Luxury motorhome: Is it right for you?
If you have the budget and you want the very best that the motorhoming hobby has to offer, then you’re probably in the market for a luxury motorhome.
The term luxury motorhome usually refers to A-class motorhomes and big liners that are used for cruising and camping, rather than exploring cities and narrow lanes. These are mainly big vehicles often likened to ‘apartments on wheels’, offering a range of gadgets and luxurious touches to provide the owner with a real home from home.
However, this touch of luxury is reflected in the price with luxury A-class motorhomes usually starting around the £80,000 mark, while a liner will easily set you back more than £120,000.
As nice as an A-class can be, the ultimate in luxury is undoubtedly a liner, which is like the American recreational vehicle, or RV. Typical European manufacturers are Concorde and Morelo.
Here the challenge is to keep the weight under 7,500kg, which is the maximum weight that can be driven on a standard driving licence if you passed before 1997. For weights above this, a HGV licence is required. Click here to read more about driving licence restrictions on heavier motorhomes.
A liner represents the ultimate in luxury motorhomes because, with a much greater payload to play with, the interior furnishings start to resemble those from a domestic setting. So expect full-sized cookers, glass cabinets, ceramic toilets, large island beds, lots of lighting and plenty of entertainment with built-in, retractable TVs. You’ll get a large, comfortable lounge with high-quality leather covering and plenty of garage space.
In fact, many liners offer a huge garage into which not only scooters and motorbikes can go, but also small cars like a Smart Car or Fiat 500. For the really big liners that exceed the 7,500kg GVW, they can even come with slide-out panels for your sports car!
Other bonuses include having much larger water and waste tanks, typically 350-litres compared to around 120-litres on an A-class, and up to 200-litres in on-board gas tanks. Chassis suppliers for liners include Iveco with the Euro, MAN and Mercedes with the Atego.
There can be driving licence implications on luxury motorhomes, especially for liners, as the majority of these weigh in at over 3,500kg, averaging around 5-tonnes.
Although there are many A-class motorhomes available on a 3,500kg GVW, which means that they can be driven by anyone with a current driving licence, once you’ve added all of your extra equipment — like a satellite dish, solar panel, extra leisure batteries and so on, to up the luxury factor — then the GVW will probably need to be upgraded to 3,650, 3,800 or even 4,000kg.
In order to drive a motorhome weighing in at more than 3,500kg, you will need to take an extra qualifying test for category C1 entitlement unless your driving licence was issued before January 1, 1997. Click here for more information on motorhome driving licence limits.
- Larger, purpose-built cab
- Luxurious fixtures and furnishings
- More equipment
- Better insulation
- Liners have masses of space
- Top quality beds
- More water tank capacity
- Often have huge payloads
- Sleeker looking than a coachbuilt.
The difference between a luxury motorhome and a regular coachbuilt motorhome starts up front with the cab. An A-class and liner cab area has a lot more space than the confines of a coachbuilt cab because the entire body from the dashboard back (and often the dashboard) is built as one by the motorhome manufacturer, on a commercial vehicle chassis. This combined cab and body gives the A-class a neater, more refined look. It also makes for better thermal insulation. However, bear in mind that A-classes generally only have one cab door.
A modestly sized A-class, at 7m or under, won’t necessarily have any more internal space than a coachbuilt motorhome, but it will generally have a superior build quality and be more likely to have a double-insulated floor that makes it suitable for wintry conditions.
A particularly lengthy A-class will, like an equivalent coachbuilt, have an extra set of wheels at the back to help take the load. This is a tag axle and helps with the stability of the vehicle.
Most A-class motorhomes are made by European manufacturers, which offer everything from relatively compact models with a drop-down bed over the cab, to 8m-plus vehicles with fixed beds at the rear that are more like something you’d get at home. Click here for our guide to motorhome layouts.
Chassis are supplied by Fiat, Iveco and Mercedes, though you’ll pay a premium if you’re keen on the Mercedes option.
The 8m plus A-class is certainly likely to be the most luxurious with that extra space and weight allowance being used for things like a tall, capacious fridge, upmarket rear bedroom with a full-height wardrobe, plenty of kitchen work surface and a better-equipped shower and washroom.
- Payload may not be enough on a 3,500kg chassis
- More expensive to purchase and run
- Poor fuel consumption
- Liners much less manoeuvrable
- Too large for some campsites
- Ferries, toll roads and tunnels will cost more to use
- A-classes only have one cab door.
If the A-class is relatively small, there’s a tendency to not offer a lot of payload, so if you load your luxury motorhome up with extras, any payload you have can rapidly disappear. Once the GVW exceeds 3,500kg then there are driving licence issues, as mentioned above.
An A-class motorhome tends to be more expensive than the same layout on a coachbuilt and certainly the more luxurious the fittings, the more it will cost. Because the A-class shape is more box-like it is less aerodynamic, which means it's more prone to suffer from buffeting from side winds.
The suspension can make the A-class feel more wallowy compared to a low-profile coachbuilt, although many now come with (or can be specified with) air suspension. The bigger the motorhome, the worse the fuel consumption, too. When it comes to liners, the miles per gallon can be in single figures, making them very expensive to run.
A liner, being a much larger vehicle, is correspondingly more tricky to drive around town and is not suited to narrow country lanes so there’s less exploring to be done. Parking will have to be in coach parking spots, although an A-class motorhome can get away with using two car spots and paying for two tickets.
Another issue for A-class motorhomes is that the majority come from European manufacturers so the driving position is originally on the left. Even after it’s switched over to the right, you can get A-class motorhomes where the electric window is on the left and there’s only a slide back window for the driver, or where there isn’t actually a door on the right-hand side at all. For both A-class and liners, the cab is also in an elevated position, so it’s harder, especially for older motorhomers, to get up into the cab.
A final consideration is that you need to have somewhere secure to store your luxury motorhome, as it could be a very tempting target for thieves. Either ensure you have enough space and room to secure on your own property or look into a Cassoa accredited motorhome storage facility for when you aren’t using it.
Take a look at the selection of luxury A-class motorhomes and liners currently for sale in our online Motorhomes for Sale section.
Now you have a better understanding of luxury motorhomes — and pros and cons of A-class motorhomes and luxury liners — check out our ultimate guide to buying a motorhome. If you’re looking to upsize and need to sell your current motorhome, read our ultimate guide to selling your motorhome.
Decided a luxury motorhome isn't right for you? Check out our guide to choosing the perfect type and size of motorhome for you.