Buyers Guide

Onboard an American Motorhome

WHAT IS AN AMERICAN MOTORHOME?

American Motorhomes are very complex vehicles, it is commonly known as an RV (Recreational Vehicle). Firstly it is made up from hundreds of components from various manufacturing industries throughout America and as we all know, the Americans like everything BIG. The shortest American Motorhome is around 24ft and the longest is over 45ft, however the UK has size limitations and therefore the largest Motorhomes cannot be registered in the UK.

WHAT IS AN AMERICAN MOTORHOME? There are several classes of Motorhome being A, B and C Class vehicles. The B & C Class are normally US van mounted vehicles, with the body fitted to the rear of the cab.

The cab on these vehicles is not part of the living accommodation and therefore you do lose a fair amount of liveable space. These vehicles are generally between 3.5 and 7 ton and although they are between 24ft and 32ft long, they are easy to drive.

For most people these are weekenders or vacation vehicles.

The A Class vehicle is a different animal altogether. The smaller A Class Motorhome is based on a commercial chassis and onwards to a adapted touring coach style chassis complete with air brakes and suspension; on all of these the driver is actually within the vehicle itself. The A Class uses every piece of space imaginable. You can, when you have finished driving, simply turn the driving seat around and it becomes a lounge chair.

Both the American motorhome and Winnebago are equipped with all the conveniences and amenities you would expect to find in your own home, such as a queen sized bed, whether fixed or within a sofa; As well as a luxuriously fitted kitchen, encasing a full size microwave, oven and hob arrangement, fridge/freezer and plenty of domestic storage. Also not forgetting the Americans are not the type to hold back on even the minor of details, the bathroom and toilet facilities are of a standard that defies belief..

Around 1994 the Americans decided to expand the living and bedroom areas on these vehicles and therefore developed an item called the slide out. A slide out is the part of the vehicle that extends the actual living accommodation once the vehicle is parked up and can extend the Motorhome in width by up to an average of 4ft. This is operated simply by pushing a button.

In 1994 it was a privilege to have even one slide out, at present we have up to four slide outs. Lounge, kitchen and two in the bedroom area. There is also the very latest full wall slide; this is where the entire side of the coach extends out between 18 inches and 3ft, with two further slides extending out from the opposite side of the coach. A true way to define home from home.

WHAT ABOUT THE WEIGHT?

The thing to remember is that slides add weight. Most Motorhomes that have slides will be over 7.5 ton and this brings you into ensuring that you have the correct driving category on your driving licence.

HAVE I GOT THE CORRECT LICENSE?

TO VIEW OUR GUIDE TO LICENSES PLEASE CLICK HERE.

WHAT DOES IT RUN ON?

Most Winnebago's are petrol driven and are fitted with Triton V10 or Vortec V8 engines. There are a small amount of diesel engines, however a new breed of diesel engine is being introduced with lower emissions and increased fuel economy.

LPG conversions are available throughout the UK but having this option fitted needs serious thought. You have to way up the benefits against the cost of installing it, at around £ 4,000.

If you intend to travel mostly in the UK the LPG conversion can pay for itself over a three year period, however this is not the case if you intend regular travel in France and Spain. Petrol is considerably cheaper in Europe and LPG is not readily available in Spain at present.

The larger Winnebago's and motorhomes are generally fitted with either a Cummins or Caterpillar engine; and although sometimes not as economical as the front engine counterparts, provide a much quieter and smoother driving experience and if you are considering towing a vehicle then the added benefit of increased engine torque will not be a forgotten factor.

Whichever RV you end up choosing the one thing that is guaranteed is it will bring you a whole new way of life.