What is Body-on-Frame?

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A body-on-frame vehicle consists of a separate body and frame that are connected by mounts. Body-on-frame vehicles also are called ladder-frame thanks to the form of the underlying frame. Modern body-on-frame passenger vehicles tend to be either SUVs or trucks.

The Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, and Ford F-150 are prominent samples of current body-on-frame designs. Some choose to call any body-on-frame vehicle a “truck,” whether or not it doesn’t have a bed.

If all SUVs are body-on-frame, you may be wondering why the overwhelming majority of cars are unibody. After all, SUVs are everywhere on the roads. While many of us discuss cars just like the Ford Escape and Honda CR-V as SUVs, they’re technically not. By traditional definition, a vehicle is simply an SUV if it’s a body-on-frame. The Escape and therefore the CR-V are both unibody crossovers or crossover SUVs.

As an example of the contrast, the new 2021 Ford Bronco could be a body-on-frame off-roader. It’s a real SUV. The upcoming Bronco Sport, on the opposite hand, maybe a unibody crossover designed for on-road use.

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