Driving a large RV around town or on a highway fills many people with fear. Bus-sized Class A RVs and box-truck-shaped Class C RVs are difficult to maneuver in traffic and nearly impossible to park anywhere outside the campground. Smaller Class B RVs are typically built on a van chassis and offer everything needed for a comfortable weekend camping trip or touring around the country, not to mention their notable fuel efficiency in comparison.
Fuel-efficient Class B RVs
Recently, RV Trader compiled a list of fuel-efficient Class B RVs. Class B RVs feature all the necessities available in larger Class A and Class C RVs, like kitchens with a stove and refrigerator, a bathroom with a shower, lounging, and sleeping areas. The trade-off is that the smaller Class B RV requires those features to take up less room, so the appliances are smaller, and areas often see double duty.
American Coach Patriot
Built on a Mercedes-Benz 3500XD Sprinter platform, the American Coach Patriot features a 188 horsepower diesel V6 that gets about 20 mpg. In addition, the Patriot comes equipped with a 12-volt refrigerator, a single burner cooktop, a microwave, and a tankless water heater. A power fold-out rear sofa doubles as sleeping and lounging accommodations while the toilet and shower share a space in the “wet bath.”
The standard Patriot sleeps two, but the optional loft bed adds additional sleeping space. In addition, the Patriot can camp off-grid with its 230-watt rooftop solar array, an onboard 2,500-watt LPG generator complete with a built-in 15-gallon LPG tank, and 2,000-watt power inverter. Consider the Patriot’s Ford MD2 option for more off-grid capability.
Airstream Interstate Grand Tour EXT
Another Class B RV featuring the Mercedes-Benz 3500 Sprinter platform, the Airstream Interstate Grand Tour EXT uses the Mercedes-Benz 188-hp 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged diesel engine to get about 18 mpg.
The Grand Tour EXT features a 300-watt solar array, a 2,500-watt LPG generator, and four deep-cycle AGM batteries for off-grid adventures. In addition, you’ll find a 5.0 cubic foot 12-volt refrigerator, a two-burner cooktop, and a 1.2 cubic foot microwave in the kitchen.
Built on Ford’s Transit platform, the Coachman Beyond features a Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine to achieve 18 mpg. Special features include a 10-speed automatic transmission, remote start, keyless entry, and a 3.73 limited-slip drive axle.
Standard features include a 2,000-watt power inverter with an auto-start generator, 195-watt solar array, a two-burner cooktop, and a one-piece fiberglass shower surround. Consider adding the 630 amp-hour lithium battery system and the upgraded insulation package for more off-grid comfort.
Built on a ProMaster 3500 chassis, the Coachmen Nova uses a 280-hp Chrysler Pentastar WT 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine to get up to 18 mpg. The Nova’s ProMaster chassis is shorter than the Mercedes-Benz chassis featured on other models on this list, but it still offers a two-burner cooktop, a full-function bathroom and shower, and sleeping space for two.
There is no solar array or generator included for off-grid camping. So, consider adding the lithium battery option that charges from the alternator while running the vehicle’s engine if you plan to camp off-grid for extended periods.
Midwest Automotive Designs Passage 170 EXT MDP4 Lounge
Another Class B RV entry based on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter platform and the 188-hp turbocharged V6 engine, the Midwest Automotive Designs Passage 170 EXT MDP4 Lounge also gets up to 18 mpg. The MDP4 Lounge features two rows of captain’s chairs, including the front driver and passenger seats. The unit also features a convection cooktop, wet bath with toilet and shower, and sleeping quarters for two.
The standard 100-watt solar array and optional 600 amp-hour lithium battery package enable sustainable off-grid camping. Finally, you could choose the optional four-wheel-drive chassis and all-terrain tire package to take your off-grid adventure off-road.
Class B RVs are built to serve as more efficient campers than their Class A and Class C counterparts; if shared functionality in the interior is not a concern, the pros of increased mpg and navigational ease may help you find more time to spend out on the road.