Mini Motorhomes are… Motorhomes

Mini motorhomes are relative, size-wise. If you live in the US and you start your comparison from a 14m (45 foot) Class A motorhome, a motorhome built on a truck chassis could be classed as “mini”. But when live in New Zealand and your starting point is a vehicle based on an Isuzu or Mitsubishi chassis, or something of similar size, “mini” is what we call a campervan – something the size of a Toyota HiAce, Mitsubishi Spacevan or similar. It all depends on where you come from…

But back to the topic at hand. The term “mini-motor home” simply refers to what in North America, we’d call a C Class motorhome. And we’re investigating them because a motorhome that’s built on a truck chassis is about the right size for us.

So, where do we find out about Class C motorhomes? One of our “source sites” for information and guidance is Jim’s and it suits us to use it because he deals specifically with mini motorhomes. His advice is genuine, based on his own experience and for us that helps a lot.

Why are Mini Motorhomes right for us?

First, for where we want to go and what we want to do, a Class A motorhome is just too big. Too big to ship, too low to the ground for the poor roads we expect to meet in our travels. Too big to travel unobtrusively. Can you imagine the border crossings…?

Then there are, of course, our chassis requirements. We need to keep the overall length between 7.5 and 9 metres, that’s between 24 and 29 feet. But we, naturally enough, want to keep as many as possible of the creature comforts we find in a Class A motorhome. Another way of keeping these creature comforts is to move to an off-road fifth wheeler. Our investigations can be found here.

As alluded to in our section on motorhome dealers, having a separate truck cab-chassis clearly separates the base vehicle servicing and warranty from the motorhome cabin, the part we will live in. Having a purpose-built truck chassis means that we can have sensible conversations with motorhome body builders about weight, storage, height and so forth largely because we’ve already sorted out the ground-clearance and power issues. It is also important to separate the cab-chassis from the motorhome cabin when assessing the base vehicle dealer network.

Finally, the fact that a Class C motor home, or mini motor home, is a recreational vehicle built on a cut-away van or truck chassis, including the cab, means that we can separate driving comfort from living comfort. Many Class C motor homes in the US are roughly the size and shape of rental moving trucks. In New Zealand and Australia, we tend to follow the European and Japanese handling and styling so hopefully we’ll find one that drives better than said removal van.

While many truck-based motor homes have a bed over the cab, that thing that looks like an eyebrow in some cases, we’re keen to use that as storage space and keep the overall height below our preferred limit, ideally to fit inside a high-cube shipping container.

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