What is the best diesel engine for a motorhome?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What is the best diesel engine for a motorhome? We will help you choose between engines for a motorhome and explain how to make the best of it and to consume less fuel on your trips.

What is the best diesel engine for a motorhome?

If your budget allows it, the best diesel engine for a motorhome is an engine greater than 100hp. You will have more comfort with a more powerful and more torquey engine, especially if you are travelling with a large payload. 

See the table below for our recommendations when it comes to the best diesel engine for a motorhome:

Type of Diesel EnginePeak TorqueHorse Powers
X151950 lb-ft565 hp
X121695 lb-ft500 hp
L91250 lb-ft 330-450 hp
B6.7400 Lb-Ft200-325 hp

So, which RV engine to choose?

The first tip that we give you without hesitation: avoid choosing an engine of less than 130 hp. It will very often be far too small for a vehicle of this weight (often close to 3.5T for example for an integral).

It is customary to say that the Fiat brand is the leader in the motorhome market. This is true, but top-of-the-range vehicles are also equipped with Mercedes, for example with high torque and an engine + automatic gearbox combo, which is pleasant to use.

The Fiat Ducato Multijet 130, 150 or 180 hp engines feature a rather economical 6-speed manual gearbox, with sufficient dynamism. Also note that Fiat engines will go in 2020, from 130/150/180 to 120/140/160 and 180 hp. The automatic gearbox will also shift to 9 gears.

Citroën brands with a Jumper model also come in the possible choices. Ford and the Transit are not to be outdone, like the Tessoro Profile 497 with 170 hp engine, in the top 10 of current sales, and the family Chausson Korus 720, also on 170 hp. And there are also the options Mercedes and the Sprinter, or even Renault and the Master, to name a few.

For RVs and vans, the engines sometimes start below 100hp as on the Mercedes Vito (from 88hp) and Renault Traffic (form 95hp).

Even for advice as for leisure vehicles, if your budget allows it, favour an engine greater than 100hp. You will have more comfort with a more powerful and more torquey engine, especially if you are travelling with a large payload.

Our second trip will therefore be: not to race for the biggest brands without considering the alternatives first. Still by talking to your dealer, maybe you will find another option, which combines your desire for a type of motorhome with a reliable and not necessarily expensive engine.

Our third tip will also be to carefully study the engine + gearbox assembly to also ensure that the consumption announced by the manufacturer remains reasonable. On average for a displacement of between 1.6 litres and 2.3 litres, the manufacturers announce a consumption between 5.6 and 6.2 litres per 100 km with a 6-speed gearbox.

Which engine should be preferred for the purchase of a motorhome?

Even if this is not always the main criterion of a motorhome buyer, motorization is nevertheless one of the essential elements when making this purchase. The power of the engine depends, on the one hand, on the comfort of the road and on the other hand, on the pleasure of driving your recreational vehicle.

If you are unsure of which engine to choose when buying your motorhome, here are a few things that can help you.

The engine type is not always the first rule for choosing a motorhome: If the layout and decoration of the motorhome are essential criteria, the motorization is nevertheless just as decisive on another pleasure that its owners will have: that of driving it!

Being able to move around easily, quickly and safely is also what one expects from such a vehicle, especially when travelling with the family. Anytime you find yourself on a hill or want to pass easily, you’ll need an engine with power and torque.

Motorhomes are made by a builder-developer from vehicles of different brands. They are mainly light commercial vehicles and provide motorhomes, even chassis, cabin bodies and driving equipment (mirrors, air conditioning, airbag, controls, etc.) to motor homes.

Except on the integral, for which the cabin is “rearranged”. A converted van takes over the body of the utility.

In summary, choosing a motorhome carrier involves choosing an engine (mostly diesel), a type of transmission, equipment, design and bodywork (except integral).

How to make the best of your RV diesel engine?

The following tips should help you reduce your fuel consumption and take the best from your RV diesel engine. A motorhome consumes between 12 and 30 litres per 100 kilometres depending on the engine and the size, we assume that if you take the road in a motorhome, it is certain that you are going on vacation or for the weekend.

Drive calmly to reduce fuel consumption in a motorhome. You may be on the road to vacation, enjoying the landscape, nature and villages you pass through. Do not hurry and drive calmly for a serene motorhome trip.

Drive at a constant speed to consume less. Try to maintain a constant speed throughout your journey. To do this, use the cruise control on the motorway and national roads.

Monitor the tachometer. Some motorhomes, vans and campervans have a gear change indicator, follow this information. Also, don’t overheat the tachometer, but don’t get too soft either because if you change your gears below 1300 rpm, you increase the chances of the EGR valve failing.

Check tire pressure. Driving a motorhome with under-inflated tires increases fuel consumption. In addition, they wear out more quickly and risk bursting. No one wants to die on the road to vacation.

Anticipate driving while travelling in a motorhome. Look far ahead: a roundabout, a stop sign, traffic … Try to anticipate slowdowns in order to limit sudden acceleration and braking.

Finding the right speed on the motorway. If you take the motorway in a motorhome, we advise you not to exceed 110 km / h and to use the regulator in order to consume less diesel in the motorhome.

Turn off the air conditioning. Do not leave the air conditioning always on. In summer it’s a hell of a lot of comforts, but it’s not necessary 100% of the time. For example, if it is very hot, open the cabin and the living area before starting and turning on the air conditioning. Airing will save you a lot of money.

The bottom line

In summary, we remind you to choose the power of your engine (preferably greater than or equal to 130 HP) according to your needs, rather than favouring a brand. Don’t rush into a particular brand. Although the Fiat 130 hp is fitted to a majority of recreational vehicles, your dealer can show you other engines that are just as interesting.

Choosing the right engine also means finding the perfect engine + gearbox couple that will allow you a pleasant ride and that will not sacrifice your comfort, at the cost of high average consumption.

If you have any questions or comments about the content, please let us know.

FAQ on What is the best diesel engine for a motorhome?

Which motorhome motorization to avoid?

When it comes to motorhome motorization, avoid choosing an engine of less than 130 hp. It will very often be far too small for a vehicle of this weight (often close to 3.5T for example for an integral)

What fuel for a motorhome?

Almost all motorhomes and converted vans run on diesel. But ecological constraints require serious consideration of new energy for our vehicles. Electricity, hydrogen fuel cell, LPG, CNG or biofuels.

What engine for a campervan?

When it comes to engines for campervans, we recommend the 2.0 Multijet 115 hp and the 2.3 available in four power levels: 115 hp, 130 hp (the most common), 150 and 177 hp, the latter two using a geometry turbocharger variable.


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