What Is a Squatted Truck?

A squatted truck is a pickup truck with a lift kit installed on the front end while the rear end remains at a stock–or even a lowered–ride height. Squatted trucks have been gaining popularity for the past five years. But squatted trucks go by several different names and there is some debate as to where they originated.

What are other names for squatted trucks?

Squatted truck fans have several names for the practice. Some people call it the “Carolina Squat.” Others refer to a truck or SUV with a “California Lean” or a “Cali Lean.” Finally, some call a squat a “Tennessee Tilt.”

Turquoise-colored squatted Chevy Silverado driving off a transport trailer.
Squatted Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Whistlin Diesel via Youtube

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Many brand-new trucks come from the factory with a “raked” position. This means the bed is slightly higher than the cab. This is because automakers engineer trucks to carry weight in the bed, which will level them out.

Many truck owners buy a “leveling kit.” This kit lifts the front end a few inches to level a truck out. You can also remove the lift blocks from the rear springs of certain trucks to level them by lowering the bed a few inches.

If you refer to a “squatted truck” or a truck with a “reverse rake” position, most squatted truck fans will no what you are talking about. But depending where in the country you are, they may refer to their squatted trucks in a different way.

Where did squatting trucks start?

I saw my first squatted trucks in inland California around 2016. By then, they were actually popular in several places around the country. But many fans agree squatting trucks originated in California.

Silverado 1500 pickup truck with a dramatic "Carolina Squat" driving through a field.
Squatted Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Whistlin Diesel via Youtube

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Why California? Because desert racing trucks are a part of California culture. Bajas trucks and prerunners sit higher in the front than the rear to better land jumps while pounding over sand dunes.

According to the Custom Offsets Youtube channel, some desert racing fans began to order a taller lift kit for the front end of their on-road trucks than the rear. This was just a way to get the “leaned” look of those desert racers and did little to improve off-road performance.

Today, squatting trucks is especially popular in California, the southern East Coast, and in North and South Dakota. Many squatted truck owners are younger than the average truck owner. Squatted truck accounts and videos are popular on TikTok.

Every generation finds new ways to customize its vehicles. These new trends help one generation differentiate itself from the last. Squatting trucks may well have arisen in several places simultaneously as Gen Z searched for unique ways to customize its pickup trucks.

How do you squat a truck?

Getting a bit of that “Cali Lean”/”Carolina Squat“/”Tennessee Tilt” with your truck or SUV is relatively easy: order a moderate lift kit and only install the front components. But achieving a more dramatic squat requires more engineering.

Silverado pickup truck with an aggressive "Cali Lean" or "Tennessee Tilt" lift kit installed, parked in a grassy field.
Squatted Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Whistlin Diesel via Youtube

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Because most of the re-engineering required to lift a truck happens at the front of the truck, you won’t save much money by only ordering the front half of a lift kit. Therefore, extremely squatted trucks require an expensive nine or even ten-inch lift. Some builders also remove the leveling blocks from the rear suspension for more of an angle.

Squatting a truck changes its handling. The truck will corner even more poorly than a regular lifted truck. It will also be able to carry less weight in the bed before bottoming out. Finally, squatting a truck raises the hood while reclining the driver: it dramatically increases forward visibility.

Because squatted trucks have such poor forward visibility, they are very dangerous around pedestrians. If you want to squat your truck this much, consider installing an aftermarket “parking” or “trail” camera up front. It works much like your stock backup camera and will help with low-speed visibility.

See Custom Offsets video on the origin and names of squatted trucks here:

You can also check out a squatted truck for yourself with Whistlin Diesel’s squatted Silverado reveal the video below:

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