Passenger Vehicle Vs Commercial Vehicle

There are affiliate links on this article. If you make a purchase through any of the links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Often, you’d hear people refer to certain cars as “Passenger Cars” and others as “Commercial Vehicles,” and you’re lost in the blue trying to figure out what could be the actual difference(s) between the two vehicle types? But What differentiates a passenger vehicle vs commercial vehicle?

Well, passenger car is a term used for compact, mid-size, and full-size vehicles used to convey not more than eight passengers (including the driver), while commercial cars is a term used for compact, mid-size, and full-size vehicles used to convey goods, commercial products, or “paying” passengers.

This passenger car and commercial car comparison article details everything you should know about passenger and commercial vehicles. The truth is, the same type of car can be called a passenger car or commercial car, depending on the type of function it fulfills.

What is a Passenger Car?

A passenger vehicle is any motor vehicle (asides from trains and watercraft) used in conveying people from one location to another. Typically, passenger cars are not designed to carry more than eight persons (driver inclusive) at a go.

That said, even a three-row SUV can be called a passenger car. So we say sedans, crossovers, minivans, SUVs, and even pickup trucks are examples of passenger cars – as long as they are not used for conveying goods or passengers who have to pay at the end of the trip.

What is a Commercial Car?

As the name implies, a commercial vehicle is a type of car used for commercial purposes. In contrast to passenger cars, commercial cars are used to convey goods or pay passengers.

A sedan, SUV, minivan, crossover, hatchback, or pickup truck can be called a commercial vehicle if it’s used for commercial purposes.

Notwithstanding, commercial cars are different from utility vehicles (e.g., ambulances, media vans, firefighting vehicles, etc.). Some perfect examples of commercial vehicles include public transport buses, taxis, Uber or other rideshare vehicles, and delivery vans.

A quick fun fact is that if you start using your passenger car to carry people and they have to pay at the end of a trip, you’ve turned the car into a commercial vehicle. Clear enough? Hereunder is a comparison table that distinguishes passenger and commercial vehicles.

Passenger Vehicle Vs Commercial Vehicle

Car Type/FunctionsPassenger VehiclesCommercial Vehicles
Max Passenger Numbers815+
Common Vehicle TypesSedans, SUVs, saloons, crossovers, minivans, trucks, hatchbacks, and wagons.Buses, vans (minivans), trucks, sedans, SUVs, and trailers.

The major difference between a passenger car and a commercial car is the “purpose.” As hinted earlier, your sedan/SUV/CUV or truck remains a passenger car until you start using it to earn money – either by commuting passengers to get paid or using it to deliver certain goods from company to company, or even individual to individual.

Another noteworthy point is the number of passengers you can carry on these cars. Basically, passenger cars don’t have seating space for more than eight persons, but some models (particularly vans) can contain up to 10 passengers, while commercial vehicles may contain up to 40 or more people at a go.

That said, any car with seat reservations for more than fifteen (15) persons is automatically a commercial vehicle. But on the other hand, a car with seat reservations for seven to eight persons maximum remains a passenger car until used for business purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do You Mean By Passenger Vehicles?

This refers to a class of vehicles used to convey passengers (not more than eight passengers at a go) from one point to another without the passengers being charged at the end of the trip. SUVs, sedans, minivans, wagons, and pickup trucks are all examples of passenger vehicles.

What Is An Example Of A Passenger Vehicle?

All models of SUVs, crossovers, sedans, hatchbacks, minivans, limousines, wagons and pickup trucks are examples of passenger vehicles. The term “Passenger Vehicles” is not a type of vehicle but a class of vehicles used for conveying passengers.

What Are Classed As Commercial Vehicles?

Basically, commercial vehicles are trucks, buses, vans, and minivans. But also, SUVs, sedans, wagons, and all other types of passenger cars can automatically become “commercial vehicles” the moment they are being used for conveying paying passengers or goods.


Passenger vehicle vs. commercial vehicle is a simple comparison of two classes of motor vehicles. What distinguishes the two is “Purpose.”

Most passenger cars can be converted into commercial cars, but commercial vehicles like buses and full-size vans cannot be used as passenger cars.

Related Posts:

Scroll to Top