Top three body-on-frame SUVs available now

2019 Mercedes-Benz G 550 frame

The underlying frame of the Mercedes-Benz G 550 SUV.

You may have seen the term unibody or body-on-frame (BoF) construction used in automotive literature. But what exactly do these terms mean? The former is commonly utilized in building passenger cars and small crossovers, where the body and chassis of the vehicle created as a singular unit; the latter, usually seen on pickups and full-size SUVs, have the body sitting on top of an underlying frame, as the name suggests.

2019 Toyota 4Runner off-roading

Although the industry increasingly trends towards unibody design, the alternative is not without merits. For example, being more resistant to twisting forces occurring when driving over particularly rough terrain, or hauling a heavy load, it is better suited to heavy-duty tasks such as off-roading and towing. Repairs often cost less as well, thanks to multi-piece underpinnings. In today’s blog post, we round up our top three BoF models.

2019 Toyota 4Runner side

Toyota 4Runner

This time-tested mid-size SUV has been helping folks get their adventuring on since its introduction back in 1984. Offered in a range of trims tailored to individual needs — from two-wheel drive to full-time four-wheel drive with a locking centre differential and 9.6 inches of ground clearance — all 4Runners are powered by a 270-horse 4.0-litre V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, can seat seven occupants and tow a maximum 5,000 pounds.

2019 Infiniti QX80 front three quarter

Infiniti QX80

Measuring 5,339 millimetres long, 2,029 wide and 1,925 tall, Infiniti’s flagship utility vehicle is a commanding presence on the road. Features like aerodynamic looks (contributing to a wind-cheating 0.367 co-efficient of drag); “human-eye” wraparound automatic LED headlamps; and a handcrafted roomy interior that can accommodate eight adults bring a touch of class to the segment.

2019 Infiniti QX80 rear three quarter

A 5.6-litre V8 is standard, making 400 horsepower and 418 lb-ft of torque and possessing a tow rating of up to 8,500 pounds. Also available in 2WD or 4WD configuration, the QX80 rides atop double-wishbone independent suspension with Dual-Flow Path twin-tube shock absorbers and auto-levelling capability in the rear.

2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

Opulence meets ruggedness in the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Looking quite unlike anything else in the German luxury automaker’s lineup, the G-Wagen, as the SUV is also known, is built for going where cars shouldn’t boasting three 100-per cent differential locks, LOW RANGE gear reduction and a total water and mud fording depth of 28 inches. A 4.0-litre V8 producing 416 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque lies under the hood of the G 550, while the Mercedes-AMG G 63 packs a biturbo version of the motor churning out a massive 577 horsepower.

Posted by Benjamin Yong

Benjamin Yong is a freelance journalist and communications professional living in Richmond, B.C. He is often found writing about cars and the auto industry, amongst other things, or driving around in his work-in-progress 1990 Mazda MX-5. Twitter: @b_yong Instagram: @popuplights