Body-on-frame vehicles are becoming increasingly rare in the modern automotive landscape. The weight savings supplied by a monocoque chassis design have meant that framed cars basically only exist today in the world of pickup trucks and large SUVs. However, they do offer one huge advantage over unibodies – if necessary, the platform can be detached and replaced underneath the vehicle.
Toyota sold 121,055 Highlander CUVs in 2012, according to Automotive News. By comparison, it sold 78,457 examples of four different body-on-frame, truck-based SUVs (4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Sequoia and Land Cruiser). One could argue then, that the traditional SUVs aren't pulling their weight from a sales perspective. Yet that isn't stopping Toyota from reaffirming its commitment to a segment that has seen its former champions – Ford, General Motors and Chrysler – abandon it with alarming
Nissan has good news for anyone weeping about the fact that the 2013 Pathfinder has abandoned its body-on-frame ways. The company isn't completely ditching legitimate SUVs for the crossover crowd. According to Car and Driver, the Nissan Xterra will continue to shun a unibody design for the conceivable future. The magazine spoke with engineers familiar with the development of the Xterra who said the vehicle will share its DNA with the Nissan Frontier for years to come.
The current GMT920 full-size SUVs from General Motors are very likely to be the last of their kind from the Detroit automaker. Even though new fuel economy standards give the big trucks a break based on their footprint, radical changes are likely for the next-generation models. A fully-equipped Tahoe is well over 5,500lbs and a big part of reducing fuel consumption in the next few years will be weight reduction. One step in that direction will be a shift from the body on frame designs these vehi
Analyst Rebecca Lindland from Global Insight Inc. is going on the record saying it's likely General Motors will cancel the Trailblazer (SS model shown) after the current model ends its run around 2010. Its replacement would emerge in the form of the Hummer H4, which would fill the role of GM's smallest body-on-frame SUV. Chevrolet will receive a new unibody SUV (or CUV?) at that time, perhaps a version of the Opel Antera that's crossing the sea to join Saturn's lineup in the near future.