Why Do Class B RVs Cost So Much?

Class B RVs are more expensive than other RVs per square foot. But why is that? They certainly aren’t the largest RVs. The answer is complicated and might surprise you. Let’s take a look at what makes this class so expensive.

Class B RVs Are the Most Expensive Motorized RV 

Class B RVs are the most expensive motorized RV per square footage and sometimes the most expensive overall. But they’re also the smallest type of motorized RV. You might think that they’d cost less due to that. As it turns out, there are a variety of factors affecting the higher price. 

Why Do Class B RVs Cost So Much? 

There’s not one simple reason that class B RVs cost more than other motorized versions. Here are some of the top reasons these RVs cost so much. 

High Demand

Class B RVs are in high demand, and manufacturers don’t produce them en masse like other RVs, including other motorized RVs. They’re small, nimble, and get great gas mileage. High demand and lower supply means higher prices. 

Expensive Chassis and Build

Class B RVs sit on a van body. Some class B RVs, like the Winnebago Era, use the existing van body as a base. Other class B RVs, like the Airstream Atlas, sit on a cutaway van chassis. 

A cutaway chassis is a van that only has the cab and engine portion covered. The manufacturer builds the rest of the body on the bare chassis. This is an expensive process, and the cost of the chassis itself is more expensive than a mass-produced larger motorhome chassis. 

Labor Intensive Build Process; Highly Skilled Workers

Since these RVs are so small, building them requires highly skilled workers and a very labor-intensive process. Most class B RVs on the market today include luxury amenities, right down to the grain on the cabinets. That requires skilled workers using quality parts, and that doesn’t come cheap. 

Higher Automotive Safety Standards

According to Consumer Reports, class B vans are the safest choice for motorhomes. These RVs achieve higher automotive safety standards than larger motorized RVs. This is in part because of their van chassis and body. Class B RVs can include seatbelts for up to seven people and front and side airbags. Many times, class B RVs can seat more people than they can sleep. 

Packed with Luxury Aesthetics, Technology, and Furnishings

Class B RVs usually include luxury aesthetics, technology, and furnishings. There aren’t as many class B manufacturers as there are class C and A manufacturers. With fewer companies offering class B RVs, many of them are focused on luxury or off-grid travel. Both types of travel require more expensive components. Luxury components and tech always cost more than budget-priced motorhomes. 

Off-grid class B RVs like the Storyteller Overland come packed with features for off-road travel. The Beast Mode van by Storyteller costs just under $200,000 and includes features like a diesel heater, an induction cooktop, bug screens, solar power and inverter, a full shower, a water heater, and a lot more.

Best Gas Mileage in the Industry

There’s no doubt about this one: class B RVs have the best gas mileage of any other motorized RV. Class B RVs can get up to 20-25 mpg! Compared with the 6-10 mpg of a class A or 14-18 mpg of a class C, this is a really attractive feature. Better gas mileage doesn’t always mean a higher price. In the case of class B RVs, better gas mileage means higher demand, and that inflates the price. 

Is a Class B Motorhome Worth the Price? 

If you’re looking for a small and nimble RV that can fit in almost any parking space, has great gas mileage, and comes with luxury and off-grid features, it sounds like a class B RV is right up your alley. These small motorhomes are definitely worth the price if you’re looking for these specific features. However, if you want space, storage, and the ability to sleep several people, it might be hard to justify the price. 

How to Get the Best Price on a Class B Motorhome

If you want to get a class B RV without the expense, there are a few ways you can save. Let’s look at a few suggestions.

Shop Used

The best way to save money on a class B RV is to shop used. These RVs hold their value better than any other type of motorized RV, but you can still save on a used model. Use marketplaces like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and RV Trader to save money on a used RV. 

Shop During the Off-Season

If you’re shopping at dealerships, look for an RV during the off-season. This might mean traveling to a cold destination in the northern half of the U.S. during winter, but the savings could be worth it. RVs drop in price during the off-season because there isn’t as much demand. 

Go to an RV Show

If you want to get the best deal on a new RV, shop at an RV show. RV show prices typically trend lower than any other place. And anecdotal reports suggest that if you shop at an RV show on the last day, you’ll get an even better deal. If the dealers don’t sell, they have to transport the RVs back to the dealership. Cutting great deals on their remaining models saves them a ton of work. 

Negotiate with the Dealer

If you’re the negotiating type (and even if you aren’t), negotiating with the dealer or seller can help you get the best price on a new or used class B RV. Be prepared to walk away from the sale if the seller isn’t willing to find a middle ground.

Several Factors influence the Cost of Class B RVs

Class B RVs are more expensive than other motorized RVs due to a variety of reasons. The expensive chassis, high demand, and luxury amenities in class Bs all play a significant part in the high price. 

If a class B RV has what you need, it’s a worthwhile purchase. These RVs hold their value well and will last for years. However, if you’re looking for more space or a more budget-friendly RV, consider looking at other classes to find a better fit. Have you ever purchased a class B RV? How did you get a deal?

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