What is a Class B RV?

Class B Motorhomes, sometimes called a camper van or conversion van, are normally built on van chassis’. The living space in traditional campervans is usually limited by the actual dimensions of the van. The difference between a Class B RV and a camper van is that a Class B Motorhome is a factory built unit, whereas a conversion van normally starts out as a conventional van and is later converted into a small RV.

Class B RVs normally have a raised roof, but do not normally include slide-out rooms. Class B Camper Vans often look very much like an oversized van on the outside. The Class B Van will normally have a temporary sleeping area, temporary eating area and a wet bathroom. Class B Camper’s bathroom facilities normally have a shower, toilet and sink, however they are almost always combined into one space.

What’s the difference between a Class B Van and a Class B+ RV?  

Class B+ RVs are often just as long as a classic conversion van, however unlike Class B Vans a Class B+ RV can have slide-out rooms, permanent sleeping areas, permanent dining areas and a dry bathroom. Class B Plus Motorhomes are affordable, easy to drive and easy to park. Unlike campervans, Class B+ Motorhomes will often have driving and living areas separated by a door or privacy curtain. These small motorhomes are so economical that they can be used for local transportation. Class B+ RVs are also powerful enough to tow a trailer or car, if desired.

Our Class B+ RVs make it easy to travel in style. Based on your family size and travel requirements, you will find the floorplan that's right for you. Our B+ lines are also available with on a Diesel Powered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. Just because they’re smaller, doesn’t mean they can’t be exciting!

The Best Class B RV can only be bought from Thor Motor Coach!

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What’s the difference between a Class B Van and a Class B+ RV?

Looking for an affordable Class B Van? You might want to see how our Class B+ RVs are a step ahead!

What’s the difference between a Class B Van and a Class B+ RV? Side-by-Side Comparison

Small, Euro-style motorhomes are all the rage. These compact RVs are great on gas mileage, are easy to drive, maneuverable and are a lot of fun. So, we decided to send our very own Steve DuVal and Jon Krider on the road to try a couple out.

Jon drove a Dodge RAM ProMaster® Class B Van and Steve drove our 2018 Gemini Class B+ RV. They lived, slept, ate, and drove each coach exactly the way you would. They left a cold Elkhart, Indiana, and made their way down to a cold and wet Charlotte, North Carolina.

A quick rundown of the specs show these are too well-matched machines.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Thor Motor Coach Ford Transit Chassis

RAM ProMaster Chassis

3.2L I-5 Power Stroke Turbo Diesel Engine

3.6L V6 Gas Engine

185 Horsepower

280 Horsepower

350 LB/FT Torque

258 LB/FT Torque

6-Speed Automatic with SelectShift® Transmission

6-Speed Automatic 62TE Transmission

Rear Wheel Drive

Front Wheel Drive

Length: 23’ 6”

Length: 21’ 0”

Width: 7’ 5”

Width: 6’ 9”

Height: 10’ 8” (with A/C)

Height: 9’ 1”

GVWR: 10,360 LBS

GVWR: 9,350 LBS

Towing: 5,000 LBS

Towing: 3,500 LBS

 

Our intrepid employees set off and immediately hit stop and go, heavy-traffic, city streets, residential neighborhoods, railroad tracks, highway speeds, and even gorgeous scenery.

After several hours on the road, Jon and Steve made it to camp, which is where the Gemini really outshone the B Van. The Gemini has a number of outside exterior storage bays making for 29 cubic feet of storage. The B van has no exterior storage.

Hookups are easy and convenient enough on both units, but once again the Gemini leads the pack. This Gemini RUV has a 30-gallon freshwater tank, 28.5-gallon black tank, and 37.5-gallon grey water tank. In comparison this particular B van has a 21-gallon freshwater tank, 11-gallon black tank, and 15-gallon gray tank.

Both vehicles allow you to spend time under an armless awning. You get a 13-footer on the RAM ProMaster B van. The Gemini B+ RV has a 14-footer, the Transit also has an exterior television with speakers placed at an ideal ear level.

Sitting inside, both vehicles are well equipped with all the amenities – a kitchen, places to sit, a bathroom, a bed, and entertainment. However, much like outside, there is not a lot of storage room inside the B Van, which means you’ll need to pack carefully. The B+ Transit simply outclasses the B Van in livable space.

When you're ready to call it a night, our Gemini has a full-size bed in the back ready to climb in. The B van has the same sized bed that folds up and stays clipped in place. Both vehicles have in common a booth that converts into a sleeping area. The Gemini, however, is much easier to convert than the B Van.

After they had set-up camp, Jon and Steve discussed their thoughts about driving each coach.  

The Class B Van “drove pretty well,” said Jon. “I mean, I noticed we're getting pretty good fuel economy. Probably around that 14.5-15 miles per gallon. So, I thought that was pretty impressive for something that's almost 9,500 pounds.”

He continued, “There were a few things I really liked on the ProMaster® Van – it's got mirrors that fold in, which is actually a really nice feature. Another thing I really like too is that the convex mirror and the big mirror up top were both adjustable from inside the cabin with a switch.”

Shifting gears a bit, the boys started talking about handling. They were in and out of some pretty heavy traffic. They were on the countryside, twisty roads, up and down hills; they really covered a lot of different kinds of terrains – intentionally.

So, how did they handle?

On the ProMaster® Class B Van, Jon said, “It did well. You know, it's thin enough that just like your vehicle it doesn't feel any bigger – you obviously know you're a little bit longer. Going up and down the hills, it was really easy, we've pulled some grades I don't know, five, six percent grades that we pulled on a couple of areas and it seemed to do well.”

On the Gemini Class B+ RV, Steve said, “The first thing was the engine. From a powertrain standpoint, it was great. Six-speed transmission was wonderful. Anything you're driving is gonna move, but it didn't drift into the other lane and at no point did I think, ‘I'm getting over, I better slow down.’ I thought it handled great; it drove well, braked fantastically, which is one of the things because you know the stop and go in a heavy rush hour people are gonna cut you off.”

He continued, “On this new Transit chassis one of the things I like to use when we went to that new sync system. The other thing on this that I love is the backup monitor is always on – full-color in that rearview mirror, so you always can see what's behind you.”

One standout difference between the Class B+ RV and the Class B Van is that the B+ is a diesel and the B Van is gas. Because the Gemini B+ RV has a diesel powertrain it has more torque and more towing power.

Another big difference is that the B Van does not have the ability to have slide-out rooms. However, the B+ RV, although it’s only 8” wider, feels much bigger than the Class B camper because it has slide-out rooms.  

“Yeah, I mean it has the extra room, you know you put out the slide wall and walked into this, it felt like I was suddenly walking in one of our big diesel products,” Steve said.

After a good night sleep, Jon and Steve packed up and took off.

“I can definitely see this as a great thing that you're gonna day trip,” said Jon about the Class B Campervan. “Saying you're gonna go visit people, you're gonna tailgate in – I'm assuming that most people that buy B Vans aren't doing a ton of overnight camping.”

He continued, “I know if I had my wife and my two daughters in here, we would be extremely cramped. So, I mean the fact that we woke up in the morning and I couldn’t move, I definitely think that's an advantage that the Gemini has over this, because [the Gemini] does have a slide-out room and it does have a larger bed and it doesn't have a wet bath.”

Discussing the bathroom, Jon said, “I mean, I think that's the other thing too. You know I found myself not really being 100% comfortable in the wet bath – not because it's a wet bath, just because it didn't give me a ton of elbow room to move around when I was standing in there. I cannot stand up straight in that wet bath my head physically hits the ceiling.”

On the other hand, “in here we have the full bath,” Steve said about the Gemini, “I can stand up in the shower because we have that skylight over there.”

“In the B Van I can touch my arm span from wall to wall,” Steve said. “As I'm standing in here even with the slide in I can’t do that. Then, when you put this slide out, I mean you know you get that much more room. I guess there are purposes when you would use that B Van, but if you're going to go out for more than a day trip you need something that like this B+.”

“One thing I did really like here in the van is that both the captain's chair spun around and there's a table directly behind it,” Jon said. “So, there's like three or four seating areas that are really good. I was able to break out my laptop do a little bit of work and then also make some phone calls to my family and then it's got a little Bluetooth radio that's pretty close to you which was nice.”

As the miles passed, Jon and Steve each burned about half a tank of fuel, both averaging around 15 miles per gallon. Both units feature Bluetooth connectivity, navigation and touchscreens. The Ford Transit features sync with a 6.5” screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ProMaster® has a 5” screen and is a bit dated.

“The one thing I really don't like about this is I've just not thrilled about the navigation system that's installed on the coach or the size of the screen,” Jon said about the ProMaster® B Van. “I just feel like I've got a lean towards the map because it's so small. I mean, in comparison I've got an iPhone 7, the screen on my iPhone when I use Apple Maps is larger than what the screen in the dash is. So, that would just be the one thing I'd say on the chassis that I'm just not real thrilled about.”

The bottom line, here’s the question we want you to think about – how are you going to use your motor home? Where are you going to use it? Do you want storage space, room to move, a full bath and updated electronics?

It's not that the B Van is a bad choice, you just happen to have a better choice – the B+ from Thor Motor Coach.