It takes a lot to drive machinery that is several thousand pounds heavy, but how heavy are the cars on the road today?
The weight of a car matters more than people usually think. It affects many parameters such as handling, fuel economy, acceleration, and more.
As there are many types of cars, we will be sure to cover the most common cars according to car body types and get an average car weight for each category.
Before we start it may be of interest to make it clear regarding car weight. There are several types of weight classifications such as curb weight, gross weight, payload, and more.
To be consistent and have a fair comparison, all the weight numbers refer to the curb weight of the vehicle. This refers to the weight of the car without passengers or cargo.
Let’s get into it!
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As mentioned in our article about different car body types, there is not a strict definition of different categories of cars.
Microcars may not be a familiar sight today in the United States for various reasons, but we felt bad excluding these cute little ones from the list.
On average, a microcar weighs around 1250 lb (567 kg). This may not come as a surprise, as they were designed to be as nimble and small as possible.
An example of a microcar includes Renault Twizzy, Aixam Miniauto, and of course, one of the best-selling microcars in the United States (albeit in the ‘70s), the CitiCar.
A step up in size from the microcar is the city car. Even though there are not as small as microcars, they are quite small in comparison to the average car today.
Examples of city cars include Smart Fortwo, Toyota Aygo X, and Fiat 500.
The average city car weight is 2200 lb (995 kg), a bit heavier than a microcar, yet still relatively light.
This provides a great fuel economy and makes it is to get around town, just like designed!
Mid-Size cars, also known as “family sedans” are a great option for families, hence the name family sedans.
In recent years, other types of car types have taken over the market, most notably SUVs. Even if that is the case, a mid-size car is a great option for many types of people, not only families.
When it comes to the weight of mid-size cars, it varies a lot, not just between models but in between different versions.
The different types of engines offered as well as the option of four-wheel drive are big contributing factors to the curb weight. This also applies to many other car types mentioned further down.
The average curb weight for a mid-size car is around 3400 lb (1540 kg). Keep in mind that this varies a lot within the segment due to previously mentioned reasons.
Cars in this segment include Mazda 6, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry.
Full-size cars offer more space to the passengers than mid-size cars but even that did not stop their popularity to decrease to the benefit of the SUVs.
Full-size cars usually come with bigger engines and four-wheel drive is not uncommon, contributing to higher average curb weight in addition to the size difference.
The average curb weight in full-size cars is around 4000 lb (1800 kg), but again this varies a lot from model to model.
Examples of full-size cars include Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Impala, and Audi A6.
Compact SUVs are the smaller segment of SUVs, mini SUVs are only smaller in the SUV category.
Even though they are “compact”, they have an average curb weight of about 3500 lb (1600 kg), mostly due to their bulky profile.
Examples of compact SUVs include Ford Bronco Sport, Mazda CX-5, and Audi Q5.
One step up from compact SUVs are the mid-size ones. They offer more space, both for the passengers and the cargo.
They may also come with a third row for even more passengers.
It may then not come as a surprise that they are also more on the heavier side compared to compact SUVs.
A mid-size SUV, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Hyundai Palisade, and Kia Telluride weighs on average about 4600 lb (2100 kg).
The full-size SUVs are not the absolute biggest SUVs in the market, but they are the biggest of the most common types of SUVs, as the bigger ones are long-bodied versions of the full-size SUVs.
These SUVs are very big and offer great comfort and space for each occupant of the vehicle.
As with everything, there is a trade-off and, in this case, it is the weight of the vehicle. Most full-size SUVs weigh around 5900 lb (2700 kg).
Types Of Vehicle Weights
This guide refers to the curb weight of vehicles, but there are actually other types of weights when referring to vehicles.
We’ve designed a custom image that shows all the different types of vehicle eights in a way that is easily understandable by everyone.
Here’s the image:
Factors Affecting Curb Weight
As previously noted, the curb weight of a vehicle does not only rely on the size of the car but also on additional factors such as four-wheel drive, panoramic roofs, passenger layouts, and more.
Down below are some common additions to a car that can impact the car’s weight to a larger extent.
- Convertibles are usually 100-400 lb heavier than their non-convertible counterparts. This is because the convertible’s frame must be strengthened, and they come with additional motors and mechanics.
- Panoramic roofs are heavier than the regular roof found in cars. The bigger the car and glass roof, the higher the difference. A panoramic roof will add 60-300 lb.
- Four-wheel drive systems and all-wheel drive are heavier than a simple front-wheel drive car due to more parts that must drive all four wheels, including differentials, joints, and more.
- Engine displacement plays a big role in the weight of the car. The bigger the displacement and the number of cylinders, the greater the weight. The difference is in the hundreds of pounds.
- Fuel type is related to the engine as diesel engines are generally heavier than gasoline engines. The difference here may also be several hundreds of pounds, for the same engine size.
- Hybrid and electric cars are heavier than conventional internal combustion engines. The reason is the batteries which are relatively heavy today, but the technology is evolving.
- Transmission matters as well! While not making such a great difference, there is a difference of 40 to 60 lbs on average, as the complicated but delicate design of the automatic transmission makes it heavier.
Answering the question “how heavy are cars?” is just like answering the question “how long is a rope?”.
Different cars differ in weight, matter of fact, the same car model can differ hundreds of pounds depending on the engine, drivetrain, and extras such as a panoramic roof.
The weight of the car will affect its handling, and the heavier the car is, the less fuel-sufficient it is as the engine has to move all those pounds.
When it comes to different car body styles, they usually differ categorically where the general rule is, the bigger the car, the greater the weight, but it may not always be the case, as explained above.
Electric cars are typically heavier than their internal combustion engine counterparts due to the heavy battery packs they carry.
It is, however, expected that this weight will be reduced as the technology evolves.