Body-on-frame construction means a vehicle body utilizes a rigid steel frame separate from the body. The ladder-style frame provides the vehicle’s strength, and attachment points for the mechanical components. An older, less-sophisticated style, body-on-frame remains the foundation for pickup trucks and most true SUVs. In the more modern unibody construction used in most cars today, the integral floor pan is the main structural element.
SUVs like the 2008 Ford Explorer and Chevrolet TrailBlazer use body-on-frame construction. Body-on-frame construction typically has increased towing capacity versus unibody-constructed SUVs due to the ruggedness associated with the chassis. Newer crossover SUVs like the Ford Edge and upcoming Chevrolet Traverse are loosely based on a car chassis and use unibody construction, which is often more forgiving as far as ride quality. It also provides better gas mileage because of these vehicles’ smaller engines and lower weights.
Information for this was taken from Cars.com’s glossary, written by Joe Wiesenfelder.
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