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This paper presents a 6-degree-of-freedom (DOF) control-oriented dynamic model for lightweight vehicles (LWVs) with explicit considerations of payload parametric variations. LWVs possess significant advantages in terms of fuel consumption, emissions, and transportation. However, due to the substantially reduced vehicle mass, the effects of payload parametric variations become more pronounced and have to be systematically incorporated in LWV control system designs and analyses. A control-oriented model that can capture such effects is thus foundational. Validation of this LWV control-oriented model is realized by comparing the model predictions against experimental results obtained from vehicle road tests of a lightweight electric ground vehicle. The comparisons show that the developed model captures the LWV essential dynamic characteristics and payload effects well. Sensitivity analyses with regard to the effects of different payload parametric variations on the selected LWV states were carried out to reveal the relative importance of payload parameters.