What does it mean if a car is unibody?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs on Monday, May 24th, 2021 at 9:05 am
2021 Ridgeline front exterior

What It Means if a Car is Unibody

Here at CrossPointe Motor Cars in Winchester, VA, we deal with a lot of used Honda vehicles. People love them for lots of reasons. There’s one Honda vehicle in particular that people have the same questions about: the Honda Ridgeline. Honda markets the Ridgeline as a unibody truck, marking at as different from other trucks.

The natural question that follows is: what does it mean if a vehicle is unibody? Let’s take a look.



unibody car frame

Unibody Design

The oversimplified version is that a unibody vehicle—be it a car, truck, or anything else—the body and the frame are one piece. The alternative to this is body-on-frame design, where the body of the vehicle sits on top of the frame. In modern day auto production, almost all cars and crossovers are unibody, while full-size SUVs and trucks tend to be body-on-frame.

Pros of Unibody Design

There are four HUGE upsides to making a vehicle with unibody design:

  • Excellent handling
  • Lower weight
  • Lower cost
  • Improved safety

Most consumer vehicles use this type of design because it is cheaper to produce, has better ride quality, and drastically improves safety of the driver and passengers. However, there are downsides.

Cons of Unibody Design

There are three downsides that make unibody a bad fit for some types of vehicles:

  • Lower towing capacity
  • Worse off-road performance
  • More expensive repair costs

While car insurance can usually mitigate or completely negate the more expensive repair costs of the unibody design, it doesn’t fix the other problems. All unibody vehicles are—by design—lower to the ground, making them ill-suited for heavy-duty off-road use. Unibody frames also have lower torsional stress capacities, a quality very important for towing.


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If you’re thinking about buying a used vehicle to save money, then we’d like to help you save even more. Check out our Used Specials webpage for deals on used models and don’t forget to use our value your trade-in to get a market-value quote on your current vehicle.

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