Body-on-frame SUVs are becoming a rare sight on today’s dealer lots.
Believe it or not, there are only 15 “real” body-on-frame SUVs available new, as more and more automakers turn to unibody construction for a more refined driving experience. With the rise of crossovers in recent years, the definition of an SUV has become muddled, with automakers attaching it to models that aren’t body-on-frame.
And while it can get confusing trying to determine what’s rightfully a crossover or SUV, we’re here to talk about which body-on-frame SUVs are left – which technically, is what defines an SUV.
Cadillac Escalade / Chevrolet Tahoe / Chevrolet Suburban / GMC Yukon
All four of these models share the same platform and their sheer size means they’ll likely stay body-on-frame for the foreseeable future. This is also because General Motors has the competitive Chevrolet Silverado in the pickup truck category, which means the automaker won’t stop development on the platform anytime soon.
Ford Expedition / Lincoln Navigator
Like Chevrolet and its Silverado, Ford has the best-selling vehicle with the F-150 pickup truck, so it’s only natural that it has a couple of body-on-frame SUVs in its lineup as well, based on the truck’s platform. The Expedition is the largest SUV Ford offers, and the American automaker has filled its lineup with plenty of crossovers. The all-new Lincoln Navigator recently debuted and will serve as the automaker’s full-size luxury SUV.
Infiniti QX80 / Nissan Armada
The Nissan Armada and Infiniti QX80 ride on the same platform as the Nissan Patrol, an SUV that isn’t sold in North America. The Armada, however, started its life riding on the same platform as the Titan before the Patrol-based Infiniti QX56 arrived. When it came time to introduce a new Nissan Armada, the Japanese automaker decided to save costs and use the same Patrol platform underpinning the QX80.
The brand known for its SUVs actually has only one body-on-frame model. The Jeep Wrangler continues to soldier on, but rumor has it the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models will be body-on-frame. It is reported the new SUVs will be built at FCA’s Warren Truck Assembly plant, which builds the current-generation Ram 1500.
Mercedes-Benz is known to have a huge lineup of crossovers and SUVs, but the only true body-on-frame model is the G-Class. And that shouldn’t be a surprise, considering the G-Class has barely changed since its introduction.
Toyota 4Runner / Lexus GX
Toyota has quite a few body-on-frame platforms, with the 4Runner sharing a platform with its luxury counterpart, the Lexus GX. The now defunct FJ Cruiser also rode on the same platform as a body-on-frame SUV, which is why the FT-4X Concept is so disappointing since it’s built on the platform that underpins the Toyota Prius and C-HR crossover.
Toyota Land Cruiser / Lexus LX
Stepping up from the 4Runner is the Toyota Land Cruiser and its Lexus counterpart, the LX. Both are full-size SUVs, with the Land Cruiser having a bit more off-road prowess. The Lexus LX meanwhile, remains the largest SUV in the Japanese automaker’s lineup that also features the NX and RX crossovers.
Based on the Toyota Tundra pickup, the Sequoia is the Japanese automaker’s most outdated model, having entered its second and current generation in 2008. It did, however, just receive a refresh for the 2018 model year although the changes aren’t major.