“Class C.” It sounds kind of like the worst available seating on a cut-rate airline, but trust us — there’s nothing cut-rate about these midsize motorhomes. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that many of them are downright “Class-sy”… get it? OK, we’ll stop now.
Unlike Class B motorhomes, which are essentially upfitted full-size vans, Class C motorhomes are built on what is known as a van “cutaway chassis,” which is just the cab with everything else, you know, cut away — leaving only the frame and rear axle behind.
The RV builder specifies which chassis rating it wants to purchase from the chassis manufacturer, then builds its “house” on top of the frame rails to form a complete RV. As such, though two Class C motorhomes may be built on the same chassis, they are likely equipped and finished differently, and each model is offered in several floorplans.
Class C’s are often thought of as the best “family” motorhomes, as they are more affordable than comparable Class A’s, and usually offer an overhead bunk that allows for greater sleeping capacity. In fact, it’s not unusual to find a large Class C that can sleep six or more. They also offer tremendous flexibility — though most Class C’s are still built on a full-size Ford E-350 or E-450 van chassis powered by the dated (and noisy) 6.8-liter V-10 gas engine (we’re told the upcoming 2021 model-year chassis will be powered by a new 7.3-liter V-8, which should be a big improvement). There are also smaller iterations based on the excellent Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. So, if you like what a Class C has to offer but want something smaller, it’s still possible to get a Class C that is feature packed — and both gas and diesel versions are available. Winnebago and Leisure Travel Vans are just two companies with great small Class C offerings. At the other end of the spectrum are the so-called “Super C” motorhomes (usually built on a diesel-powered Freightliner commercial chassis), which can be as big as or bigger than some Class A motorhomes.
If you’ve got a large clan, you’ll probably want a big motorhome, but be wary of models with a long rear overhang. They can drag on steep driveways and may cause white-knuckle handling in strong winds or when being passed by large trucks. Smaller Class C’s are more manageable but may not be able to tow very much — something to consider if you plan to tow a dinghy vehicle.