What SUVs Have Full Frames?

If you need a vehicle that can accommodate your family while still capable of hauling heavy loads, then looking into an SUV with a full-frame could be the ticket. What is an SUV with a full-frame? What SUVs on the market come equipped with a body-on-frame? There is no need to worry; we have done the heavy research and comprised a list of SUVs that currently have full frames. 

Here is the list of mid-size and full-size SUV's that come equipped with full frames: 

Mid-size SUVs:

  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Mercedes-Benz-G-Class
  • Toyota 4-Runner
  • Lexus LX

Full-Size SUVs: 

  • Cadillac Escalade
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chevrolet Tahoe
  • GMC Yukon (XL)
  • Ford Expedition
  • Lincoln Navigator
  • Infiniti QX80
  • Nissan Armada
  • Lexus GX
  • Toyota Sequoia   

Now that's a list to choose from! Car shopping can be stressful, especially when it comes to finding an SUV that can provide comfort and durability when towing and off-roading. Read on to learn more about these SUVs with body-on-frame designs and their specs. 

A Lexus LX parked on the side of a road, What SUVs Have Full Frames?

What Is A Body-On-Frame SUV?

Before going into detail about each of these mid-size and full-size SUVs equipped with full-frames, let's first talk about what it means. Body-on-frame is a vehicle construction where the vehicle's body is mounted onto a solid and rigid frame. A body-on-frame has historically been used for pickup trucks and heavy trucks. This construction is used because of its durability to be able to handle hefty loads without the risk of damage to the vehicle. 

The frames of these vehicles are made of high-end steel to ensure strength and resilience against the roughest. The vehicle frame or chassis carries the engine and drivetrain, and then the tires, brakes, and steering are mounted. This type of vehicle engineering has become popular amongst large SUVs due to its higher clearance, off-roading capabilities, and increased towing capacity. 

What Is The Difference Between A Body-On-Frame And Unibody Frame?

You may have heard a unibody frame and a body-on-frame, but what exactly is the difference? As we stated, a full-frame vehicle has the body placed onto a steel frame. The frame then has the wheels, brakes, suspension, and engine added. The frame is the main support of the vehicle and handles the grunt of the work on the vehicle.

A unibody frame is when the body and frame are built as a cage-like construction, so the frame and body are one. Unibody frames are lighter, typically get better gas mileage than body-on-frame vehicles. Unlike body-on-frame vehicles, unibody frames are less likely to roll at high speeds and have better crash test ratings.

Read on to learn more about the mid-size and full-size SUVs that have full frames.

Mid-Size SUVs With Full Frames

Not every SUV with a steel full-frame has to be extremely large gas guzzlers. There are currently four mid-size SUVs that are tough when off-roading, have impressive towing capacity, and can hold up to tough jobs for years. Let's take a look at the mid-size SUV list and features.

2021 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is a common name in the vehicle world. Known for their toughness, they are an SUV that craves rough terrain. Whether it's climbing over boulders, driving through muddy swamps, or pulling a fellow friend out of the ditch, Jeep can get it done. Jeep Wranglers can be beneficial completely stock from the factory, or if you want to beef them up for any situation, the accessories are unlimited.

2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

If you like luxury vehicles, then the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one to put on the list. Don't let its Mercedes name fool you because the G-Class is constructed with a rugged steel body-on-frame that can handle your off-road or towing needs if need be. The G-Class may be an iconic SUV on the market, but it definitely can be your date-night vehicle or your workhouse. As you might guess, the G-Class comes at a pretty penny, starting at a modest $160,920.

2021 Toyota 4-Runner

Last but not least, out of mid-size SUVs with full frames is the 2021 Toyota 4-Runner. Like the Jeep Wrangler, the Toyota 4-Runner has been a household name for some time now. Its height provides excellent clearance for off-roading, and it has a smooth drive on the city streets. Unlike the Wrangler that has been said to wander on paved roads, the 4-Runner makes for a great daily driving companion.

2021 Lexus LX

When it comes to raw power out of the mid-sized SUVs, the 2021 Lexus LX takes the cake. The LX comes with a 5.7-liter V8 that generates 383 horsepower and 403 pound-feet of torque. That's pretty impressive for an SUV that only seats five passengers. Where the LX thrives in power, it lacks in gas mileage, only getting 12 miles per gallon city, 16 mpg highway, and 14 combined.

Full-Size SUVs With Full-Frames

If a mid-size SUV doesn't get the job done when it comes to passenger seating, towing capacity, and off-roading capabilities, then full-size SUVs are the ones to shop. There are several full-size SUVs on the market that come standard with a full-frame. We put together a list of ten full-size SUVs with body-on-frames to look at!

2021 Cadillac Escalade

Starting off the full-size SUV list is the impeccable 2021 Cadillac Escalade. Out of the four GM-made vehicles on this list, the Escalade is the top of the top when it comes to luxury. The Escalade boasts its future of driving technology with its self-driving mode on approved highways.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban

If the Cadillac Escalade is too rich for your taste, the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban is a less expensive choice. The Suburban is almost identical when it comes to size and power but almost $30,000 cheaper! The Suburban has three available engine options, including the 3.0L diesel, 6.2 L V8, and the smaller 5.3L V8. It does have a slightly less towing capacity of 8,100 LBS versus the Escalade's 7,800 LBS.

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

If you don't want something as long as the Suburban but like the price point and features,  then take a look at the Chevrolet Tahoe. The Tahoe is over a foot shorter than the Suburban, making it more maneuverable in tight places. However, if you frequently take long trips with lots of luggage, it may come as a disappointment with the Tahoe's lack of cargo space compared to its big brother. Like the Suburban, the Tahoe comes in three different engine sizes providing the same power and towing capabilities.

2021 GMC Yukon (XL)

Like the Suburban and Tahoe, the GMC Yukon comes in two different sizes; the Yukon and the Yukon XL. GM makes both the Yukon and the Tahoe, and there aren't many differences between them. The main difference is that the Yukon and Yukon XL are available in the Denali trim. The Denali trim offers a luxurious feel and really sets itself apart from the pack with its exclusive interior design.

2021 Ford Expedition

Switching gears from the GM lineup and motoring towards another full-frame SUV is the 2021 Ford Expedition. Ford has been the leading seller when it comes to pickup trucks, but how do you sit when it comes to its full-size SUVs?

The Ford Expedition not only has an impressive towing capacity of 9,300 LBS, but for people who are just learning how to tow, Ford's trailer backup assists guide helps get you into more challenging spaces.

2021 Lincoln Navigator

Just how GM has their fancier models of the Suburban and Tahoe, such as the Yukon and Cadillac Escalade, the Expedition has its luxury model, the Lincoln Navigator.

The Navigator is an excellent choice if you want the step up in luxury interior design while still maintaining excellent towing capabilities. It does a great job towing heavy loads but does come up short against the Expedition with a max towing capacity of 8,700 LBS.

2021 Infiniti QX80

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is a sophisticated and elegant SUV that seats eight passengers comfortably. Its beautifully designed interior and advanced driver technology leave consumers with confidence wherever they decide to take it. Infiniti QX80 revolutionary hydraulic body motion control system ensures better corning and a smoother ride.

2021 Nissan Armada

The 2021 Nissan Armada may not be as luxurious as its fancy cousin, the Infiniti QX80, but it is spacious, rugged, and family-oriented all in one. With its body-on-frame construction, the Nissan Armada is ready to go off-roading with a 30-foot travel trailer attached behind. The Armada is an affordable choice compared to the other full-size SUVs on this list, but one thing to be aware of is its poor fuel economy compared to similar full-size SUVs. 

2021 Lexus GX

If you enjoy the look and power of the Lexus LX but need more seating, then the 2021 Lexus GX is a good step up in size. The GX has a larger cabin space that seats up to seven passengers. It doesn't have as much power as the LX, though, as it is equipped with a 4.6 Liter V8 vs. the LX's 5.7 Liter V8.

2021 Toyota Sequoia

As we stated before, Toyota is known for its reliability and holding its market value. These are flattering compliments, and the same goes for the Toyotas largest SUV. The Toyota Sequoia won't haul as much as other full-size SUVs, but with a 7,400 lbs towing capacity and a 5.7L V8 engine, it has the power to get the job done. 

Are Body-On-Frame SUVs Safe?

Body-on-frame vehicles are known for being durable on rough roads but are they safer? Unforntually, body-on-frame isn't the safest when it comes to high speeds turns because of their increased chance of rolling. They also score worse when it comes to crash ratings because of the increased crumple zones. On the other hand, the unibody is designed to crumple in ways that should protect the passenger compartment in an accident.

Which Frame Is Better For Off-Road?

The body-on-frame is the better choice when it comes to off-roading. They are stronger when it comes to wear and tear from the abuse of rough terrain. The twisting forces that impact the body-on-frame vehicles won't cause as much damage in the long term compared to unibody frames. If you are a serious rock climber or off-road adventurer, then a body-on-frame SUV is the way to go.

In Closing

Suppose you need truck-like towing capabilities, increased towing capacity, and off-roading capabilities. In that case, a body-on-frame SUV is an excellent choice that will pay dividends for years to come. However, if you aren't big into going off-road or towing, then an SUV with a unibody frame will do just fine. Overall, the body-on-frame SUV is perfect for the person who needs truck capabilities but needs to accommodate several passengers.

If you enjoyed this article about body-on-frame SUVs, then you might also like:

What SUVs Can Tow At Least 5,000lbs?

What Are The Tallest SUVs? [6 Models That Fit The Bill]


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