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The term cab forward refers to various rail and road vehicle designs that place the driver’s compartment substantially farther towards the front than is common practice.

The cab forward design allows the passenger area to be much larger than in other similar sized automobiles.[3]

The first modern mass-produced, U.S. automobile using the cab forward concept was the Pacer, introduced in 1975 by American Motors Corporation (AMC).[4][5][6] The company did not call it “cab forward”, but the Pacer’s layout placed the passenger compartment further forward than was typical to that time.[7] Moreover, its wheels were pushed to the corners resulting in short overhangs, the body was relatively wide to total length, as well as the A-pillars were moved forward and the windshield was placed over part of the engine compartment.[8] In addition to the “cab forward” design, the AMC Pacer contained many other features that were considered to be ahead of their time and did not enter mainstream automobiles until the 1990s.[9]

The term “cab forward” was a marketing term used by Chrysler Corporation starting in 1992 to describe styling and engineering features that were similar to those seen on the AMC Pacer and the Lamborghini Portofino, which improved cornering and interior space[10] The passenger cabin was “pushed forward” so that the front wheel well directly abutted the leading edge of the front doors, and the windshield extended forward over the engine, while the rear wheels were shifted towards the back corners of the vehicle. Moving the wheels to the edges allowed designers to enlarge the interior while improving ride and cornering. Numerous models built from 1993 to 2004 on the Chrysler LH platform, the JA and JR platforms (“cloud cars”), and the PL platform (Neon), were specifically marketed as cab forward cars. Chrysler claimed to be the first to apply these features to a full-size car.[11]

Commercial vehicles

Main article: Cab over
In road vehicle design, Cab forward, also known as Cab-over, COE (Cab Over Engine), or forward control, is a body style of truck or van that has a vertical front or “flat face”, with the cab sitting above the front axle. This body design allows for a more compact configuration. For example, the Jeep Forward Control model was the first time the payload (or pickup box) length – 9-foot (274 cm) with the tailgate up – exceeded the wheelbase of a truck.

The cab forward truck configuration is currently common among European and Japanese truck manufacturers, because the laws governing overall vehicle lengths are strict and the body style allows longer trailers or a longer cargo area for the same overall length than a standard truck (with an engine compartment ahead of a conventional cabin). Better visibility and maneuverability in tight quarters, such as for city delivery, is a benefit of locating the truck’s cab up front. Large trucks of this type are most often described as cab over engine (COE) or cab over models.