How much does an SUV weigh? Due to the growth of both off-road culture and consumer vehicles themselves, SUVs are becoming increasingly popular. Sport utility vehicles currently account for the largest automotive segment in the world, making up nearly 50% of U.S. car sales.
Many of us are aware that SUVs come in all shapes and sizes, but not too many of us know how much these vehicles weigh. Since they are neither cars nor trucks, they fit into a unique spectrum in the consumer vehicle market, and their weights can vary accordingly.
Let’s discuss how much an SUV weighs, starting with the difference between an SUV and a CUV. To follow, we will dive into the different SUV weight classifications, so let’s get started!
Difference Between SUV and CUV
Despite being remarkably similar in appearance, crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) are not full-fledged SUVs. There are fundamental differences between the two as it pertains to design, purpose, and technology. Crossovers are characterized by:
Shared platform with a passenger car
Focus on the interior and ride comfort
Limited off-road capability
Though popular to use as everyday drivers, SUVs are primarily designed to handle off-road terrains. While they can serve the same purpose as a typical car, tradeoffs like decreased fuel-efficiency can sometimes make impractical choices for commuters. However, the increased performance can be well worth the compromise in certain situations. Traits of a standard SUV include:
Shared platform with pickup/light trucks
Focus on off-road capabilities
Limited ride comfort (with the exception of luxury models)
The differences between these vehicles become apparent once you know what to look for. This is particularly true when it comes to weight. CUVs are considerably lighter than SUVs because they do not have a conventional chassis or the heavier mechanical components found on off-road vehicles.
How much does an SUV weigh?
The most common classifications separate SUVs into five classes. Let us look at the average weights and the most prominent models in each of the categories.
The Mini class is the smallest of all SUV categories. On average, mini-SUVs that are outfitted with basic equipment have a curb weight of just over 2000 pounds.
Despite their smaller size, these models are extremely capable off-road vehicles, with the Lada Niva from Russian manufacturer AvtoVAZ being one of the most respected SUVs ever made. In recent years, the mini class has been overtaken by CUV models, likely due to cheaper production costs. Popular models in this class include:
The compact sport utility category established its roots in the U.S. marketplace back in the early ‘80s, when the major SUV manufacturers were in intense competition with one another.
Jeep revolutionized the SUV market with the Cherokee XJ. Unlike their competitors, Jeep didn’t have a pickup truck platform to base their SUV on, in turn building a unibody SUV from the ground up.
The departure from traditional design meant that the Jeep Cherokee XJ boasted a robust and lightweight construction with a quality of ride that matched some passenger vehicles. It spawned numerous clones and became the gold standard for the modern SUV design.
Compact SUVs typically weigh just over 3,000 pounds, but with the current technology and focus on interior comfort, the weight can easily reach 3,500 pounds. Key examples of compact SUVs include:
Jeep Cherokee XJ
Chevrolet S-10 Blazer 2-door
Ford Bronco II 2-door
Suzuki Vitara/Grand Vitara
The mid-size class has some of the most popular SUV models ever produced. Whether they’re utilizing a unibody design or built upon an appropriate pickup truck chassis, SUVs of this segment are the best at combining off-road capabilities with a comfortable ride.
As SUV classes do not have strict requirements, a wide array of 5-seat and 7-seat vehicles fall into the mid-size category, meaning that weights can vary drastically from one model to another. Mid-size SUVs can weigh anywhere from 3,500 to 6,000 pounds, but the average weight of a sizeable, off-road-ready SUV is roughly 5,000 pounds. Notable models include:
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Land Rover Discovery
Range Rover Classic
The largest conventional models of SUV are placed in the full-size class. The increase in weight and size (especially the wheelbase) can limit the off-road effectiveness of some SUVs in this class. However, models like the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe maintain a strong focus on off-road capabilities.
But while the Expedition and Tahoe are tailored for off-roading, other models forgo this functionality in favor of luxury. Some of the best examples include the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. A majority of these models are based on a full-sized pickup platform, so they remain in the SUV class. Full-size SUVs commonly weigh between 5,300 and 6,000 pounds, with prominent examples being:
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Toyota Land Cruiser
In North America, and especially in the United States, manufacturers make full-size SUVs in a long-wheelbase variant. These models offer additional rear passenger space and more cargo volume based on full-sized or heavy-duty pickup platforms.
Despite the increase in size, extended-length SUV models have roughly the same weight as the full-size models, ranging between 5,400 to 6,000 pounds. With just over a dozen models in production, some of the most popular include:
GMC Yukon XL
Toyota Mega Cruiser
Lightest SUVs of Each Class
When it comes to SUVs, weight is an important factor to consider. A heavier SUV may offer more stability on the road, but it also means less fuel efficiency and higher costs.
Here are some of the lightest SUVs in each class:
Subcompact SUVs are the smallest SUVs on the market, making them a great option for city driving.
Here are some of the lightest subcompact SUVs:
Hyundai Kona – 2,890 lbs
Nissan Kicks – 2,639 lbs
Chevrolet Trax – 2,805 lbs
Compact SUVs are a popular choice for families due to their spacious interiors and versatility.
Here are some of the lightest compact SUVs:
Jeep Compass – 3,184 lbs
Subaru Crosstrek – 3,117 lbs
Mazda CX-5 – 3,560 lbs
Midsize SUVs offer a balance of size and fuel efficiency, making them a popular choice for those who need more space than a compact SUV.
Here are some of the lightest midsize SUVs:
Ford Edge – 3,958 lbs
Hyundai Santa Fe – 3,591 lbs
Jeep Grand Cherokee – 4,513 lbs
Full-size SUVs are the largest SUVs on the market, offering plenty of space for passengers and cargo.
Here are some of the lightest full-size SUVs:
Chevrolet Tahoe – 5,355 lbs
GMC Yukon – 5,379 lbs
Ford Expedition – 5,443 lbs
Overall, the weight of an SUV can vary greatly depending on the class and model. It’s important to consider your needs and preferences when choosing an SUV, including fuel efficiency, size, and weight.
The Heaviest SUVs Out There
SUVs are known for their size and power, but some models take it to the extreme with their weight.
Here are some of the heaviest SUVs on the market in 2023:
GMC Yukon Denali XL|
Cadillac Escalade ESV|
Lexus LX 570|
Rolls Royce Cullinan|
As you can see, these SUVs are not for the faint of heart. The GMC Yukon Denali XL takes the top spot with a weight of 6,100 pounds, closely followed by the Cadillac Escalade ESV at 6,088 pounds.
These SUVs are designed for those who prioritize size and power over fuel efficiency and maneuverability. They are often used for towing, hauling, and off-roading, as they are built to handle heavy loads and rough terrain.
Can You Make an SUV Lighter?
SUV owners can undertake several measures to reduce the weight of their vehicles, thereby improving fuel efficiency and performance.
Some of these methods include:
Remove unnecessary items: Clear out the cargo area and cabin of any non-essential items. Excess weight from accumulated belongings can significantly impact fuel efficiency.
Use lighter wheels: Replace the stock wheels with lighter alloy wheels, which can help reduce the vehicle’s unsprung weight and improve handling.
Remove non-essential features: If certain features are not crucial to your daily use, consider removing them. This may include roof racks, running boards, or even the spare tire (if you’re willing to rely on a tire repair kit or roadside assistance).
Lighter aftermarket parts: Replace some heavy stock parts with lighter aftermarket alternatives, such as exhaust systems or suspension components.
Reduce interior weight: Consider removing or replacing heavy interior components, such as seats, with lighter alternatives. This step may be more suitable for those willing to sacrifice some comfort for weight reduction.
Limit fluid levels: Avoid carrying excessive amounts of fuel, oil, or coolant when it’s not necessary. Be cautious, however, not to compromise the vehicle’s performance or risk damage by running with insufficient fluids.
Please note that any modifications should be done with caution and in compliance with your vehicle’s manufacturer guidelines and local regulations.
Overall, making an SUV lighter can improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. However, it’s important to balance weight reduction with safety and practicality. Drivers should consider their own needs and preferences when choosing an SUV, and consult with a trusted dealer or mechanic for advice.
How many ton does a SUV weigh?
Most SUVs weigh between 2,000 and 6,000 pounds, with the most popular, mid-size models weighing around 5,000 pounds.
How heavy are most SUVs?
Average subcompact SUV – 3,000 to 3,500 pounds. Average midsize trucks/SUV – 3,500 to 6,000 pounds. Average large SUV – 5,400 to 6,000 pounds.
Can an SUV hold 1000 lbs?
According to Consumer Reports calculations, many SUVs can carry more than 1,100 pounds in combined passenger and cargo weight. But the load capacity of a number of others — depending on the options on the vehicle — is right around 1,000 pounds.
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