What Are the Differences Between Gas, Diesel, and Luxury Diesel Motorhomes?

One of the primary aspects involved in selecting a new motorhome is making a decision on the type of coach you need.

The debate between gas vs. diesel motorhome engines has fueled many hours of debate within the RV community. It can be difficult knowing which way to go.

Class A motorhome at Gulf Coast RV Resort in Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar Mountain Aire Class A motorhome at Gulf Coast RV Resort in Beaumont, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While many shoppers consider either a gas or diesel-powered coach, some prefer the added comfort and technology a luxury diesel motor coach provides.

If you are trying to decide between a gas or diesel motorhome, try to decide what features are most important to you. There is no right or wrong option, just advantages and disadvantages worth considering.

Gas or Diesel: Cost

The first consideration for many people shopping for a new motorhome is price. How expensive is the motor coach?

Class A gas motorhome at Pala Casino RV Resort, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class A gas motorhome at Pala Casino RV Resort, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Motorhomes fueled by gasoline are often the choice of first-time RV buyers or RVers who don’t live in their coaches fulltime as they are less expensive than most diesel offerings. Gas models will usually not offer the same level of features and technology as their diesel counterparts, although some manufacturers build high-end gas motorhomes with amenities that rival many of the mid-level diesel units.

Long considered to have the most advantages, diesel engines typically have more power and increased torque compared to those that run on gas. With increased torque comes better towing capability and improved performance during hill climbs. If you are looking to purchase a large Class A or will be towing a boat or large SUV, then diesel may be your best option.

Our 2012 Newmar Dutch Star Diesel Pusher at Pleasant Harbor RV Resort north of Phoenix, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Our 2012 Newmar Dutch Star Diesel Pusher at Pleasant Harbor RV Resort north of Phoenix, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But for the most part, if you want to save money but still get a great coach, you’re probably looking for a higher-end gas model. If you have been saving for retirement in order to become a snowbird or full-time RVer, a luxury diesel pusher motor coach won’t disappoint. Also, diesel and luxury diesel coaches almost always retain their value longer than gas motorhomes.

Because most luxury diesel motorcoaches look and feel just like the nicest of homes, they are also the most expensive. Manufacturers equip their luxury diesel coaches with the latest and greatest features and technology available, so whether or not the increased price tag is worth it depends on what you want from your new motorhome.

Class A motorhome at Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Class A motorhome at Hacienda RV Park in Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

While diesel engines have their advantages, these come at a price. Gasoline engines are cheaper to purchase and also less costly to maintain. If you are strictly making your decision on initial cost, then look at your gas options first.

Gas or Diesel: Fuel Efficiency

Despite that fact that diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline, it’s no secret that diesel coaches are much more fuel efficient than gas-powered models.

This is due in large part to the fact that diesel has a greater energy value than gasoline, delivering up to 10 percent better fuel economy by volume.

Diesel Pusher Class A motorhome at The Lakes RV and Golf Resort at Chowchilla. California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Diesel Pusher Class A motorhome at The Lakes RV and Golf Resort at Chowchilla. California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you are planning to rack up big miles on your motorhome or treat it as your year-round or seasonal residence, you’d be wise to at least consider a diesel-powered option. But if you intend to use your motorhome for the occasional vacation and weekends at the lake, and then store it for winter, or are still trying to decide if the RV lifestyle is right for you, a gas-powered coach may be a better fit.

Gas or Diesel: Interior Comfort

Quality RV manufacturers craft comfortable, well-appointed interiors for both their gas and diesel-powered models. Depending on the brand, some gas-powered motorhomes can look like luxury coaches on the inside. Still, gas motorcoaches typically offer less comfort and technology than diesel and luxury diesel RVs. It all comes down to what you and your travel partner find important to enjoying your home on the road.

Newmar Canyon Star Class A gas motorhome at Portland Fairburn RV Park, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Newmar Canyon Star Class A gas motorhome at Portland Fairburn RV Park, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Luxury Diesel Motorcoaches

For starters, luxury diesel RVs are diesel-powered coaches equipped with increased horsepower, a heightened level of features and technology and high-end furniture, cabinetry, and fixtures.

If you’re retired, someone who is planning to live in their motorhome full time, or just want and can afford the best that industry has to offer, you may be best suited by a luxury diesel coach.

The following are the largest differentiators associated with luxury diesel motorcoaches.

Tiffin motorhome at Jackson Rancheria RV Resort near Jackson, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Tiffin motorhome at Jackson Rancheria RV Resort near Jackson, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Most luxury diesel motorhomes feature a custom chassis built specifically for the unit it will support. This increases reliability, comfort, stability, and weight capacity. Luxury diesel motorhomes almost always offer a more powerful engine as well. Combine both of these advantages and you have a coach that can tow more than any other type of motorhome.

In the interests of full disclosure, we currently own a 2012 Dutch Star diesel pusher. This is our fourth Newmar motorhome and Midtown RV in Penticton, British Columbia, is our trusted dealer.

Worth Pondering…

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

—Aristotle

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