How Much Does a Car Weigh?

Have you ever wondered just how much your car weighs? Do you wonder if vehicle types in the same class weigh the same? You may even think the weight of a car has evolved from the metal and steel clunkers of the 60s to the miniature smart cars of today. That is not totally true. The 20th century sedans with slabs and chrome bumpers do look heavier.

The 1967 Imperial weighed more than 5,000 pounds! Yet, some automobiles from as late as 2017 are more dense than the 1960s cruisers. Can you believe the 1967 Chevy Chevelle actually weighs about the same as the 2017 Sonic Hatchback? The 2017 Sonic weighed only 40 pounds less than the 1967 Chevelle 300 and the 1967 Ford Fairlane weighs almost the same as the 2017 Ford Focus.

Automobile owners should have some understanding of vehicle weight. This article will give you an idea of just how much different classes of vehicles weigh as well as the length, tow, and how they compare in efficiency based upon year and weight class.

Automobile Classifications

Vehicle class codes are used to identify vehicle types according to the weight, number of axles, and type.

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Class A Vehicle – A vehicle with gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more. This rule includes standalone vehicles, or vehicles with tow units weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

Class B Vehicle – A vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds, but with a towed unit that weighs no more than 10,000 pounds.

Class C Vehicle – Vehicles intended to transport 16 passengers or more, Also, vehicles designated to transport hazardous materials (HAZMAT).

Automobile Weight Classifications

Curb Weight – Includes the total weight of motors and fuel tanks while parked at the curb, all standard equipment, and fluids. The curb weight does not include passenger weight, cargo, and in some cases, fuel weight.

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) – Includes the weight of the vehicle itself, with all components, as well as the passenger and cargo weight. The gross vehicle weight does not include the weight of any attachments.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) – The maximum operating weight or mass for a vehicle. The rating is issued by the manufacturer and includes the passengers and cargo. The American limitations for GVWR are 6,000 to 8,000 pounds. Vehicles that exceed those limits are restricted in some areas. The British limitations for GVWR is 7,700 pounds.

Vehicles with GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds are classified as commercial and drivers required to have Commercial Drivers License (CDL).

Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) – Includes the total mass of a vehicle, to include passengers, cargo, and any attached units.

Traditional Automobile Weights

Small Sedan

The average weight, or “curb weight”, of a traditional small automobile or sedan, is about 2,871 pounds, or 1.4 tons. The average weight in kilograms is about 1,302 kg. The length of the average sedan is 186 inches, or about 15.5 feet. This calculation was taken from the average weight of several sedans. The car battery weighs between 30 and 50 pounds.

Mid-sized Sedan

The mid-sized sedan weighs an average of 3,351 pounds, an increase of 660 ponds over smaller models.


The average SUV weighs about 4,799 pounds, which is 40% heavier than the average car. The average length of the SUV is about 1914 inches or 16 feet.


The average minivan weighs about 4,710 pounds, almost the same as an SUV. The minivan weighs about 7.5% less than the SUV.


According the law, a tractor trailer, or 18 wheeler truck can weigh of to 80,000 pounds.

School Bus

A standard school bus weighs 23,500 to 29,500 pounds, depending upon the number of seats. The school bus is a Class A vehicle when it weighs more than 26,001 ponds.


Although the motorcycle is not literally classified as an automobile, it is a mode of transportation. The average motorcycle weighs about 604 pounds, or 80% less than the automobile.

Smart Car Weights

The SmartForTwo Smart car weighs in at 1,940 pounds, much of which comes from the weight of the engine and transmission. The length of the wheelbase is a mere 74 inches. The SmartForTwo can travel 100 miles with just 2.9 gallons of fuel.

Advances in automotive efficiency include minimal car weights. The average smart car weighs for the first and third generations is around 1550 pounds, which is a big leap from the traditional vehicle weights. The smart car weight distribution is based on the 50/50 model, which means all the vehicle’s weight is distributed evenly from the front to the rear.

Theory: Vehicles with even weight distribution are faster.

Fuel Economy

The lighter the vehicle, the better the fuel economy. The traditional sedan has an average fuel economy of 25 miles per gallon. The average fuel economy has increased by at least 5 miles per gallon from 2007.

Electric Car Weights

The average electric car weight is about 1,799 pounds

United States Automobile Weight Classes

The American Department of Transportation divides vehicles into eight classes based upon weight:

Class 1: < 6,000 pounds Light Duty

Class 2: 6,001 – 10,000 pounds Light Duty

Class 3: 10,001 – 14,000 pounds Medium Duty

Class 4: 14,001 – 16,000 pounds Medium Duty

Class 5: 16,001 – 19,500 pounds Medium Duty

Class 6: 19,501 – 26,000 pounds Medium Duty

Class 7: 26,001 – 33,000 pounds Heavy Duty

Class 8: 33,001+ Heavy Duty

Older Vehicle Weights Vs Newer Vehicles

Why are the newer cars still tipping the scales? Consumers continue to demand more luxury. Heavy cars require larger tires, larger brakes…Major weight gain comes from the crash protection features, which extend to comfort features, electronic connections, and power kits. Those extra pounds mean extra money for the consumer.