Bus size Class A RVs are generally the largest of the three types of motor homes. There is a wide variety of widths, lengths and heights, usually in a “boxlike” shape. There are two subtypes:
- Chassis built – The coach is built on a bare-bones chassis – cab not included – with the following major components: frame, engine, fuel tank, axles, drive train, wheels, tires, steering column, engine and braking controls, and dashboard instruments. 1
- Bus Conversion – A completed bus that has been converted into a recreational vehicle. Some change the exterior very little, while other conversions are significantly modified inside and out, with little resemblance to their original configuration
Class A’s are powered by either diesel or gas engines and the engine may be either in the front or the back. Often, Class A RVs are referred to by the location and type of engine they have, most commonly if it’s a diesel engine in the rear, in which case, it is referred to as a diesel pusher.
Like all motorhomes, the Class A serves as both a home and a vehicle, with easy access to the living area from the driver’s and passenger’s seats. They often include spacious, open interiors, especially when equipped with slides. With basement storage – storage areas below the living area – along with interior cabinets and closets, these large motor homes have the most storage space of all RV types. The size and shape of the Class A allows the manufacturers to develop a variety of floor plans.
Just as with other RV types, weight added by slides, cabinetry and other amenities reduces the cargo carrying capacity.
According to the RV Consumer Group, Class A motorhomes, especially those with slides, have more structural and safety issues in crashes compared to the two other classes.
While easy to drive on the open road, their size can make navigation around on town and city streets difficult. They can also be more difficult to park than their smaller cousins, especially in campgrounds. A large number of state and federal campgrounds have a limited number of sites able to accommodate Class A’s.
With the elevated driver location and additional width of the most Class A’s, judging clearance on the right side of the vehicle may be difficult. As well, clearance under trees and structures – canopies at filling stations, for example – can be an issue due to the height of the vehicle plus top mounted equipment.
Links to Class A motor home manufacturers
(with listings of current models)
American Coach by Fleetwood – models: Eagle, Heritage, Tradition, Revolution
Coachmen RVs models: Cross Country, Encounter, Mirada, Pathfinder, Pursuit
Entegra Coach – models: Anthem, Aspire, Cornerstone
Featherlite Vantare – models: H3-45, XLII
Fleetwood RV – diesel models: Discovery, Excursion; Expedition, Providence. gas models: Bounder, Bounder Classic, Southwind, Storm, Terra, Terra SE
Forest River – models: Berkshire, Charleston, FR3, Georgetown, Georgetown XL; Legazy SR 300
Foretravel – models: ih-45 Quad Slide, Nimbus, Phenix
Holiday Rambler – models: Ambassador, Endeavor,Vacationer, Vacationer SE
Itaska by Winnebago
motor coach models:
Ellipse, Meridian, Reyo, Solei; Suncruiser, Sunova, Sunstar
Liberty Coach – model: Elegant Lady
Monaco – models: Diplomat; Dynasty, Knight, LaPalma, Monarch, Monarch SE
Newmar Corp – models: Bay Star, Bay Star Sport, Canyon Star, Dutch Star; Essex, King Aire, Mountain Aire, Ventana, Ventana LE
Parliament Coach (plans to return to production in 2014)
Precision Coach Inc. – conversions and renovations
Prevost – manufacturer of bus shells for high-end motorhomes and specialty conversions.
Rexhall Industries (factory direct) – models: Aerbus, RexAir, also All-Access Motorhomes (designed for handicapped)
Terra Wind (amphibious)
Texas Custom Coach by Coachworks, L.L.C.
Thor Motor Coach – models: A.C.E., Axis RUV, Challenger, Hurricane, Miramar, Outlaw (toy hauler), Palazzo, Tuscany, Tuscany XTE, Vegas RUV, Windsport
Tiffin Motorhomes – models: Allegro; Allegro Red; Allegro Bus; Allegro Breeze Phaeton; Zephyr
Winnebago – models: Adventurer, Aspect, Forza, Journey, Sightseer, Tour, Via, Vista
- Example of a US built 45 foot Class A Motorhome. Classified as a Class A Diesel Pusher with a Tag Axle chassis (2012 Thor Motor Coach Tuscany Luxury Motorhome) from Wikimedia. Image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
- Type A on Dirt Road – RVIA Image Gallery
- A motorhome towing a car – Flickr;