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What Are The Different Types of Motorhomes

So, you’ve decided you like the idea of a UK road trip for your holidays. It’s an idea that is becoming increasingly popular! A motorhome or campervan will give you the comfortable living space you need, and some will offer a touch of luxury! But motorhomes come in such a wide variety of classes, shapes, and sizes that you might be feeling a little confused about where to start.

In this post, you’ll be able to explore all the different classes of motorhomes and decide which motorhome type best suits your travel plans before you hit the road.

What Are the Different Campervan or Motorhome Classes?

  • A-Class Motorhomes
  • B-Class Motorhomes (Van Conversions)
  • C-Class Motorhomes (Coachbuilt Motorhomes)
  • Campervans

Campervans and motorhomes fall under different classes, and some key differences determine which class.

A-Class Motorhomes (Integrated Motorhomes)

A-Class Motorhomes or Class A Motorhomes are the most prestigious members of the motorhome category, as they offer many different layouts and several advantages over other classes. A-class motorhomes are luxury vehicles and have loads of interior space for families.

What makes a motorhome class A is a chassis it’s built on, the vehicle’s heavy-duty frame, and the amount of storage space and living space it offers. They are better suited for road living or extended excursions.

If you travel as a family on vacation, A-class motorhomes offer all the luxuries of home and are the largest and most expensive option you can purchase.

The extra space of a class A motorhome generally means more luxury and better amenities – larger shower, additional beds, larger toilet space, as well as additional storage space useful on long trips.

  • Price Range: A-Class motorhomes start from around £100,000 for a new one and can cost over £300,000
  • Average Height: 13ft (4m)
  • Average Length: 30ft (10m)
  • Average Width: 8 ft 6 inches (2.5m)
  • Average Weight: most weigh over 3.5 tonnes but less than 7.5
  • Driving licence needed: this is the main disadvantage – you need over 3.5-tonne entitlement on your licence to drive an A-Class motorhome or similar large vehicle. The type of licence needed to operate one of these vehicles depends on its MAM – Maximum Authorised Mass: its weight plus the maximum load the vehicle can carry. You can read about the specific licence requirements for class A motorhomes registered in England here.

Typical Features of A-Class Motorhomes

  • Self-contained bathroom
  • Family entertaining and living spaces
  • TVs
  • Fridges

Advantages of Class A motorhomes

  • Fully equipped interiors
  • Amenities for all the family
  • Can accommodate large families (will sleep up to eight people)
  • Integrated cabin
  • Full kitchen
  • Great insulation

Disadvantages of Class A motorhomes

  • Very high price tag
  • Poor fuel efficiency
  • Costly to run
  • Challenging to park
  • Not all campsites allow access or parking for Class A motorhomes

Panel Van Conversions (Class B in the USA)

A class B motorhome is sometimes referred to as a campervan, travel camper, or camping car. This class of vehicle is smaller, less imposing than a class A motorhome – better suited for the occasional traveler.

You can buy a panel van conversion as it is, but there is also the option of purchasing a commercial vehicle with a van chassis and converting it yourself or paying someone else to do it. Panel van conversions come in all shapes and sizes.

  • Price Range: cost starts from around £50,000
  • Average Height: 8ft 4 inches (2.5m)
  • Average Length: 19 ft 6 inches (5.94m)
  • Average Width: 6ft 3 inches (1.9m)
  • Average Weight: 2 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: you can drive it on a standard UK licence.

Typical Features

The facilities in a class B motorhome are generally stripped down to the necessities – toilet, shower, bed – as there is not enough space for luxury features like a washing machine or an expansive kitchen. However, it is possible to find a class B motorhome with most, if not all, of the same features as a class A motorhome.

  • More living space than a campervan
  • Lots of storage and onboard amenities
  • Washroom with shower and toilet
  • Well-equipped kitchen area

Advantages

  • Higher MPG, less fuel, lower fuel costs
  • The bespoke nature opens up a wealth of possibilities
  • Kitchen and dining area
  • Extra overhead cabin area for storage (or overcab beds)
  • Park anywhere

Disadvantages

  • Space to sleep tends to be limited (not as large as an A-Class)
  • Not much space for bathroom facilities

Camper vans

A camper van is much smaller than a motorhome. there is generally no divide between the cab and the living quarters. The facilities in a campervan for cooking, washing and sleeping are usually much more basic than you’d get in a motorhome. Camper vans are usually 2 to 3 berth vehicles and while many have bathrooms and a kitchen, they will be much more compact than the average motorhome.

Rising Roof Camper vans

Also known as a pop-top campervan, the most notable feature of these vehicles is the expanding roof. They are possibly the most widely owned and popular campervan type.

  • Price Range: For a good quality new model, costs start around £40,000 and peak at about £60,000
  • Average Height: 10ft (3m)
  • Average Length: 19ft (5.8m)
  • Average Width: 6ft 3 inches (1.9m)
  • Average Weight: 2 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: you can drive these vehicles on a standard licence.
Typical Features
  • Push up roof
  • Extra sleeping space
Advantages
  • It drives just like a car on the road
  • The expanding roof provides sleeping space for children
  • Improved ventilation
  • Easy to manoeuver for those out of the way off-road places
  • Good for daily use
Disadvantages
  • Interior space is limited
  • Very little interior space for seating
  • Heat loss can be an issue with the rising roof

Fixed Roof Camper vans

The fixed roof campervan is the most basic panel van conversion, but the advantage is that these campers are competitively priced, making them ideal if your budget is tight. Unfortunately, most manufacturers have discontinued these types of campers, so used models are the only option.

  • Price Range: Hard to find new models, but the price of a good used one starts from as little as £5,000-£8,000
  • Average Height: 9ft (2.74m)
  • Average Length: 18ft (5.5m)
  • Average Width: 6ft 3 inches (1.9m)
  • Average Weight: 2 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: you can drive these vehicles on a standard licence.
Typical Features
  • Good insulation
  • Easy storage for personal belongings
  • A fixed roof model costs considerably less than a high roofed campervan
Advantages
  • The small size means you can fit it into a garage when not on the road
  • Competitively priced
Disadvantages
  • Headroom is often an issue
  • May have issues if you want to sell it on

High-top Campervans

High-top campervans are also known as high-top van conversions, and you’ll find them in a wide variety of layouts and sizes.

  • Price Range: £45,000- £50,000 starting price
  • Average Height: 9ft (2.74m)
  • Average Length: 20ft (6m)
  • Average Width: 6ft 3 inches (1.9m)
  • Average Weight: 2 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: you can drive these vehicles with a standard car licence.
Typical Features
  • Lounge area
  • Toilet
  • Bunk beds
Advantages
  • Better storage space and comfort
  • The option of a long-wheelbase chassis
  • More room for older children
Disadvantages
  • The wheelbase restricts the internal space

Coachbuilt Motorhomes (Class C in the USA)

While going from class A to class B represents a reduction in size and space (and often in the comfort and luxuries available), going from a class B to a class C motorhome does not imply a smaller vehicle. In fact, coachbuilt motorhomes are typically larger than a class B campervans.

A coachbuilt or Class C motorhome is one that’s built with a cab or cut-away chassis. it will have a front structure that looks like a van. there will be seats, a dash, opening doors, storage compartments, sleeping, cooking, washing, and living areas. Motorhomes are usually for 2 to 6 people and include many of the comforts of home.

They serve more or less the same function as class A motorhomes – long excursions, extended road living – though with a little less room and fewer luxury options. While class B recreational vehicles serve a different function – the weekend getaway – you can think of class C as ‘class A lite’.

Low Profile Coachbuilt Motorhome

Unlike larger motorhomes, a low-profile Class C coachbuilt motorhome doesn’t have a projection over the vehicle’s cab. But that doesn’t mean a Class C isn’t packed with the essential facilities.

  • Price Range: starting around £60,000
  • Average Height: 9ft (2.74m)
  • Average Length: 28ft (8.53m)
  • Average Width: 8ft 4inches (2.53m)
  • Average Weight: 3 tonnes but can reach 5 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: if the class C motorhome weight is more than 3.5 tonnes, you need a special category on your licence.
Typical Features
  • Curved skylight lets in natural light
  • Excellent storage options
  • Drop-down beds
  • Two singles or fixed double at the rear
  • Class C has living quarters, plus garage space for storing bicycles or dirt bikes
Advantages
  • Wind resistance is less
  • Flexible drop-down sleeping layout in the lounge area
  • Fixed double bed to the rear of the vehicle
  • Sleek and attractive
Disadvantages
  • Often limitations to the payload
  • Prices vary dramatically

Overcab Beds Class C Coachbuilt Motorhomes

This type of Class C coachbuilt motorhome has extra space over the cab that can be used for additional sleeping space or storing items.

  • Price Range: SWB prices start at £50,000
  • Average Height: 11ft (3.35m)
  • Average Length: 20ft (6m)
  • Average Width: 8ft 4inches (2.53m)
  • Average Weight: weights start at 3 tonnes, but they can weigh as much as 5 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: you may need a specific licence category for this class C motorhome, depending on the vehicle’s weight.
Typical Features
  • Additional storage or sleeping space
  • The lounge area is convertible for sleeping
  • Drop-down sleeping options
Advantages
  • Children find the over cab fun for sleeping in
  • Resale value is good
  • More space for extra facilities
Disadvantages
  • Less aerodynamic which can affect the fuel economy (gas mileage)
  • Reduced road handling and stability
  • Feels less stable
  • Lower fuel efficiency

Micro Motorhomes

Micro motorhomes are the smallest type of motorhome and little more than an adapted people carrier, small van, or car.

  • Price Range: £20,000-£30,000
  • Average Height: Including pop up roof 6ft 3inches (1.9m)
  • Average Length: 15ft 3inches (4.7m)
  • Average Width: 6ft 3 inches (1.9m)
  • Average Weight: 1.6 tonnes
  • Driving licence needed: you can drive these vehicles on a standard car licence.

Typical Features

  • Sleeping area for two people
  • Basic cooking facilities
  • Limited amenities

Advantages

  • Affordability, they are cheap to purchase
  • Parking and manoeuvering is easy

Disadvantages

  • Space is minimal

Tag-Axle Motorhomes

This type of motorhome has a third axle behind the rear-drive axle. It increases the carrying capacity and improves shock resistance.

  • Price Range: starting at £150,000
  • Average Height: 9ft 6 inches (2.9m)
  • Average Length: 27ft 6 inches (8.4m)
  • Average Width: 7ft 3 inches (2.2m)
  • Average Weight: 5 tonne
  • Driving licence needed: you need a licence with an entitlement to drive up to 7.5 tonnes.

Typical Features

  • Freshwater tanks
  • All the comforts of home

Advantages

  • Greater stability, especially when windy
  • Smooth ride on uneven terrain
  • More storage and living space
  • Increased facilities

Disadvantages

  • One of the larger motorhomes, which makes it challenging to manoeuver and drive
  • You might not be allowed in some RV parks or campsites

Diesel Pushers

Diesel pushers are a type of A-Class motorhome more common in the US. A rear-mounted diesel engine powers this class of motorhome. Diesel pushers tend to be more expensive than other motorhomes, but what you get is a motorhome with a longer life and a higher resale value.

  • Price Range: starting from £50,000
  • Diesel-powered motorhomes are available in various sizes, including height, length, width, and weight.
  • Driving licence needed: the type of licence you need depends on the weight of the vehicle.

Typical Features

  • Bunk beds
  • Lounge area
  • TV
  • Toilet & shower area

Advantages

  • Luxurious camping experience
  • Comfortable accommodation for families
  • Travel in comfort and style
  • Many optional features and amenities

Disadvantages

  • High price tag
  • It takes a while to get used to driving one
  • Diesel maintenance is more expensive

How to Decide What Motorhome Type You Need?

Buying a motorhome is a big decision, and you shouldn’t make it lightly. Think about the size, make and model, internal layout, and the tech gadgets you need. To make the process a little simpler, consider the following tips.

  1. Make a wish list: think about the bells and whistles you need and what you can do without.
  2. Check it has enough room: how many people will be travelling? Are the internal height, width, and sleeping layout suitable?
  3. Choose the optimal design: think about the location, size, and style of sleeping options, the dining or lounge area location, and placement of the kitchen.
  4. Don’t forget about cupboard space: more storage capacity makes life easier.
  5. New vs. used vehicles: while a shiny new motorhome will look good on your drive, buying something secondhand means you get more for your money.
  6. Get some expert advice: have an expert mechanic cast their eye over your secondhand purchase.
  7. Try before you buy: test out a few models, and it could save you money down the line.
  8. Driving requirements: take the motorhome out for a test drive and make sure everyone takes a turn.
  9. Insurance: shop around for the best deal, and don’t forget to read the small print.
  10. Stick to your budget: the more you spend on your motorhome, the less you have for spending on your holiday.
  11. What about gadgets? Outdoor grills and solar showers could eliminate the need for internal cooking surfaces and shower space and reduce the price.
  12. Insulation and AC: what time of the year do you plan to travel. If you plan on travelling in the winter, an adequate heating system and insulation are essential. However, during the summer months, you might appreciate air conditioning.
  13. Buy from a specialist: you get more security when you purchase your campervan or motorhome from a recognised dealer. Expect a warranty on the base vehicle and the conversion and lots of good advice.

Before making final your final decision your might want to know more general information on what is a motorhome and the different features and equipment you can expect.

Conclusion

Buying a motorhome or camper van might be a big-ticket purchase, but there’s no reason why it has to be painful, as long as you do your homework. Motorhomes range from small micro-motorhomes to A-Class motorhomes with all the luxuries. There’s no need for a towing vehicle, and owning a campervan or motorhome is an investment and so much more than its price tag, so make sure you get the right one for you.

Are you ready to take the plunge and start your motorhome adventure? OMC Motorhomes is one of the most trusted used motorhome brokers in the UK, with a huge range of new and used luxury motorhomes in all classes at its location in England. Everyone there is always ready to assist people in finding the perfect motorhome for their needs.

FAQs

1. How many types of motorhomes are there?

There are many different motorhomes, Class A-C and campervans available to buy. We’ve listed the most common motorhomes you’ll typically find in the UK in this post. The options are very similar in the US, but they have different names. It can be confusing for someone who’s buying their first camper van or motorhome.

2. What is the difference between an RV and a motorhome?

A motorhome is one step up from a campervan and provides a more comfortable living area. It usually has enough room for a family or group of friends. Features might include a fixed double bed above the garage storage area and electric drop-down bed(s) in the lounge. The bathroom will consist of a shower and toilet.

An RV (recreational vehicle) is at the top of the pile for price, size, and luxury. There are also larger models of towable RVs or travel trailers typically built on a truck chassis, and some RVs even come with a fifth wheel. Sometimes an American-style recreational vehicle is the same size as a 52-seater coach, ideal for larger groups of friends or family. A recreational vehicle offers all the comforts of home while you travel, and some even feature full bathrooms. But some RV types might be too big for some campsites, are expensive to run, and you need a licence that allows you to drive these types of large vehicles.

3. Which type of motorhome is easiest to drive?

Of the three motorhome classes, Class B motorhomes are the easiest to drive. Whether you plan to travel on the main UK road network or narrow roads in the country, the driving experience with these types of motorhomes is much the same as when you drive a van. A Class B motorhome is a desirable option for most people, one that also makes sense!