During your search for the perfect RV for you and your adventures, you may decide that the size and comforts of a Class A motorhome best fit your needs. However, there is an additional and very large factor to still consider when comparing the Winnebago Class A lineup: gas engine or diesel engine. A common question that we receive from our guests when they are finding their perfect Class A motorhome is, “Should I buy a Class A Gas Motorhome or Class A Diesel Pusher?”
Continue reading to learn about the important factors to keep in mind when deciding which Winnebago Class A motorhome is best for you!
Below we break down the two options and included common questions that guests ask when deciding between a Class A gas- or diesel-powered motorhome.
Winnebago Class A Diesel models include the Winnebago Forza and the Winnebago Journey. The Forza is built on the Freightliner XCS Chassis and provides a comfortable environment and adaptable sleeping and seating spaces in its 3 available floorplans. The Journey is built on the versatile Freightliner Maxum II XCM Chassis and is designed for luxury travel and entertaining. Each of the Journey’s 3 floorplans are fully loaded and feature stylish modern refinements from front to back.
Winnebago Class A gas models include the Winnebago Vista, Winnebago Sunstar and the Winnebago Adventurer. These models are built on the Ford F53 chassis. The Vista and Sunstar are available in 5 floorplans and feature Winnebago quality with affordable living. The Winnebago Adventurer is Winnebago’s premier Class A Gas coach and has many luxury features and ample storage with its 5 family-friendly floorplans.
A Class A Diesel Pusher includes the following features compared to Class A Gas:
- Increased torque or power. Winnebago diesel pushers range in torque from 700 – 1,150 lbs ft of torque or power, compared to approximately 460 lb ft in Ford Class A gasoline powered coach.
- Increased towing capacity. A Winnebago Class A Gas chassis has a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. Winnebago diesel pushers have a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs.
- Comfortable ride. Diesel Pushers include a more comfortable ride with air ride suspension and air braking capability.
- Quiet ride. Diesel Pushers provide a quiet ride, which stems from the fact that in a Class A diesel pusher the engine is located in the rear of the coach, nearly 30-40 feet behind the cab area. In a Class A gas coach the engine is located in the cab area. However, the Class A Gas Ford chassis has evolved its five speed Torqshift transmission allowing for shifting at lower RPM points. This drives down engine noise compared to previous powertrains.
- Resale value. Resale value of a diesel pusher is typically stronger than a Class A gasoline powered coach. The difference in resale value is due to Class A diesels tending to last longer than Class A gas RVs. There’s a reason transportation / delivery type vehicles are diesel and that’s because the engines can run for hundreds of thousands of miles.
Price is probably the first factor that people notice when comparing a Class A diesel pusher to Class A gas motorhome. The main component in the differing costs between these two categories is the chassis the motorhomes are built upon. Diesel pushers will have a higher price tag with the Winnebago Forza starting at an MSRP of $359,765* and the Winnebago Journey MSRP pricing at $455,490* while the Class A Gas Motorhome lineup is the following: Vista/Sunstar starting at an MSRP of $203,131* and the Winnebago Adventurer at an MSRP of $249,419*. The MSRP does vary by model based on floorplan and options selected. A main component of this cost is the chassis the RV sits upon. Price is a large consideration when determining Class A diesel vs. Class A Gas.
*Prices are current as of 10/2023. Please contact a Lichtsinn RV Sales Consultant to review current product details and pricing.
Another consideration as you decide Class A Diesel vs. Class A Gas will be maintenance and operating costs. Typically, gas motorhomes are less expensive to service and maintain. While you are more likely to seek out a diesel mechanic for services specific to a diesel pusher, many gas motorhome owners are comfortable with performing basic service themselves. Freightliner repair facilities aren’t as frequently located to service your diesel chassis compared to the many Ford locations for servicing your gas coach chassis.
Class A diesel pusher motorhomes come with air braking that is used in conjunction with engine and transmission grade braking, which is more reliable and will stop a heavy vehicle more quickly than standard hydraulic disc brakes that come with Class A gas motorhomes. Engine and transmission braking also allow for steady use of cruise control in high grade areas to provide consistent traveling speeds up and down mountains.
All diesel coaches are required to use DEF which allows the coach to burn fuel cleaner. Gas coaches are not required to have this. This was mandated in 2010 so you will see it in diesel coaches that are 2011 or newer. DEF tanks range in size with most being around 13 gallons in a Class A diesel RV. The typical RV’er travels about between 5,000-9,000 miles per year and one gallon of DEF typically lasts between 300-500 miles. So depending how far your travels take you, you may have to refill your DEF tank between 1-3 times a year. You don’t need to fill your DEF tank every time you fill the gas tank. Many diesel truck stops have DEF at their dispense stations and the tank is easily accessible on the coach.
Fuel efficiency is similar averaging 7-10 mpg on either the gas or diesel options. Dual fuel fill is available in the diesel pusher models. Gas is only available on one side and location of fill varies depending on model.
If you have height limitations for your RV due to a storage garage size, diesel pushers allow you to drop the air allowing you an additional 2-4” which may allow you the clearance you need to make it under the garage door. Depending on the chosen floorplan, the Vista/Sunstar measure between 12’1″ and 12’4″ in height, the Adventurer floorplans range from 12’1″ to 12’4″, all three of the Forza floorplans measure at 12′ and the Winnebago Journey is 13’3″ in height. The height of each model is measured to the top of the tallest standard feature and is based on the curb weight of a typically equipped RV. For example, if a floorplan comes standard with a roof-mounted air conditioning system, this is reflected in the height specifications.
A further determination in deciding gas vs. diesel is how much storage capacity do you need? This will also affect the ride of your coach and is included in the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.) The GVWR is the maximum amount of weight that your RV can handle safely. This includes your unloaded vehicle weight rating plus the occupant and cargo carrying capacity. Gas GVWR ranges from 18,000 lbs to 22,000 lbs. In a diesel pusher GVWR will range from 26,000 lbs to 38,700 lbs. The tires will also effect the ride of the coach. Winnebago Class a Gas models have either 19.5 or 22.5” tires. Winnebago Diesel Pushers all have 22.5” tires.
Exterior storage in Class A Gas vs. Diesel models is significantly different as well. You’ll find a substantial amount more storage in diesel pushers primarily due to Freightliner XCS chassis found on the Forza and the Freightliner XCM modular rail bridge chassis of the Journey.
Maintenance and Operating Costs
- Beyond purchase price, the overall maintenance and operating expense of a gas coach is generally less expensive than that of a diesel. However, you may do less maintenance overall with a diesel pusher.
- Cost of parts and service work in a gas powered coach is less as the coach is less complex.
- It can also be more convenient to find service locations for your Class A gas Ford chassis vs. the Class A diesel Freightliner Chassis.
- Cost of diesel fuel is generally higher than that of gasoline.
- MPG — should expect average of 7-10 with either gas or diesel powered Class A’s.
- Class A Gas Fuel Fill – 80 Gallons, single location located in a different location dependent on floorplan.
- Class A Diesel Fuel Fill – 90 to 100 Gallons, Dual Fuel Fill located on each side of the cab area.
- Class A Gas – Ford 7.3L V8
- Class A Diesel – Forza | Cummins 6.7L ISB, Journey | Cummins 8.9L ISL
- Because diesel engines run at lower RPMs than gas, there is less strain on the engine.
- Diesel engines are designed to run hundreds of thousands of miles.
- Gas: 350
- Diesel: 340 Forza | 380 Journey
- Gas: Approximately 460
- Diesel: 700-1,150
- Gas: Torqshift 6 speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode
- Diesel: Forza | 2100 or 2500 6-speed automatic (dependent on floorplan,) Journey | Allison 3000 6-speed automatic
- Gas: 5,000
- Diesel: 10,000
- Gas powered: Vista/Sunstar | 4-5,500-watt, Adventurer | 5,500-watt
- Diesel powered: Forza | 6,000-watt, Journey | 8-10,000-watt
As you can see, there are many considerations as you determine if a gas or diesel powered Class A RV is right for you. Contact a Lichtsinn RV Sales Consultant to find out more about Winnebago Class A Motorhomes.
Experience the Best® at Lichtsinn RV, we have been recognized as the #1 Winnebago Dealer in North America each year since 2015 by Winnebago Industries. Lichtsinn RV is located 1 mile north of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, IA and we proudly sell new Winnebago motorhomes and pre-owned RVs from various manufacturers. While at Lichtsinn RV, you can expect no delivery miles on new RVs, a complimentary half-day educational orientation of your RV, excellent guest reviews, an assigned support team from sales, parts, service and the business office, superior accommodations, no-hassle pricing and competitive financing. See our extensive new and used inventory here.
Additional Posts You May Like: