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A truck is a large vehicle that transports goods by road. Trucks can vary in size, power, and configuration, but most have a cabin that’s separate from the payload. “Trucks” and “Lorry” redirect here. For additional meanings, refer to Truck (disambiguation) and Lorry (disambiguation).

A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle specifically designed for transporting freight, carrying specialized loads, or performing utilitarian tasks. Trucks come in various sizes, power capacities, and configurations, but the majority follow a body-on-frame construction, featuring a cabin that is separate from the payload area. Smaller variants may share mechanical similarities with certain automobiles. Commercial trucks exhibit significant diversity, ranging from large, powerful vehicles to those customized with specialized equipment, such as refuse trucks, fire trucks, concrete mixers, and suction excavators. In American English, a commercial vehicle lacking a trailer or other articulation is formally termed a “straight truck,” while one designed explicitly for pulling a trailer is not categorized as a truck but referred to as a “tractor.”

Presently, a substantial number of trucks rely on diesel engines, particularly in the US, Canada, and Mexico, although there are smaller to medium-sized trucks equipped with gasoline engines. The market share of electrically powered trucks is experiencing rapid growth, projected to reach 7% globally by 2027. Notably, electric propulsion dominates both the largest and smallest trucks. In the European Union, vehicles with a gross combination mass of up to 3.5 t (3.4 long tons; 3.9 short tons) fall under the category of light commercial vehicles, while those exceeding this limit are classified as large goods vehicles.

Types by size


Frequently developed as modified versions of golf cars, these vehicles, powered by either internal combustion or battery electric drive, are primarily used off-highway on estates, golf courses, and parks. While not suitable for highway travel, some variations may obtain licenses as slow-speed vehicles for operation on streets, often as a modified version of a neighborhood electric vehicle. Certain manufacturers specialize in producing chassis for this vehicle type, and Zap Motors offers a version of their Xebra electric tricycle, which is licensable in the U.S. as a motorcycle.

Very light:

Popular in Europe and Asia, many mini-trucks are factory redesigns of light automobiles, typically featuring monocoque bodies. Specialized designs with sturdy frames, such as the Italian Piaggio shown here, are based on Japanese models, like those by Daihatsu. These mini-trucks find popularity in the narrow alleyways of “old town” sections in European cities. Regardless of name, these small trucks serve diverse purposes, regulated in Japan under Kei car laws, offering tax breaks for smaller, less powerful vehicles. In the U.S., they compete with off-road ATVs, requiring a 25 mph (40 km/h) speed governor due to classification as low-speed vehicles. Applications include construction, large campuses, agriculture, cattle ranches, amusement parks, and golf cart replacements. Major manufacturers include Daihatsu Hijet, Honda Acty, Tata Ace, Mazda Scrum, Mitsubishi Minicab, Subaru Sambar, and Suzuki Carry.


Light trucks are car-sized (in the U.S., no more than 13,900 lb or 6.3 t) and are utilized by individuals and businesses alike. In the EU, their weight cannot exceed 3.5 t (7,700 lb) and can be driven with a standard car license. Pickup trucks, known as utes in Australia and New Zealand, are common in North America and some regions of Latin America, Asia, and Africa but less prevalent in Europe, where commercial vehicles of this size are typically vans.


Medium trucks are larger than light trucks but smaller than heavy trucks. In the U.S., they weigh between 13,000 and 33,000 lb (5.9 and 15.0 t). In the UK and the EU, their weight ranges from 3.5 to 7.5 t (7,700 to 16,500 lb). Typically used for local delivery and public service (e.g., dump trucks, garbage trucks, fire-fighting trucks), they serve various applications at this site.


Heavy trucks, classified as Class 8, are the largest on-road trucks. They include vocational applications like heavy dump trucks, concrete pump trucks, refuse haulers, as well as common long-haul 4×2 and 6×4 tractor units. Road damage and wear increase rapidly with axle weight, and the number of steering axles and suspension-type impact road wear. In countries with good roads, a six-axle truck may have a maximum weight exceeding 44 t (97,000 lb).


Off-road trucks encompass standard, extra heavy-duty, highway-legal trucks, often equipped with off-road features such as a front driving axle and special tires for logging and construction applications. Purpose-built off-road vehicles, unrestricted by weight limits, include examples like the Liebherr T 282B mining truck.

Classifications of Trucks

Trucks are classified based on their maximum loaded weight, which is typically determined by the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and sometimes the gross trailer weight rating (GTWR). Truck classifications can vary by jurisdiction. 

Classifications of Trucks
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) classifies trucks into three broad categories:
  • Light duty: Class 1 and Class 2
  • Medium duty: Class 3–Class 6
  • Heavy duty: Class 7 and Class 8 
Trucks can also be classified as either straight or articulated:
  • Straight trucks: Have all axles attached to a single frame
  • Articulated vehicles: Have two or more separate frames connected by couplings 
Trucks can also be classified as:
  • Class C: Vehicles that transport 16 or more passengers or hazardous materials
  • Segmented buses: Modified buses that should be considered trucks 


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