Van life. We’ve looked at quite a few Class B RVs lately for the simple reason that a lot of RV Travel readers have asked us to—and we’re happy to serve you. But a lot of the Class B RVs are getting to, and even jumping over, that $200,000 hurdle and it made me think.
If I had $200,000 to spend and wanted a motorized RV, would I get a Class B? The answer is no. Actually, the answer is more: Are you kidding me?
Instead, perhaps I’d get something like today’s Jayco Precept 31UL. This is a relatively small Class A motorhome at 33 feet in length. But it offers a lot of interior space and all the advantages of a Class A motorhome including a tremendous amount of under-floor (basement) storage. Further, it’s fully accessible in road mode, has seatbelts for eight people including child seat mounts, and costs less than many of those Class B RVs.
I’m not totally picking on Class B RVs, mind you. They do have a lot of advantages in drivability. But, by the same token, try taking a shower in almost any of them and you’ll be wondering why you didn’t just go to the shower house.
There’s a lot that I like about this motorhome, including all those seatbelts. When my wife was a young lass, her mom’s family car was actually a motorhome, although it wasn’t this one. So, no seat belts, of course.
That old motorhome also probably had pretty lousy brakes, whereas, this one has discs all around. There’s also the Ford 7.3L gasoline V8, which has proven to be a good engine for this application. It’s able to hustle these big machines around fairly well.
Up front in the cockpit I like that this has connectivity to smartphones. But there’s also an inverted outlet on the passenger side. So the co-pilot could power a laptop or tablet and tell you better where to go, or even write RV reviews as you’re moving down the road.
Versatile seats in the cockpit
The seats on both sides of the aisle feature power adjustments. Both easily swivel around to face the rest of the campers. (Don’t do this while driving—cruise control can only do so much.) There’s also a table on a pole that you can drop in between these seats.
Behind them there’s the option of a tri-fold sofa or power theater seats. Either of those is directly opposite a TV on a power lift (televator) mechanism.
Over on the camp side, the dinette actually has nice, thick cushions which form a not-horrible bed. Speaking of beds, there is one above the cab, as well. It’s on a power mechanism that’s good for up to 750 pounds of people. Wow.
The kitchen in the Precept
I like the kitchen in this. Despite their using the smaller 16” oven (grr), they did include a convection microwave. So I guess all is well. You can have your cake and bake it, too. Refrigeration options include either a propane-electric RV fridge or an LG residential model. I’m still surprised that I’m not seeing the 12-volt fridges in motorized RVs much. Yet.
The bathroom splits this rig in half, sort of. There’s the ultimate-decision-making seat over on the road side, and the 30” x 36” shower is on the camp side. That shower is made nicer by a tankless water heater. So you literally could drain the entire fresh water tank in one shower if you’re ridiculous. However, there’s really only 40 gallons of gray storage, whereas there’s 72 gallons of fresh. So, really, that ridiculous shower is limited to 40 gallons if you’re off the grid with nowhere to dump your tank.
You think this might be silly, but I know at least two campers who would consider this a challenge to be tried at least once.
Climate control in the Precept
Another thing I like about this rig is the fact that there is no furnace ducting in the floor. Nice.
On the subject of the climate control, there are two air conditioners in this motorhome. You do get an Onan 5500 generator as standard equipment. So you could be off the grid with no problem and be cool as a cucumber.
While we’re virtually up here looking at those two ducted air conditioners, take note of the solar panel. It is really only a battery trickle charger, effectively, but it does trickle charge the engine and house batteries. That is a good thing. The inverter aboard this rig is just 1,000 watts, so you’ll have to run that Onan generator if you wanna nuke yesterday’s lunch in that convection microwave.
While we’re up here on the roof, note that it’s a laminated fiberglass build. It is padded on the inside, so there’s not a lot of creaking on the road.
Boondocking and travel access
With 72 gallons of fresh water aboard, you should be able to stay off the grid for a good while in this rig. Combine that with the generator and you can see why so many people camping off the grid like these Class A rigs.
Travel access is surprisingly good even with opposing slides in the main living area. While it is a bit of a narrow hallway, it’s nothing major. You can get back and grab something out of the fridge or make a sandwich or pay your rent on that third cup of coffee this morning.
Of course, you know you only rent coffee, right? You don’t buy it.
A lot of people who are shopping travel trailers might consider a bunk model for the sleeping capacity. But, then, a bunk model trailer really wears the bigger sleeping capacity on its sleeve. This motorhome is able to sleep six but that doesn’t really affect the daily usability. You have the ability to put two folks (with a combined weight of 750 pounds, wowsers) in the bunk over the cab. But this also eases up, out of the way, when you’re not using it.
So you get a really nice living space, especially when you swivel the front seats ‘round to face the back. But there’s also a good amount of sleeping capacity.
More pluses from Jayco in the Precept
Further, Jayco improves the ride and handling of the Ford chassis with their own upgrades to the suspension. So it’s really not a bad rig to handle on the highways and byways of this great land. Another plus is that Jayco has lighting that flashes the side marker lights. There are also cameras where you can see the dork in the Prius who is oblivious to your signaling.
Further, since we travel to places that are nice to look, at that gigantic windshield is another plus.
I like the Precept package
Overall, I think it’s evident that I like this package for combined size, functionality and usability.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
If you’re RV shopping here are some tips on RV shopping from a former RV salesperson – me!
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has an RV podcast with his wife, Peggy.
These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. They are based on information from a single unit and may not reflect your actual experience. Shop your RV and dealership carefully before making a buying decision. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.
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I bought a new 2017 Jayco Precept 31UL in the fall of 2017. I’ve been to 32 states and 35,000 miles. I haven’t found another RV floor plan any better! It’s the best floor plan, for us. One level floor, V-10 gas power, plenty of head room, and too many other favorites to mention.
Seems like a nice Class A motorhome, except for the one Schwintek slide, box front and short bed. I prefer a queen size bed.
You’ve mentioned in previous reviews about how little carrying capacity class b’s have. Yet nothing about the cargo capacity of this rig .
One of the most frustrating things about motorized rigs is the absolute lack of two things: listed cargo carrying capacity and photographs. Since Class A motorhomes are such a tiny part of the overall RV market I don’t suspect that’s going to change but it is quite frustrating. If it’s not listed that means I’ve even called several dealerships and, universally, they have ZERO idea of what CCC even is.
THREE (broken) slides, an unrepairable residential fridge, and a bed for the altitudinally challenged. Nerp.
My biggest complaint with almost all motorhomes is that they don’t have a driver’s door. It’s SO inconvenient to have to walk around to mid-coach to get out. It makes fueling a PITA! Plus, I see it as somewhat a safety hazard in the event of a real emergency. Even million-dollar motorhomes are guilty of this. Is it just me???
Otherwise, I like this unit. It would be able to do most of the boondocking we normally do in our trailer (with a few improvements, of course). Looking hard at Josh’s outside tour, it looks like the auto-leveling system does not hang dangerously close to the ground when in travel mode, but the exhaust pipe is in a possibly dangerous spot for some boondocking ‘roads’. I guess careful driving could eliminate that worry.
That is one of several reasons we bought a Class C instead of a Class A. We have 3 doors to quickly evacuate the motorhome, not one and an emergency window six feet off the ground. Plus the diesel tank filler is actually inside the doorframe of the driver’s door, ie., inaccessible without a key, therefore tamper-proof, and inches from the driver at a gas station. More convenient to fill than my Ram 2500 diesel truck!
We are contemplating purchasing a class A to replace our 5th wheel and enjoy your reviews. In terms of fuel, are the mpg’s on a gasser better than diesel? One plus right now would be the cost of unleaded fuel compared to diesel and no need for DEF but I know the diesel engines last considerably longer than a gasser. This Jayco is nice and a nice size.
I believe if you crunch the numbers between diesel and gas you’ll find there really isn’t a big saving in diesel especially when you factor in the cost of DEF and the extra and more costly maintenance. Unless you have your own family diesel mechanic the gas will be less costly. Unless you’re in the position of full timing and drive thousands of miles each year the gas will be very useful. Ultimately the decision is yours but I’ve done the numbers myself and there isn’t much advantage to diesel for the average RVer when you factor in the extra costs. Yes the diesel will last longer, but how long do you plan on keep it, as engines will easily go 200,000 miles, i don’t know of any RVer whose driven that many miles.
Our Class C Sprinter diesel gets twice the fuel mileage of that new Ford 7.3L gas V-8. So, even at 30% more for diesel fuel, we are considerably ahead on cost. And last year, we were paying less for diesel in Colorado than the price of regular gas. Finally, as mentioned in another article in today’s RVTravel, the DEF shortage is overblown and temporary. We are leaving on a month-long RV trip tomorrow and have had no problem finding the admittedly now more-expensive DEF.
We have owned two gas motorhomes (29’ and 37’) and now a diesel pusher (35’). Our gassers, both on Ford chassis, got about 7 mpg and our diesel around 10 (even towing our Jeep). We like the handling of a DP, as well as a much quieter drive, since the engine is way in the back. I doubt we will ever go back to a gas MH. But this Jayco is nice!
There are some great answers below but one factor you have to consider is how much will you travel? The price difference between diesel and gas is significant but, if you don’t travel much, it may not matter if the Diesel engine gets better fuel mileage.
Plus many diesel Class A motorhomes are much larger than this so the calculation changes.
The best way to evaluate this is plugging in your own numbers and the readers who responded below make very valid points.
I ‘ve had both and I would go back to gas if I could but it depends on your style of camping. Diesel are very tough and can pull almost any kind of weight and the diesel usage will not vary much even if you are fully loaded. The bad parts are that it is way more expensive to maintain, has fewer mechanics able to repair it and are very costly on their own. They are a dream to drive but you will pay for it…
Gas units will do maybe a mile or 2 more per gallon but they are much lighter. The gas usage will jump if you overload it or pull a car. Gas engines are used in less expensive units so the motorhome finish has to be much lighter than a diesel which can pull anything.
Finally, I have never met a guy with a motorhome who had to change his motor because it was finished… Most motorhomes drive less than 7,000 miles per year. You’ll never see the end!
A 101″-wide motorhome with a 74″-long “RV king”! Twenty years ago, when slides were just becoming widespread, several RV manufacturers built motorhomes just like this except they provided a REAL 80″-long queen bed. You know, one that the average American male could use without his feet dangling over the foot of the bed. How did they accomplish this unique feature? By leaving a space below the camp-side window and cabinets for the foot of the bed to slide into when the bed slide was retracted. That undercounter space then became a makeup table/desk when the slide was extended. What a great idea in today’s work-from-anywhere job market! Too bad no one still builds those type of bedrooms.
RV manufactures are no longer innovative. They just design RV’s the easiest they can with the least amount of work to make them the most money. With the high price of fuel, they better design RV’s to be Aerodynamic for better fuel economy. Remember when we couldn’t wait to see new model cars each year. Not with RV’s
Exactly. 200,000 bucks and I get to put my 76″ long body into a 74″ long bed? Don’t think so….