The wheelbase is the distance between a vehicle’s front and rear wheels, typically measured from the center of the tire or hub, in inches.

Wheelbase specifications come into play most often in pickup trucks because the same model may come in two or more wheelbase lengths. The longer wheelbase allows the vehicle to be longer overall.

All other things being equal, longer wheelbases tend to grant a smoother ride. This is one reason that full-size pickups ride more comfortably than compact pickups. However, there is a shortcoming to longer wheelbases: Again, all other things being equal, they result in a wider turning circle and lesser maneuverability, and they decrease an offroad vehicle’s ramp breakover angle. (The ramp breakover — or ramp-over — angle quantifies how high and sharp a peak the vehicle can scale.)

Information for this was taken from Cars.com’s glossary, written by Joe Wiesenfelder.

Answered by Joe Bruzek on July 8, 2008 in Glossary | Permalink

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