In August of this year, new RV shipments hit a monthly high, with over 52,000 units going out to their new owners. Some of those are motorized, others aren’t. But chances are, if you’re driving up or down a major interstate, you’ve seen a lot of them. But did you know there are some RVs that are built on top of semi-trucks?
RVs that use semi-truck platforms rather than pickup truck platforms
In order to understand what I mean by “built on semi-truck platforms,” you need a basic understanding of how RVs are assembled. In some cases, they’re built from the ground up. But more often than not, a manufacturer will buy a vehicle, say Ford or Chevy, and build the “home” on top of that. This is one of the reasons some RVs have two VIN numbers.
Typically, the platforms are from the Ford F-Series or Chevy HD lineup. But some premium coachbuilders create RVs from semi-trucks. Purchasing trucks from brands like Freightliner, these RVs are about as American as it gets. Big rig, big RV, and big price tag.
How much do these semi-truck RVs cost, and what do you get for the money?
PowerHouse Coach will let you build one of these semi-truck RVs yourself, but in terms of prebuilt models, Renegade is the top player. With models built on top of the Freightliner Cascadia, they can range from $150,000 to well over $500,000. It’s like I said, these premium models come with premium prices.
But they also have the most luxurious features of any RV on the market, no questions asked. Each of the models listed on Renegade’s website comes with fully furnished interiors, a flatscreen TV, kitchen, bathroom, and room for a luxurious master bedroom. Some models allow you to opt-in for bunk beds, so the whole family has a mattress to sleep on.
And many of these semi-truck RVs come with guidance systems that make driving a 40 ft rigs much easier. With Freightliner’s “Safety Assurance Package,” there’s advanced cruise control, lane keep assist, and collision avoidance systems onboard.
So their extremely luxurious on the inside, and dominate every other RV on the outside. But on top of all that, these semi-truck RVs boast one other feature no normal A-Class RV can tout: towing capabilities.
These semi-truck RVs were designed to be toy haulers
By definition, a toy hauler is a vehicle capable of taking all your other vehicles wherever you want. This could include ATVs, motorcycles, boats, and even cars. Now, most vehicles with a decent towing capacity can technically be classified as toy haulers. But these semi-truck RVs can out-tow just about anything.
The Renegade Verona, the “entry-level” $150,000 RV can tow around 20,000 lbs, whereas most Class A RVs can tow only 10,000. With higher-end Renegade models, you can get that towing capacity of up to 30,000 lbs. That’s about how heavy the fanciest of Class A motorhomes is.
But there are some drawbacks, as there’s a good chance you’ll need a special license (and a lot of money) to own and operate one of these semi-truck RVs. It varies by state, so do your research, but chances are you’ll need a Class B license, which allows you to drive a vehicle weighing over 26,000 lbs so long as you’re not towing over 10,000 lbs. If you are towing over 10,000 lbs, and driving a vehicle that weighs over 26,000 lbs, you’ll need a Class A license.
But there’s no doubt you’d be king of the road in one of these oversized semi-truck RVs. So if you’re trying to live large, you can’t get much larger than a semi-truck.