Finding the perfect RV is no easy task and if you are in the market for an affordable class A diesel, well the options are greater than ever!
Which is why we created this RV Shopper Series in an effort to help. We’re not experts but we are full-time RV’ers and sometimes all you want is an experienced friend to go shopping with you. So settle in as we take you through four of the best-selling, new and most popular small(ish) Class A Diesel RV’s on the market.
In this episode we’ve selected what we found to be the best sellers, new-to-the-market and most popular “small” diesel motorhomes. We were focused on what the RV industry calls the entry level or affordable (under $260,000) and smaller (under 40ft) coaches which is how we ended up with the particular models in the video. It’s a darn shame 35′ is considered “small” but that’s just the current RV market.
There are a lot of options out there and we couldn’t, and don’t want to, try and cover every diesel RV. We hope our likes and dislikes help give you an idea of what we look for when shopping for an RV. If you’re in the market for a similar rig you may also want to consider the Newmar Ventana or Winnebago Forza as an alternative option. If you want to go even smaller you could look at our Excursion 33d or the Tiffin Allegro Breeze 32BR; sadly there’s not too many options out there for a sub 33 foot diesel pusher RV.
We did our best to feature 4 similar coaches for this smackdown and here are the results from our shopping experience, listed in order of our personal favorite to least favorite RV:
- Holiday Rambler Ambassador 3 thumbs up
- Fleetwood Excursion 3 thumbs up
- Tiffin Allegro RED 2.5 thumbs up
- Thor Palazzo 1.5 thumbs up
Who is this RV made for?
We feel the entry level diesel coach is made for the traveler who is looking for the power and amenities that comes with a high end coach at a more affordable price point. You’ll find these RVs are fairly basic in design and finish and can sleep multiple people. Remember, buying an RV is an extremely personal experience, so our least favorite may end up being your top choice based on your needs and wants, and by no means are we trying to “diss” any of these rigs.
What to look for when shopping for this type of RV.
- GVWR, GCVWR, GVWR, OCCC – All these acronyms add up to provide EXTREMELY valuable information about your RV: how much stuff you can carry; how much towing capacity you have; how much water you can load into your tank. Make sure you ask for this info on each RV you consider purchasing.
- Inverter – Some of these RVs come with a puresine wave inverter, a huge bonus if you plan on running expensive electronics while wild camping or boondocking.
- Batteries – It’s doubtful that the factory battery bank for the house batteries will be large enough to power your rig for more than a day. If you want to boodock or wild camp you’ll most likely need to add more batteries and solar or plan on running your generator for several hours per day.
- Residential Fridge – Most of these RVs have the option for a residential or an RV fridge. With a residential fridge you should get a larger battery bank to help power the fridge, it still won’t be enough power to camp without plugging in. We love our residential fridge but we could use an additional 200ah of battery (we currently have 464ah in our RV).
- Tank Capacities – Make sure you understand the fresh, grey and black tank carrying capacities of each RV, it will vary between manufacturers, models and floor plans.
- General Build quality – Take note of the quality of the things you’ll use daily such as windows, storage bays, entry door, cabinets, bed, bathroom, faucets, sinks, fridge, seating comfort, A/C, heater, awning, etc.
- Horsepower & Torque – Sure horsepower makes a difference, but ±20 HP will barely be noticeable. In the diesel world its torque that will make or break a coach, so keep an eye on this number as you compare RVs.
How much should I expect to pay?
It’s difficult to translate the MSRP into the “Street Price” you might expect to pay. If you haven’t checked out our Shady Truth about Buying an RV video, you will want to. We dish on our hard learned lessons and tips on finding the best price.
A few additional things to keep in mind.
- There are a lot of options and it’s a big purchase, so take your time and choose the best layout and size for your needs.
- Make a list with your budget, top wants & needs then stick to it.
- Once you have narrowed down your choices, gather all the specs and do a side by side comparison on paper. Sometimes you’ll notice glaring pluses or minus to a coach this way. Do everything in your power to see both models side-by-side, or at least back-to-back if you have to visit separate dealerships.
If you have questions, comments or have personal experience with one of these RVs please share with us in the comment box below. We would love to hear some of your top likes and dislikes. We know the search can be exciting and exhausting at the same time but we hope this RV shopper series helps with your new motorhome search, even if it’s just a little.
Disclaimer – Of course we’re generalizing with a lot of this information, but by sharing our experiences we hope it helps others target which RV is right for their needs. These are all our opinions so take ‘em for what they’re worth and then do more research! The different RV dealerships didn’t compensate us nor are we affiliated in any way but we are thankful they let us tromp around and film in their RV’s. None of the RV manufactures featured here compensated us either. All opinions expressed are our own and based on our RV’ing experience. At the time of filming we traveled in a Fleetwood Excursion.