There was a time, not too long ago, when you used to dream of hitting the open road on a great American adventure. Maybe you were going to retrace the path of the infamous old Route 66. Maybe you were going to do a cross-country trip to the legendary “Left Coast.” Maybe you were just going to drive as far south as you possibly could until you hit Key West and a whole lotta ocean. It didn’t really matter too much where you went, though—it was all about the call of the open road. What mattered was how you were going to do it because you were going to do it in style all the way.
For some of you, that meant gearing up your big old Harley and low-riding off into the night. Hell, for a lot of us, the appeal of a big bike on the open road has always been a thing. Just you, your bedroll, a wallet full of cash and your future spread out before you. Not a bad gig if you could get it. For others of us, it was the siren call of a big, bad, bruising muscle car that called out to us—you know you once dreamed of hitting the wide open spaces out west in your badass Mustang GT or classic Dodge Charger. Some of you maybe even dreamed of cruising in style in a Cadillac convertible, a la Hunter S. Thompson in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Whatever your dream, though, it involved speed and style.
But now? Now, maybe you’re a dad, soon to be a dad, or at the very least, growing up a little bit, and you want to hit that road in a different kind of style. Now, don’t worry—I’m not talking about a minivan. I’m talking the ultimate, most luxurious way anybody could hit the open road. I’m talking about the sickest RVs your money can buy. And believe me, there are plenty of epic RVs out there to choose from in our year of the Lord 2018. Here are some of the best.
One of the problems you run into when taking a look at luxury RVs is trying to find out how much the darn things actually cost. Take our first RV, for example. Thor is a well-known, major player in the luxury RV market, but you’ll never find a hard cost to nail down (or very rarely). The Palazzo is a premier RV, with floor plans that can reach up to almost 37 feet long and a massive diesel engine that generates so much power, you could probably pull another Class B camper van along behind it. The Palazzo has a full-gas range, Whirlpool appliances (in stainless steel), solid countertops (meaning not crappy laminate or plywood), and even a mudroom you access before heading into the custom interior. Depending on how you pimp out the base Palazzo (such as adding a second bathroom!), you're talking well over 200K for this custom ride.
You had better have some seriously awesome best-in-class stuff going on if you’re going to charge $1.6 million for your RV. The people who can afford to drop that kind of money on what's basically a glorified bus expect nothing better than the best. Fortunately for Prevost, they nailed it in some pretty important areas on the H3-45 VIP. First of all, its headspace measures 12.5 feet—that's damn impressive given that the best in class for Class B RVs is only about 7’. It also has more floor space than any other customized conversion bus, which, now that I think about it, is probably more than the square footage of my house. As if that’s not enough, you’ve got a 360-degree view through the massive windows (pretty wild) and the usual wood floors, marble tables, and brass faucets that every self-respecting moving vehicle should have.
Personally, I think the Revel is a steal at only around $135,000. I mean, c’mon... it’s based on a Mercedes-Benz 4x4, which is pretty awesome. A lot of RVs use Mercedes platforms, but they're usually van ones—this is the only one that uses a 4x4 platform. You know where I’m going with this, right? Yup, the Revel is the first-ever off-roading RV, just in case you don’t want to stay at the local KOA Kampground. You can put this baby in regular, 4-wheel, or even “hill descent” mode to cruise just about anywhere you want. It also has a bunch of nice touches, like a flatscreen TV suspended over the stovetop and a power-lift bed in the back, so underneath, you can store your mountain bikes and all of the other crap you’re going to need when you head off the beaten path.
“The very rich are very different than you and I,” some old guy said a long time ago. OK, OK... it was F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer of The Great Gatsby, who knew the truth of this statement better than anyone. I bring this up here because if you have $2.5 million lying around and decide to put it into your RV, like for instance, this Featherlite Vantare Platinum Plus, you’ve probably got another few million bucks stashed somewhere—which you’re going to need to purchase that Lambo or Ferrari that you can store in the undercarriage of your new RV. Yes, that’s right—the Featherlite flagship can carry a sports car on its travels, safely out of sight. Inside, it has a plasma screen TV that rises out of the floor in front of the master bed and is appointed with Italian leather, Incan marble, and Swarovski crystals. Sounds barely livable if you ask me…
OK, guys... let’s get serious. Would you drop $1.7 million on an RV? Maybe, if you won the lottery, right? I’ll even let you in on a secret: this Newell Coach 1488 isn’t even the most expensive RV on our list today. But the Newell is pretty prestigious—that’s for sure. The 1488 stands for this particular Newell Coach’s individual number, so yeah... these aren't mass produced vehicles. The thing is 45 feet long and has two huge flatscreens (for a motorhome anyway—one of them is 47”). It also has sub-zero appliances (seriously?) and a full laundry area. Oh yeah... let’s not forget the acres of marble countertops. Or the fact that the Newell Coach 1488 has four separate slideout bedrooms. That's a bigtime commitment to RV luxury. My only question is, where do you park the damn thing?
This one is just a little bit crazy for the average RV buyer, but hey... it’s also a really great concept. Dethleffs is a German company that specializes in cutting-edge tech, so it’s no surprise this offering comes from them. The E.Home Type C is a completely solar-powered vehicle that can keep you going for days and even weeks with no backup fossil fuel powertrains. The entire motorhome (and I do mean entire) is covered from top to bottom in solar panels. The interior is pretty darn cool, too, with phase-change material that economizes the central heating system, a mini “planetarium” style ceiling—that’s right... you sleep with the stars literally above you—and an electric range/microwave/fridge combo powered by all of those panels. The E. Home will go into production later this year, and nobody knows what the price point will be, but we all know it will be pricey.
Here we go... finally, one of the all-time, most iconic RVs ever made. Airstream is super old school as these sleek silver futuristic trailer RVs first appeared all the way back in the 1930s. That’s pretty incredible, but what’s even more incredible is the total modernization Airstream has done on this $100K beauty. First of all, it’s exceptionally light, so dad can tow it with his Ram or F150. You don’t need to supersize your hauler, which is a great touch. Second of all, the Land Yacht has an incredible interior. How incredible, you ask? Think teak cabinetry, Corian countertops, and leather furnishings. The LED lighting is, of course, a luxury motorhome must. This awesome vehicle can sleep five people in comfort, although I think the leather couch is more than comfortable enough for my tastes.
If you're looking for something a little more roadworthy than the Land Yacht, then Airstream has got you covered in that department as well. The Interstate Grand Tour is designed to do exactly what its name suggests: tour wherever you want to go. The Class B motorhome has a Mercedes-Benz platform for starters, but it also has heated Captain’s chairs up front and room in the back for five more passengers while in motion. It can only sleep two, so the kids might be tenting it right outside, but inside, it has remote-controlled window blinds, adjustable LED lighting, and a very cool entertainment system. The Grand Tour actually boasts two flatscreen TVs, which to me seems a bit excessive for what's basically a camper van, but hey... for a base price of $165,000, you might as well squeeze every last bit of luxury out of it that you can.
We haven’t talked too much about Class C RVs, and we won’t again on this list, but it's worth pointing out that the right Class C vehicle can offer some very versatile options and luxuriousness. Basically, a Class C is a cutaway of a work van—it’s the classic look of the bedroom hanging over the cab of the camper. The Thor “Super C” takes this concept even further by putting the camper on the chassis of a Ford F-550. That means it’s got massive amounts of power (it can tow an incredible 10,000 pounds) and a lot of room for living. Don’t believe me? How about a king-sized bed, an almost full-sized fridge, dual air conditioners and, oh yeah... for all of you big guys out there, seven-foot-tall ceilings. I’m 6’5”, so I’m already sold. I guess I’ll take the dual 4K flatscreens, too. Why not, for $140,000?
Pop-up tent camper trailers aren’t quite the same as Toy Haulers, mostly because they can’t carry anywhere near as much as a Toy Hauler can (hence the name “hauler”). But what they can do is make a dad with a family on a budget very happy. The best of the bunch is the Forrest River Rockwood trailer, which is ultra-lightweight (less than four thousand pounds), ultra-streamlined with a low profile (fuel economy, anyone?) and very habitable. It has beds on either end of the side pop-ups, a full kitchen area, a shower, and a sitting room. However, the thing that'll make dad really happy is the cost—only about $20K for this baby. It’s definitely not traveling in a luxurious Class A bus or even a fully appointed Class-B, but it’s still a very cool way to get out on the open road to adventure.
Remember those old camper pop-tops? You probably still see them in people’s yards with weathered “For Sale” signs on them—I know I do. But there’s a new generation of camper vans out there, and the pop-top design has made a bit of a comeback. Take the ModVan, for example, which is based on a Ford Transit platform. That’s right—this camper started life as a work van. That’s an important selling point for this one, too, as you can actually remove pretty much all of the RV components in the van and turn it into an everyday work van. It’s a neat touch although also a lot of work. The ModVan, when it’s in full-on RV mode, can sleep six people and has a kitchen and a bathroom area as well its own furnace. The pop-top even looks pretty cool, believe it or not. The best part, though, is that dad only has to drop $65,000 to get one.
Back we go to the classic Winnebago line of RVs. But this time, we’re going to dream up something a bit larger for ourselves—not too large, of course, because we don’t always need all the space in the world. Let’s instead talk about something that’s comfortably large enough for a family of four. The Via is a Class A motorhome, so it’s supposed to be big and stylish—and it is, but it’s also very manageable. It’s only about 26’ long and sits on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter platform. That means it has a turbodiesel V6 which adds good fuel economy and handling to a class of RV that usually creates lumbering gas guzzlers. It has a loft bedroom up top to sleep two and a queen-sized bed in the back. It wouldn’t be a Class A if it didn’t also have shower facilities and a kitchen with stovetop and fridge/freezer combo. The Via is a pretty cool look, starting at around $130,000.
It’s amazing to me just how many awesome RVs are out there and what they do and don’t offer. For example, the Hymer Aktiv offers a full shower in a class B RV. That may not seem like that big a deal if you’re dealing with some of the road monsters on this list that have in-law suites, but for an RV that's based on a Dodge Ram platform, it’s a pretty impressive feat of engineering. So is the cool dining/family area with the raised headrest seats and the stainless-steel sink in the kitchen. It can actually sleep four if you break down the family area, but the queen bed in the rear might be enough for mom & dad if they decide to leave the kids at home for the weekend. The Aktiv also comes in at just under $100,000.
Sometimes, if you want to travel in style, you have to spend money. That should basically be the mantra for all RV owners because none of them come cheap, even the ones that advertise themselves as being so. $65,000, which is the base for a nice Class B motorhome, isn’t chump change for anything. But it also certainly isn’t a cool $1 million, which is what the Newmar King Air 4553 starts at. Yes, you heard me right—$1 million is the base price. For that heap of cash, you get a huge bedroom area—think like you were in a real master suite in a house—and a kickass sound system that can turn the whole thing into a disco bus. The driver gets an integrated tablet on a side console that controls the whole damn vehicle, down to the garbage disposal. Oh yeah... it also has adaptive cruise control with collision mitigation tech and lane-departure warning systems, so the driver can mess with that tablet without watching the road.
I know this one isn’t a true RV in and of itself, but “Toy Haulers” are a huge part of the market, and we should mention at least one. Dad would love this one because it’s super lightweight (that’s what building all in aluminum will do for you), and it offers a ton of comfort. How much comfort, you ask? Well, it’s got a separate queen-sized bed, a sleeping area, a kitchen with a fridge and a stovetop, a fold-out sofa/bed, and plenty of storage space (it can carry 4,600 lbs. of stuff). Anyone with a basic lightweight pickup truck can haul this baby around as it weighs less than 6,000 lbs. The best part is that it’s only about $30,000, so if dad already owns a truck or an SUV with a tow package, then he’s good to go.
If you’re looking for something a little bit unconventional in your campervan, then this tough-as-nails grinder might be for you. Sportsmobile has been around for years—they're the ones who customize vans for true off-road expeditions. If Indiana Jones were around today, he would definitely have one of these. The RV is based on a Ford E-350 platform, so it’s pretty damn tough and capable, which is what you want if you’re thinking of taking your RV off road. The interior has pretty much all of the elements you would find in a standard Class-B RV, but it’s the outside that draws all of the attention. This thing just doesn’t look like an RV—it looks like the perfect vehicle to find El Dorado in! But for $100,000, it had better have those usual RV amenities, not just the looks, and it definitely does.
This Class C van is a very sweet ride and insanely affordable (yeah, I’m joking—that’s what RV pricing will do to a guy) at a base of around $76,000. Safari itself is based out of Quebec and is well known for building their custom campers onto Dodge, GM, and even Mercedes-Benz platforms. The Condo Flex Promaster comes equipped with a queen-size bed that can be adjusted to allow additional storage space—a nice touch when RV living always means trading space for mobility. It’s got a full shower and bathroom and a dining room that seats four, just in case you want to have a sit-down meal. It isn’t the most luxurious RV on our list, but it sure does get the job done and at an affordable (OK, I still can’t believe I’m saying 76K is “affordable”) cost.
Checking in at $1.3 million, the Foretravel IH-45 is considered by some industry insiders to be a bargain. Say what? A bargain is a McDonald’s two-for-$5 deal, not a Class-A motorhome that goes well over a million bucks! The reason it's considered so is that it uses advanced aircraft technology to reduce road vibrations and cut out road noise. I guess that tech costs a pretty penny for it to actually work. So basically, in addition to all the usual and obligatory luxury options that come in something like this (like four—yes, count ‘em—four rooftop air-conditioning units), you also get to travel America’s highways and byways without ever hearing any outside noise or feeling the bumps of the road beneath you. I don’t know if that’s worth a million bucks, but maybe, just maybe, it is.
It’s not often that you’ll catch me praising the capabilities of Nissan, but in the case of the Roadtrek N6 Active, I’m going to have to. This Class-B camper comes in at just under $80,000, and the platform is actually a Nissan van. That works to its advantage, as it’s big enough to fit six people comfortably in a classic mini-van conversion style or fit five when it’s turned into an RV. That’s some pretty cool flexibility. Now, the way it sleeps five is by using an old-school rooftop pop-up, but that’s alright—that’s the way camper vans started off back in the day. Inside, it’s got a microwave, a fridge, and a sink, all of which are nice add-ons. If you want to sleep more people, you can always hitch the aforementioned Living Lite Access toy hauler to the 8,000 lb. hitch this guy comes with.
Here it is—the most costly RV in the world. And it's one hell of a ride. Actually, I take that back; I don’t know how good of a ride the Marchi Mobile EleMMent Palazzo is because no one really seems to care about its performance characteristics. That’s because the damn thing has a built-in spa with a glazed rainfall shower. That’s also because the damn thing has a retractable “Sky Lounge” that has its own integrated retractable furniture and radiant floor heating. That’s because it's appointed with Italian bed linens, a full wet bar, a wine “cellar,” and automatic window-darkening systems. Oh, by the way... it also looks like some giant insect-like spaceship, so it’s got that going for it, too. Personally, I like the Sky Lounge feature the best even though I know I would break it in about 15 minutes messing with the retractor controls.