Truck classification

Truck classifications are typically based upon the maximum loaded weight of the truck, typically using the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and sometimes also the gross trailer weight rating (GTWR), and can vary among jurisdictions.

United States

In the United States, commercial truck classification is determined based on the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The classes range from 1–8.[1][2] Trucks are also classified more broadly by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which groups classes 1–2 as light duty, 3–6 as medium duty, and 7–8 as heavy duty; a commercial driver's license (CDL) is generally required to operate heavy duty trucks.[1][3][4] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a separate system of emissions classifications for trucks.[1][5] The United States Census Bureau also assigned classifications in its now-discontinued Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey (VIUS) (formerly Truck Inventory and Use Survey (TIUS)).[6]

Table of US GVWR classifications

US truck classDuty classificationWeight limit [1][7]Examples
Class 1Light truck0–6,000 pounds (0–2,722 kg)Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline FWD[8]
Class 2aLight truck6,001–8,500 pounds (2,722–3,856 kg)Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra, Dodge Dakota, Honda Ridgeline AWD[8][9][10]
Class 2bLight/Medium truck8,501–10,000 pounds (3,856–4,536 kg)Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500, Ford F-250, Nissan Titan XD, Ram 2500[8][9][10]
Class 3Medium truck10,001–14,000 pounds (4,536–6,350 kg)Isuzu NPR,[11] Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 3500, Ford F-350, Ram 3500, Ford F-450 (pickup only)
Class 4Medium truck14,001–16,000 pounds (6,351–7,257 kg)Isuzu NPR-HD,[11] Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 4500, Ford F-450 (chassis cab), Ram 4500[8]
Class 5Medium truck16,001–19,500 pounds (7,258–8,845 kg)Isuzu NRR,[11] Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 5500, Ford F-550, Ram 5500, Peterbilt 325, International TerraStar [12]
Class 6Medium truck19,501–26,000 pounds (8,846–11,793 kg)Chevrolet Kodiak C6500, Ford F-650, Peterbilt 330, International Durastar [13]
Class 7Heavy truck26,001–33,000 pounds (11,794–14,969 kg)Autocar ACMD, GMC C7500, Peterbilt 220 & 337, Ford F-750 [14]
Class 8Heavy truck33,001 pounds (14,969 kg) +Autocar ACX, Autocar DC, International WorkStar, Freightliner Cascadia, Kenworth T600, Kenworth T660, Kenworth T680, Orange EV T-Series Electric, Peterbilt 579, Peterbilt 389[15] - Semi-trailer trucks fall into this category

Notes on weight classes

"Ton" rating

When light-duty trucks were first produced in the United States, they were rated by their payload capacity in tons (e.g., 12-, 34- and 1-ton). Over time, payload capacities for most domestic pickup trucks have increased while the ton titles have stayed the same. The now-imprecise ton rating is presently used to compare standard sizes, rather than actual capacities.

This has led to categorizing trucks similarly, even if their payload capacities are different. Therefore, the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline,, and Toyota Tacoma are called "quarter-ton" pickups. Per the Certificate of Origin from the Manufacturer regarding the 2013 V6 4 Liter Nissan Frontier is Classed as a 1/2 Ton Pickup; Furthermore since nothing has basically changed from the 2005 V6 Frontier, probably all V6 Frontier's after 2005 are classed as 1/2 Ton's; This can be verified by calling Nissan Consumer Affair's.The Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 1500, Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra are called "half-ton" pickups (12-ton). The Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 2500, Ford F-250, and Ram 2500 are called "three-quarter-ton" pickups. The Cheverolet Silverado/GMC Sierra 3500, Ford F-350, and Ram 3500 are known as "one ton" pickups.

Similar schemes exist for vans and SUVs (e.g. a 1-ton Dodge Van or a 12-ton GMC Suburban), medium duty trucks (e.g. the 112-ton Ford F-450) and some military vehicles, like the ubiquitous deuce-and-a-half.

Class 8

The Class 8 truck gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is a vehicle with a GVWR exceeding 33000 lb (14969 kg).[1][16] These include tractor trailer tractors as well as single-unit dump trucks of a GVWR over 33,000 lb; such trucks typically have 3 or more axles. The typical 5-axle tractor-trailer combination, also called a "semi" or "18-wheeler", is a Class 8 vehicle. Standard trailers vary in length from 8' containers to 57' van trailers, with the most common length being the 53' trailer. Specialized trailers for oversized loads can be considerably longer. Commercial operation of a Class 8 vehicle in the United States requires either a Class-B CDL for non-combination vehicles, or a Class-A CDL for combination vehicles (tractor-trailers).


Vehicle classifications vary among provinces in Canada, due to "differences in size and weight regulations, economic activity, physical environment, and other issues".[17]:3 While several provinces use their own classification schemes for traffic monitoring, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan have adopted the 13-class system from the United States' Federal Highway Administration—sometimes with modifications, or in Ontario's case, for limited purposes.[17]:3–4 British Columbia and Ontario also distinguish between short- and long-combination trucks.[17]:3–4 In accident reporting, eight jurisdictions subdivide trucks by GVWR into light and heavy classes at approximately 4500 kg 9921 lb.[17]:6

European Union

In the European scheme the European driving licence are (among others) B for cars, C for trucks (lorries), D for buses, and are limited by the GVWR.

Divides into two types:

  1. appending a number to the class denotes the "light" versions of said class.
  2. appending the letter E allows for larger trailers (GTWR).

This classification is more or less similar to the one of International Driving Permit.

  • Class B permits the use of vehicles with GVWRs of not more than 3500 kg and a trailer with GTWRs not exceeding 750 kg, or a trailer above said limit, if the gross weight of car and trailer combined does not exceed 3500 kg (or 4250 kg after a theoretical and practical course of 7 hours). Such vehicles are also commonly known as light commercial vehicles (LCVs), and include the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Fiat Ducato.
  • Class BE allows for trailers up to 3500 kg GTWR while driving a class B vehicle.
  • Class C1 raises the GVWR limit to 7500 kg and a trailer of GTWR not exceeding 750 kg.
  • Class C removes the GVWR limit, but the GTWR limit for the trailer of 750 kg stays.
  • Class C1E allows for a class B or C1 vehicle and a trailer of more than 750 kg GTWR, if the combined gross weight does not exceed 12000 kg.
  • Class CE removes the trailers GTWR limit while driving a Class C vehicle.

List of truck types

See also


  1. Vehicle Weight Classes & Categories from the United States Department of Energy
  2. – Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) by Class
  3. FHWA Vehicle Types from the United States Department of Transportation
  4. Truck Classification,, March 28, 2009, retrieved April 9, 2012
  5. Vehicle Weight Classifications from the United States Environmental Protection Agency
  6. "Vehicle Inventory and Use Survey – Discontinued". June 30, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  7. "Class 3-4-5 Truck Model Roundup". October 22, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  8. "Appendix: Truck Types and Classes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 22, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2018.(archived)
  9. "2005 Dodge Dakota Specifications, Fuel Economy & Overview". Truck Trend. February 26, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  11. "Isuzu N-Series Diesel Trucks". Retrieved June 6, 2019.
  12. Save to MyGarage (February 10, 2005), 2005 Chicago Auto Show,, retrieved April 9, 2012
  13. GMC TopKick 4500
  14. Rik Hinton, Idaho Transportation Department (December 22, 2011), Idaho Commercial Driver's License Program,, retrieved April 9, 2012
  16. "International Class 7 Crew Cab Pickup". Truck Trend. February 26, 2007. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  17. Clayton, Alan; Montufar, Jeannette; Middleton, Dan; McCauley, Bill (August 27–31, 2000), "Feasibility of a New Vehicle Classification System for Canada" (PDF), North American Travel Monitoring Exhibition and Conference (NATMEC) 2000, archived from the original (PDF) on November 1, 2004, retrieved August 9, 2013, Furthermore, the fleet characteristics vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction across the country because of differences in size and weight regulations, economic activity, physical environment, and other issues. This has led to a wide variety of vehicle classification systems used by highway agencies and municipal authorities in their traffic monitoring programs.
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