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What Should You Know Before Purchasing A Class B Motorhome?

Silver Ram camper van with ladder to roof rack

Purchasing a Class B motorhome is a big step financially and as with any large purchase you want to have confidence that you are doing the right thing. I got to wondering what are some of the things you should know before buying a Class B motorhome and in this post I will discuss a few of these points.

So what should you know before purchasing a Class B? Important things to know before purchasing a Class B motorhome include the following:

  • What are you planning to do with it?
  • Cost
  • Length
  • Weight
  • How to get the best deal
  •  Do I need a special driver’s license?

If you don’t already know what a Class B motorhome is it basically looks like a van but has been upgraded and has all the amenities for camping or traveling built right in. A Class B is essentially a miniaturized version of a Class A and they contain all the comforts that you would expect like a kitchen, bath and a place to sleep. They typically don’t have slideouts.

A Class B starts with a van chassis usually a Mercedes Benz Sprinter, Ram Promaster or Ford Transit. They are small enough to park in your driveway and even possibly your garage depending on the garage door height.

The Class B is perfect if you are a solo traveler or a couple. The smallness provides all the comforts that you need on the road, is easy to drive, maneuver and to find a parking space when you want to stop. Most Class Bs will nicely fit into one parking space.

The engines in a Class B are powerful enough to get you where you are going without sacrificing fuel economy.

Class Bs are also sometimes called van campers, campervans or even conversion vans, no matter what you call them they are the bee’s knees for traveling.

What are you planning to do with your Class B?

If you are an avid tenter or have a pop-up camper and are looking to upgrade a Class B could very well be your next step up. They provide more of the creature comforts that we are looking for and as we get older sleeping on the ground in a tent or in a pop-up doesn’t hold the charm that it used to.

Class Bs provide the perfect base camp for hiking, climbing, dirt biking and ATVing, so if you are an outdoor enthusiast these were created with you in mind. Some manufacturers offer a four-wheel drive option if you want to get farther out into the back country.

This small motorhome can easily fit into the smallest of the sites in a campground and you can zip easily into town for any supplies that you might need to purchase.

If you are planning on long trips small Class Bs get good mileage providing savings at the pump, beating out the bigger classes. For traveling and sightseeing Class Bs are hard to beat.

These comfy motorhomes most generally sleep 2 or 3 people although some manufacturers provide sleeping arrangements for up to 4. So if there is only going to be you or you and spouse it is the perfect set-up, however if you want to take kids and friends along you might want to consider moving up in size.

If your plans are to have an RV to leave at a local campground for the season a Class B is probably not going to offer the room that you will need to include family, friends and pets on an ongoing basis.

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How much does a Class B cost?

You will find that there is quite a wide range in pricing on new Class Bs. The various companies will offer a wide range of features and build on different platforms so be sure to compare apples to apples when doing your research.

Here are some examples of starting prices for new Class Bs:

  • Pleasure-Way Tofino $69,950
  • Thor Sequence $91,875
  • Winnebago Travato $114,455
  • Pleasure- Way Lexor FL $118,170
  • Midwest Automotive Designs Pro Master Legend $122,995
  • Airstream Interstate Nineteen $152,225
  • Midwest Automotive Designs 144 Passage $157,495
  • Midwest Automotive Designs Passage 170 EXT $160,495
  • Winnebago Revel $163,292
  • Airstream Interstate Lounge EXT $173,194
  • Midwest Automotive Designs Weekender $182,995

Upfitters today put out some impressive vehicles that let you travel in luxury and enjoy the time that you spend on the road. These homes on wheels surround you with quality, comfort and the latest technology with impressive fuel economy for an RV.

No matter what your budget there are pricing options for you to choose from. You also can have one built to your specifications, so you don’t have to settle for one that lacks something that you need or take features you don’t want.

Don’t get discouraged by the above prices if you have your heart set on a Class B motorhome, you still have the alternative to find a good, clean, low mileage used one that will still give you years of service and enjoyment.

How long is a Class B and how much do they weigh?

I know if you are consider purchasing an RV but haven’t decided which class you are probably wondering about some of the specifics about Class Bs like how much room am I going to need to park it? How heavy and high is it? The following chart will give you some details on sample models to give you an idea of what to expect.

Manufacturer Model Chassis Length Height GVWR GCWR
Airstream Interstate Lounge EX Mercedes-Benz® 24′-1″ 9′-8″ 2WD
9′-11″ 4WD
11,030 lbs. 15,250 lbs.
Airstream Interstate Nineteen Mercedes-Benz® 19′-5″ 9′-7″ 8,550 lbs. 13,550 lbs.
Coachmen Beyond 22C Ford Transit® 22’-2” 9’-11” 10,360 lbs. 11,200 lbs.
Coachmen Galleria 24A Mercedes-Benz® 24’-3” 9’-9” 11,030 lbs. 15,250 lbs.
Leisure Travel Vans Serenity S24CB Mercedes-Benz® 24’-6” 10’-3” 11,030 lbs. 15,250 lbs.
Pleasure Way Ascent TS Mercedes-Benz® 19’-5” 9’-7” 8,550 lbs. 13,550 lbs.
Pleasure Way Tofino Ram ProMaster® 17’-9” 8’-2” 8,550 lbs. 11,500 lbs.
Thor Sequence Ram ProMaster® 20’-11” 9’-5” 9,350 lbs. 11,500 lbs.
Winnebago Revel 44E Mercedes-Benz® 19’-7” 10’ 9,050 lbs. 13,930 lbs.
Winnebago Travato 59G Ram ProMaster® 21’ 9’-4” 9,350 lbs. 11,500 lbs.

How to get the best deal on a Class B

Like most people you want to get the best possible deal that you can and with that in mind you need some ideas of what you should do to be prepared to get that deal.

First off do your homework, do not get caught up in the moment while visiting your local RV retailer and bring it home right on the spot. Doing your homework can save you thousands of dollars on a new or even used Class B.

9 tips to help you get the best deal on a Class B

1. Check multiple dealers – price the unit that you want at different dealers in your area and even broaden the area to your whole state. Once you have that done check with other dealers in a different region of the country, they may have way better prices than your local region.

You can do all this over the internet and by making phone calls to the dealers. If you can save a few thousand dollars it will make it worth the time to make the drive to pick up your Class B.

2. Shop at the end of the season – if you know that you are going to want a Class B in the spring shop in the fall at the end of the season and the beginning of the off season. Dealers will want to get their units off the lot so they don’t have to carry them through the off season and you will get a better deal. This also applies when buying a used Class B.

3. Watch for special promotions on Class Bs – Dealers will have special promotions at RV shows and different events that they have throughout the year, these promotions can put money in your pocket.

The last day of RV shows are also a really good time to make a deal on a RV because the dealer won’t be eager to take all of the leftovers back to his lot because this costs him time and money.

Shopping at the end of the month and the end of the year are also good times to get deals on a Class B, because the RV dealers are trying to reach their quotas for that period.

4. Watch for special financing promotions – not only do dealers have special promotions on the unit itself, but they have special financing promotions also and don’t forget to check the financing rates at local credit unions and banks they sometimes have specials for RVs. A couple points less in interest can add up to quite a lot of savings depending on the price of your RV.

5. Purchase a used Class B – When you purchase a used motorhome, the first owner took the loss of value due to depreciation when they drove it off the lot, this will give you a better deal. You can find low mile motorhomes in good shape just waiting for you to come along to buy.

Deals can be found by searching online and also through word of mouth, just let everyone you meet know you are in the market to buy a Class B, chances are they will know somebody who is selling theirs.

6. Purchase a used Class B that needs some work – Just like you get a bargain buying a house that needs a few repairs, you can come out ahead by purchasing a motorhome that you can fix up and outfit to suit your tastes. Don’t forget when buying used you will want to consider taking the motorhome to a mechanic to have them check it over to see if there are any major problems with it.

7. Get a vehicle report – Not only will this give you an idea of the history of the Class B you are considering buying, it might also reveal some problems that you can use to negotiate a better price.

8. Be prepared to negotiate – Whether buying a new or used Class B be prepared to negotiate. Know the value of the unit you want to buy and don’t take what they are asking negotiate, negotiate and negotiate some more. Remember in addition to negotiating on price negotiate on upgrades, service, free inspections, free oil changes and anything else you can think of to negotiate on!

9. Pay with cash – If you have the cash to purchase the Class B without needing to look for financing you also can get a better deal by offering to pay right away, when a seller knows that you have the money right now to purchase it is a powerful incentive for them to sell!

When considering buying a new or used Class B don’t forget to ask to take it for a test drive to see if you like how it handles and rides. Bring along a friend for a second opinion and to help you spot any defects.

When test driving a used Class B listen for any noises, test the brakes, try it out on hills in addition to the level to see how much power it has going up grades. Listen for tires squealing when cutting tight corners, shimmies and any other signs of items that might not be working quite right.

Check to make sure any refrigerators, air conditioning, generators, vents, awnings and any other extras are all in good working condition.

Do you need a special driver’s license to drive a Class B?

As of this writing most states in the US do not require you to have a special driver’s license to drive a RV if the weight is less than 26,000 pounds. If traveling in Canada the laws of your state will usually apply. Laws however are prone to change, if you have any questions the best thing to do is to contact your state driver’s licensing department.

Purchasing a Class B is a big investment and finding the right one for you will take a little time and effort. However, owning a Class B will be well worth it when you set out on your road trip and have the conveniences right onboard to make your trip more enjoyable.

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Ever since I was little I have been a traveler at heart. It all started when I was six years old and my family took a road trip to Alaska. I enjoy visiting new places and revisiting some of the great locations that I have been to already.