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Larger or Shorter A-Class? Advice from owners please


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Hello there,

Me & my wife are retiring within the next two years, and we are planning to buy an A-Class motorhome over 7.5m, with garage for two scooters, or maybe Electric bicycles, not sure yet on that one,

we are planning to do the whole of Europe and maybe further afield, two months touring, then rest a month and repeat again.

We did see and like one, but it was more like a large coach, way too large for some places we plan to visit.


I would like to hear advance from those that have A Class vans, reason I ask is because I don’t want to waste a lot of money for something which is ether too big to take anywhere, or too small that we would need a rest afterwards.

i.e. Could you have done with larger or smaller van? Was it too big or too small, did you have problems with ferries or campsites?

In your eyes what would have been the just right van if there is such a thing?


I hope all this makes sense, but time is getting shorter now, and I still can’t decide.


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The biiger the better in terms of home comforts but the maximum size you might choose is a matter of:


1 What you are comfortable driving and where you will be touring - Cornwall might be challenging for a long MH for example.


2 Whether you are happy paying the extra ferry costs of a longer vehicle - only significant if you do multiple trips


3 Potentially extra toll charges for roads too, especially if you go for twin rear axles or height over 3 metres - which can almost double toll charges in some cases


4 With length comes weight, so does your licence cover a MH over 3500 kg?


5 Longer MHs sometimes have very long rear overhangs, which might limit manoeuvrability and prohibit a towbar, so always check towing capacity if you plan to do it.


6 Some campsites limit the length they will take - for example Camping & Caravanning Club limit to 8m on normal pitches and charge extra for larger ones. Many foreign pitches are smaller and even 7m might be too tight.


Personally I don't mind driving a larger/longer vehicle and in a 7m MH we've only once encountered a pitch we couldn't squeeze into in 12 years.



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Our motorhome is 8.8m long, 3.6m high and weighs 6 tonne. Been to Morrocco, Turkey. North Norway, Estonia and everywhere in between. We have a 125 motorbike and 2 electric bikes in the garage. I doubt you will get any motorhome that will take 2 scooters in the garage


Plenty of room

Plenty storage

Plenty water 300 litres

Separate shower which we use every day even when on a site.

Plenty Battery power We have 530 amps of power so no problems on rallies and can use the inverter

Holds an enormous amount of booze on way home Last time we had 63 litres in wine boxes before we got to bottles of wine and spirits



Height Sometimes struggle on continental campsites where trees(shade) are too low to get onto pitch

Height Climbing up into it as we get older 72 & 76

Height Doesn't like windy days

Storage Because there's a lot of storage we carry a lot of junk we MIGHT need

MPG 18.75mpg over 7 years of ownership


Is this van for everyone? Definitely not. Our friends think we are stupid but in the 7.5 years we have owned this van they have had 6 vans which just tells us they keep buying the wrong one..

We never use toll roads so that's not a problem

Ferry prices vary but they are not that much more expensive unless you are taking one of the long ones to Spain. Probably get penalised more the height than the length


What suits me doesn't suit you so you have to decide what your must haves are and go with that. We are keeping this large van until we stop doing long European tours and then we will downsize.. We have enough motorised power in the garage which allows us to visit places from a campsite





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At 6.5 Mtrs ours was able to fit in almost anywhere plus our parking at home was decisive in our choice. We never had any extras and therefore had all the space needed to almost 'live separately'.

Our travels were always associated with cycling groups where we used their cycles. I made a visit to a M/C club in South Africa and was loaned a bike for a week. Have you considered motorcycling clubs who may offer the same


Would I have gone larger ... yes but our personal limitations prevented this.



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Hi thank you for your reply,


1: upto 7.5 ton, plan to go everywhere.


2: will be away months at a time.


3: not going for twin axles and will stay under 3 metres, because want to maximize where we can go.


4: yes.


5: no towbar.


6: thinking 7.5 metre or not much over.

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Thank you for your reply.


well I hope we can keep going when we get to that age, that is what I hope for, for at least 10 years traveling.

that length is too long I think for me, and height, I would like to stay below 3 metres.


wont be using toll roads much because we want to see everything and wont be in a rush.


we want a motorhome with home comforts, beds important, but under 8 metres, and to visit places from the campsite, hence the bikes.

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The only reason we don’t want too large motorhome, is listening to others saying certain ferries have a limit on size (Island hopping), same for campsites (twin axles, churning up the soil when turning) but that don’t seem to be the case for you.

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Travelbob - 2019-01-14 3:00 PM




The only reason we don’t want too large motorhome, is listening to others saying certain ferries have a limit on size (Island hopping), same for campsites (twin axles, churning up the soil when turning) but that don’t seem to be the case for you.


Do they have buses on an island?

Do they get their deliveries from mainland by truck?


Yes to both so you can go in any size motorhome.



Yes could be a problem but I have never been refused. However I have turned down sites because they wanted to charge me more because of the length but refused to give me a discount for not using their toilet block


You want to stay under 7.5 metres so you are probably going to buy a front wheel drive Fiat which will limit your gross weight and therefore your payload which translates to not being able to carry everything you need/want for your long trips.

Motorhoming is all about compromises which is why there are so many vans to choose from.

Good luck especially if this is your first purchase. If I was you starting out again I would join The Motorcaravanners Club and go to some of your local Group rally and talk to the members about their vans and they will gladly show you round their van. If you have a particular van/model in mind you could phone any Group Secretary who should be able to tell you if a member has that particular model




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7.5m single rear axle? check the payload and then check it again. I think you may struggle with rear axle payload with a scooter in a large garage and all the rest of your long term touring requirements. I have a 7.5m tag and have never had any issues on campsites abroad. I have always paid class 2 on peage(it's more about height 3m).
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Being over 70, Can you drive over 3500 ton?

If Not then you are likely to have a problem with payload with a 7+ mtre MH

We had a 6.2 mtere van and that had plenty of room for us to travel away for 3 months at a time. The layout is best considered , if only 2 of you, why do need a large van?

We only toured in Summer , so a lot of time spent outside the van. We did not have bikes, but could have had lightweight ones if we needed to



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I'm on my third A-class in 18 years; the first was just over 6m and took us touring abroad for three weeks as a family of four quite easily, the second was 6.3m long and primarily was used in the UK for two of us - too big. Our current one is 6m. and out first garage motorhome and the first time we've had to address axle overloading. One thing we do not have with our current A-class is room to stretch out - we had oodles in the 6.3m so layout is important. Some people like personal space so the smaller you go, the less of that you have and within two months with my wife [or vice versa], I think it'd be necessary.


Competence and confidence can determine the size of the vehicle. I wouldn't go below 7m for what you intend doing, I'd ensure the rear axle loading is sufficient for what you propose and you have the licence, and I wonder why you are buying an A-class, especially as you don't want to waste a lot money.


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If you want to go over 3.5 T and NOT have a Tag axle then IMO I think you need to be looking at Rear Wheel Drive! Options are Mercedes, Iveco and possibly Ford.


Whilst out AT is not an A class it is 6.5 m long, exactly 3 m high and built on a Sprinter chassis plated to 3,800 kg with a very usable rear axle limit of 2,240 kg. We have used it for trips up to 5 weeks without ever feeling cramped or on top of each other, but to us the selling feature is the fixed bed. It means one or other of us can retire before the other and we do not have to clear things away and rearrange seating and cushions to retire at night.


I agree with trying to keep to a sensible size but feel you should not restrict your search to A class models.



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Thankyou for your reply, plan to almost continuously use for ten years or if lucky longer, chance of leaking with coachbuilt motorhomes, not so much with A Class, less the tress the better.


don't want to waste money on something too small or too large, then having to sell and buy another, so want to hear from all those that have the experience.

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Bob, as many have said, it is each to their own. We had a 7.5m A class, but often found this too big - it had a particularly big overhang - and we now have a 6m A class that we are very happy with.


It depends on how you are going to use the vehicle. We don't want to tow a car, and being on a bicycle on some continental roads can be a challenge (Italy in particular, and we gave up in Sicily). So we wanted a van that we were happy to go out in for day trips, and with only a small overhang for ferries. Let me split this in two: we have been on continental ferries (Italy, Greece) where they take you up several loading floors on steep ramps, and we saw lots of motorhomes and caravans 'scraping their backsides'. We didn't. Secondly, John Hunter is right that you can take a motorhome of any size on many island hoppers, but thinking of Scotland in particular, there are lots of small island ferries that operate from fixed concrete quays and when the tide is low you might be hard pressed to get a long motorhome on board without scraping the backside - and it's not always a pretty sight.


We tend to move around quite a lot, stay at a campsite for 4-5 nights, and go out on day trips every other day. We find that the 6m A class parks in a normal parking slot, and it goes anywhere - including Cornwall. We also go away for months at a time, and never feel cramped, but as has been pointed out, you need to be disciplined (and ruthless) about what you take.


Someone mentioned that you would be restricted to 3500kg and mentioned a problem with rear axle loading. You might want to look at the Laika A class. Unlike many other makes, all of their A class vehicles are built on H43 Heavy chassis which not only gives you a higher (and nicer) driving position, but gives you much higher axle loading weights. Even our 6m van is on a heavy chassis, but they go longer.


We are very happy having gone smaller, but it is each to their own. This is just another viewpoint, but I would say again, think how you are going to use the vehicle.


Have fun!


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Travelbob - 2019-01-14 6:28 PM


Thankyou for your input, very interesting thankyou, no we wont be restricted to 3500kg, I don't mind the 6 ton 8.8 metre motorhomes, but there are certain places where I would not be able to use it, so that is a no no


OK I understand. But out of curiosity what "certain places where I would not be able to use it"?


Before this van we had a Tag axle Euramobil and I put a scooter rack on the back. If I went over some bumps in road too fast I could lift the front off the ground and lose traction. And I'm not talking about speed bumps just ones on open road

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two sites in france that we go to wont take them, three places in the alps we wouldn't be able to get to, mind you one we might, but I wouldn't chance it, too long a road/lane to have to reverse if on coming, one in sicily Italy we want to go, but just made it in 6 metre van, quite a few in Norway off the beaten track, one in Greece, and maybe another one there but not tried it, going on someone else's word.
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Travelbob - 2019-01-14 3:30 PM


we have hired, but cant seem to get the ones we are interested in, liked some of the coachbuilt, but we want something that we will not have to worry about for 10 years i.e. leaks etc

We looked for 18 months before buying our used Dethleffs 8.4 metre tag axle motorhome, a large garage to take one scooter and plenty of lockers for storage, important to us was a fully winterised model as we are away 5 months of the year. Go for the largest you feel comfortable driving and don't worry to much about accessibility .

If you really want to hire an A class you can look at /www.campanda.co.uk/motorhome/germany where there is a selection of different models for rent.

I know this means a visit to Germany, but it would be money well spent to get the right one for you.

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