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How Much Do Cars Weigh?

By Shawn Furman | April 22, 2022

The average weight of a car today comes in right around 4,100 pounds. Of course, there are many different types of cars on the road, and the weight of the car varies depending on size, equipment, and even what kind of materials are used in its construction. Most vehicles even have a weight range based on what trim level you select.

Finding the average weight of a car is much more complicated than just putting a car on a scale. Just as there could be a range in how much a single-car weighs, there are many different kinds of weight ratings given to a car. Curb weight, gross vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight rating, and gross axle weight rating are all different measurements of your vehicles’ weight or the amount of weight it can carry.

It may not seem like all of this is important. After all, you just get in your vehicle every day and drive it down the road. But weight plays a huge role in things like fuel efficiency, handling, towing, and even safety. The Environmental Protection Agency also uses weight data for each car model in various studies on emissions to help form their regulatory policies.

Lightest and Heaviest Vehicles

It might seem obvious to you that the largest vehicles on the road are the heaviest and the smallest are the lightest. Although this is generally true, there may be some vehicles that surprise you when it comes to weight. Things that affect how much a car can weigh include the materials used to build it, how many safety and technology features it has, and whether or not the car has batteries, a combustion engine, or both.

Some of the heaviest cars relative to their size are electric vehicles since their battery packs weigh so much. Pickup trucks and full-size SUVs are still the heaviest vehicles on the market, though. Because they are so large and because they are often made of heavy-duty components, they naturally come with more weight, and they bring up the average weight of vehicles on the market.

While heavy-duty trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, RAM 3500, and Ford F-350 are giants that can weigh well over three tons, The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is one of the heaviest “normal” vehicles on the market. It clocks in at 6,340 pounds and has all of the full-size pickup trucks beat.

Weight By Car Model

Examining the average weight of a car, looking at some of the factors that increase weight in vehicles, and understanding some of the terms associated with vehicle weight and weight tolerances are helpful in understanding more about your car. Getting more granular by looking at individual models will help you gain an even better understanding of where your car falls compared to other car models and vehicle types.

How Much Does a Small Car Weigh?

Some of the lightest cars on the market include the Mitsubishi Mirage, at 2,095 pounds, the Chevrolet Spark, at 2,246 pounds, and the Mazda MX-5 Miata, at 2,332 pounds.

Even though it is no longer available in the United States, the Smart Fortwo used to be the lightest car on sale. The non-EV version of the “Smart Car” weighed only 2,050 pounds in 2017.

There are several other models within the segment that help bring the average weight of the subcompact class to around 2,510 pounds. Cars like the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, and Nissan Versa make up the subcompact segment. The Mini Cooper hardtop is the heaviest in the segment with a curb weight of over 3,100 pounds.

The compact car segment has a much higher average weight since luxury automakers like Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and BMW do not make too many true subcompact cars. The BMW i3 is one exception to this rule with a curb weight of 2,972 pounds, but it was discontinued in the United States following the 2021 model year.

The average weight of non-luxury compact cars like the Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen Jetta, and Toyota Corolla is just under 3,000 pounds. These models are closely grouped in terms of weight with the Hyundai Elantra having the lightest possible curb weight – 2,868 pounds – and the Subaru Impreza having the heaviest curb weight – 3,050 pounds.

Compact luxury cars have a much wider range of weights since they are classified more as small cars that slot in below the midsize segment. Having more features than the typical compact car, they tend to be heavier. Models like the Audi A3, BMW 2-Series, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, Volvo S60, Cadillac CT4, and Acura ILX make up this segment and have an average weight of around 3,600 pounds.

Sports and Performance Cars:
Sports and performance cars are oddballs. They comprise a wide variety of sizes and weights and can typically be considered smaller cars without truly fitting into the compact car segment. Depending on which cars are included, their average falls above 3,100 pounds.

Some of the heavier cars in this segment include the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro. They have curb weights of 3,841 pounds, 3,532 pounds, and 3,351 pounds respectively with the potential to be much heavier depending on the type of engine and features equipped. Beyond the Mazda MX-5 Miata, the Subaru BRZ and Toyota GR86 are two of the lighter sports cars available. Both have curb weights right around 2,810 pounds.

Other models typically included in this segment include the Volkswagen Golf R, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Honda Civic Type R, Hyundai Veloster N, and Subaru Impreza WRX. Although higher-performance cars like the Porsche Cayman fall below 3,100 pounds, cars like the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche 911, and Lexus RCF all weigh more.

Midsize Cars:
Some of the most popular cars on the road are midsize cars. They include the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, and Subaru Legacy. The average weight for these vehicles comes in at around 3,240 pounds. The heavyweight champion of the group is the Subaru Legacy at a minimum of 3,487 pounds. The lightest is the Kia K5 at 3,115 pounds.

Similar to the compact segment, the midsize luxury car segment carries a higher average weight than the non-luxury midsize segment: 3,860 pounds. Cars like the Cadillac CT5, Lexus ES, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, and Jaguar XF make up this segment. The Volvo S90 wins the weight battle, clocking in at 4,389 pounds with the Audi A6 not too far behind.

Large Cars:
The full-size car segment is a small one, but the average weight of this segment comes close to the overall average weight of a car today. The Nissan Maxima, Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300, and Toyota Avalon are the only four true full-size non-luxury cars on the market. Their average minimum curb weight comes to 3,789 pounds.

Full-size luxury cars follow suit by bringing the average total weight of the segment up significantly. Vehicles like the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, Genesis G90, Audi A7, Audi A8, Porsche Panamera, and Lexus LS average nearly 4,500 pounds. This brings the average weight of both luxury and non-luxury full-size cars to right around 4,100 pounds.

Subcompact SUVs:
SUVs are about one segment behind cars when comparing size and weight. The smallest SUVs are usually heavier than the typical subcompact and fall in line with most compact and midsize cars. As with other segments, non-luxury subcompacts are generally lighter than luxury subcompact SUVs; thus, bringing up their average weight.

Non-luxury subcompact SUVs like the Kia Soul, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Toyota Corolla Cross, Chevy Trax, Hyundai Venue, and Subaru Crosstrek have an average curb weight of just under 3,100 pounds. Both the Hyundai Venue and Nissan Kicks tie down the lower end of the scale at less than 2,700 pounds while the Nissan Rogue Sport, Fiat 500X, Mazda CX-30, and Mini Countryman all weigh in at over 3,300 pounds.

For luxury subcompact SUVs, the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3 both weigh over 3,900 pounds. The Lexus UX is the lightest in the segment by over 100 pounds at just over 3,300 pounds. Others like the BMW X1, BMW X2, Cadillac XT4, Volvo XC40, and Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class fall in between the two extremes, bringing the segment’s average weight to around 3,600 pounds.

Compact SUVs:
The crowded compact SUV segment is more consistent across each model in terms of weight. The average for the class is right around 3,400 pounds, and only 600 pounds separate the Jeep Compass and the Volkswagen Tiguan, the lightest and heaviest vehicles in the segment. Others in the class include the Mazda CX-5, Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4, Chevy Equinox, Subaru Forester, Kia Sportage, Ford Bronco Sport, and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Although the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco are both considered part of the compact segment, they are body-on-frame SUVs, and they are heavier than similarly sized crossovers. The Bronco weighs nearly 4,300 pounds, and the Jeep is just a hair under 4,000 pounds in its base trim level.

Compact luxury SUVs like the Porsche Macan, Genesis GV70, Jaguar F-Pace, Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X4, and BMW X3 all come in over 4,000 pounds. Others like the Mercedes-Benz GLB-Class, Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Lincoln Corsair, and Infiniti QX50 all fall between the two-ton mark and the lightest offering in the segment, the 3,606-pound Lexus NX. The average weight for compact luxury SUVs is nearly 3,950 pounds.

Midsize SUVs:
Some of the most popular vehicles today are midsize SUVs. At 4,195 pounds, the average weight of a non-luxury midsize SUV comes close to the overall average of vehicles for 2022. Only a handful of models in this segment clock in at less than 4,000 pounds including the Kia Sorento, Chevy Blazer, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Nissan Murano. All others in the segment including the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, and Kia Telluride all come in over two tons.

The midsize luxury SUV segment only has one vehicle that weighs under 4,000 pounds: the Cadillac XT5. The Lexus GX and Land Rover Range Rover Sport weigh over 5,000 pounds at baseline. The rest of the field, including the BMW X5, Audi Q7, Lincoln Nautilus, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery, Acura MDX, and Infiniti QX60 fall between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds.

Full-Size SUVs:
There are much fewer full-size SUVs than compact and midsize SUVs, but they are some of the heaviest vehicles on sale today. The Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Suburban, Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia, Chevrolet Tahoe, Jeep Wagoneer, and GMC Yukon make up the members of this class. The heaviest is the Jeep Wagoneer with a curb weight of 5,960 pounds. The lightest is the Ford Expedition, weighing 5,443 pounds. The average for the class is a whopping 5,623 pounds.

Large luxury SUVs like the Lincoln Navigator, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Cadillac Escalade, BMW X7, Land Rover Range Rover, Infiniti QX80, Lexus LX, and Mercedes-Benz GLS class can weigh even more than their non-luxury siblings. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer rules the full-size SUV segment at a hefty 6,340 pounds. Only the Land Rover Range Rover weighs less than 5,000 pounds, but barely. It helps bring the average weight of the class to around 5,600 pounds.

Trucks, particularly super-duty and full-size light-duty models, make up one of the heaviest segments of the automotive market. Some full-size SUVs are heavier, but this is mostly because truck beds are essentially an empty space that SUVs do not have.

The Ford F-250 and F-350 models weigh less than their Chevrolet and RAM truck rivals: 5,677 and 5,878 pounds respectively in base form. Chevrolet 2500 models clock in at 6,105 while 3500 models weigh slightly more. RAM 2500 and 3500 models weigh 5,988 and 6,056 pounds respectively in their base trims. Each of these trucks can weigh well over 7,000 pounds when better equipped.

There are only a handful of full-size light-duty trucks on the market, despite their popularity: The Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, RAM 1500, Nissan Titan, GMC Sierra 1500, and Toyota Tundra. The average weight of all these trucks is around 4,700. Nissan’s Titan holds the title for the heaviest at over 5,400 pounds, and the lightest is the Ford F-150 at a hair over 4,400 pounds. Like the super-duty trucks, when better equipped, most of these light-duty trucks will weigh closer to 5,500 pounds or more. Some can weigh over 6,000 pounds in their heaviest form.

Small and midsize trucks are more numerous than full-size trucks, and they fall right in line with the average vehicle. The Toyota Tacoma, Ford Maverick, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Chevy Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Hyundai Santa Cruz, and Jeep Gladiator average out to 4,074 pounds.

Because there are very few minivans on the market, their average weight is easy to calculate. The Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and Kia Carnival team up for an average curb weight of about 4,540 pounds. The heaviest minivan of the bunch is the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid at 5,010 pounds.

Electric Vehicles:
There are all kinds of electric vehicles entering the market. They comprise many different sizes and shapes, but there are still too few within each size class to make up their own segments. Usually, they fit in with other vehicles similar in size to themselves, but their inner workings, range, and driving feel set them far apart from their gasoline-powered rivals.

Several notable electric vehicles include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia Niro EV, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, Audi E-Tron, Volkswagen ID4, Porsche Taycan, and every current Tesla model. Even though an average weight across these vehicles would span hundreds of pounds, most electric vehicles are heavier than similarly-sized gasoline-powered vehicles.

The Tesla Model S, one of the most well-known electric vehicle pioneers, weighs in at around 4,560 pounds. Its sibling, the Model Y, weighs about the same. Smaller EVs like the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf both weigh around 3,500 pounds in their base trim levels. A more performance-oriented EV, the Porsche Taycan, weighs about the same as the Tesla Model S. The Audi E-Tron is a crossover like the Tesla Model Y but weighs over 5,700 pounds.

Different Types of Weight:

There are several different ways you can measure the weight of your vehicle, several ways in which weight can affect a vehicle, and several weight tolerances your vehicle is designed to withstand. Here are the most common.

What is Curb Weight?

Curb weight is the easiest and most popular way to measure the weight of your vehicle. It is just the baseline weight of your vehicle with all of its standard features. You can find the curb weight of your vehicle by checking the owner’s manual or by looking for the information plaque or sticker commonly placed near the inside bottom of the driver’s side door.

What is Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW)?

Gross vehicle weight, or GVW, is the curb weight plus everything that the vehicle can carry, like passengers and cargo. This is usually more important for truck drivers than regular commuters.

What is Gross Vehicle Weight Rating(GVWR)?

Whereas GVW is the total amount of your vehicle plus its cargo, the gross vehicle weight rating – GVWR – is the maximum specified weight limit your vehicle is capable of handling safely.

What is Payload?

Payload is much like the gross vehicle weight rating of your car or truck but without the trailer. It is the maximum amount of weight that can be carried in the bed or trunk.

What is Gross Combined Weight?

Gross combined weight is the weight of both your loaded vehicle and trailer together – it’s GCW. The difference between this and a vehicle’s GVWR is that the GVWR is the safe weight specified by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

What is Gross Axle Weight Rating?

GAWR is especially important for vehicles that typically carry trailers, and it is the most distributed weight that the axle of your vehicle can support.

The Weight of Weight

Even though the weight of your vehicle probably does not matter too much to you on a daily basis, weight plays a huge role in things like handling and safety. It is especially important in fuel economy since it takes more work to move a heavier vehicle than a lighter one. This is one reason why most SUVs get worse gas mileage than a car equipped with the same engine.

Heavier cars also tend to be safer than lighter cars. This is not a universal truth, but it comes down to simple physics. Most people understand that if a Ford F-250 pickup truck has a head-on collision with a compact car like a Nissan Sentra at the same speed, the pickup truck will probably come out on top. Its greater weight creates greater momentum. This causes a greater change in acceleration for the passengers in the Sentra.

Handling is also affected by weight. Most typical drivers will not feel or care about the acute handling characteristics of their vehicle under normal circumstances. Still, this is notable for enthusiasts who prefer nimbler, smaller cars to larger, heavier ones.