All true answers. It is what the manufacturer warrants the vehicle to weigh. Going over the GVWR is NOT illegal, but "can" void the warranty.
Having said that. I do not advocate carrying more than the manufacturer rating. they spent lot of time, and money figuring the weights the vehicle can carry with out damaging it. But a 100lb here or there will not cause the vehicle to explode.
Terry & Shay
Coachman Apex 288BH.
2013 F150 XLT Off Road
The key word in all of these is rating,
This is not what the vehicle actually weighs, but the maximum that it can weigh.
The definitions are correct, however, it is not the max amount a vehicle "can" weigh. It is the rated max weight for a given class of vehicle. Some vehicles are much closer to being actually overloaded, when at their gvwr, than others.
3/4 ton trucks are the classic example of this. They have relatively low gvwr for their apparent capabilities, being basically the same as their 1ton single wheel counterparts, they typically have minor rear suspension differences, but the gvwr is limited to that of a class 2 truck, mostly for regulatory purposes. Essentially 2 identical trucks save for factory rear suspension capability can be configured that have almost 2500lbs difference in gvwr. Some older models were actually the same truck literally with a lighter classification assigned by the mfg.
To keep the weight cops here in check, I'll add that caution should be taken in exceeding gvwr. One should know what they are dealing with before doing so.
03 Arctic Fox 860
07 Dodge 2500, Mega, 4wd, 5.9 G56, BD Triple Dog, SB ceramic clutch, Industrial Injection Dragonfly Injectors, GDP 2 micron filter, Firestone Bags, Big Wig swaybar, homemade stable loads, ATI viib damper and a BD Brake