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Hitting the road in a Class C RV can be life-changing, or at the very least, it will be a vacation to remember! Are you shopping for a reliable and convenient to drive RV, such as a Class C with a diesel engine?
Class C RVs are built with either a traditional gasoline engine or a more fuel-efficient diesel engine. If you are shopping for a diesel engine Class C RV, then you’re in the right place!
But why shop for a diesel engine RV or motorhome? What might some of the pros and cons be, and what RV manufacturers have some of the best diesel engine Class Cs on the market right now?
Let’s dive in and learn more about diesel engine RVs now!
What Are Diesel Engine Class C RVs Like?
There are many different types of RVs on the market today, and it can be difficult to find the right one for you and your family’s needs. How much space do you need, do you need to be able to tow something, will there be enough beds for the whole family?
Class Cs are one of the most popular style of RV on the market today, given their overall ease of driving and compact frame. They aren’t as small as teardrop travel trailers, nor are they as large as a more buslike Class A.
Class Cs are a great in-between sized motorhome, large enough for one or even a big group, depending on the length and layout that you choose. Some Class Cs will be perfect for large families, if that is one of your priorities.
While Class C RVs range in length from 20-40 feet, these motorhomes are often built on a sturdy and maneuverable truck or van chassis. While my example length of these rigs may seem like a huge range, it’s the rig’s above the cab bunk that ultimately determines the class of this motorhome.
Diesel Class Cs are usually a bit nicer and of a higher quality than gasoline engine Class Cs. Why is this? Diesel engines usually cater to a more luxurious clientele, and therefore these Class Cs are usually built with more stylish interior features as well as sturdier frames.
While this isn’t always the case, diesel Class Cs definitely maintain a level of elegance and reliability not found in many gasoline engine RVs. While this makes the upfront cost of diesel rigs much more expensive, it may be worth it in the long run!
What are the Pros and Cons to a Diesel Class C?
Just like all RVs, there are pros and cons to diesel engine Class C rigs. It’s up to you to decide which pros and cons matter the most to you, as it is always difficult to get exactly what you want out of an RV.
Let’s take a look at some of the various pros and cons now.
Pro: Fuel Efficient
The number one pro of a diesel engine Class C? It is going to be far more fuel efficient than a traditional gasoline engine. Diesel engine rigs are known for fewer fill ups as well as a more efficient engine, leading to an overall lower cost for your fuel budget.
If you are new to RVing, it’s important to keep your fuel consumption in mind. Not only is gassing up in an RV a stressful affair, it can get costly very quickly. Diesel engines may be large and expensive to fill, but that fuel will last you far longer than traditional gasoline will.
While diesel fuel may save you a lot of money in the long run, the upfront cost of a diesel Class C is always going to be higher than a traditional gasoline RV. The difference can be striking: the average cost of a gasoline Class C ranges from $50-$150k while most diesel engines begin at $100k and only go up from there!
The upfront cost of a diesel engine rig can be daunting, and this is a huge con for many RVers not searching for an expensive monthly payment. While Class B rigs are notoriously more expensive at the moment, Class Cs come with a hefty price tag too! This should be a big consideration for you if your budget is a concern.
Known for their excellent resale value, diesel engine Class C RVs are well-made, sturdy, and reliable. Nothing is skimped on or ignored in a Class C rig with a diesel engine, and so these RVs are some of the few that can just keep on going, mile after mile.
Having a well-made rig should always be at the top of your list of priorities, and many of the quality rigs on this list have additional features not found in cheaper Class Cs. Knowing that you are making an informed purchase is important, and a diesel engine RV is always a good choice.
Con: Not the Biggest RV Out There
If you are hoping for an RV with ample space for you and your family to spread out, a diesel engine Class C may not be your top choice. There are much bigger rigs out there, including motorcoach style RVs. And if you’re comfortable towing, a fifth wheel or travel trailer will suit you even better.
While Class Cs do have ample floor plans and features, you may feel a bit cramped in some shorter length models. However, make sure that you tour some Class Cs before you make your final decision, as the overall size and feel may take you by surprise!
Pro: Versatile Floor Plans
As I mentioned in the previous con, there are some pros to diesel engine Class C interiors, including their many floor plan options. With a convenient overhead bunk as a guaranteed sleeping area, there are many other layouts packed into these rigs.
Class C RVs have floor plans made for large families, couples, and full timers, including room for outdoor kitchens and washer/dryer hookups. You may find your perfect fit in a diesel engine Class C, whether you were expecting to or not!
What are Good Brands of Diesel Engine Class C RVs?
With so many RV brands on the market today, it can be daunting to determine what brand is the best for you and your RV needs. Here are some of my top picks for RV brands and what they can offer you while shopping for a reliable Diesel Class C.
Forest River is well regarded in the RV world, and has been for decades. They make a great variety of rigs, from fifth wheels to Class C’s, so definitely keep them on your short list! Their diesel class Cs are some of their best selling models, and they have roughly 6 different diesel engine models.
Who hasn’t heard of Winnebago? Known for their affordability and overall customer service, Winnebago keeps wowing RVers with their innovations, usually for a good price. While they don’t have many diesel Class Cs (about 4 models), the ones they do have are winners.
You may not have heard of Thor brand motorhomes yet, but they are popular! Known for being budget friendly like Winnebago, Thor is proving to be another reliable brand in the RV world. Plus their Super C diesel engines make for a luxurious RV; they only have two diesel engine models, but they are both winners.
Much like Forest River, Jayco has been talked about among RVers for some time. This brand seems to often focus on durability, advertising special sturdy RV frames. Their diesel engines are top-notch and usually affordable with four different models to choose from.
Coachmen is another classic RV brand with a focus on family-friendly layouts. They use their space wisely more often than not, and are a well-known brand. While they only have one diesel Class C option, it’s a great and affordable contender.
If your budget isn’t at the top of your list of concerns, an Entegra coach may be a good fit for you. With a superior foundation, unrelenting attention to detail and old-world craftsmanship, unmatched engineering innovation, rock-solid construction and a ride that’s as smooth and quiet as it is invigorating and well-appointed, Entegra makes quality diesel Class Cs!
What Should I be Looking for in a Diesel Class C RV?
There are still a lot of things that you should consider before making your final diesel Class C purchase. But what might some of those considerations be? Let’s go over some of my top things to keep in mind while you’re shopping!
Floor Plan Options
The number one thing to keep in mind, in my opinion, is what floor plan and floor plan features you are looking for. While there are countless and it may begin to feel overwhelming, determining what layout might work best for your family is a good place to start.
While a virtual tour isn’t ideal for getting a true feel of an RV’s interior, it could be a good place to start. Otherwise, I suggest touring your local RV lot or manufacturer for Class C layout ideas. You may find some things that you really love, and some things that you really don’t!
Diesel engine Class Cs are designed with your needs in mind, including unique storage solutions and perks for kids and pets. If you are planning on living in your rig full time, you should keep an eye on floor plans that lend well to this situation.
While you may not have considered this yet, the overall length of your rig should be a big decision for you to make before you start shopping. While more length leads to more interior living space, you may want to consider where you plan on traveling in your rig first.
Some campgrounds and RV sites have length limits to each individual parking space, and getting a rig that’s too long may spell trouble for you. If you plan on boondocking and going off grid, you may further encounter length issues or spaces that you simply can’t fit into!
Class Cs are easier to drive than many other RVs out there, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t affected by their overall length. Having a shorter diesel engine Class C may prove easier to manuver in the long run, especially if you plan on venturing where other RVs wouldn’t dare to go.
However, a longer Class C does indeed mean more living space, and many Super C diesel rigs are large, up to 45 feet! While this blurs the line between Class As and Class Cs for me, diesel engines can handle a lot of weight. You may find that a Super C suits your needs best!
Diesel Tank Size
Choosing an RV with a decently sized fuel tank is an important consideration, especially for a diesel RV. If you are planning a long journey or one with frequent stops, a larger fuel capacity may be of interest to you.
If you are just planning to take your rig out on quick adventures or short trips, your diesel tank size may not be of much concern. While the fuel tank capacity isn’t something that you can change, it may be something to take note of before making your final purchase.
Standard and Optional Features
Before making your final decision, know that there will be many standard features found in a Class C RV, and even more decisions to make regarding these features, such as interior and exterior design and more. But you’re not done! There will also be optional features to choose from.
Additions and optional RV choices can feel even more daunting than standard features, especially considering just how fast your overall total will increase. Adding on some features to your diesel Class C may prove useful, depending on what you plan on doing with your RV.
For example, full timers may want luxurious theatre seating in the living area, or a convection oven and full size fridge. Boondockers will want to add on any and all solar panel options and generator hookups. It all depends on what you will use your Class C for the most.
Some features to consider adding on, no matter your situation, should be a tank heating system for any winter camping, additional outdoor storage cubbies, and auto-leveling jacks, should your RV manufacturer offer such options. These are handy features, and usually worth the cost!
I’ve already mentioned that Class Cs are a bit of an investment, so you should definitely consider your budget before diving into your online shopping. Ranging in cost, diesel engine Class Cs are some of the most expensive RVs on the market.
While there are always used options, purchasing a Class C can be a big commitment, especially when you consider their resale value remaining high. Keep your budget in mind, even when you think you really want a four-season package or an outdoor kitchen added onto your overall standard feature cost!
The Best Diesel Engine Class C RVs
If you’re feeling confident about your wants and needs in a diesel engine Class C, it’s time to see my top picks for the best diesel options on the market today!
And, if you’re still on the fence about Class C RVs, feel free to check out my picks for some of the most lightweight travel trailers, as well as some luxurious aluminum rigs should you be looking to camp in style!
Onto the diesel engine Class Cs!
Best Overall: Forest River Forester MBS
There’s a reason Forest River has taken the best overall spot for diesel engine Class Cs. Forest River has long been regarded as a wonderful name in the RV world, choosing quality materials and designs over cheap and quick manufacturing. The Forester MBS is no different, a powerful rig built around a diesel engine.
Forester Class C motorhomes offer comfortable floorplans with spacious interior living, well-appointed décors, and several slide-out floorplan options. Plus, all Foresters are “Certified Green” by TRA Certification. The MBS model has three intricate floor plans, all built atop a reliable Mercedes Benz chassis.
The overall features and tank capacities of this rig are standard, suited to an average small family’s needs. The diesel fuel tank is 26 gallons across all floor plans, and the fresh water, gray water, and black water tanks all have 35 gallon capacities. There is a large 56 gallon propane tank capacity as well.
All of these floor plans are nestled inside a 25-foot rig, so that you can manuver through city streets or campgrounds with ease. While this may not be large enough for bigger families, this rig can sleep up to five people, depending on the floor plan. It may be cramped, but it still works!
The kitchen features a large fridge, convection microwave, and flip up or fold down countertop extensions. The living room can be built with a dinette or theatre seating, depending on your floor plan choice, and the bathroom has a built-in fan and shower skylight.
With ducted AC, a gasoline generator, heated tank pads, and more as standard, included features, you won’t be feeling neglected by Forest River. There are tank level monitors and optional solar hookups, as well as auto leveling systems and blackout shades throughout.
Forest River offers a 12 month warranty, in addition to a comprehensive chassis warranty as well. Their customer service is excellent, and you should have no trouble reselling a Forest River RV. They are reliable and sought after, an excellent buy!
Best for Families: Thor Magnitude
Looking for a large and reliable diesel Class C that will fit the whole family? Check out the Thor Magnitude, starting at 32 feet in length. There are 5 floor plan options to explore, and every single one of them may work for a large family, sleeping up to 8 people!
This isn’t your traditional Class C, and it shows. The heavy-duty Magnitude is a Ford F-550 or F600, depending on the floor plan, with a V-8 engine rumbling under the hood. The four wheel drive platform is the ultimate way to get away from the crowds and enjoy time with loved ones. Bring along your family car and hook it up to the 10,000 or 12,000-pound hitch.
Take Magnitude out for the weekend for a canoeing and kayaking trip or turn this Super C RV into your home full-time. With several different floor plans to choose from, find the right layout for your needs and lifestyle. Magnitude’s versatile layouts allow travelers to use, enjoy and take full advantage of the RV experience.
The Magnitude Class C diesel RV has residential vinyl flooring that covers the entire coach, a must-have for pet parents or busy families. The large powered sky view in the cab overhead bunk brings in natural light at your beautiful destination. Satin-finish cabinetry with nickel-finish hardware gives your home-on-wheels a chic and modern look.
The living area allows the whole family to gather on every floor plan. The Dream Dinette with cup holders is comfortable for a cup of coffee and to watch a family-favorite on the 39-inch TV. The cab overhead bunk is the perfect place for little ones to draw or read. A leatherette sofa or theater seating is a place you can spend hours lounging, talking, and napping.
Once you’re off the beaten path, the Magnitude takes care of every need. The large roto-cast storage compartments safely store camping must-haves. The exterior kitchen – offered on select floor plans – is perfect for those sunny days. Hang out under the power patio awning with LED lighting and watch live on the 32-inch TV with a built-in Bluetooth soundbar.
Thor offers comprehensive warranty options, and a robust owner’s club, with RVing information exclusively for Thor RV owners. This luxurious rig may cost a pretty penny, but it ensures that the entire family can vacation or travel in comfort and style.
Best for Full Timers: Jayco Seneca
One of my favorite RV brands, Jayco has a great diesel engine Class C for full timers. Not only does each and every available floor plan feel like home, it has Jayco’s reliable and sturdy build to back it up. With four floor plans, all on a nearly 40 foot rig, you’ll no doubt feel right at home should you choose to live in it full time.
This diesel engine is a beast, with a 100 gallon fuel tank and one piece fiberglass exterior construction. This makes all Jayco RVs excellent resale rigs, should you ever look at selling it in the future. It has an 83 gallon propane tank capacity as well as an onboard generator, should you ever want to boondock or otherwise camp off grid.
The interior is just as luxurious as the materials used for construction, as every floor plan includes an electric fireplace and much more. You can choose floor plans that suit a full timer couple, or a floor plan with bunk beds. There are optional washer dryer hookups in almost every floor plan, and a king bed in every master suite.
There are many different kitchen layouts, including ones with apartment sized kitchens, if you can believe it. With a residential fridge, built-in spice rack, and deluxe hardwood cabinetry, you won’t even notice that you’re living in an RV. Plus the bathroom layouts on this rig are useful, with separate toilet, sink, and shower options.
There are ample storage solutions, including a large master bedroom wardrobe and shelving system. This rig has lockable pass through exterior storage, as well as an outdoor entertainment system. Plus it has on demand hot water and wifi capabilities, all standard. Relax in your optional theatre seats and adjustable king bed after a long day on the road.
All of Jayco’s diesel engine Class Cs include a computer-balanced driveshaft, rear air suspension, heavy-duty rear stabilizer bar, full air brakes, and Bilstein shocks so that you can feel safe no matter the driving conditions. Jayco offers great warranties and chassis insurance as well.
From two AC units, tinted and shaded windows, a power awning, and included solar panels, you should feel comfortable moving out of your stick and bricks home into this diesel home on wheels. Jayco is a great brand, aware of what full time RVers love to see in a rig. The Seneca is the perfect example of what RVers are looking for!
Most Budget Friendly: Jayco Melbourne
Seeing double? Yes, Jayco takes two of my top slots on this list, including the coveted budget friendly positon. While all diesel Class Cs ultimately cost a chunk of change, the Jayco Melbourne has so much to offer, at a fairer price than most! Let’s check it out now.
The turbo diesel-powered Melbourne Class C motorhome boasts everything you need for a comfortable adventure, all in an RV that’s powerfully compact and fun to drive. Melbourne is the ideal mix of craftsmanship, value and drivability. Plus, the Melbourne is built on the expertly engineered and fuel-efficient Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, making for a remarkable experience from beginning to end.
While this is in the budget rig position, the interior of this rig is nothing short of stunning. Rich, dark cabinetry is scattered throughout, with wood grain visible and light marble countertops further highlighting the hardwood’s details. There are three unique floor plans, each one catering to different groups.
Are you a couple looking for a reliable diesel Class C? Check out the Melbourne’s 24L floor plan, with a queen bed and intimate curved dinette. Travelling as friends and hoping for separate beds? The 24T was made for you. And what about a busy family of four, looking for seating during the daytime? The 24R has a couch that converts into a bed when it comes time to sleep.
Given this is a Class C on a budget, diesel generators and solar hookups won’t come standard. However, there are many standard features of note, such as electric stabilizer jacks, black out shades, and a smart television in the living area. You’ll also have Jayco’s fantastic warranty options backing up your durable exterior and powerful chassis.
The overall length, width, and height of this rig lends great to boondocking or otherwise remote travel, and Jayco offers wonderful drive assist technologies on board. You should have very little trouble manuvering this 25 foot rig down any highway or city street, especially with many back up and side view camera options included.
What else can I say about Jayco rigs? They are reliable, have excellent resale value, and Jayco is always a phone call or email away should you be struggling with your rig in any way. This is a great diesel Class C to invest in, and it may be the first and last RV purchase you ever make!
Most Compact: Winnebago Vita
I love Winnebago rigs for their affordability and revolutionary design choices, including how many storage solutions they can pack into one compact frame. The Winnebago Vita is just that, a 24 foot Class C with a powerful diesel engine, ready for anything. Winnebago does good work, having been in business for so long. Let’s find out what makes them so good.
This budget-friendly Class C coach is large and spacious inside, while still allowing for freedom of travel with a compact and easy-driving package that’s perfect for solo adventurers and families alike. The Vita tops the Class C Sprinter category with a carrying capacity of up to 1,810 lbs, and features a multipurpose wardrobe and customizable pantry designed for your unique touch.
The Vita’s lounge is the perfect place to unwind, with the extra room from the driver’s-side slideout, available theater seating and swivel cab seats that let you be part of the party. With two new available interiors and more styling options for your exterior, it’s easier than ever to make your Vita feel like home.
The fuel-efficient new chassis offers upgraded safety features like active brake assist, lane-keeping assist and attention assist, plus the MBUX Infotainment Center with interactive voice interface, Wi-Fi hotspot and rear camera. In camp, the available automatic hydraulic leveling jack system levels and stabilizes the coach.
With the largest batteries found in a Class C coupled with standard 200-watt solar panels expandable to up to 475 watts, a 1,000-watt inverter, and a 3,600-watt LP generator, you can bed down without the hookup. That’s a lot of good packed into a compact frame, and many expensive or add-on features are found standard on this Winnebago.
Winnebago has perfected the art of RV storage with their Smart Storage solutions. Smart Storage places bulky systems and tanks in improved configurations, leaving more room for basement storage. Exterior storage is also easy to access with innovative features such as a large trunk with multiple doors and sliding storage trays.
Winnebago is constantly improving their rigs and business practices, offering extensive warranties for their diesel Class Cs. Plus their customer service is top of the line, and you should feel comfortable asking them anything. The Vita may not fit the whole family, but it is a lot of RV packed into a small frame!
Best for Boondocking: Tiffin Wayfarer
While Tiffin may not have made our top brands list for Class C RVs, they have one fantastic diesel Class C, one I see on the road more and more frequently: the Wayfarer. This stylish and well-built rig is perfect for an adventurous couple or small group, especially if you are hoping to boondock.
Designed inside and out with your every need in mind, this diesel Class C features a spacious interior, industry-standard safety features, and high-performance handling with its Mercedes-Benz chassis. Spontaneous adventures and exploring nature are what the Wayfarer is all about. That’s why it’s ingeniously engineered with ample storage room for all your gear to join you on your journey.
There are four stylish floor plans found on this 25 foot rig, from twin beds to murphy beds. You can find a layout that suits your situation best, and there are four elegant interior design choices to pick between as well. Your interior is safe behind Tiffin’s one-piece, moisture resistant molded fiberglass roof cap.
This is not only a rig that works well for boondocking; it’s luxurious in its standard features as well. It has an instant hot water heater, two large house batteries, ducted heat and cooling, heated holding tanks, and a shower with a skylight. You can upgrade to handcrafted cabinetry, but that’s not all the possible add on features available.
You can add solar panels with ease, as the rig comes pre-wired for it. It has many other useful perks for boondocking besides its solar capabilities and onboard generator. You can feel safe camping in any condition with premium insulation and moisture resistance, as well as a 38 gallon capacity freshwater tank.
Tiffin offers the most warranties out of any of these brands for its Wayfarer, including an exclusive owner’s club. The warranties cover the overall rig, paint delamination for three years, two separate chassis warranties, and one year of reliable roadside assistance. You’ll feel safe and taken care of in your Tiffin!
Most Stylish: Entegra Coach Accolade XL
One of the most luxurious and stylish rigs I’ve ever seen, the Entegra Coach Accolade XL isn’t just beautiful; it’s huge. This is a rig for any sized family, any group arrangement. And with 3 versatile floor plan options, you should have plenty of decisions to make on this fancy rig!
Built on a Freightliner S2RV chassis, the Accolade XL Super C is equipped with an E-Z Drive Premier package for the superior ride and handling experience travelers have come to expect from Entegra Coach. This front-engine powerhouse is up for just about anything, from mountain roads to rainout at camp. Luxurious features inside and out combine with premium construction and materials to make for a world-class experience.
This super C has a 100 gallon diesel fuel tank capacity as well as a huge freshwater tank- about 72 gallons! It’s all housed on a nearly 40 foot frame, so you can anticipate plenty of storage solutions and reliable RV engineering on this beauty. Not only does it have a lot of temping nonstandard features, it has a list of surprisingly included perks too.
Get heated floors, an onboard diesel generator, solar prep, a satellite dish, and on demand hot water, all standard. But the list doesn’t stop there. You can also expect to have control over your entire rig through an onboard integrated touchpad, or even an app that you can use remotely. And this doesn’t even scratch the surface the interior living.
From a conventional sized fridge to hardwood cabinetry and a built in electric fireplace, this rig will feel like a luxurious home from beginning to end. There are three stylish interior design options, and you will love the walk around king bed, complete with nightstands and a large wardrobe.
Entegra is a luxury brand name, and they offer a comprehensive and competitive warranty for their rigs, including the super C Accolade. They back their chassis, construction, and interior with a two year warranty, and have customer service members readily available.
While the Accolade XL may be a bit large and more difficult to drive than other rigs on this list, it is one to remember should you be shopping for an oversized Class C. It has a lot to offer, and you can rest assured that the resale on this rig will most likely be high!
Choosing a diesel engine Class C RV is a great choice overall. From maintaining their resale value, offering many floor plans, and giving RVers a luxuriously smooth ride, choosing a diesel Class C will make any RVing excursion exciting.
Enjoy shopping for a diesel Class C, whether you choose something from this list or do your own research! I hope you have found this useful and informative for your next big RV purchase!