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!

 

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