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Class A Recreational Vehicles, Queens Of The Road: Advantages And Potential Disadvantages Explained

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If you are considering the purchase of a recreational vehicle (RV), then you may have heard about the various classes of vehicles available to consumers. Self-propelled RVs, which are also known as motorhomes or travel coaches, are divided into three classes--A, B, and C. However, if you aren't familiar with these classes, it can be confusing when you begin searching for a vehicle to purchase. Each class has its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, so keep reading to learn more about Class A RVs, the undisputed queen of the three classes:

Class A Recreational Vehicles - An Introduction

Literally, the first class of RVs, the Class A motorhomes, consists of the largest, most luxurious and spacious vehicles available to purchase. Class A RVs are built on a bus or commercial truck chassis and are an integrated unit from front-to-back. Rather than segregate the driving area from the remainder of the vehicle, Class A motorhomes blend the vehicle's front seating and controls with the living space. This creates an open air experience that provides the driver and passenger with a comfortable, stylish driving experience and maximizes the opportunity to enjoy the road and passing scenery. Class A vehicles also utilize a large front window that permits excellent views and allows for a significant amount of natural light to enter the vehicle.

Advantages of Class A Recreational Vehicles

Class A RVs contain several features that set them apart from other classes:

  • Private bedrooms - Most Class A units are constructed with a completely private bedroom in the back of the vehicle. This bedroom contains a king-sized bed in most circumstances, and it may also have its own private bath.

  • Slide-outs - Slide-outs are living compartments designed to stow away during vehicle motion; when stopped at a campsite, slide-outs greatly expand the living space for occupants. While Class C motorhomes also can be equipped with slide-outs, the largest, most comprehensive slide-outs are available on Class A vehicles.

  • Full array of appliances and convenience features - All motorhomes contain some type of amenities, but Class A RVs are packed with the most. Separate showers, entertainment centers, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, ice makers, and sleeper sofas are just a few of these features. In addition, many features in Class A vehicles are full-sized as opposed to the miniaturized options available in other classes.

  • Storage capabilities - Class A motorhomes are built so the living quarters are on a separate level above the vehicle storage and utility areas. This provides a ready-made "basement" that can house a large variety of items, including food, linens, cooking pans and utensils, graywater and blackwater tanks and several other components.

Considerations to keep in mind before purchasing a Class A recreational vehicle

While Class A RVs offer a plush, comfortable travel experience, there are several potential limiting factors that should be considered by prospective buyers. Keep in mind that some of these may not be a disadvantage in every situation; instead, depending upon each buyer's preferences, some may be irrelevant. Below are some of these potential limiting factors:

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  • Fuel mileage - Considering the size and weight of Class A RVs, it is important to keep in mind they use a lot of gasoline or diesel, depending on which one powers the vehicle. Approximately 10 miles per gallon is considered a top-end fuel economy for Class A vehicle, so they are much more expensive to operate than other classes.

  • Handling characteristics - The large size of Class A motorhomes is also one of its greatest disadvantages. Class A motorhomes handle much less reliably than smaller cousins Class B and Class C, and this can be a problem for owners not comfortable with large vehicles.

  • Disconnect from the camping experience - While not a disadvantage for all, there are still campers who would rather make a more direct connection with the earth. That means all of the luxury features in a Class A motorhome can actually be distracting to occupants and prevent them from getting out of the vehicle to see the sights.

  • Parking concerns - Class A RVs require dedicated parking space that is likely not available in front of your home, and this can raise the cost of keeping your motorhome in a safe, accessible location. Further, keep in mind that various municipalities and other areas prohibit Class A motorhomes from street parking or even being visible to the public eye on a daily basis.