Category Archives: First Time Class A Motor Home Buyers Guide

First Time Class A Motor Home Buyers Guide: Living Space

As we continue to highlight the important things to consider when purchasing a Class A motor home (read our other First Time Buyers Guide articles here), we would be remiss if we failed to mention the importance of living space. You will most likely either be traveling alone, as a couple, with a large family, or any combination of people depending on the occasion. Knowing this, it’s important to find a coach that has an appropriate amount of living space so you and your guests can travel comfortably.

If you’re looking for maximum living space, then a diesel pusher is going to be the way to go. Class A diesel’s will typically have an average length of around 36’ – 40’ and a width of slightly over 8’.  However, that 8’ width can be greatly increased when the slides go out which means your total living area is increased. Almost every manufacturer of diesel pusher motor homes builds models that have 3-4 slideouts, and that should be where you start your search. The more you can extend the width of your coach, the more open of a floor plan you’ll get which will allow for more/larger dinette’s, couches, recliners, etc. If you’re regularly on long trips with around 8 people, you’ll be happy you opted for a unit with more sitting space. Also, make sure to find out the interior height of the coach you’re interested in as well. That way, you can calculate the square footage (a Forest River Berkshire 400RB has approximately 285 sq. ft. of living space without the slides open). Use this simple calculator to find out the square footage.

forest river berkshire review
Click the picture to take a virtual tour of the Forest River Berkshire

Not every coach is going to have full-length slides and be over 40’ in length, however. As a matter of fact, those things may not even be necessary if you’re traveling alone or as a couple the majority of the time. In those situations, most Class A gas models will be more than suitable. The Coachmen Mirada bunkhouse measures in at just less than 37’ long and has an interior height of about 6’8”, giving an overall square footage of around 245 sq. ft. (without the 2 slides open). In a motor home, the difference of 40 square feet is quite a bit (compared to that of the Berkshire), but many of the same creature comforts still exist in a smaller coach. There is still a full kitchen galley, booth dinette, leather furniture, and a master suite separate from the cabin. Sure, bigger, diesel motor homes may have 2 large couches, but if you’re on the road alone how many couches can you sit on anyway?

As we’ve always said, the coach you purchase will come down to a combination of personal preference, needs, and wants…but mainly preference. Do lots of homework online, visit a reputable dealer or two, and get inside as many units as possible. You won’t truly know what you like until you’ve experienced it first hand.

Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!

 

First Time Class A Motor Home Buyers Guide: Sleepability

We’ve already touched on the importance of drivability when looking to purchase a new Class A motor home, now we’ll take a look at something else shoppers need to consider…sleepability. Keep in mind, when you make the decision to start taking your family vacations in a motor home, the days of hotel stays are all but over. That means you won’t have the option to reserve multiple hotel rooms for your kids and grandkids; everyone will be sleeping in the coach so you better make sure that all of your passengers have a comfortable place to spend the night or else things can get ugly quick!

The first thing you’ll want to consider when shopping is how many people at a maximum will be traveling with you. If your family is on the larger side, not to worry, there are several options in Class A motor coaches that can sleep up to nearly a dozen people comfortably. If your family fits into this category, then it will be in your best interest to start researching bunkhouse models for your new rig.

Basically all luxury Class A coaches have a private master bedroom with at least a queen size bed, but not all come with bunk beds. The new Charleston by Forest River comes equipped with not only a master suite with a king size bed, but also bunk beds (with their own private flip down TV’s, of course). The midship of the coach has a dinette that turns into a bed, and two couches that also turn into sleeper beds. You’ll be hard pressed to find a motor home with more sleeping space than a bunkhouse model so if you plan on taking your trips with lots of friends and family, this should be your first start.

motorhomes with a lot of sleeping space
The 2015 Forest River Charleston 430BH sleeps 10 people comfortably

If you’re in the market for a new Class A coach and your not planning on traveling with upwards of 10 people – say you’re a retiree planning on getting more adventurous in your new lifestyle with your wife or husband – there’s more than enough options for you. Newmar’s Dutch Star 4018 diesel pusher is the perfect motor home for a couple who wants to make sure they have plush sleeping quarters but also some additional space for the occasional visitors. This floor plan has a huge master suite with a king size bed and a large, L-shaped couch in the cabin with a pull out sofa. All in all, owners of this Dutch Star model will be able to accommodate 6 people sleeping in total comfort. With the “limited” amount of sleeping space in this coach compared to the Charleston, there is more living space and room for an additional half bathroom.

motorhomes with lots of sleeping space
The Newmar Dutch Star 4018 has the perfect sleeping space in the master bedroom

As you can see, if you’re giving up sleeping space, you’re most likely going to be adding another great amenity and vice versa. The thing you as shoppers must always remember is that you need to plan your purchase accordingly and consider the amount of comfortable sleeping space you need before you buy.

Do you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general? If so, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!

 

First Time Class A Motor Home Buyers Guide: Drivability

If you’re in the process of shopping for your first diesel pusher motor home or are even just considering making a purchase, you probably already know there are going to be a seemingly limitless amount of decisions you’ll have to make before settling on that perfect coach. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the features and luxurious amenities that new Class A coaches offer their owners these days, especially if you’re a newbie to the motor home lifestyle. That’s why we’re here to make sure you are aware of one of the most important aspects to investigate before signing on the dotted line…your coach’s drivability.

how to drive a motorhome

Several different factors will weigh in (each having varying degrees of importance depending on what type of unit you buy) on the drivability of a motor home. Length, weight, tow vehicle/trailer, engine type, chassis, and cargo will all have an effect on how easy or difficult it will be to drive your new coach. A few key things that anyone who drives a Class A motor home should remember are:

–       You’re driving a vehicle that is much longer and heavier than basically anything on the road besides an 18-wheeler, so keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you because these rigs are more difficult to stop than a regular car.

–       Pay attention to the heights listed on overpasses, bridges, and any other structures that have a height requirement (i.e. gas stations that aren’t specifically designed for big rigs and motor homes). Federal law states that any new overpass built must be at least 16 feet in height, but if you’re traveling in more desolate parts of the country that haven’t experienced any new construction in the past 20-30 years, you could wind up damaging the roof of your new coach if you’re not careful.

–       Pretty much every new Class A diesel motor home comes equipped with backup and side view cameras…use them! They are there for a reason, so make sure to take advantage of them. Cameras like these can be really useful especially when navigating through tight spaces or narrow roadways.

–       Sharp turns are not your friend. Most luxury diesel pusher motor homes are 8’ – 8 1/2’ wide, which require drivers to make much wider turns. Although many manufacturers have done an excellent job of designing coaches that are relatively easy to drive, the wheelbase is still very wide so be careful.

With all of these things in mind, our suggestion for someone looking to purchase their first Class A diesel motor home would be to look into Newmar’s line of products. Anyone who is familiar with Newmar knows their coaches are top of the line in terms of luxury and living comfort. However, for the purposes of this article, Newmar is the perfect fit for motor home beginners because of their patented Comfort Drive steering system. We briefly touched on this feature in our review of the 2014 Newmar Mountain Aire 4361 model, but we’ll take a bit of a deeper dive here.

how to drive a motorhome
Drivers seat of a 2014 Newmar Dutch Star with Comfort Drive

What makes the Comfort Drive system so incredible is that it is basically built to learn and adjust to the conditions of the road/weather while being driven. For example, in the event there is a strong crosswind while driving at high speeds on a highway, the system will make sure the coach stays aligned in its lane without drivers having to “fight the wheel” to keep it from drifting. Experienced motor home drivers know that when driving a 40+ vehicle its momentum can be a difficult thing to combat, so having a smart system to do a lot of the heavy lifting, so to speak, for you is a major plus.

When you’re behind the wheel of most motor homes, your travel day can take a serious toll on your neck and shoulders from having to keep a constant tight grip on the steering wheel. This is never the case with Newmar’s Comfort Drive. Drivers can literally steer with just a finger, and the wheel is always looking to center itself after you make a turn in order to keep your coach traveling straight and safely.  Units with Comfort Drive steering essentially give drivers a similar experience to that of driving a car. The reason being is that the system is always attempting to adjust and correct itself to ensure that passengers are getting a smooth and safe ride every time they take a trip.

No matter what brand of motor home you’re looking to purchase, make sure to drive it first and ask lots of questions about how it rides on extended road trips. Everyone loves the idea of owning a luxury palace on wheels, but make sure the luxury extends itself out of the cabin and into the drivers seat as well.

 

Dylans RV Center is your luxury motorhome authority. We carry a full line of Class A gas and diesel pushers, as well as a complete inventory of Super C motor coaches. If you have questions about purchasing a new or pre-owned motorhome or just about the luxury motor home lifestyle in general, please contact us so we can answer all of your questions and concerns!