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Old 01-20-2016, 05:00 AM   #1
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Entry level class A

I am looking at buying a Class A motorhome and see where people say "it is an entry level class A". I assume that is a bad thing.
What would I look for to indicate it is not an entry level?
I do not want anything over 35 ft maximum. Will not live in it year round. Will be on US nation wide trips often up to 6 months. No bunks. Split time with campground power and boondocking.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:57 AM   #2
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Well dealing in generalities, an entry level coach would be one of the lower cost ones. There's a reason one coach will be thousands less than another one. Corners are being cut, and cheaper building practices are being used to lower the price point. By doing a little research it'll become clear rather quickly which are entry level, and which are more substantial. But a caveat has to be mentioned also, ANY RV can end up being a money pit. It's really up to you to do all the investigation you can to narrow down your search for a well made RV. One question I have is why you don't want anything over a 35' class A? That'll only restrict your cargo capacity, and towing ability. Because of the length I'm assuming you'll want a gas coach. You also didn't mention if you were thinking of new or used. There's a lot of really good used class A's out there, gas & diesel, that would give you the ability to move up to a better built one. One that would give you a better carrying capacity, and towing ability. But only you can know what you need and how you'll be traveling. Good luck on your search.
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:58 AM   #3
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Entry level in my mind refers to the level of fit and finish, quality of the furniture, cabinetry, and so on. Some entry level units have plastic faucets some don't. Some have light switches, many have the switch as part of the plastic covered lights. "entry level" does not mean it's cheaply made per se. I'll use my purchase as an example.

Newmar makes a model 3004 in both their Bay Star and Bay Syar Sport lines. They are virtually identical in floor plan, storage. The Sport is their entry level product line. It has less options to choose from, some options on the Sport line are standard on the Bay Star, the cabinet hardware is different, and the chassis is has a larger weight capacity. We chose the Sport model mainly because I did not want to raise the roof or lower the floor in the carport it was going in to.

Compare the entry level models from the various manufacturers and you can see a big difference.

My previous unit a 2000 Thor Hurricane was also entry level but it was great, and I just sold it to its fourth owner and everything worked ( mostly).
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmith View Post
I am looking at buying a Class A motorhome and see where people say "it is an entry level class A". I assume that is a bad thing.
What would I look for to indicate it is not an entry level?
I do not want anything over 35 ft maximum. Will not live in it year round. Will be on US nation wide trips often up to 6 months. No bunks. Split time with campground power and boondocking.
Not sure if we have an entry level MH in the eyes of most people, but we have used it much the same way you desire, except that we are full-timers. I consider our MH a mid-level class A gasser after comparing the quality of many coaches when rv shopping. One way to quickly identify an entry level rv is to compare the prices of like coaches when new.

For your use, I wouldn't worry too much about avoiding an entry level coach. Just do plenty of research here and do plenty of shopping. You will soon get a feel for a well built rv that has been well taken care of. You may find a bargain "entry level" MH that suits your needs exactly.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:29 AM   #5
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I own an entry level MH and it works fine for us. Very basic with good quality oak cabinets inside. It has all the "necessary equipment" with a few extras like heated tanks. It does not have the extras that the upgraded one's have (less things to breakdown, go bad, or need fixing). It does have plastic faucets in it but I can upgrade them myself if they ever go bad. You need to look for what works for you. Not everyone can live with a 26 foot MH. We do not have a problem with it. We have no intention of ever living in it.
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:04 AM   #6
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I think it would help if you gave some further details of your budget and comfort expectations. There's some really nice gas class As out there that would probably fit the bill. New for under $100k, and used ones for significantly less. What, if any experience do you have with RVs?
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Old 01-20-2016, 05:52 PM   #7
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First of all, I would never say that entry level means "bad". It just means that sacrifices have been made to keep the price as low as possible. How and where that was done, i.e. what corners were cut, is a matter for further discussion. I would expect that "entry level" has lesser grade upholstery & flooring, cheaper cabinetry (e.g. vinyl veneer particle board vs hardwoods), a less capable (weight and ride) chassis, maybe a smaller engine/tranny combo, and quite likely lacking some of the nicer touches such as branch water line shut-offs, access ports for plumbing and electric lines, larger battery banks, etc. etc.etc. Most any example I could cite could be countered by some low-end rig that retains that feature, but overall the "entry level" rig will come up short compared to mid or higher level models. But none of that means it is unacceptable, unless perhaps you demand such things.

Folks often find it hard to believe that a new $200,000 (MSRP) diesel motorhome could be "entry level", but the cost of well-built and nicely finished diesel coaches puts a nicer one well above that figure. Likewise, a 36 ft gas chassis coach much under $135k has probably had a number of corners cut to get the price down. When I tell someone a model is "entry level", I am trying to set their expectations toward the lower end of the scale. Especially when the corner cutting may have been done where buyers, especially newbies, may not notice it right away.
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Old 01-20-2016, 06:48 PM   #8
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I HATE that term "entry level". It sounds like a put down to me. Our first Class A was considered an entry level coach but it served us well for the time we had it. It's fit and finish was not as good as what we have now but everything worked and we had no mechanical problems for the 3 years we owned it with the exception of having to replace the generator fuel pump.

For our camping needs, it was (and in reality still is) what we needed. We made the jump to a DP model which I suppose is considered "entry level" to some so I suppose all 3 of our RVs have been "entry level"!

Get what fits your budget and has the features you want. If you're boondocking, you may want larger tanks, more battery power, a larger genny and solar. Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-20-2016, 07:47 PM   #9
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"Entry level" simply means the lower priced models in a manufacturer's line. Consider General Motors car lineup. What's the entry level line? Chevrolet. What's the midlevel line? Buick. What's the top of the line? Cadillac. If you look only at the base price and equipment, it is very obvious which is which. Start adding options, though, and the Chevy can be made to look very much like a Cadillac both in equipment and price. It is still a Chevy, though, and one of many thousands built each year. The Cadillac can't be cheapened down to a Chevy, though, and it will be one of only a couple thousand built each year. Both the Chevy and Cadillac share some parts, but have others that are proprietary to the brand.

An entry-level MH will probably be a gasser, and as others have said, will be made with cheaper materials and won't have as many things standard that a higher-level MH will have.

Suggestion: start researching the various brands, looking for what you need/want for YOUR needs. Buy a USED coach, not a new one. The reason is that you will most likely not get it right the first time, and the depreciation on a new one is fairly hefty. Join the owners' forums for the brands you are interested in and ask lots of questions.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:01 PM   #10
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Like others have said,entry level is different with manufacturer.My coach
is considered entry,but you wouldn't think so if you compare some other
brands with the fit and finish of ours.Also the floor plan makes a big difference
to us. Good luck in your search.
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
First of all, I would never say that entry level means "bad". It just means that sacrifices have been made to keep the price as low as possible. How and where that was done, i.e. what corners were cut, is a matter for further discussion. I would expect that "entry level" has lesser grade upholstery & flooring, cheaper cabinetry (e.g. vinyl veneer particle board vs hardwoods), a less capable (weight and ride) chassis, maybe a smaller engine/tranny combo, and quite likely lacking some of the nicer touches such as branch water line shut-offs, access ports for plumbing and electric lines, larger battery banks, etc. etc.etc. Most any example I could cite could be countered by some low-end rig that retains that feature, but overall the "entry level" rig will come up short compared to mid or higher level models. But none of that means it is unacceptable, unless perhaps you demand such things.

Folks often find it hard to believe that a new $200,000 (MSRP) diesel motorhome could be "entry level", but the cost of well-built and nicely finished diesel coaches puts a nicer one well above that figure. Likewise, a 36 ft gas chassis coach much under $135k has probably had a number of corners cut to get the price down. When I tell someone a model is "entry level", I am trying to set their expectations toward the lower end of the scale. Especially when the corner cutting may have been done where buyers, especially newbies, may not notice it right away.
Good Explanation IMHO!!

In 1998 we bought a Santara 35' gas rig, it's sticker was $98,000. Got tired of repairing the cabinets almost every time we used it. So in 2000 we ordered a 38' Dutch Star DP, as I remember it was around $155,000 then. To us that was an entry level DP. But over the years they have upgraded the Dutch Star to where they are a $400,000 sticker price mid level rig. Even Newmar doesn't list it in their "Luxury Line".
I guess it goes back to what you expect and what you want to spend.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:59 AM   #12
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I am staying around 30ft because i dont feel comfortable driving anything 35ft or longer. I had a used diesel 36ft once and did nothing but repair it. I like diesels but prefer a gas this time. Now that you have explained what entry level is I can figure out mid and high end. Looking to stay less than $100,000. Thanks for all the inputs.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:25 AM   #13
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$100k will get you a nice 30 something foot gasser. I'd go late model Fleetwood blunder, but I sure there are lots of other options. Find a model you like and check back here with a "how do you like your 20XX Whatever RV". You'll get lots of insights to the pros and cons of that model. Pull the VIN and call the coach and chassis mfg and see if there are any recalls or alerts on that model.

Let us know what you decide


Quote:
Originally Posted by ksmith View Post
I am staying around 30ft because i dont feel comfortable driving anything 35ft or longer. I had a used diesel 36ft once and did nothing but repair it. I like diesels but prefer a gas this time. Now that you have explained what entry level is I can figure out mid and high end. Looking to stay less than $100,000. Thanks for all the inputs.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:22 AM   #14
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I agree with the Bounder. About 2006 and above. I have an 04 Flair and we just love it. I would go newer than our 04 to get the better trans and more horse power. I still say buy the floor plan you like and forget about what pushes it down the road.
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