Class B or Class C: Which Motorhome is Right for You?

If you’re wondering, “Is a Class B or Class C motorhome right for me?” you aren’t alone

Should I get a Class B or Class C motorhome? Whether you’re looking to buy your first RV or ready to move on to a new one, that’s the big question many RVers face when heading out to make that big purchase.

But how do you know which one is for you? 

Let’s start with Class Bs. 

Class B motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Class B motorhomes and vanlife

Two factors are driving the growth in Class B motorhomes. The first is downsizing with more people wanting to get into something a little more maneuverable.

The Class B motorhome is also referred to as a campervan. They have become so popular that they have spawned a movement called vanlife. 

The second big factor is technology. Lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, and more now make it possible to connect with the world as you’re driving and, well, work from anywhere.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Understanding the Class B motorhome

If you’re looking at a Class B, you’re talking about an RV that is built on a commercial van chassis. That includes the Mercedes Sprinter chassis, the Ford Transit chassis, or the Dodge ProMaster chassis.

So, it’s really the smallest of motorhomes. Yet, they still have sinks, stoves, refrigerators, holding tanks, toilets, house batteries, beds, sitting areas, and even entertainment features.

When it comes to engines, Class B motorhomes are either gas or diesel. A Class B generally get about 10-25 miles per gallon.

Class B motorhomes are designed in various lengths generally ranging from 18 to about 23 feet.

They also have different floor plans offering various combinations of sleeping arrangements whether traveling alone or with others. The different floor plans are a big attraction for many Class B owners.

Of course, you’ll wonder about storage and tank capacity in the smaller RVs and you’d be right if you suspect both are limited. However, what they lack in storage they make up for in compact agility because driving a Class B is like driving a minivan.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

That means fitting into smaller campsites and easier maneuverability when getting into or out of or visiting a town. The versatility, in fact, is one of the primary reasons many prefer Class Bs.

Many of these smaller rigs come with lithium house batteries and solar panels to maximize and extend electrical output.

However, if you’re thinking Class Bs are less expensive because they’re smaller, you will be disappointed.  Delivering the luxury features of larger coaches compressed into smaller spaces creates engineering and construction challenges which translate to higher costs.  In addition to the engineering challenge many Class B motorhomes use more costly higher-end components like lithium batteries in their designs.

Class C motorhomes

One of the most popular segments in the motorhome industry is the Class C. First off, Class C motorhomes have an instantly recognizable silhouette. Here’s what a typical Class C motorhome looks like.

Class C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The classic Class C motorhome cab is covered by an overhang or cab-over that in most models houses a bed. A short passageway leads into the body of the motorhome usually a step or two up from the driver’s compartment. They are built on a cutaway truck chassis.

But first, let’s clear something up.

You may have heard the term Class B+ motorhome. They are small motorhomes that do not have the front overhang. But a so-called B+ motorhome really IS a Class C motorhome. The industry just made up that B+ designation.

Here’s a picture of Class B+ motorhome.

Class B+ motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But for the purpose of this article, I’m talking about the classic Class C motorhome with that distinctive cab overhang.

CLICK HERE to read an article on the Class B + motorhome

The cutaway truck chassis a Class C motorhome is built on is able to carry more weight and that gives RV manufacturers the freedom to add more bulk.

As expected, everything is a bit bigger with Class Cs: a separate dining area, larger stove and refrigerator, and larger storage tanks for water, waste, and propane. The bathroom is larger and usually with a shower stall separate from the toilet. There are usually one or two slide outs for extra width when parked.

When it comes to storage, Class Cs typically offer plenty of cupboards and hiding spaces inside and several storage compartments outside.

In fact, some of the modern Class C motorhomes are so large that they rival the Class A or bus-style motorhome in space and amenities. They range all the way up to 41 feet in length though most are between 25-30 feet.

Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Super Class C motorhomes: When you need even more space

Yes, there is Class Cs that go beyond the 26-foot mark—some up to 45 feet. They’re the Super Class C motorhomes. They are built on a heavy-duty truck chassis and are able to tow huge loads.

The name pretty much says it all! Super C motorhomes are larger versions of traditional Class C motorhomes. More specifically, that extra space gives these unique RVs all the luxuries of a Class A Motorhome with additional safety features.

Here are some of the Super Class C motorhome advantages:

  • Wider wheel-base: This creates a safer and more enjoyable driving experience.
  • Tons of exterior storage: Most Super C RVs have exterior storage running the length of the body.
  • Tow and cargo carrying capacity: Super Cs have powerful engines; some can tow up to 25,000 pounds.
  • Easier to repair: Using traditional large-truck engines, there are a lot more service shops that can work on your engine. Unlike Class As, the engine is easily accessible from outside thr RV.
Super C motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To be clear, Super C is really a made-up RV classification just like the B+ motorhome. Most of the Super Cs would be on the Ford F550 or the Freightmaster chassis. They have much more in common with Class A motorhomes than their smaller cousins including multiple slides.

Bottom line: It’s really big and yet somehow maintains the Class C classification. It’s pretty cool though.

So, Class B (or B+) or Class C (or Super C) motorhome?

Worth Pondering…

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.

—John W. Gardner

The Class B +: Goldilocks of Motorhomes

Most RVers know there are Class A, Class B, and Class C motorhomes but did you also know there are Class B + motorhomes? It’s confusing, though. A Class B + is really a Class C motorhome.

Class B + is a made-up marketing term. But the term Class B + motorhome is so widely used now that people and RV salespeople commonly refer to them that way. Whether accurate or not the Class B+ motorhome is the choice for many who want something bigger than a B but smaller and less boxy than a C. 

Class B + motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why choose a Class B + motorhome?

The short and simple answer for most people is because a Class B + motorhome has more space than the Class B but is a small enough motorhome to be easily maneuvered.

Class B motorhomes are also known as campervans. They consist of a van body. The RV stuff is built and formed inside the walls of the van. It can get pretty close quarters in a Class B van.

A Class B + motorhome (and the traditional Class C) is built on cutaway chassis. A cutaway chassis consists of the engine and cab and behind that just the rails and wheels without walls. That back portion of the cutaway chassis is what RV manufacturers build the motorhome part on. Think of the motorhome part as a box attached to rails and outriggers to that cutaway chassis.

The box is a bit bigger and has more living room than the B van.

Class B + motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is with the Class B + designation?

In short, a Class B + is an unofficial industry classification that refers to a Class C size (chassis/body) motorhome minus the cab overhang at the front that typically is used for sleeping in a Class C. For registration and insurance purposes, in fact, Class B+ motorhomes are considered a Class C.

People wanted something that doesn’t have that overhang so the industry came up with the name Class B +. In other words, it’s a marketing term. Totally made up!

A Class B Plus motorhome is built on the same cutaway chassis cabs used for Class C motorhomes typically from Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, or Ford. The living space of the Class C motorhome or any class for that matter is built by a third-party RV manufacturer. As an example, Leisure Travel Vans builds on the Ford Transit and the Mercedes Sprinter chassis.

Class B + motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Advantages of a Class B +

Since the only real difference between a Class C and Class B + motorhome is the absence of the traditional overhang associated with Class Cs, a Class B + offers more space and amenities than Class B campervans.

Class B + benefits

With a Class B motorhome you don’t usually get a full bath. And if they have a shower, it’s most often a wet shower meaning the entire bathroom gets wet when you shower in it. Most Class B showers share space with the toilet and sink.

Most Class B + motorhome models, however, offer an enclosed dry shower separate from the toilet and sink which stay dry as you shower.

There’s another thing: Because the Class B + motorhome is smaller than a Class A they are easier to drive and park. You can pretty much take a B+ anywhere you can take a B. It can even fit in a parking spot at most big-box stores.

In fact, you can use a Class B + as a second vehicle, running errands, shopping, doing everything we would with the family car.

Class B + motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Important features to look for in a Class B+

Despite being a niche rig type, you’ll find quite a few Class B+ models on the market. How do you decide which Class B+ motorhome is best for you? Here are a few features to consider.

Off-grid capabilities

Class B+ manufacturers understand that their nimble rigs appeal to those wanting to travel off the beaten path so units are designed with a range of off-grid capabilities. Expect to find solar power systems, water filtration, cassette toilet options, and more, either standard or as optional upgrades. 

Class B + motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Platform

Do you want your rig to run on diesel or gasoline? What engine size do you want? Which van manufacturer do you prefer? These elements all relate to the Class B+ chassis which provides the platform on which the rig is built.

Class B+ motorhomes are primarily built on a Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, or Ford E-350-450 chassis and come with both diesel and gasoline engines. You can also find items like all-wheel drive and automotive handling features. There can be more than one platform available from the same Class B+ manufacturer. 

Style

Within the Class B+ motorhome category, you’ll find a range of exteriors to suit your taste. Some exteriors are stylized more like traditional motorhomes with graphic swirls and bright colors. Others use a single color for the exterior. 

Class B + motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Why are Class B Plus motorhomes so popular?

I think it’s because the big Class As are big and some of the smaller Class Bs are a little bit too small for first time owners. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears…she found the exact right one. It’s not too big, not too small.

Worth Pondering…

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

—C.W. Ceran

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