The smallest and cheapest are campervans and typical examples are Toyota Hiace or VW based and come as either high roofs or pop-tops. The Hiace is often the vehicle of choice for a campervan but it does suffer the disadvantage (when compared to a VW) of not having a "walk through" from the driver's cab and not being able to swivel the driver and passenger seats around for extra seating. Campervans are certainly the easiest to drive in terms of external size and parking space but suffer from a small amount of internal space. In most the bed has to be set up each night. However, even with the latter, there are degrees of difficulty - some manufacturers have a seat
that simply folds out with the flick of one lever, in others it's a case of removing tables, fitting the base and lifting and fitting cushions together. Give things like this good thought - if you are planning some serious long term travel, a campervan might be the cheapest way to do it but making the bed up every night, might become a very irritating chore. Somewhat larger in size are units built on Ford Transits, Mercedes Benz Sprinters, Fiat Ducatos or Ivecos. With these larger vans, mostly high roofs, the definition of campervan or motorhome becomes more blurry.
One definition that makes some sense, is if it has a shower and toilet cubicle, then it's a motorhome! Whatever they are called though, many people like these size vehicles because they are large enough to be comfortable and small enough to be easy to drive. In some designs, the bed has to be set up every night, but in others (usually with front swivelling seats), it can be left made up In some of the campervans and smaller motorhomes, there's sometimes a choice of motor - either petrol or turbo diesel. In larger rigs its turbo diesel or nothing. When there's a choice though, and you are planning on putting a few miles
on the clock, then turbo diesel is probably the preferred option.
Class AFurther up the length and cost scale are 'A' class motorhomes - often engineered on a purpose built motorhome or a truck chassis, they are more coach like in their looks and very comfortable and roomy inside. 'A' class motorhomes are certainly the most flexible in terms of design layout and almost all have a flat floor design, with swivelling driver and passenger seats forming an integral part of the front lounge area. Luxury is the word and the most common layout is a front lounge, mid-station kitchen and rear bedroom. The bathroom (not cubicle) is usually right at the rear or at the front end of the bedroom. Coaches and buses too are often used for motorhome conversions. All the seats are taken out and a total rebuild takes place. From that brief look it can be seen that there is something for every budget and taste in the motorhome world.
Class BThese motorhomes, also commonly known as van conversions, are the smallest fully enclosed motorhomes. They have a more streamlined look at the front and are usually constructed on a van chassis with elevated roof lines but no modifications to the length or width of the original chassis. Class B motorhomes generally weigh 2,700 kilos to 4,500 kilos and are around 5.2 to 6.4 metres in length. Light models might be on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter or Ford Transit chassis but heavier models with "island beds" are seen on Isuzu NPR 300, Ford Traders and similar. Although living space is limited, Class B motorhomes receive high marks for economy, versatility, and handling.
Class CThis type of motorhome is usually manufactured on a conventional truck cab and chassis such as the: Isuzu NPR, Mazda T4000 models and the Mitsubishi Canter. They are also built on commercial vehicles such as the: Ford Falcon, Holden Commodore, Toyota Hilux cab chassis and the Holden Rodeo. They range in weight from 4,500 to 5,400 kilograms and stretch from 6.2 to 9.6 metres in length.
The ‘C’ class motorhome has a section over the top of the cabin - termed a cab-over, which is commonly used for a double bed or converted to an entertainment unit. These motorhomes usually contain cooking facilities, a refrigerator, heating, air conditioning, a self-contained toilet, water, sinks, LPG gas supply and an 240v electrical system. 'C' class motorhomes often have a day/night lounge in addition to the cab-over bed. Location of the shower/cubicle varies too - can either be in the rear or along one side.
Slide-OnsIn a category of their own and certainly similar in size to campervans are slide-ons. These are designed to fit on the back of utes and tray top trucks. They do have the advantage of being able to be lifted off (demountable or detachable) should the truck be wanted for something else, but because of their design, they can be slightly top heavy and there is no walk-through to the cabin. They are however, great for ute and truck owners who like the off road scene but still want to be able to live in comfort!
In a little class of their own are small bus conversions. Toyota Coaster or Nissan Civilians are a popular and often economical choice because they mostly had a former life before being converted into a mid-sized motorhome. Conversion from a passenger bus or coach is a big job. The coaches have much more underfloor storage in the bins
than the buses. Some small buses are 20 - 24 ft, but their width is 8 ft - considerably wider than the Coaster/Mazda type. Big rigs are 36 - 40 ft and generally tow a car trailer. There are many in between sizes from 28 - 35 ft.
Fifth-WheelFifth-wheel trailers are similar to larger travel trailers, however, they have an extension on the front that extends over the tow vehicle and a horizontal plate that looks like a wheel (hence the name "fifth wheel") that rests on the tow vehicle for support. Typically, full-size pickup trucks serve as tow vehicles for fifth wheels and are outfitted with a fifth-wheel hitch (also known as a gooseneck hitch). The hitch arrangement makes towing easier by placing the trailer load in the centre of the tow vehicle instead of behind it. The extension on the front of the box also serves as a bedroom in most fifth wheels.