This is the final instalment in our series on the different classes of camper. This article will cover class C campers. These are extremely popular as they are a mid-range size of motorhome. This guide will take you through what the different classes are, and the advantages, disadvantages and cost of the class C camper.
Camper and Motorhome Classifications
Foremost to understanding the class C camper, you need to understand where it sits among the other classes.
As covered in a previous article class A campers are the biggest available. They come jam packed with a host of amenities to provide luxury and comfort to their users. Class B campers are, slightly confusingly, the smallest on the market.
They are the true campervans, either DIY or professionally converted. These campers are smaller, making them easier to drive and explore in.
This leaves the final class, C. These mid-range motorhomes are usually less than 20 feet, or 6m, in length. They are exceptionally popular in Europe and the UK, as the smaller size makes navigation and driving easier than the larger class A motorhomes.
Class C Camper and Motorhome Design and Facilities
The exact design and layout of a class C motorhome can vary, but this should give you an idea of a typical layout. In almost all motorhomes there is a side entry door. In-front of this is usually a seating area with a table. The kitchen is typically built along one side of the van with a small fridge located underneath a countertop. The kitchen will typically include a gas fired hob with a small oven. This will allow you to prepare a range of home cooked meals, saving you money.
Most class C campers have a large bed set-up towards the rear of the van. Sometimes this space doubles as a large living area with two sofas. As you can see in the diagram below, this particular van has a king size bed.
These campers utilise lots of overhead storage lockers to provide ample storage for between two and six people. Furthermore, many of the seats in these vans are designed to provide space underneath to store larger items like barbeques or outside awnings.
Class C motorhomes all have bathrooms, which is a major advantage over the smaller class B campervans. These bathrooms will include a small shower stall with a cassette toilet.
This toilet will have a tank that can be removed from the exterior of the van for emptying. Detergent is placed inside the toilet to reduce unpleasant odours.
Not all class C campers will have a TV, this is something that differentiates the class A vehicles. Other features like a microwave, freezer and central heating and cooling may or may not be included depending on the age and particular manufacturer of the van. These campers without a doubt cover all necessary bases in terms of comfort and functionality.
Licence Requirements for Class C Vehicles
This was discussed in our article on Class A campers and motorhomes, but it is pertinent here as well. If the motorhome or camper you are looking to purchase has a maximum authorised mass, MAM, of over 3.5 tonnes you may require a specialised licence, category C1 to drive it.
This is not the case if your licence was issued before the 1st of January 1997. With a licence issued before this date you are authorised to drive a vehicle with a MAM of up to 8,250kg. Manufacturers are frequently paring down the weight of their class A and C motorhomes to help their consumers avoid this issue, but it is worth mentioning so that you are aware of this.
Cost of a Class C Camper
Due to their popularity the price of these motorhomes new is almost the same as class A vehicles. A new class C vehicle will cost around £60,000. They are the vehicle of choice for many campers across the UK and Europe and this demand makes the prices high.
A good example is the new Swift Edge 486. This is a 6-berth class C motorhome with a MAM of 3,500kg. This would be a perfect vehicle for a family of 4 or a couple looking for a little bit more room. This camper would set you back £53,900. The real advantage to buying a class C over a class A comes in the second-hand market.
Due to their popularity, there are a lot of these vehicles on the road. This means that there is a very healthy second-hand market. The average cost second hand would be between £20,000-£30,000, with older models going for around £15,000.
The average running costs will be similar to a class A. Insurance costs will be approximately £500 a month with tax around £200. The advantage you do get over a class A is improved fuel consumption, particularly with newer model vans.
Class C vehicles are lighter and often have a cab front which improves aerodynamics. This can result in a good savings, particularly over long distances.
Pros Of A Class C Camper
The class C camper represents a great compromise between space and driveability. While having a massive van packed full of luxury items sounds nice, the reality is that it will be a nightmare to drive.
Class C campers do a great job finding a happy medium between these things, without sacrificing much in terms of facilities.
These mid-range motorhomes are without a doubt better equipped than the smaller class B campers vans. They come with toilets and showers meaning you don’t have to give up your comforts. This is important as for some people not having access to these things will quickly ruin a trip. They also have facilities like ovens which means you can cook like you are at home.
Class C campers have a range of interior designs allowing them to sleep between 2 and 6 people. This means that you will be able to find a van that perfectly suits your needs.
If you are a couple that want a fixed bed and lots of storage, then there’s a van for you. If you and 5 other friends want to go on an epic road trip, there will be a van to accommodate this.
These motorhomes often conform much better to standard campsite pitches. Some class A vans will be oversized and may end up paying more because of this. Class C campers are unlikely to have this issue, which will ultimately save you money.
Increasingly more people want to wild camp off grid. As a result, class C manufacturers are starting to produce vans equipped to do this. The features required to do this include larger water tanks, solar panels, and bigger leisure batteries. A class C motorhome could facilitate your wild camping aspirations.
Cons Of A Class C Camper
While they are smaller than class A vans, they are still large at an average of 6m long. This means you may have higher prices for things like toll roads, ferries, and parking. However, with careful planning a bit of prior research it is easy to factor these costs into your budget, so they aren’t a nasty surprise.
Class C campers won’t have the fuel efficiency of smaller camper vans. While it may not seem like that big of a deal, if you are planning to drive long distance then fuel economy will be very important. Newer vans will perform better in this area, due to lighter overall weight, but it still won’t be very comparable to a smaller van like a Transit connect.
Due to their popularity, they can cost as much as larger vehicles, particularly in Europe and the UK. Because these vans compromise so well on interior space and external size they are in high demand. This means the price of a new class C can sometimes be the same as a new class A. This is less true in the U.S.A because roads, campsites and well everything, is bigger so there’s more demand for class A campers.
These campers may require a category C1 licence to drive. The campers at the top end of the class exceed a MAM of 3,500 kg. As outlined earlier this will require you to take an additional test to drive these vehicles. With careful research this can mostly be avoided, although the new lighter vans will be more expensive.
That’s everything there is to know about class C campers. They are versatile and well equipped making them a fantastic choice for your first campervan or motorhome. Moreover, they compromise on the issues of interior versus exterior space to arguably position themselves as the best class of camper.
That’s the end of our series covering the three different classes of campervan. If this is the first post you have read have a look at our helpful guides covering class A and class B campers. Let us know what class camper you are going to go on an adventure in. Send us an email or an Instagram DM @tinyhomehub!