Are All RVs and Motorhomes Automatic?


RVs in their many forms are a popular option for UK travellers seeking the freedom and adventure of road trips when visiting the United States. And it’s no surprise given their versatility, cost effectiveness and level of comfort. Over the last 50 years, we’ve helped thousands of people find their dream RV, whether that be for a short term rental, a long term hire or to keep as their own. During this time, one of the most common questions we receive, especially from UK travellers, is ‘Are all RVs automatic?’.

The short answer is:

Not all RVs are automatic, but the majority of RVs and motorhomes in the US are - including ALL of Cruise America's motor homes!

Automatic RVs and motorhomes

Automatic transmissions are by far the most common type found in American RVs, whether they be small campers or large luxurious motorhomes. And it’s no surprise, given the benefits of automatic transmissions for larger vehicles such as motorhomes. Compared with manual transmissions, automatics tend to be much easier to use, with smoother gear changes and even enhanced safety, as they allow the driver to be able to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. 

What’s more, many automatic RVs now include features like tow/haul modes. These adjust shift points and optimise power delivery for towing heavy loads, enabling them to tow more vehicles or trailers where necessary, without straining the transmission. On top of this, automatic transmissions can also help to maximise fuel economy, reducing the cost of your petrol.

Manual American RVs

While automatic transmissions generally dominate the American RV market - and indeed Cruise America only uses RVs with automatic transmission - , there are a select few RVs out there with manual transmission. These tend to be found in more specialised or custom-built models rather than mainstream offerings, but can be found if you know where to look for them.

Manual transmissions provide drivers with far more control, particularly in challenging terrain such as steep hills or off-road trails. Some RV drivers say that manual transmission helps them feel more connected and more immersed in the driving experience than they would in an automatic.

Automatic vs manual RVs and motorhomes

We hope we have helped you to learn more about the popularity, pros and cons of automatic and manual transmissions when it comes to RVs. Whether you choose an automatic or manual RV, browse our range of RVs and motorhomes today and find the perfect option for your adventure and enjoy the freedom of the open road.