Is a Class A or Class C easier to drive? You’d think the answer would obviously go with the smaller Class C but it’s not that simple…
If you’re trying to decide between a Class A and Class C then that means you’ve at least narrowed down your list by excluding Class Bs, also known as campervans.
The biggest appeal of a Class A or Class C over a Class B is the room provided by its larger size, but that can be intimidating when it comes to driving. You might be surprised to learn that Class As are easier and smoother to drive than you’d expect.
In truth, you can get used to (and good at) driving any length vehicle. It’s just a matter of confidence and practice.
The biggest consensus is just that: either is easy with enough practice. But what about when you are first behind the wheel? Which has the smallest learning adjustment? Which is the least scary to drive?
What’s the Difference Between Driving Class A vs. Class C?
The trickiest part about answering this question is that some big Class Cs are actually the same length as small Class As. So, you can’t just go by the Class. You need to factor in the overall length as well and understand, in general, longer vehicles take more adjusting to.
That’s not really surprising. However, what’s more important to look at is not the overall length, but rather the length of the wheelbase.
Class As have a longer wheelbase, which means there is less overhang extending past the back set of wheels. This centers the forces between the front and rear wheels, resulting in a smoother ride. The overhang on a Class C can cause a bit of teeter-tottering or porpoising over bumps and potholes.
A longer wheelbase in Class A can also mean less weaving in your lane. How so? The overhang can act as a sort of sail whenever a semi-truck passes, pushing a Class C more easily since the forces aren’t centered. You then have to countersteer, then steer back again once the gusts pass.
This is known as “wandering” and it’s more common in Class Cs than As because of their shorter wheelbase and longer overhang. If you want a Class C but want to minimize wandering, look at Class Cs with shorter overhangs.
Keep in mind, though, that the longer the RV gets, the more difficult it becomes to handle around tight corners and reversing.
You might be sold on Class As after reading how they drive smoother and wander less, but don’t cross Class Cs off your list just yet. There’s another big factor that experienced RVers warn against: driver position.
In a car, the driver seat is positioned behind the front wheelbase. You’re used to steering a vehicle leading with your front tires. It’s the same way in Class Cs. So, steering a Class C is very similar to steering a car.
Class As, however, are a different story.
In a Class A, the driver sits above or even in front of the wheelbase. This can lead to oversteering and overcorrection.
If you can imagine riding on the hood of your car while somebody steered (some of us foolishly did this as teenagers), you’d feel like the driver wasn’t turning when they should. You’d feel like you were going to crash into something that you ended up easily avoiding. It can feel the same way when you first drive a Class A.
Since you’re positioned farther forward than you’re used to, it’s going to take some time to readjust in the beginning. So, while you can pretty much jump in a steer a Class C as you would a car, the Class A has a steering learning curve.
But there is a benefit to this same challenge…
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Since the driver is positioned farther forward (& usually higher) in a Class A, they also get a better view. More so, the Class As usually have a much bigger windshield than the Class Cs, which are more comparable to a truck’s windshield.
The bigger windshield is a bit of a double-edged sword, however. Sometimes the big window makes the RV feel bigger, which can make it seem more intimidating to drive even if it’s the same length as a Class C. Some people feel more comfortable in a Class C cab because it feels more like vehicles they’re used to driving.
But at the same time, the bigger windshield means you can see more things around you. It’s not necessarily more things you need to see to be able to drive safely, but more nonetheless. For some people, being able to see more boosts their confidence.
So, this really comes down to personal preference.
So, Is a Class A or Class C Easier to Drive?
In summary, Class As tend to be smoother with less wandering in your lane once you’re confidently on the road. However, you need to adjust to steering in a more-forward position in a Class A, which takes more practice initially than a Class C. Plus, the longer the Class A gets, the more difficult to handle around tight corners.
A Class C with a shorter overhang, on the other hand, should drive just as smooth with less wandering as a Class A. You can also jump into a Class C and steer it pretty much the same way as a car since you’re driver seat is positioned in the same location.
- Class A: trickier in the beginning, but easier once you get the hang of steering from the front. The longer the Class A gets, the trickier it gets to steer around tight corners.
- Class C: easier in the beginning, but possibly need to make more adjustments while driving to counteract gusts and teeter-tottering. The longer a Class C gets, the more wandering and teeter-tottering.
The conclusion? In general, a smaller Class A is easier and smoother to drive in the long run than a big Class C, once you get used to the steering. So, basically, if you’re looking at a Class A and a Class C that are the same length and each has a great floorplan, then it’s probably best to go with the Class A.
But once you go shorter or longer, then the pros and cons of each class split pretty evenly. So, most experienced RVers will tell you that you should choose the floor plan you like over which you’d think is easier to drive. In the end, whatever you choose will become easy to drive with practice.
If you want to learn more about the different RV classes, check out my article on The ABCs of RV Classes.
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