Updated: Jul 5, 2021
When considering which motorcoach to purchase, the most fundamental decision is whether to purchase a diesel or gas coach. The diesel engine units are called 'diesel pushers' because the diesel engine is in the back (usually) and it's like it's pushing the coach down the road. Just a nickname, but you'll hear that a lot. The simple fact is that the diesel unit will cost more, the gas unit costs less. So why doesn't everyone just buy a gas coach. (I use 'unit' and 'coach' interchangably, don't ask me why). If you're very budget conscious, gas is a great compromise, but compromise is the important point. Here's a comparison table showing some of the things to consider.
Cheaper to purchase. Gas engines are used on lower end motorcoaches
Fuel is typically cheaper than diesel
Oil changes are cheaper
Noisy. Engine is in the front of the vehicle right between the seats and particularly going up a hill, oh boy, forget about talking to each other. Vibration from the engine is also much more noticeable with a gas engine.
Longevity: After 70,000 or 100,000 miles, your gas engine will be tired and possibly worn out. Diesel engines are just broken in at that point.
Power. Gas engines are not as powerful and thus are slower going up a hill, This may seem like a no-big-deal, but when it comes to pulling out in traffic and accelerating up a hill, gas engines just don't deliver the juice like a diesel engine does.
Power: When it comes to making your coach go down the road, the diesel engine is second to none. When you get into the high end motorcoaches you'll find they have the same engine as long haul tractor trailer trucks.
Longevity: These powerplants are designed to go for millions of miles as long as you take care of them, such as change the oil on schedule. Of course you'll likely not drive your coach that far, few do.
Noise. A rear engine diesel is very quiet. We literally can't hear our diesel engine when driving down the road, making for long driving days rather pleasant.
Reliability: These engines just go and go. Remember those oil changes, respect them. Take care of the engine and it will take care of you.
Cost: These powerplants simply cost more initially. But if you consider the longevity and lower maintenance costs, one could argue they're cheaper over the total life of the vehicle. So maybe I've got 'cost' in the wrong place!
Maintenance costs: Oil changes are more expensive (in general), but in general you'll have less overall maintenance issues. But when they do occur, they're usually more expensive than a gas equivalent procedure.
I recall when my wife and I were purchasing our first motorcoach, she really had her heart set on this one gas unit. I wanted a diesel unit. But after she drove both, it was a no-brainer decision. We were both set on a diesel unit. If you test drive to compare this decision point, be sure to drive both types up a good hill. Not an overpass, i mean a good hill and see the difference. If your pocketbook can accommodate the difference, I think you'll really appreciate the difference. Both our coaches have been diesel and we wouldn't do it any other way.