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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Going Where I Want To Go - 3 Vehicle Comparison

In the last 5 years of Brent’s Travels I have traveled between 16K and 20K miles in my approx 4 months, each year on the road.

To recap my first year of travels in 2014 I had a Class B camper below.  Years 2, 3, &, 4 (2015, 2016, &, 2017) my Vandwelling Choice was a Prius.  Finally this year (2018) was my Tacoma with a Four Wheel Camper (FWC).

Over a series of blog posts I will look at different aspects of my various Vandwelling travel choices.

If you have questions you would like answered please let me know.

Going Where I Want To Go, Comparison:

The Class B, although it was on a truck chassis, it was long at 19.5 feet, so it could fit in a regular parking space side to side, but it was a space and a half long.  This made parking in some parking lots difficult.

At a baseball game in Scottsdale, AZ they park the vehicles in a parking lot.  I asked to back into a spot so my rear end of the Class B could overhang the grass.  They agreed to my request.  Obviously in a large parking lot like a Walmart you just park away from others, but if you want to park in metered spots this may not be possible, while staying in the allowed Space.

The Class B was tall at 9.5 feet to the top of the roof A/C.  This meant I could not park in parking garages at all and had to worry about overhead awnings off of buildings.

As I stated, the Class B was on a one ton truck chassis, so I should expect good ground clearance, but the black and gray water pipes were under the chassis making them easy to damage if I didn’t think about them driving on some roads I could have had a problem.  

I could not go to some BLM disbursed camping areas due to road conditions.  I could not go on springtime forest service muddy roads either.  

Therefore, the Class B gets a lower rating than the Prius.

The Prius can go in cities and parallel park, park in parking garages, and streetside.  It fits anywhere.

I did have problems with ground clearance.  The nose of the Prius would hit high curbs, so I added a curb sensor to prevent this happening by early warning beeps.  In Arizona, where I spend a lot of time, they have deep gutters that can cause me to scrape the Prius front nose before I get on the road.  If I go slow I can just about eliminate this issue.

The biggest problem is low ground clearance.  The design for fuel efficiency keeping a low ground clearance creates problems.  I’ve not been able to go over some cattle guards due to the 4+” Drop off on the other side.  I would hang the front of the car on this and you don’t want to do this.  There were washes I couldn’t get over/through.  At the RTR I had to watch for rogue rocks on the road and finding disbursed camping, that I could hit on my undercarriage.  I got good at seeing such things and avoiding them.  When they graded the road at the RTR they left a brim on the side of the road that I could not get over without scraping or hanging, so I had to manually knock the brim down to get to the camping areas.  

There were BLM disbursed areas I could not go due to rough roads.  I could not go on forest service roads due to mud.  I could not camp on the beach’s in Texas due to soft sand.  

Despite the negatives with the Prius, although I had to avoid hitting things like the Class B, the Prius fit so many more places than the Class B.

Now to the Tacoma/Camper.  What can I say, it’s a 4x4 truck that fits in a standard parking spot.  That goes through washes, sand, mud (within reason).  The Tacoma/Camper allowed me to tour main streets, back roads, and some 4x4 only roads.

The combination 4x4 truck and low clearance pop up camper didn’t create any clearance problems either.  I had fun going where the Class B and Prius couldn’t go.  

Going Where I Want To Go, In Summary:

Class B - 4
Prius - 6
Tacoma - 9



  1. Hi Brenton
    I AM ONE OF YOUR FOLLOWER and follow your website.I am interested in buying Rav4 or Highlander. Could you please compare these cars totally grade with your 3 cars ?
    thanks a lot

    1. Rima,

      Yes, you have been following for some time now. Your question could be totally foreign to me if I wasn’t somewhat familiar with the RAV4 and Highlander.

      I will see what I can do for a comparison