Complete List of Truck-Based Body-on-frame SUVs for 2021 – 2022 Season
If you are a fan of the off-road drive, you will need a strong construction to extend the life of the ride. Most of such SUVs are using a ladder frame, and the body is separated and sits on the chassis. Also called body-on-frame SUVs are bigger than these built on the unibody architecture. But, you will also find large SUVs with different structures.
Durability is not the only advantage of the body-on-frame platforms. Handling and overall driving impression are much better. Also, the heavier body can haul more cargo. On the other hand, these vehicles are heavier, which increases fuel consumption. Then, maintenance is more expensive, and body-on-frame SUVs have a lower safety rating. Unibody architecture offers frame and chassis in one, and this construction soaks hits better than two separate parts, making one taking more damage.
But, when it comes to off-roading, unibody architecture can’t be compared to BoF. Let’s see what SUVs have body frames.
2021 Toyota 4Runner
We start with one of the most favorite SUVs for off-road adventures. The 2021 Toyota 4Runner will be built on the BoF platform and when the new generation arrives in 2022 or 2023, the same architecture will be there. Sales of the vehicle confirm the Japanese carmaker is doing great work. Also, when equipped with the TRD Pro package, the 4Runner is almost unstoppable.
Well, the bad thing about this vehicle is its size and fuel economy. For example, Toyota also offers Highlander in the mid-size segment. Based on the unibody architecture and with hybrid engine, this SUV is way more efficient, returning 35 mpg. A huge 4.0-liter V6 for the 2021 Toyota 4Runner will return only 17/20 mpg in its most trims, and TRD Pro version consumes even more gas.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser
We are staying in the Toyota family since the Japanese manufacturer is using the BoF platform for most of its vehicles. Well, maybe General Motors has more, but their models are usually called “twins” because of similarities. Land Cruiser is the longest-serving nameplate in the family. Back in the 80s, the company split the lineup to utility and luxury models. The 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser is now a versatile SUV that almost closes the gap between these two.
The new generation of the luxury vehicle is coming in two, maybe three years. The body-on-frame platform makes it so successful. It is as capable as the 4Runner. But, the price is taking potential buyers away. Also, only one trim level is available, so there are no too many choices. A 5.7-liter engine is still there, but soon we could see changes.
2021 Toyota Sequoia
A big thing happened for the 2021 Toyota Sequoia. The company added the full-size SUV to the TRD Pro lineup. In combination with a huge engine and BoF platform, it can become pretty popular among adventurers. On the other hand, its size is not making the 2021 Sequoia so agile, so the 4Runner will be a better choice. Still, with proper upgrades, the full-size SUV is going to be a nightmare for off-road obstacles.
Like the Land Cruiser, a 5.7-liter V8 engine is under the hood. Soon, Toyota could replace it with a twin-turbo V6. Improvements in the fuel economy segment are certain, but we still don’t know what happens with power outputs and capabilities of riding the big rig in different types of terrains.
2021 Lexus LX 570 or LX 600
This is the rebranded version of the Land Cruiser. Toyota’s premium branch, Lexus, delivers a similar SUV with the same options and price, built on the same platform. The upcoming redesign will make the LX lineup totally different. The carmaker filed for the registration of the new nameplate – LX600. Is I-Force Max about to produce 600 ponies? We doubt. But, changes are certain.
Read all about it:
2021 Lexus GX 460
We can hear that Toyota is bringing the new generation of the 2021 Lexus GX 460. The mid-size luxury SUV is a premium version of the 4Runner. Still, buyers rather pay more money for the TRD Pro package on Toyota’s SUV, then for the luxury features on the GX. While the LX is getting a new drivetrain, its smaller sibling will stick to 4.6-liter displacement. When we compare it to 4Runner’s 4.0-liter V6, a V8 does not add too much more power. But, 300 hp and 330 lb-ft in combination with proper tuning will make a difference.
The advantage of the 2021 Lexus GX 460 is the lack of competition in the segment. The list of mid-size luxury SUVs is long. But, only GX will offer you a body-on-frame platform. Toyota pulled a wise move, leaving the RX and its unibody architecture without the competition within the family.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevy Suburban
The new generation of GM’s big rigs is coming in 2021. The upcoming Tahoe and Suburban will come with the independent rear suspension. In combination with the BoF platform, this will improve handling and driving impressions in tough terrains. General Motors pulled this move ten years after its main rivals.
The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is a full-size SUV with new styling and drivetrains. The upcoming vehicle is getting a 3.0-liter diesel unit as one of the options. The 2021 Chevy Suburban is riding on the same BoF architecture, but its body is extended. This is going to be one of the largest vehicles in the market, with nearly 230 inches long body.
2021 GMC Yukon
This one of GM’s twins. The 2021 GMC Yukon will offer the same options as Tahoe. Its extended version is Yukon XL. General Motors is also redesigning this SUV and launches the new generation next year. Once again, the IRS is one of the novelties, as well as the diesel engine. The 2021 Yukon is also offering a special AT4 package for off-road driving. Lifted SUV will get more space under the body.
The hood is hiding a powerful V8 drivetrain. It is up to buyers if they want to take a 5.3 or a 6.2 displacement. The other one bursts 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque, making the 2021 GMC Yukon a prefect SUV for towing. If you want to bring more exclusive features, we recommend you go after the Denali model. However, the price of the package is in the premium waters, where you can find the next SUV from this list.
2021 Cadillac Escalade
The last piece of the puzzle in the GM’s BoF lineup is the premium 2021 Cadillac Escalade. The luxury SUV offers everything at the right price. If you are willing to splash over $80,000, you won’t make a mistake with the Escalade. The best-selling full-size premium SUV in 2019 is entering the new generation. That will cement the #1 place in the segment.
Unlike its non-luxury siblings, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade will offer only a 6.2-liter V8 engine with 420 hp. Still, some sources claim a performance-oriented SUV will use a 4.2-liter twin-turbo V8 which delivers more than 550 hp. We need to wait at least until 2022 for this model.
2021 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited
4Runner might sell well, but the hottest vehicle with the BoF platform in the US is Wrangler. Also the smallest. This SUV with body-on-frame architecture is the most popular odd-road model. It comes in two body styles, with two and four doors. The 2021 Jeep Wrangler won’t rely on the huge drivetrain. Instead, a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V6 will do the job properly.
Of course, there are various upgrades around the body that will make this SUV go better. For the new season, we expect a debut of the PHEV powerplant. Plus, the new version is also on the way. Hercules is going to enhance the already off-road tuned Rubicon package. We’ll know details later this year. It will be up to buyers if they want to pick a model with two or four doors (Unlimited). The price is a bit higher for the larger SUV.
2022 Dodge Durango
Compared to previous seasons, this is the new name on the list. FCA already offers a mid-size SUV built on a unibody platform. Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best-selling such vehicle. Durango is a rival coming from the same manufacturer. The FCA doesn’t need it and moves the next-gen 2022 Dodge Durango to a ladder frame. This causes a lot of other changes. One thing is sure – the wide engine lineup will stay available, with the SRT model topping the range.
The production of the 2022 Dodge Durango will be moved from the current plant (Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit) to the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where is also the Ram 1500 truck built. The Hellcat engine is now more likely than ever since the new frame will be able to handle 707 horsepower much better than the unibody architecture.
2021 Ford Expedition
The leading carmaker in the US also uses a body-on-frame concept for its big rigs. The new Explorer is still riding on the unibody platform (replaced BoF in 2005). The largest model in the class (at this point… 2021 Ford Excursion might come back. Read more HERE) is a step ahead of the competition, especially from the GM. An interesting thing about the 2021 Ford Expedition is that SUV is using a single V6 engine capable to deliver 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. A diesel unit is joining the lineup later next season.
The 2021 Ford Expedition is going to be a very capable vehicle. Another thing could make it even more interesting – the Raptor package. Still, the SUV is already using the FX4 equipment for better off-road performance. Like Chevy vehicles, Expedition offers a version with the extended body – Expedition MAX. This SUV is the best SUV for hauling, with a towing capacity of 9,300 pounds. Diesel engines might make closer to 10,000 lbs, or even more.
2021 Lincoln Navigator
Expedition’s premium sibling, the 2021 Lincoln Navigator, is using pretty much the same drivetrain. On the other hand, the luxury SUV is packed with advanced equipment and technologies, making its price pretty hefty. With some upgrades, such as the Black Label package, the MSRP enters a six-digit realm.
2021 Infiniti QX80
We are speaking of 2021 Infiniti QX80 before its non-premium sibling Nissan Armada because of the single reason – the Monograph concept. All the vehicles in the family will suffer huge changes for the next two seasons and the QX80 is one of the priorities. The muscular platform makes the premium SUV more attractive and capable of driving, on and off the road. But, the BoF and big ground clearance will take you anywhere.
The 2021 Infiniti QX80 will still use a 5.6-liter V8 engine. You will choose the other parts. Unfortunately, Infiniti is not using any off-road package to enhance the ride. Still, the luxury vehicle is going to serve more as the show-off SUV, rather than the hard worker.
2022 Nissan Armada
And yes, another reason why we mentioned QX80 before the 2022 Nissan Armada is the release date. The full-size SUV is not at the top of priorities, so the redesign and probably the new generation will come a year after the Infiniti’s model. We are looking forward to seeing another off-road package, such as Mountain Patrol. Also, the carmaker considers adding the Pro-4X with top features for such adventures, including locking differentials, special shocks and suspension.
A 5.6 V8 engine is good for 400 horsepower. Of course, the BoF can handle it better than the unibody platform, leaving more room for upgrades. Fuel consumption is one of the things that will make you consider some other vehicle. Do not expect the 2022 Nissan Armada to return more than 17 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg combined. But, that is the curse of all full-size SUVs based on a ladder frame.
2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
We are coming to the most expensive model on our list. The 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a synonym for luxury. But, the SUV is also very capable of off-roading. In this case, the German carmaker decided to go with the BoF architecture. All other models, including the largest GLS and GLE, will come with the unibody structure.
The price of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class will start above $130,000. But, that is not all. The AMG G63 model boosts the outputs to 577 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. Of course, there are other visual and technology upgrades, and the whole package is going to cost $25,000 more from the base price.
2021 Nissan Patrol
One of the most popular truck-based SUVs in Asia, Nissan Patrol, will enter the new generation before its US sibling. We already saw some spy photos and the release date will be pretty soon. The company will bring this SUV early next season.
The drivetrain for the 2021 Nissan Patrol remains a V8 we see on Armada. With 400 hp, it will be one of the most dominant SUV outside the US. The vehicle is based on the Nissan Navara truck. The architecture even underpins the Mercedes X-Class debut pickup.
2021 Toyota Fortuner
We cannot speak of one Japanese carmaker without having in mind that the other one is responding to the challenge. The 2021 Toyota Fortuner brings a similar story like the Nissan Patrol. It is based on the Hilux truck, one of the best-selling pickups outside the US. You will find this SUV called Toyota SW4 in some markets.
The vehicle is becoming more popular in Russia and Australia. Its capabilities are perfect for tough weather and road conditions, especially in the wilderness. Like the 4Runner, the 2021 Toyota Fortuner will use a 4.0-liter petrol engine. But, more popular choices are using diesel fuel. A 3.0 unit could be the choice for Toyota Tacoma according to some reports.
2021 Ford Everest (Endeavour)
The simplest way to explain what is the 2021 Ford Everest, is the comparison with the Ranger truck. Actually, that is the pickup with an SUV body. In the Indian market, the BoF vehicle is called Endeavour, but it is the same model as Everest. One petrol and four diesel configurations will give a lot of options. Still, the largest one is a 3.2-liter diesel unit. The 2021 Ford Everest is not going to return as much power as the Expedition, but it is still the company’s response to other carmakers and their body-on-frame SUVs.
2021 Isuzu MU-X
Another new model in the upcoming season is the next-gen 2021 Isuzu MU-X. The SUV will be truck-based. The platform is the same as for the D-Max pickup. After the redesign, this vehicle will share the architecture with Mazda BT-50. The Japanese company ended 30-year-long cooperation with Ford and joined forces with Isuzu.
The new 2021 Isuzu MU-X will be built on the BoF platform for better capabilities. We also hear that SUV is getting updates under the hood, with the existing 3.0-liter diesel engine returning more power. Furthermore, the cooperation with Mazda might result in some of the upcoming SkyActiv engines being under the hood of the MU-X.