Saturday, September 30, 2023


What Class B would you buy? How about a B-plus?

Hey Dave,
What type of Class B RV would you buy? Thanks. —Brenda

Hi Brenda,
It depends on many variables, such as how long you are going to be out, how many people are going, and if you will be boondocking or mostly camping with full hookups. This is also a great opportunity to discuss what is a Class B, B+, and Class C, as this can be very confusing and misleading.

RVIA classifications for RVs

The RV Industry Association (RVIA) is the governing body that sets the classifications for RVs. They have determined that anything built on a full van is a Class B. This would include the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Dodge Ram. RV manufacturers basically customize the interior and don’t actually build any of the body structure. That is why you see a straight sidewall from front to back and typically no slide rooms. And they usually have a sliding side door, not a traditional motorhome door.

The advantage of a Class B van is the compact size which makes it easy to get around congested areas such as bigger cities and even state or national parks. Also, if you are going to use it for a second vehicle on a daily basis and only camp occasionally, it is more suited for that than the larger units.

The disadvantage, in my opinion, is the compromise in living space as well as sleeping. If you are going to be going out for 6-8 weeks at a time, making the Murphy bed every night and morning is annoying, not to mention the smaller size. If you are taking more people with you, the small floorplan and limited water and dump tanks are also annoying. Many RV shoppers get excited about the automotive feel and the convenient length for driving but don’t pay attention to how comfortable (or not) they will be in it for a period of time.

Class C RV

RVIA states a motorized unit built on a cutaway cab chassis where the chassis manufacturer builds the cab, dash instrumentation, running gear, and frame rails, is a Class C. For years it was just the Ford and Chevy on smaller models, and then came Mercedes with the Sprinter chassis. The RV manufacturer builds the “box,” which typically includes a bump out just behind the driver and passenger area called the wing wall. This allows the manufacturer to have a wider floorplan than the Class B van, as well as more headroom.

The confusion comes in as many people think the Class C has to have a bunk in the front, which it did for years. However, more people don’t like the cave-like driving experience of the overhead bunk and don’t want to crawl up over the seats at night. It’s great if you have kids and want a bed in the back as well as something other than pulling out the couch for them.

Traditional Class C with a wing wall

The traditional Class C on a Ford has looked like this for years. Notice the wing wall behind the passenger door.

Here is an example of a Winnebago Navion Class C on the Sprinter chassis with the overhead bunk. It also has the 6” wing wall just behind the passenger door.

The advantage of a Class C RV is the automotive styling of the cab with driver and passenger door. Some people like being lower to the ground versus the larger Class A units, and don’t need to have a 30+ foot floorplan. It has good storage and larger water and holding tanks versus the Class B, and a full-sized bed. In addition, it has a larger bathroom and shower, as well as kitchen. Again, it’s designed for more people and longer trips.

The disadvantage of a Class C versus a Class B, in my opinion, is the size if you are not going to spend a lot of time on the road with it.

What about B+?

Notice I skipped over the B+ designation? That is because RVIA does not have a B+ category. It is a marketing term made up by RV manufacturers! Oh, you will see it advertised on the website, in brochures, and at shows—but it is not a category, just hype. And I say that because manufacturers are not consistent in their made-up terminology! Some call their unit built on a Sprinter cutaway chassis a B+ because it does not have a bunk! I just received an email blast from Thor touting their exciting new Class B+ models, and they clearly have the wing wall and are a Class C without the overhead bunk.

On a popular YouTube website by an over-the-top salesperson reviewing the most popular Class B+ units, there are several models that not only have the wing wall but an overhead bunk!

Next, we have what is obviously a van customized with no wing wall on a Sprinter 3500 tall edition with no overhead bunk, no wing wall, and slide rooms, and it is also called a Class B+.

What is happening, in my opinion, is more people are finding the Class B is a little too small for extended camping but they don’t want to go to the full size Class C. So RV manufacturers invented the Class B+, stating that it is bigger than the B but not as large as the C. It seems like anything built in that 24’ length is being hyped as a B+ and the problem, again in my opinion, is buyers are believing them.

Back to your question

What Class B would I buy? None, as it is a very glorified and expensive van, in my opinion! If I am going camping, I would look at a Class C on the Ford Chassis at 24’. It has a fixed corner bed, good-sized dinette and kitchen, and handles well. A unit like the Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R or Coachmen Freelander. No, it will not get 18 mpg like many of the others are touting. However, I don’t want to pay the extra $50,000 just to get 5-6 mpg more, and I don’t want to pay the extra $$ for diesel. Plus, I can find a Ford dealer to work on it, if necessary, in a 40-mile radius of just about anywhere I go.

 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

Should I buy a new or used RV?

Dear Dave,
I’m not sure if this is your field or not but maybe you can steer me in the right direction. We’re looking to purchase our first RV and we plan to go full-time. I have read that it would be better to buy a used one versus a new one and get an extended warranty. Is this true? Thanks for your advice. —Brenda

Read Dave’s answer.

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here


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Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. He has been in the RV Industry since 1983 and conducts over 15 seminars at RV shows throughout the country.


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2 months ago

I’m single, 72 yrs old. I have a class B Dodge Ram with a Thor coach. Love it!
Ive had it for 2 yrs and 35k miles. Aside from the little stuff, screws loose, drawer magnets, etc it’s been reliable.
When in a campground, I get asked all the time to see inside and how they want one. My advice if a couple, better be in love because it’s crowded for 2. For me, it’s perfect. Easy to drive, good gas mileage and I can park in any grocery store parking space. I’ve spent 2 months in it multiple times and have 3 months booked in Florida this winter.

Roger V
2 months ago

Ever heard of the best selling Class B in the country Dave? It’s called the Winnebago Travato K model. No diesel as it’s built on the gas powered RAM Promaster 3500 extended chassis. It’s 21′ long.Gets an honest 15-16 mpg.Two twin beds and a bath across the back of the coach. Copied by other inferior manufacturers now because it is so good. We have 100K miles on ours in 7 years and have camped in 46 states with it now. Our shortest trips are 2 weeks and our longest so far – almost 4 months. Average is about 6 weeks.There’s even a KL model that comes with an incredible lithium system providing 30 amp power wherever you are. You really should check it out.

Last edited 2 months ago by Roger V
2 months ago

Not all Ford dealers will work on a class C or A unit other than (maybe) an oil/lube. Because of the large amount of modified wiring, a/c modification, etc. These units are often only worked on at Ford commercial truck locations. Good luck getting your charging system worked on under warranty in many instances.

Susan S.
2 months ago

Thank you for this informative article. My hubby and I bought a used 20′ camper van but traded it in the next year for a used 30′ Class C RV. After a year of using the used 30′, we traded it in for a used 26′ Class B+ RV which we have owned for nearly 5 years. We have lived in it full time for 2 1/2 years, and it has served us well. It is easy to drive and park but needs to taken to an RV shop for service work. When we are in the market to purchase another used unit, we will definitely look into a Winnebago Minnie Winnie 22R or Coachland Freelander because of the reasons you stated in the article.

Last edited 2 months ago by Susan S.
2 months ago

Our class B WInnebago Travato is the “K” floor plan which has 2 twin beds which can be made into a King if you like. So…. There is no “Making the murphy bed” as indicated as a negative in your article. We travel for 6+ weeks at a time and love the nimbleness, easy driving, and more importantly, park anywhere!

Cookie P
2 months ago

Thanks, Dave. I respect your opinion. We are looking at a Class C, but a corner bed won’t work for us. I wish it would. That would open up a lot more floor plans for us to consider. Thanks for the suggestions for the 2 manufacturers.

2 months ago

Over 24 years, we are now in our second Class B, Ford chassis. Love it – big enough for two of us and our dogs. Been off for up to 3 months of a time, normal trip is 2 months. Serves as family second vehicle. Better for us than our Class A now that our kids are gone!

2 months ago

Love our Phoenix Cruiser #2442. 28′ 8″, by my tape measure. Twin beds, large shower. Perfect for 2. Have been over 100,000 miles with no downtime due to failure of the whole package. Local Ford dealer will not work on it. Guess who is not getting my new Ford Maverick order?

Tom H.
2 months ago

Thanks Dave. Great explanation! Gotta say “I’d never heard of a B+.”

2 months ago
Reply to  Tom H.

The above mentioned Phoenix Cruiser, our Gulfstream BTouring Cruiser and many others are considered B+ by many people mainly because of the lack of an overcab bunk and a lower, sleeker look as well as better handling due to the lower center of gravity. And what B has a “Murphy” bed? And what about the Super C models such as Seneca built on the 4500 or larger GM chassis?
Dave would do well to visit a few real campgrounds or boondocking areas, to see what is actually out there these days.

Last edited 2 months ago by bill

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