Buying A Motorhome: How Is A Class A RV Worth It?

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Class A RVs provide unrivaled luxury and allow you to take your home along for the ride. If you plan to hit the open road, Class A RVs make a superb choice with their spacious living area and added comforts. So, how much is a Class A motorhome going to cost?

Unsurprisingly, Class A RVs carry a hefty price tag. For an entry-level Class A, prices start at $100,000 and continue upward to $1.5M and beyond. One of the most expensive on the market has a starting price of $3 million.

motorhome price guide

To help understand this luxury market, we have researched all the costs associated with owning one of these impressive machines. We will look at the day-to-day expenses of owning a Class A RV, including depreciation. What it costs to rent a Class A RV and whether all this luxury is worth the cost.

What Is the Average Class A Cost RV by Type?

Used

Prices for used RVs vary dramatically. Reasons include:

  • There is an enormous choice of different RV models available. For example, some floor plans are more desirable than others and hold their price better.
  • Different manufacturers produce varying degrees of quality.
  • The initial cost when the RV was new.
  • How well maintained it is.
  • Time of year you purchase. Used RVs can be more expensive during or immediately before the vacation periods when demand increases.
Number of YearsPrice
1 – 5 years old$70,000 to $260,000
5 – 10yrs old$70,000 to $120,000
15 – 20yrs old $20,000 – $40,000

Class A RVs are available for less since they hold their value, provided they are drivable and dry.

New

The list above also applies to new Class A motorhomes.

These RVs look more like buses and are the most extensive and well-equipped.

A new Class A motorhome costs from $100,000 to above $3M. However, the most popular models range from $100,000 to $350,000. Models above $500,000 are still quite common.

Rental

The high initial purchase price of Class A motorhomes does reflect in the rental price. Other factors include:

  • Size of motorhome you rent. Bigger equals more expensive to buy, therefore, more costly to rent.
  • Your age, experience driving a large vehicle, and endorsements you have.
  • Age of the rental vehicle.
  • How many miles do you wish to travel? Some rentals only allow a certain number of miles per week.
  • Time of year you rent. Seasonal holidays and popular festivals are busy and in high demand, therefore, more expensive.
  • Price will increase by adding extras, such as bikes, GPS, bedding, and pets.

Costs relating to additional deep cleaning and damages will be taken from the security deposits, increasing the overall cost of the rental.

Rentals do not include the costs of campgrounds.

Expect to pay around $300 per night and $2000 per week for one up to 5 years old. Price reduces with older motorhomes and ranges from about $250 per night to $1500 per week.

Rental can prove excellent value compared to ownership, especially if you only manage to use it once or twice a year.

How Much Is a Class A RV According to Popular RV Manufacturers?

The RV industry is enormous in the US, selling over 600,000 RV types in 2021. Class A motorhomes makeup around 15,500 of that figure, with about 80% of those manufactured by just four companies.

  • Thor Industries own:
  • Entrega
  • Jayco
  • Thor Motor Coach
  • Tiffin
  • Rev Group own:
  • American Coach
  • Fleetwood RV
  • Holiday Rambler
  • Forest River own:
  • Forest River
  • Coachman
  • Winnebago own:
  • Winnebago Class
  • Newmar

Thor Industries is the largest of the popular brands. Their Class A motorhome average prices cover the lower-end, with the Jayco Class and Thor Motor Coach average costs around $200,000 – $240,000. Entraga and Tiffin are at the exclusive end of Thor Industries’ portfolio, meaning their RV average price is higher.

Rev Group makes Fleetwood Class and Holiday Rambler with average prices of around $400,000 – $420,000. American Coach has a higher average cost of about $700,000.

Forest River manufactures two brands of Class A RV. Coachman averages around $170,000, and the Forest River RV prices around $300,000.

Winnebago manufactures the Newmar and Winnebago Classes. Newmar is around $450,000, with Winnebago around $230,000.

What Other Costs You Will Incur When Owning a Class A RV?

As with many big-priced items, there are many one-off and ongoing expenses

Here is a list of RV costs and what they mean.

Insurance Fee

Car owners know the importance of insurance against accidents and protecting the asset’s value and third parties, which is a legal obligation.

RV insurance is unique, consisting of vehicle and home insurance. 

  • RV insurance includes everything you put in it, such as kitchen equipment, outdoor equipment, personal possessions, clothes, etc.
  • When opting for comprehensive insurance, market value or new vehicle value could significantly affect the money you receive in the case of a total right off.
  • There is the option to include electronic equipment, computers, televisions, cameras, and other high-value items, along with vehicle modifications outside the original vehicle spec.

Insurance companies calculate your premium using a combination of what you want to insure and the number of days you will use your RV.

Full-time insurance will cost more than occasional use.

Ask for discounts. 

  • No claims
  • Clean license
  • You may qualify for loyalty discounts if you have other policies with them.
  • Non-smoker
  • Any security devices fitted, alarms or trackers attract more favorable premiums.

Sales Tax

The sticker price excludes sales tax when purchasing a Class A motorhome. Sales tax is a fact of life no one likes. The matter is hindered further by the media’s suggestion on how to avoid paying the additional $15,000. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Each state has a different rate of sales tax. The range is from zero in Montana to the highest sales tax rate of 8.775% in Kansas.

Delivery Fee

The US is vast, and the likelihood is the perfect RV is somewhere else in the country. Delivery prices vary and can be expensive. You have a couple of options. Collect the RV and make the trip a vacation or accept the additional delivery cost.

The best scenario is for your dealer to include delivery in the RV price

If the screen price includes delivery, it will have been pre-loaded. If not, ask them for recommendations and get several quotes

Dealer Title

Title, known as proof of ownership. Your dealer will handle this as part of the sale. If not, check the rules and fees with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Check the vehicle is free to be transferred before paying; for example, no outstanding loans.

You will need the following:

Registration Fee

Each state requires proof of minimum levels of insurance. All require bodily injury and property damage included.

Registration fees differ for each state, but the process is easy in person or online. The cost is relatively inexpensive.

For an accurate assessment, check at your local vehicle registration office.

RV Storage

RV owners will need storage of some description for their new Class A motorhome. Great if you are fortunate enough to have storage space on your property. If not, a secure and safe storage space near your property or where you most use your motorhome is necessary.

Considerations when choosing a storage space:

  • Security at the storage yard is paramount. A Class A motorhome is the most expensive class to own. 
  • Space at the compound is essential, not just to fit the vehicle but also to maneuver it without the risk of knocks. It is the biggest class available. You may need extra space to accommodate slide-outs.
  • Rodents. Check the fine print of the storage agreement for rodent control. Although nothing is guaranteed, some sort of rodent control helps to reduce the risk.
  • Access can be essential for continued enjoyment. Restrictions limiting to only certain times or 24hr notice before arrival sound sensible with security in mind. However, they can be frustrating for those last-minute decisions.
  • Fulltime or off-season storage. Some yards will prefer full-time storage and will give priority to full-time paying guests.

Generators

Depending on how you want to use your recreational vehicle may mean a generator is required. Motorhome manufacturers cram your Class A RV with all the amenities and luxury features, and your RV battery bank may not be adequate

The solutions include:

  • Only visit places with full utilities on your camping trip.
  • A generator could be required if your perfect RV lifestyle involves going off the beaten track and off-grid. Be aware they will need storage space.
  • Take into account the electrical equipment onboard when purchasing a suitable-sized generator. Include the power awning in the calculation.

Spare Tire

Not all RVs tend to come with a spare tire. Therefore, consider buying a spare tire before traveling. 

Battery

Excessive work shortens a battery’s life span. To avoid replacing it prematurely, either add additional batteries or be aware of the power usage of your onboard systems.

Propane Tanks

Propane usage varies, and regular propane tank fill-ups might be necessary.

A few tips to help reduce propane usage can be:

  • Use electricity if hooked up to provide hot water and heat.
  • A residential fridge powered by electricity is far more economical in power usage and more efficient in warm weather. RV propane fridges use a lot of propane and struggle to maintain the temperature in warmer conditions.

Price Per Mile

Most RV enthusiasts know that gas mileage is going to be poor. RV ownership is about enjoyment, and a Class A RV is one of the biggest and most uneconomical on the market. Fuel costs will be high.

Class A motorhomes with diesel engines expect to achieve 7 – 12 mpg.

A gas-powered Class A motorhome will achieve about 6 – 10 mpg.

Although a gas-powered RV is more economical than an RV powered on diesel fuel, the cost of diesel may cancel that out as diesel is more expensive than gasoline.

RV Park Fees

When heading out, always include the costs of campgrounds when working out the overall cost of your trip.

RV park fees are an integral part of the RV lifestyle. It is possible to reduce these fees by avoiding busy periods or joining clubs that provide favorable fees to members.

Motorhome Class A Maintenance Costs

Maintenance for a Class A motorhome is much the same as any other RV cost, such as fifth wheels or travel trailers.

Protecting watertight integrity is essential. Water is the enemy of your Class A RV.

When buying a used RV, whether a Class B motorhome, Class C RV or any other travel trailer, get it inspected before you buy, including a new RV. An independent NRVIA inspector will give you the peace of mind the RV cost is worth the price.

Other RV maintenance costs include:

  • Check the propane system for leaks and safe operation of all propane equipment and gas stop valves.
  • Check all alarms for safe operation. Carbon monoxide is the silent killer.
  • Fire fighting equipment is in date and charged.
  • Check electrical outlets, inverters, and generators are all working correctly.
  • Ensure you have a surge protector. You can’t always be sure of the supply. It could save thousands in repairs.
  • Check the water system for leaks and ensure the pump is working.
  • Walk around outside and check the bodywork for cracks and window seals. Cleaning helps to keep an eye on the condition.
  • Always have an annual service when required.
  •  Look inside, including in those difficult-to-reach arrears, for any signs of water damage. Spongy walls could indicate water ingress.
  • Check tire pressures regularly.

If the list sounds daunting, get a professional they are always worth the cost.

Depreciation

Your RV will depreciate, but how much will be determined by many things:

  • Did you buy new 
  • Is it a popular floorplan
  • How well you negotiated when you bought
  • Have you looked after it well
  • Age and mileage
  • A sought-after manufacturer makes the RV.

Taking all the above into consideration, a rough guide for depreciation is as follows:

Buying new is always going to depreciate the quickest. On average, in the first year, expect to lose around 20%.

Year two is relatively static, with around 2 – 3%.

Each year following, expect to lose about 5% per year.

A ten-year-old Class A RV will have lost around 60% of its new price.

The depreciation will continue similarly until reaching a few thousand dollars, where it will stay as long as it remains working and dry inside.

Pro Tip: These figures may appear frightening at face value, but any RV class would never be an investment. Depreciation is just another RV cost.

Is a Class A RV Worth It?

Owning an RV is about adventure. The more you use it, the more cost-effective it becomes. An RV can provide all your vacation needs instead of saving hard all year for one family trip. 

However, the answer to the question is subjective and easily answered both ways.

If cost is an issue, then no must surely be the answer. But if an RV is about the experience and the lifestyle more than the cost, it is worth it.

Check Out Is A Class A Motorhome Worth It? (RV Living Full Time):

Tips in Shopping a Class A RV

Most people pay significantly more than they should because RV dealers mark up the price by around 30%. Compare prices from other dealers and use the information when negotiating

Be prepared to walk away, don’t fall in love with one. The salesperson will see it. They are good at their job.

Have the ones you like inspected, even new ones. Pre-delivery inspections are in-house and need to be more thorough. 

Buy a used Class A RV. The most cost-effective ages are one to two years old.

Ensure the seller has all the correct paperwork, including the maintenance history.

What is the mileage? Most people concentrate on high mileage, but Class A’s have a truck chassis, and engine, so hard work is not an issue. However, it could mean the motorhome has been used and could show signs of general tiredness.

Excessively low mileage has its problems too. Trucks sitting around for months on end have their issues. Is the oil old and ineffective, or have all the joints sat without moving around? Get a mechanic to check for low-use related problems.

Check that everything works as it should. Spend time looking underneath and in everything for signs of wear. If, for whatever reason, the seller is reluctant to let you or keeps you distracted from looking properly, walk away.

Related Questions

How Much Does a Small Class A RV Cost?

Smaller RVs are generally less expensive than their bigger cousins. You may find 5yr old one for around $50,000.

How Much Does a Campervan Cost?

A campervan or Class B motorhomes are significantly cheaper than a Class A motorhome. They can be as much as half a Class A.

How Much Is a Big RV?

It will reflect in the cost if you are looking for an RV with plenty of kitchen countertop space, double sinks, a king-sized bed, and a large bathroom. Expect to pay around $300,000 – $400,000.

How Much Does a Luxury RV Cost?

These RVs can have no upper limit. For a luxury RV, look at spending $700,000 – $1M.

Bottom Line

The lifestyle an RV offers is excellent and provides endless opportunities to explore. However, a Class A RV is the most expensive, with many ongoing costs.

If you use your RV frequently, it will bring down the overall cost of ownership. Regular use will take the sting out of depreciation. 

Rent first to ensure the style and floorplan suit your needs.

Your budget will be vital in choosing a new or used motorhome. A used one could save thousands.

Even with all these considerations, out-on-the-road vacations are often much cheaper than hotels.

There is only one thing left to do. Choose your preferred type of RV and explore in a way that only the open road offers you.

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Written by William Perry
William was born and raised in the United States and currently lives in Utah. A retired police officer, he is the father of three and grandfather of six. Along with writing, he enjoys traveling, the outdoors, reading and spending time with his grandchildren.
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