How much does a car weigh? Are cars getting heavier? Get the answers to these questions and more.
Let’s cut to the chase: Based on the latest findings from the EPA, the average car weighs 4,094 pounds (1857 kg) across all vehicle types and size classes.
But you came here for more than just the average weight, right? You want specifics, correct?
This article will provide you with everything you need to know about car weights, including why it’s important to know a how much a vehicle weighs, the different ways vehicle weight is calculated, and how to find the exact weight of your car, SUV, or truck.
IN THIS GUIDE
Why You Should Know Your Car’s Weight
Wanting to know how much the average car weighs just for the heck of it is cool and all, but there are several important reasons for knowing the exact weight of a car. Here are five big ones:
- Rules and laws. Governments around the world have rules and regulations that impose weight limitations and restrictions on vehicles. You need to ensure that any vehicle you buy doesn’t violate any of these rules.
- Fuel economy. The heavier a vehicle is, the more energy (fuel, electricity, etc.) it needs to get going. If you’re in the market for a fuel sipper, it’s important to factor in the weight of the vehicles you’re considering to reduce the risk of ending up with a gas guzzler.
- Maintenance, repairs: When carrying out routine maintenance checks on your vehicle or making repairs, you’d want to be using the best tools for the job. Knowing your car’s exact weight will allow you to determine the tools (jack stands, floor jacks, etc.) capable of handling its weight.
- Vehicle safety. Bigger and heavier vehicles such as trucks and SUVs fare better in collisions than smaller cars, more of a reason to consider the weight of any vehicle you want to buy. Also, some bridges have load limits that may restrict particularly heavy vehicles from crossing.
- Payload, towing. The payload and towing capacity of a vehicle are largely determined by its weight. If you routinely haul a lot of things or tow heavy items such as boats and campers, you need a car, SUV, or truck that has the heft to get the job done safely and effectively.
Types Of Car Weight
Did you know that there are different types of car weight? Kinda makes you wonder what the average car weight figure we provided earlier really means, doesn’t it?
We’re going to highlight the most common ways a car’s weight is measured so that you know exactly what you’re looking at when presented with a figure.
This is the most popular method of measurement and the one used for all the weights presented in this article.
Curb weight (kerb weight) is the weight of a vehicle with all factory-installed equipment and operating fluids such as motor and transmission oils, brake fluid, coolant, and even a full tank of fuel in some instances. With electric vehicles, the calculation also includes all onboard batteries.
Curb weight excludes occupants, cargo, or any other equipment that isn’t built into the car.
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)
Gross vehicle weight is a vehicle’s curb weight plus onboard passengers, cargo, and other items not built into the car, excluding trailers.
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum operating weight on the vehicle as specified by its manufacturer, excluding all trailers.
GVW and GVWR are the measurements commonly used by authorities to set weight limitations and restrictions for vehicles.
Gross Combined Weight (GCW)
Gross combined weight is a slight variation of gross vehicle weight that takes into account the full weight of any trailer the vehicle is towing, including all occupants and gear the vehicle and trailer(s) are carrying.
Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) is the maximum allowed weight of the vehicle, any trailers it’s towing, and their content. As with GVWR, it is determined by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Payload represents how much a vehicle is carrying, including the driver and passengers, pets, luggage, grocery, golf clubs, just you name it. The measurement doesn’t include the weight of the vehicle itself.
Payload capacity is the maximum weight a vehicle is designed to carry and is calculated by subtracting its curb weight from its GVWR.
For example, if a car, SUV, or truck has a GVWR of 9,000 pounds (4,082 kg) and a curb weight of 6,000 pounds (2,722 kg), its payload capacity is 3,000 pounds (9,000 lbs minus 6,000 libs).
Gross Axle Weight
Gross Axle Weight represents the amount of weight supported by an axle, while Gross Axle Weight Rating specifies the maximum each axle can handle.
Overloading a vehicle is very dangerous, more so if the axles are made to handle more than they were designed to handle and bear the weight unevenly. Exceeding the gross axle weight can, therefore, severely compromise the safety of the vehicle and its occupants.
How To Find The Weight Of A Car
There are several old and new school ways of finding the weight of a vehicle, and they are as follows.
This is one of the easiest ways. There are many websites dedicated to specific vehicle makes and models, including the manufacturer’s site, so a quick web search will often give you a precise or approximate weight of the vehicle in question.
Driver’s Side Door Sill
Open the driver’s side door of the vehicle and locate the “Tire and Loading Information” plate or label on the door sill. It should have the vehicle’s weight stamped or written on it.
If your internet search came with nothing and you can’t find the weight on the tire and loading information label, crack open your car’s owner’s manual if you still have it. It should specify several different weights for the vehicle, including its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Using a vehicle scale is another great way to determine the weight of a vehicle.
These devices can deliver surprisingly accurate results. If you’re looking for one, we recommend the ProForm 67650 Vehicle Scale System Kit.
Just keep in mind that a car scale will give you the weight of the vehicle and everything it’s carrying (fuel, luggage, groceries, etc.).
You can always contact the manufacturer if the above methods fail.
To get the weight, you’ll need to provide them with the make, model, and year of the vehicle so that they can look it up.
How Much Does A Car Weigh?
We mentioned earlier that the average weight of all cars, including SUVs and pickup trucks, is 4,094 pounds. To give you more perspective, we’re going to break down that figure into different vehicle types and size classes.
Here is a quick summary:
We classify standard cars as sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, and station wagons — basically, any mainstream vehicle that isn’t an SUV or pickup truck.
Smart Cars/City Cars
City cars (minicompact in the U.S.) are very small passenger vehicles designed specifically for city driving. The segment has an average weight of 2,072 pounds (940 kg) and is best exemplified by models such as the Smart car.
How much does a Smart car weigh? Not a lot by automotive standards. The curb weight of all generations of the gas-powered Smart ForTwo ranges from 1,610 pounds to 1,940 lb (730-880 kg).
The electric Smart car is markedly heavier due to its hefty battery pack, tipping the scale at around 2,108 pounds (956 kg).
Other popular examples of city cars are the gas-powered Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Spark, both of which weigh under 2,400 lb (1,049 kg).
Subcompact cars are the second smallest vehicle size class and typically weigh between 2,433 lbs to 2,576 lbs (1,104 kg to 1,168 kg ). They offer noticeably more room, performance, features, and refinement than city cars, with very comparable fuel economy.
Examples of subcompact cars are the Nissan Versa, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, and Honda Fit.
Compact cars are one of the most popular size classes around the world. About 16 to 17 percent larger than subcompact cars, they weigh between 2,660 to 3,010 pounds (1,207-1,365 kg), averaging around 2,919 pounds (1,324 kg).
Here some popular compact cars you’re likely familiar with:
- Toyota Corolla
- Honda Civic
- Volkswagen Golf
- BMW 3 Series
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- Audi A4
- Tesla Model 3
Some of the best-selling cars in automotive history can be found in the midsize segment. The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, in particular, have been household names for decades.
Midsize cars can weigh anywhere from 3,212 to 3,509 pounds (1,457-1,592 kg), with an average weight of 3,361 pounds (1,524 kg). Here is a selection of iconic models:
- Toyota Camry
- Honda Accord
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Nissan Altima
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class
- BMW 5 Series
- Audi A4
- Lexus ES
Once popular, large or full-size cars are a dying breed, especially those that cater to mainstream car buyers. This size class boasts the largest sedans and station wagons.
A full-size passenger car can weigh as low as 3,400 pounds (1,542 kg) for a gas-powered vehicle like the Lexus LS to as much as 5,699 lb (2,585 kg) for a full-size electric sedan like the Mercedes-Benz EQS.
They are noticeably less fuel-efficient than midsize and compact cars, but you get notably more room, refinement, and tech and convenience features.
Are you familiar with any of these full-size cars?
- Toyota Avalon
- Nissan Maxima
- Kia K900
- Chrysler 300
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- BMW 8 Series
- Lexus LS
- Tesla Model S
SUVs, particularly crossover SUVs, are the most popular vehicle type in the world.
Most SUVs weigh between 2,000 and 6,000 pounds (907-2721 kg), with smaller models falling on the lower end and midsize and full-size models leaning towards the higher end.
Subcompact SUVs or mini SUVs, as they are sometimes called, are the smallest category of SUVs and usually nothing more than small hatchbacks with taller bodies and a raised ground clearance.
Subcompact SUVs with basic equipment have an average curb weight of 2,000 pounds (907 kg), though some well-equipped models can tip the scale at 3,200 pounds (1,451 kg). If you’re looking to buy one, here are some models to consider:
- Kia Seltos
- Jeep Renegade
- Toyota C-HR
- Honda HR-V
- Mercedes-Benz GLA
- BMW X1
- Audi Q3
- Buick Encore
Compact SUVs play a central role in the lineup of most automakers.
The Toyota Rav4 and Honda CR-V, for instance, consistently rank among the top five best-selling vehicles in the U.S. and Canada, while the Volkswagen Tiguan and Nissan Qashqai are big sellers in Europe.
With an average weight of 3,590 pounds (1,628 kg), compact SUVs are about 13 to 15 percent heavier than their subcompact counterparts. There is a good chance that you drive or know someone who drives one of the following examples:
- Toyota RAV4
- Honda CR-V
- Ford Escape (Kuga)
- Nissan Rogue (Qashqai)
- Mercedes-Benz CLA
- BMW X3
- Audi Q4
- Tesla Model Y
Midsize SUVs are what most people usually think of when they hear the term “SUV.” After all, it was the original Jeep Grand Cherokee that made the entire SUV segment mainstream.
Some offer seating for just five people, while others have up to eight seats. Because of this, their weight can vary drastically from model to model.
Even so, modern midsize tend to range from 4,135 pounds to 4,673 pounds (1,876-2,120 kg) in weight. The following models are popular examples:
- Ford Explorer
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Toyota Highlander
- Honda Passport
- Mercedes-Benz GLE
- BMW X5
- Tesla Model X
- GMC Hummer EV SUV
These are the largest, most capacious, and most powerful SUVs, so as you can imagine, they are incredibly heavy. Truck-based SUVs such as the Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban, Ford Expedition, and Cadillac Escalade fall in this category.
Full-size SUVs typically weigh 5,468 pounds to 6,100 pounds (2,480-2,729 kg). Here are some popular examples:
- Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban
- Ford Expedition
- GMC Yukon
- Cadillac Escalade
- Lincoln Navigator
- Toyota Land Cruiser
- Infiniti QX80
Even though they are too excessive for the vast majority of car buyers, pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. Models like the Ford F150, Chevrolet Silverado, and RAM 1500 are a dime a dozen, hogging up city streets and parking lots with their massive size.
Let’s look at the average weights for small, midsize, and full-size pickup trucks.
The small truck segment is minuscule. That’s because people tend to want their trucks to be bigger and more capable, not to mention there is a tiny selection of models to choose from.
Small trucks generally weigh less than 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg) and are the most car-like of all pickup trucks. There are currently only two models available in North America:
- Ford Maverick
- Hyundai Santa Cruz
Also called “compact” trucks, these pickups offer a more manageable size than full-size pickup trucks while delivering far better capabilities than small trucks.
Mid-size pickup trucks weigh 4,100 pounds to 4500 pounds (1860-2,041 kg). Here is a full rundown of the models you can currently buy in the U.S. and Canada:
- Chevrolet Colorado
- GMC Canyon
- Toyota Tacoma
- Ford Ranger
- Nissan Frontier
- Jeep Gladiator
- Honda Ridgeline
- Rivian R1T
Full-size pickups — also called half-ton trucks — are the archetypal mainstream truck and by far the most popular segment. They don’t weigh half a ton” like you probably thought.
On the contrary, with an average weight of 4,496 pounds to 5,406 pounds (2,039-2,452 kg), full-size pickup trucks typically weigh well over 2 tons.
If you’re in North America, here are the models that are available to you:
- Ford F150
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
- RAM 1500
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Toyota Tundra
- Nissan Titan
Are Cars Getting Heavier?
Cars have gotten bigger, at least when compared to cars of the 1990s and early 2000s. However, they haven’t gotten that much heavier.
The average weight of today’s cars is around 4,044 pounds, which isn’t very different from the 4,021 pounds they weighed in 2003. You have advancements in engineering and manufacturing practices to thank for that.
The materials and components used to make cars have gotten lighter; however, any realizable weight savings have been offset by added safety features such as sturdier frames and a shift towards larger and heavier vehicle types, particularly SUVs and pickup trucks.
In 1975, trucks and SUVs made up 20 percent of total vehicle sales; today, they make up over 60 percent of the North American market and close to 50 percent of many other world markets.
We expect a more drastic weight increase in the coming years as more people buy electric vehicles. Thanks to their heavy battery packs, electric vehicles are 20 to 50 percent heavier than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles.
Car Weight FAQs
Here are the answers to some other popular questions about car weights.
How Many Tons Does A Car Weigh?
The average car weighs 4,094 pounds, which converts to approximately 2 tons. Smaller cars such as subcompact and compact sedans and hatchbacks weigh 1 to 1.5 tons, while larger ones like SUVs and pickup trucks can weigh well over 2 tons.
What Is The Lightest Car You Can Buy?
There have been many lightweight vehicles over the decades, many of which have been discontinued. In North America, modern examples include the gas-powered Smart ForTwo, Fiat 500, and Mitsubishi Mirage, all of which weigh less than 2,000 pounds (907 kg) in their most basic configuration.
If you’re looking for something fun, the Lotus Elise sports car also weighs less than 2,000 pounds, while the Mazda MX-5 Miata and Alfa Romeo 4C tip the scale at less than 2,500 pounds (1,134 kg).
The Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ are other sports cars known for their lightweight construction.
What Is The Heaviest Car You Can Buy?
The heaviest cars tend to be heavy-duty pickup trucks, full-size SUVs, and large luxury sedans.
A massive truck like the Ford F450 Super Duty Crew Cab has a curb weight of over 8,500 pounds (3,855 kg), while SUVs such as the Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade ESV easily clock over 5,800 pounds (2,631 kg).
The GMC Hummer electric truck weighs a whopping 9,046 pounds (4,103 kg) in its highest trim.
Some sedans are also very heavy. Certain high-end trims of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class come in at just over 5,000 pounds (2,268 kg), and the electric Mercedes-Benz EQS can weigh as much as 5,700 pounds (2,585 kg).
Weight has a major bearing on driving, safety, fuel efficiency, and maintenance of a vehicle and is an important consideration when buying a new or used car.
Not only did we present the average weight of a modern car, but we also looked at the average weight across different vehicle types and size classes and showed you ways to find the weight of your car.
So, how much does a car weigh? Cars, SUVs, and trucks are getting heavier with each new generation, but at 4,094 pounds, the average vehicle isn’t that much heavier than it was in the early 2000s.