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Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf is a big toy store for RV nerds like me… and the world’s biggest toy store at that. And like any kid in a toy store, I found it easy to get distracted and overwhelmed, and start running back and forth from one end of the mile-long show to the other dragging mom (Stef) behind and demanding ice cream.
But after the initial “shock and awe” wore off, I decided to put together something that shows typical rigs from each of the classes of RV that our readers might recognize – and from one class that they won’t. The result is this video:
The clip pretty well speaks for itself. You’ll see typical rigs from Classes A, B, and C, and you can form your own opinions about those.
But it’s the fourth type – the class that’s missing here in North America – that I want to talk about in more detail. Technically, by RVIA standards, this would be a Class C. At the show, we saw this being referred to as a “Compact”. So let’s call it:
“The Compact C”
What I’m going to do now is to outline some of the features of the Compact C, and try to convince you why it’s awesome. If you agree, then we can all start bugging our North American RV manufacturers to build one.
- The Compact C is built on a cab chassis, like a regular Class C, but it is NO WIDER and NO LONGER than the Class B counterpart that would be built on the same chassis. In fact, the Compact C you see in the video is actually *shorter* than our current class B, Lance. What this means is that the Compact C enjoys 100% of the maneuverability of the class B. There is no B/C tradeoff here. They are identical in their ability to get into parking spaces, tight corners, parallel parking, etc.
- Since the RV manufacturer is making the walls ceiling and floor of the Compact C, they can all be much better insulated than a class B. The walls we saw were vacuum bonded with insulation inside of them.
- They could also have double floors, providing an air space for wiring, plumbing, and ductwork below while keeping the interior warmer. Most models we saw also had heated garages.
- There are no automotive bits, ribs, supports, or channels to work around in the Compact C. So things like giant garages, elevated beds, square man-doors, double-paned acrylic windows are all much easier to include in the design.
- The Compact C can be taller than a regular class B. Tall people rejoice! Besides allowing more headroom, this means bigger showers, and additional space above elevated beds.
- Square walls make it easier to mount deeper cabinets, and generally make the rig feel much more spacious inside. Even though the length and width are the same as a class B, you can’t mistake the feeling that the Compact C is just “bigger”.
- Unlike a B van, a Compact C has a gear garage! For RVers like us who haul gear and toys (like bikes!) and who also want to stay small, a gear garage would be awesome.
- Since they can be built as a traditional Class C (rather than everything being carried in through the doors like a class B), they should be less expensive to build.
- And maybe this is just because I spend so much time up there, but I like that you can walk on the roof of a Compact C without denting it!
The only possible negatives I see with the Compact C are the inability to go “stealth” and the potential to hit lower hanging branches. As far as “stealth”, I’d argue that a typical North American class B isn’t stealth in the first place, so you’re not losing anything. But the greater vehicle height is something that you’d just have to get used to.
So what do you think? Am I off my rocker here? Stef and I would love to see someone build and offer this class of RV on this side of the Atlantic. If you agree with me (or even if you don’t), sound off in the comments below!