C—much more akin to the chassis used for a Class A. They can range from the more consumer-grade heavy-duty truck chassis from Ford (like the F550) up to full-on truck chassis from Freightliner and even Volvo. Everything about the chassis is more robust: chassis rails are larger and stiffer; axles are larger with greater carrying capacity; wheels and brakes (often air brakes) are bigger to support and stop the extra weight; and, of course, engines are bigger and more powerful!

More living space

The larger, heavier-duty chassis of a Super C enables the manufacturers to increase the size of the motorhome overall which means that it offers more living space, the ability to accommodate more travelers (for sleeping, dining, and riding), and loads of storage space for everything you want to bring along.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Larger tank capacities on a Super C motorhome

More space in holding tanks is another advantage of the Super C motorhome. Larger models can have freshwater tanks that hold 100-150 gallons of fresh water and grey and black tanks that hold up to 75 gallons each. That makes the behemoth Super Cs ripe for some serious boondocking.

Lots of exterior storage

The number of storage compartments as well as the large size of those compartments allows you to bring a multitude of recreational items for the enjoyment of the entire family. These might include bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, surfboards, parasails, skis, and golf clubs.

Most RVers carry some basic tools for minor repairs and modifications on the road but the Super C motorhomes allow for the carrying of just about any set of tools a DIYer might want to have on hand.

The large, heavy chassis allows you to carry heavy loads and makes it a breeze to bring lots of toys along.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Higher towing capacity

The bigger chassis and larger (usually diesel) engines of Super C motorhomes allow for larger hitch receivers and larger towing capacities.

A Super C motorhome might have a towing capacity between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds. For this reason, the Super C is a common choice for travelers who haul large trailers for car racing, for example.

Great stability on the road

The larger, heavier chassis and longer wheelbase mean that the Super C motorhome is more firmly planted while driving making it more secure on the road and less susceptible to buffeting by larger vehicles. This is an attractive feature for most drivers as tall, flat-sided vehicles tend to feel the wind from both nature and large passing vehicles in a dramatic way.

More comfortable ride

Just like Class A motorhomes, Super Cs often come with air-ride suspension. The large airbags that support the weight of the coach on the chassis help to soften the ride and make them comfortable options for long-range driving. Several Super C motorhome models go so far as to incorporate air-ride driver’s seats just like a long-haul commercial truck would. That extreme isolation from the bumps and vibration of everyday driving DEFINITELY makes for a super-comfortable ride.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Super C motorhomes provide easier access for maintenance

Another benefit of the Super C motorhome is that the engine is located under the hood in the front of the vehicle which makes access for maintenance easier than that of a Class A gas or diesel pusher. Whether you’re doing your maintenance or taking it into a shop that access can come in handy.

Safety

Another benefit of the heavy engine under the hood is that it serves as protection and may provide a larger crumple zone in the event of a collision. Additionally, heavy vehicles like the Super C motorhomes tend to fare well in all but the most serious crashes due to their sheer size and weight.

The extra stability provided by the design of the Super C motorhome is another safety feature that is surely felt as one drives down the road in such a heavy, stable rig.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The disadvantages of choosing a Super C motorhome

While the Super C motorhome provides many excellent benefits, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include in this overview some of the disadvantages as well.

Higher price point

One big disadvantage especially with larger or more luxurious models can be the cost. Super C motorhomes typically range in price from $150,000–$800,000 with most new models costing more than $400,000. As with any other class of motorhome, the make, model, and age of the RV (i.e. whether it’s new or used) are cost factors. But in general, Super C RVs come at a high price point.

Fuel economy

The advantages of the heavier, larger Super C come at another cost as well. The bigger, thirstier engines consume a fair amount of fuel. Most Super C owners report fewer than ten miles per gallon. Towing a heavy towed car or large trailer behind the RV only decreases the fuel efficiency further.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Super C motorhomesc can be harder to drive/park

Bigger is not always better. Larger RVs (regardless of Class/Type) can be harder to drive and certainly make parking more challenging. Not only can it be difficult to navigate city or small-town streets but not all parking lots accommodate such large vehicles. And even when they have sufficient space, those lots can be difficult to get into with a very large rig.

The other prominent issue is campsite accommodation. Many campsites are not equipped to handle a Super C motorhome especially one hauling a long trailer. Most national park campgrounds are unable to accommodate such a large rig, for example, or the few large sites they do offer are often full.

So, while a Super C motorhome may cruise down the highway with little effort, turning, navigating small streets, parking, and backing can present unique challenges for the Super C motorhome owner.

Less living space than a comparable Class A

While having the engine up front under the hood offers advantages for ease of maintenance and safety, it does have a negative: that space is lost. So a 40-foot Super C will have less living space than a 40-foot Class A. While many Super C motorhomes will have driver and passenger seats that swivel around to offer seating in the front living area, the space consumed by the hood is still lost.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do you need a CDL to drive a Super C motorhome?

Based specifically on the class of RV, a CDL is not required to drive a Super C RV. However, the size and weight of the rig can be a factor depending on the state or province in which you’re licensed.

For those who are unfamiliar, a CDL or Commercial Driver’s License must be obtained by truckers and commercial bus drivers. The driver of a Super C motorhome does not need to obtain a license like this based on the fact that he or she is driving a Super C but there are states and Canadian provinces that do require a driver to obtain a non-commercial version of this type of license if your rig weighs over 26,000 pounds, if it can carry more than 16 passengers, or if it’s equipped with air brakes.

Many Super C motorhomes weigh at or near 26,000 pounds but if you’re opting for a mode of Super C that exceeds 26,000 pounds you’ll likely need an enhanced license to do so. Check with your state or provincial motor vehicle agency to be sure. In general, it’s the state where you’re licensed that matters most. If you’re legal to drive a certain vehicle in your home state, other states offer reciprocity by allowing you to drive there as well even if they have more stringent requirements for their residents to be licensed.

Is a Super C motorhome right for you?

Choosing the class of RV that’s right for you involves evaluating your needs and desires as a traveler as well as where you intend to travel and where you intend to camp. Other important considerations include cost, fuel efficiency, and whether you need to accommodate a certain number of passengers and/or to be able to haul a small or large load.

A Super C motorhome is a wonderful, high-end rig that is just right for a unique population of travelers but it’s not a rig for everyone. While these fantastic RVs hold a multitude of advantages for some travelers they may be cost-prohibitive and/or excessively large for RVers who are traveling to explore smaller campsites in state and national parks, cities, or small lakeside campgrounds.

Many manufacturers offer Super C models including (but not limited to): Dynamax (Isata, Europa, DX3 and others), Renegade RV (Renegade XL, Ikon, Valencia, and Verona), Jayco (Seneca), Nexus RV (Triumph SC, Wraith, and Ghost), and Thor (Omni and Magnitude).

Super C motorhomes have become popular enough that even Newmar has gotten in on the game offering two models—the Super Star and the Supreme Aire. So there are plenty of options available for you to choose from.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conclusion

While the focus of this post has been the Super C motorhome, there are so many choices out there. From the multitude of driveable Class A, B, and C rigs to the wide variety of towables, there’s a rig out there for almost everyone who wants to travel and camp.

And if a Super C doesn’t sound like it would be the right choice for you, how about a look at some small Class A motorhomes, instead?

Worth Pondering…

Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.

—Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time (1962)