Is an SUV a Truck? Why do They Call SUVs a Truck? (Explained)

The question of if an SUV can be called a Truck is still gaining a lot of opinion in online forums like Reddit and Quora. Many are still confused about the difference between the two. What are the specifications to be considered for the vehicle to be called a Truck?

In short: Can you call an SUV a Truck?

SUVs and trucks have some similarities; it makes most people call them a truck. But SUVs and trucks are 2 different creatures, different in form and function, both of which have advantages and disadvantages, which I will discuss in this article.

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This article will help you understand the characteristics of SUVs that are relevant to Trucks and what you should consider buying between the two.

What is SUV?

The Sport Utility Vehicle or SUV is one of the most popular vehicles, used mainly by large families for transportation.

SUVs originated from the military jeep model and the four-wheel wagons. The 1984 Jeep Cherokee was considered the first SUV in the modern style.

Many people prefer it because it is versatile and bigger than a standard car. In 2019, the number of SUVs in operation reached 200 million units.

Moreover, it represented 30.7 million sales in the past year 2020, with electric SUVs coming into the market.

SUVs are capable of driving through more challenging terrain and accommodate a massive amount of passengers. SUVs tend to be larger and have a high ground clearance to give drivers a higher vantage point.

The SUV’s capability to handle rugged terrain and adverse weather conditions made it perfect for outdoors and cargo capacity. Listed below are the things you should consider if you are planning to buy an SUV:

Pros of SUV (Vs Truck)

Increase of Seating Capacity

Unlike most cars, SUVs have the capacity of accommodating 2500 pounds and to be occupied by five to seven people. People with large families would need this number of seats, especially if they are going outdoors. Also, for people who like free space in their cars, this can be a decisive factor.


SUVs are built larger and are more robust than cars, and are easier to drive than Trucks. An SUV has taller seats and can withstand intense weather conditions, so people feel more comfortable using them.

Better Maneuverability

SUVs have a wider turning radius than a truck due to the Truck’s long and narrow frame. You can also travel to wild and unpaved areas with your SUV. They can easily navigate through icy roads and sleet.

Better Gas Mileage.

Since most Trucks are geared for low-end torque, they are not efficient in speed and will have a higher fuel consumption than an SUV. Although most SUVs and Trucks have similar miles per gallon (mpg) ratings, SUVs will typically get better mileage than a truck. Smaller models of SUVs even get better mileage than other cars.

Cons of SUV (Vs Truck)


SUVs are known to be expensive, depending on their size. People buy it because they can and appreciate good styling, so it is popular, especially to Americans. However, not everyone has a lot of money and when you buy an SUV, expect to pay more as the cost of parts is higher than standard car parts.

The weight of the SUV will put more strain on its tires and breaks, so always be ready to replace these components regularly. It cost around $46,500 to buy a full-sized truck, while it will cost more than $60,000 for a full-sized SUV like the 2020 Cadillac Escalade.

Harmful carbon emissions

Compared to Trucks, SUVs are fuel-hungry, emitting more carbon emissions in the atmosphere, which isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.

Flipping Dangers

SUVs are taller therefore, they are prone to flipping over. Moreover, they have a high center of gravity than smaller cars and Trucks.

Manufacturers consider this, so they build the newer models with ECS (Electronic Control Stability) to prevent this risk.

What are the specifications to be called a Truck?

When you purchase a truck, your first reason is that it will be utilized for work. It is a vehicle that is specifically designed to transport cargo and other large materials. Trucks can transport the heaviest things that are made if it has to go by the road.

There are different types of Trucks based on their size, power, and configuration. Some of the kinds of Trucks are Fire trucks, Tow trucks, Trailer trucks, Cement trucks, and tankers. Trucks may have a lower body weight but a higher payload and towing capacity.

For a car to be considered a truck, there are two specifications: its weight and design. The vehicle must weigh 8,500 pounds to be considered a truck and should be designed to carry cargo, not people. Before you buy a car, you must think about your specific needs and their primary purpose.

Pros of Trucks (Vs SUV)

Stronger engine power

Truck engines are more powerful than the common SUVs and cars. This is why they are considered the king of the roads. Truck models offer more upgradable diesel engine options.

Exterior Bed

This feature makes the trucks versatile because besides having the capacity to store heavy materials, you can still place extended loads like lumber and pipping by laying down the tailgate.

Better Towing Performance

One of the main features of Trucks is their ability to haul and tow because of their powerful engines. The body on the frame allows the installment of massive powerplants easily.

Cons of Trucks ( (Vs SUV) )

Poor Gas Mileage

As they are built to be utilitarian vehicles, they consume more gasoline compared to SUVs. It is the trade-off for having a powerful engine. Their mpg will be lower than most of the popular SUVs.

Less Seating Capacity

A Truck can only fit a small family inside, and that is just in the front seat. This is the result of having Truck Beds. You’ll sacrifice towing capability for a shorter bed.

Less Maneuverability

Because they tend to be larger and wider than SUVs, they have a narrow turning radius, making it hard for you to choose a parking place.

Is an SUV considered a Truck?

The Answer is No. SUVs are Unibody, while Trucks are body-on-frame construction. SUVs resemble a combination of a minivan, a jeep, and a truck which is why it can be classified as a light truck rather than a car.

SUVs and Truck have their pros and cons, so at the end of the day, you’ll be the one to choose the vehicle that will suit you.