When others ask you how to describe a Class B plus motorhome, how do you start? Do you use negative statements like, “It’s like a Class C, but….” or “It’s like a Class B, but…”. Descriptions like this are helpful, but after you read through our Class B+ RVs- A Complete Guide, you’ll have a way to not only describe them positively, you’ll probably want one.
You’ll learn how they’re different from their sister categories, some history on how they developed, and if Class B+ RVs are worth the money. We’ll also show you some great examples currently on the market that are the best examples of the B plus category.
What is a Class B Plus (+) RV?
The B+ RV is an evolution of the Class B motorhome (a.k.a. Class B Campervan). It’s a self-contained motorhome built on a full-size van chassis with all of the features seen in drivable motorcoaches.
To understand the B+, we must point out a little history of the campervan. Here are the highlights:
- 1949- Westfalia (a German company) buys Volkswagon Type 2 Bus chassis and frames to convert them into the first campervans. They quickly become the top-selling RV in Europe.
- 1968- Ray Frank, the creator of the first production Class A Motorhome, the Dodge Travco, builds the Xplorer Family Wagon. This is the first American-made Class B campervan.
- 1974- Jac Hanemaayer builds his first Class B in Canada, which leads him to create Road Trek RV.
- 1986- RV Dealer Merv Rumpel builds the first Pleasure-Way campervan on the back lot of his dealership in California.
Pleasure-Way and Road Trek dominate the American roadways during the 1980 and 1990s. After the millennium, U.S. automakers start bringing their European-styled vans to the American public. At the same time, fuel prices are on the rise, and consumers want more fuel-efficient RVs.
RV manufacturers start introducing Class B RVs beyond what Pleasure-Way and Road Trek offers. Around 2014-2015, consumers want campervans with more side and headspace. As a reaction to consumer feedback, RV designers start getting creative with Class B and Class C motorhome chassis, forming the B plus category.
How Does a Class B+ RV Differ From a Class B Campervan?
Class B plus motorhomes use two different types of chassis. The first type is the European-styles vans that Class B RVs use. The three most popular chassis in the U.S. market are:
- Dodge Ram Pro Master
- Ford Transit
- Mercedes Sprinter
RV manufacturers order the chassis and driver’s area without the cargo shell. They build the coach area with wider sidewalls and a higher ceiling for added space. The added square footage allows for more prominent features and a more comfortable living experience inside the coach.
You’ll find Class B+ with dry bath floorplans. Sleeping space is still in convertible configurations, but the beds’ measurements will conform to a residential queen to king mattresses. Kitchen features like the sink, stovetop, and countertop will have more overall space to work your “magic” when you’re preparing meals.
How Does a Class B Plus RV Differ From a Class C RV?
You’ll also find Class B+ RVs use super/heavy-duty van chassis like the Ford E-series. When you park one of these next to their European-styled van sister models, some would argue that they’re from separate categories.
If you look at the front cab area, you’ll see that it still has the look of the wide-bodied American van that was popular before the European styling hit the U.S. market. The E-series van chassis’s design gives it the strength and front-end space for the Titan V8 engine.
When you pull one of these B+ motorhomes next to a Class C RV, the first difference is the missing loft. Manufacturers usually put the LED TV and entertainment system above the driver’s space in the Class B plus RVs on these super-duty chassis.
As the Class C motorhome, you’ll see a clear designation of room sections with a rear bedroom, front living room space, and kitchen counter area. If you’re looking for a more comfortable Class B for full-time living, these larger B plus models may better fit your needs.
Unlike Class C RVs, you won’t find a B+ stretch further than 33 feet. Even with the extra space, RV manufacturers build both B categories for couples. These bigger B plus RVs will have fold-out sofas and dinettes for guest sleeping, but it’s not ideal for long term adventures.
How Much Do Class B+ RVs Cost?
Class B and Class B plus motorhomes are deceiving. People will walk into an RV show or dealership, thinking that smaller means less expensive. Be prepared to spend between $70,000- $200,000 for one of them.
The B+ motorhome is a fuel-efficient luxury-liner motorhome. RV manufacturers install almost all the features you’ll see in a Class A motorhome into them. You’ll find that the materials used are of the best quality. Builders use the best technologies and greatest innovations to give you the ultimate camping experience a mini-mansion can offer.
Pros and Cons of Class B Plus RVs
You may be wondering if a Class B RV worth it. Every RV category has its pros and cons. We’ll show you what the experts and our RVBlogger friends have said about this category. Go ahead and check out our RV Camping For Newbies Facebook page to continue the category discussion with our followers.
Advantages of Class B+ Motorhomes
Until the Great American Outdoors Act renovations are complete, the average length limit for national parks is 30 feet for campsites. Some national parks have campsites that are 40 feet in length, while others have 20-foot spaces. Most have spaces 30 feet in length that haven’t modernized since the last Mission Act of 1966.
Class B Plus RVs balance features with fuel efficiency very well. The models built on the E-series have permanent beds and other furniture, so you don’t have to adjust things continually. If you’re ready to call it a day, you can walk to the bed and crawl in without having to change it from its daytime sofa or dinette position.
If you want a driving experience similar to your SUV or minivan but with the best features possible, this category is the right choice. We recommend taking an online RV driving course, but the driving experience won’t feel too different.
Disadvantages of Class B+ Motorhomes
Not everyone will enjoy the Class B+ camping experience. Smaller holding tanks and storage will give you enough dry camping time for a long weekend. If you’re a frugal camper, you may get a week out of your tanks before you need to cycle them.
If you’re going to spend a lot of time inside the coach, you may find cabin fever slowly creeping on. If you want to enjoy the outdoor space with built-in entertainment, kitchens, and other features, Class A or C will better fit your camping lifestyle. The B and B+ categories give you a comfortable living space but are generally ideal for active people beyond the campsite.
The best fuel efficiency will come from a Class B campervan. B plus versions will be a close second, but the added weight will knock off a mile or two from the miles-per-gallon. The smaller Euro-styled vans with the V6 gas engines will have the best MPG over the 7.3L V8 E-Series chassis.
What are the Best Class B+ Motorhomes?
We’ve scoured the industry and found some of the Best Class B+ RVs on the market. We’ll show you the European-styled chassis and the E-series chassis so you can see the full spectrum.
1. Coachmen Cross Trek 21XG
In the RV world, the Coachmen brand has been famous since 1968. As the #VanLife became more than just a fad, this manufacturer delved into the B and B+ category showing how a big name RV maker can make affordable drivables that appeal to many audiences.
The Cross Trek 21XG’s unique feature is its toy hauling capability. The full-size rear bed is a side-fold murphy. When you fold it up, the bed space allows you to store all of your adventure toys and other long items through the wide back door. Upfront, the U-shaped dinette serves as a sofa and a guest sleeper for two when friends come along.
Main Specs For The Coachmen Cross Trek
- Length: 24.1 Feet
- Chassis & Engine: Ford Transit 350, 3.5L V6 EcoBoost Gas- 310 hp @ 400 lb./ft.
- Tanks: Fuel- 25 gallons/ Fresh- 41 gallons/ Grey- 59 gallons/ Black- 28 gallons
- Sleep: 4 People
2. Airstream Atlas
If you only know Airstream for their iconic “Silver Bullet” travel trailers, then you’re missing out on a significant part of the brand. Airstream’s touring coaches are one of the best Class B+ RV brands on the market. If you missed out on their Tommy Bahama Edition, you can still enjoy many of the same features that the model offered in the Atlas.
This mid-coach bed floorplan has an off-door slide-out with a murphy bed. During the day, you’ll enjoy the plush three-person sofa that sits opposite a televator cabinet. If you need a table, the floor has a connection to hold the pole that supports the tabletop in front of the couch. Airstream puts the closet, full bathroom, and a real sliding door in the rear of the RV that gives you a private space to get ready in the morning.
Main Specs For the Airstream Atlas
- Length: 24.9 feet
- Chassis & Engine: Mercedes Sprinter 3500, 3.0L V6 turbo diesel- 188 hp @ 325 lb./ft.
- Tanks: Fuel- 25.5 gallons/ Fresh- 23 gallons/ Grey- 31 gallons/ Black- 23 gallons
- Sleep: 2 People
3. Nexus RV Viper 27V
Nexus is an independent RV manufacturer often overlooked. Their Viper B Plus is an excellent example of their high standards and leading innovations. The Viper 27V has the power of Ford’s new V8 Triton engine, the luxury of a top-end motorhome, and the ideal length limit for national parks.
The rear slideout gives occupants room to walk around the queen master bed and it has ample storage in the wardrobe system. The galley-style kitchen takes up most of the door-side, so you’ll have plenty of counter space and the largest refrigerator possible. The deluxe dinette doesn’t create a bottleneck point since it sits on a long slide.
Main Specs For The Nexus RV Viper
- Length: 28.5 feet
- Chassis & Engine: Ford E-450 chassis, 7.3L V8 Triton Gas, 430 hp- 475 lb./ft.
- Tanks: Fuel- 55 gallons/ Fresh- 40 gallons/ Grey- 28 gallons/ Black- 28 gallons
- Sleep: 4 People
4. Phoenix USA Phoenix Cruiser 2910D
The Phoenix Cruiser 2910D is a rare gem for those that want workspace or prefer a comfortable sitting space to enjoy the view. The two recliners between the entry door and co-pilot seat are a perfect space to enjoy your morning coffee. If you have company over, the seats are positioned perfectly across from the three-seater sofa.
Phoenix maximizes space by splitting the dry bath between the center aisle. The full-size shower sits on the door-side, and the water closet is on the opposite side. The bedroom has plenty of walking space around the short queen bed and plenty of storage in the door-side wardrobe.
Main Specs For The Phoenix Cruiser
- Length: 30.10 feet
- Chassis & Engine: Ford E-450 chassis, 7.3L V8 Triton Gas, 430 hp- 475 lb./ft.
- Tanks: Fuel- 55 gallons/ Fresh- 46 gallons/ Grey- 35 gallons/ Black- 19.5 gallons
- Sleep: 4 People
5. Thor Gemini RUV 23TW
The Thor Motorcoach Gemini Recreational Utility Vehicle (RUV) series is an all-wheel-drive Class B Plus RV. The full off-door slideout makes it one of the most spacious in the category. The Gemini comes with Ford’s driver-assist package, a backup camera, and both side cameras.
The dream dinette folds down for extra sleeping space for guests. It also lets you lounge comfortably to watch your favorite shows on the 32-inch LED TV above the entrance. Hot water is never a problem with the tankless water heater as standard equipment. When you’re ready to call it a day, the rear queen bed is ready and waiting for you.
Main Specs For the Thor Gemini
- Length: 23.6 feet
- Chassis & Engine: Ford Transit 350 chassis, 3.5L V6 EcoBoost Gas- 310 hp @ 400 lb./ft.
- Tanks: Fuel- 25 gallons/ Fresh- 31 gallons/ Grey- 37 gallons/ Black- 19 gallons
- Sleep: 3 People
The Best Way To Learn About Class B Plus RVs is to Try Them
If you’re in the market for a new or used Class B+ motorhome, we always recommend renting one first. People will often buy an RV without trying it out and realize the coach doesn’t match well with their RV lifestyle.
Spend a few weekends renting a handful of Class B+ RVs through a peer-to-peer rental company. Companies like Outdoorsy help you locate owners that rent their motorcoaches and handle the rental agreement. Owners will walk you through the RV, showing you how to operate the various functions and teach you veteran techniques.
A best practice is to try different brands and floorplans to maximize the experience. Class B+ RVs come in either rear beds or mid-coach beds. Spending a weekend with each type will help you determine your preference. When you’re ready, you’ll have first-hand knowledge, some RV wisdom, and other tips under your belt to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy.