Half-ton, three-quarter-ton and one-ton are informal classifications for pickup trucks and SUVs that are used to generally classify them by their payload capacities, meaning the maximum weight a pickup or SUV can carry in its cargo and passenger areas. Payload is not just what’s in the pickup bed; it also includes all the people and stuff the truck is carrying, as well as the trailer tongue weight. Although tonnage designations used to correspond to a truck’s payload capacity, they now are little more than a casual way of classifying these trucks.
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As a refresher, traditionally one ton is 2,000 pounds, meaning a half-ton truck would have a 1,000-pound payload, three-quarter tons are rated to 1,500 pounds, and one-ton trucks can carry 2,000 pounds of payload. Actual vehicle payloads are far higher, but we’ll get to that in a moment.