What Is Ground Clearance
Ground Clearance (also known as ride height) is one of the most basic but very important general dimensions of a vehicle. Ground clearance could be defined as the minimum distance between the lower end of the vehicle body (or chassis) and the road. In other words, it indicates the height of the lowermost part of the vehicle with respect to ground. Generally, most of the manufacturers specify this dimension in unladen vehicle condition i.e. without any load of cargo or passengers. That is why, in actual running condition,when the vehicle is loaded with passengers and cargo;the available ground clearance is always lower than specified.
On rough and bumpy roads, higher ground clearance SUV is always better as it avoids scratching of the underbelly of vehicle. As a general rule, it could be observed that a specific body type of a vehicle has some standard for ground clearance. Sedans and high performance sports cars have very low ground clearance while hatchbacks are on the next step of the ladder and have the highest ground clearance suv.
Highest Ground Clearance SUV
1. Land Rover LR4 – 12.2 inches
If you want the most ground clearance Suv money can buy, right off the showroom floor, be prepared to open your wallet wide: the 2015 Land Rover LR4 is the tallest-riding sport-utility available, measuring in at 12.2 inches. A $60k starting price won’t break the bank, but it’s not an insubstantial sum to pay for an all-terrain warrior. The Land Rover LR4 also offers available seven passenger seating, a respectable amount of luxury gear, and a supercharged 340 horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine that is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and a standard four-wheel drive system. You can get a low-range four-wheel drive with the SUV as well, and it brings a locking rear differential to the table for additional traction.
2. Mercedes-Benz GL-Class – 12 inches
This classic SUV from Mercedes Benz comes with a ground clearance Suv of 307 mm(12 inches), which can be counted as an average range for an SUV. The higher the ground clearance Suv of a car also results in high center of gravity that would make the handling of the SUV very hard at high speed. Therefore, all companies try to keep a balance between ease of handling and practicality while designing the ground clearance Suv of a vehicle. A bigger ground clearance SUV is a desirable feature , because they are mainly made for off the road driving. Therefore, higher ground clearance protects their undercarriage from damages.
3. Land Rover Range Rover – 11.63 inches (air suspension)
The next number on our list of the most ground clearance SUV is actually the priciest number here, as it almost doubles the LR4’s starting price. Still, the 2015 Land Rover Range Rover feels like its worth every penny thanks to its opulent interior, incredible power and handling, and spacious, practical interior. The fact that the Land Rover Range Rover’s standard air suspension can jack it up to 11.63 inches of total ground clearance SUV also gives it an advantage when the roads disappear and you switch from ‘suburban cruising mode’ to ‘mud pit mode.’ The same supercharged V-6 found in the LR4 is available as the starter unit in the Range Rover, but you can also opt for a 510 horsepower, 5.0-liter supercharged V-8 (and an eight-speed automatic gearbox and full-time four-wheel drive are also included with the SUV).
4. Toyota 4 Runner TRD Pro – 11.1 inches
The 2015 Toyota 4 Runner TRD Pro adds 1.5 inches of extra ground clearance SUV to the 9.6 inches found with the standard four-wheel drive version of this mid-size SUV, giving it a total of 11.1 inches to use when barging its way across whatever obstacles might litter the ground ahead it. The Toyota 4 Runner TRD Pro is a special edition of the sport-utility vehicle that features Bilstein shock absorbers, Eibach springs, knobby all-terrain tires, and a number of styling tweaks that identify it as no ordinary Toyota. Mechanically, however, you’re getting the same 4.0-liter, 270 horsepower V-6 that you would find in any other version of the 4 Runner, which means a five-speed automatic transmission and a low-range four-wheel drive system are also along for the ride.
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee – 10.8 inches
The 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee just barely snags the ground clearance SUV crown from the next-in-line Wrangler, checking in at 10.8 inches. The narrow margin of victory for the Jeep Grand Cherokee is linked to its available Quadra Lift air suspension system, which can be combined with two of the Jeep’s three four-wheel drive systems. This includes the top-spec Quadra-Drive II, which comes with a limited-slip rear differential (electronically-activated). A range of V-6, V-8 and even turbodiesel engines can be ordered with the Grand Cherokee (with an eight-speed automatic transmission standard across the board), and the vehicle also takes the prize for the lowest-riding and highest ground clearance SUV on our list, as its air suspension can drop the Jeep down to just one inch off of the ground when it’s time to exit the vehicle.
6. Jeep Wrangler – 10.6 inches
The 2015 Jeep Wrangler is the most traditional SUV on the market, as it features a pair of solid axles front and rear and offers only the most modest of creature comforts in the majority of its configurations. Its articulation-friendly suspension system also gives it 10.6 inches of ground clearance SUV, which when combined with its short wheelbase, pair of low-range four-wheel drive systems, available 32-inch off-road tires, and optional limited-slip rear differential makes the Jeep Wrangler is a formidable off-road weapon. A 285 horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 comes with every Wrangler, and you can choose between either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.
7. Nissan Xterra – 9.1 inches
The 2015 Nissan Xterra is another back-to-basics mid-size SUV, albeit one that’s a bit more livable with on a day-to-day basis. The Nissan Xterra offers 9.1 inches of ground clearance SUV, which is perfect for pairing with the available PRO-4X trim level’s extra off-road equipment. The Xterra PRO-4X comes with large-diameter tires, Bilstein shocks, an electronically-locking rear differential, skid plates, fog lights and driving lights, and a number of styling cues that indicate it’s a tougher breed of truck. Four-wheel drive is standard with the PRO-4X (with six-speed manual and five-speed automatic gearboxes on offer), and the Nissan is motivated by a 261 horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6.
8. Toyota Land Cruiser / 2015 Lexus LX 570 – 8.9 inches
We combined the 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser and 2015 Lexus LX 570 into one entry because these two seemingly different full-size SUVs are based on the same platform – and as such, they offer an identical 8.9 inches of total ground clearance. Although one might think that the Lexus has the advantage over the Toyota when it comes to luxury, the Land Cruiser is actually packed full of premium gear, complementing trail-ready features such as crawl control, an adaptive suspension system, and standard low-range four-wheel drive. Both the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Lexus LX 570 are shifted by way of a six-speed automatic transmission, and each offers a 5.7-liter V-8 (rated at 381 horsepower in the Toyota and 383 ponies in the Lexus).
9. Jeep Cherokee- 8.7 inches
The 2015 Jeep Cherokee does come in a special off-road model – the Trailhawk – but you don’t have to pay extra to enjoy the 8.7 inches of ground clearance offered with every four-wheel drive edition of this compact SUV. Of course, if you opt for the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk you’ll also benefit from a special Rock mode for the vehicle’s Selec-Terrain system, low-range gearing for its transfer case, skid plates, and a locking rear differential (in addition to a more rugged suspension setup). The Cherokee’s base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is good for 184 horsepower, but there’s also a 271 horsepower, 3.2-liter V-6 in the cards. Each of these units are shifted via a nine-speed automatic transmission.
10. Subaru Forester / 2015 Subaru Outback / 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek – 8.7 inches
The tenth spot on our list of the most ground clearance SUV is a three-for, as there are a trio of Subaru vehicles that provide the same 8.7 inches of ride height that you would find with the Jeep Cherokee. The 2015 Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback are based off of the same platform and have historically delivered above-average ride height for their respective classes, but the real surprise is the Subaru XV Crosstrek. The XV Crosstrek takes the Impreza hatchback chassis and jacks it up into the sky to match both the Outback and the Forester in the ground clearance department.
11.Toyota Fortuner 8.66 inches
Toyota Fortuner, the stylish looking SUV from Toyota Motors, comes with a towering ground clearance SUV of 220 mm. This generous ground clearance adds to the muscular look of the car and the vehicle leaves most of its rivals behind in this respect.
Ssangyong Rexton, the high-end luxury SUV in the Indian market , comes with a massive ground clearance SUV of 252mm that is 31mm higher than that offered by Toyota Fortuner. Ford Endeavour, another powerful SUV that offers a perfect blend of power, comfort and safety, is another strong rival of Toyota Fortune. It sports a lesser ground clearance of 210mm. The ground clearance offered by the muscular looking Mitsubishi Pajero is also slightly lesser than Toyota Fortuner at 215mm. Hyundai Santa Fe is another rival of Toyota Fortuner comes with a reasonable ground clearance of 185mm that is way less than what is being offered on Toyota Fortuner.
12. Ford Endeavour 8.27 Inches
As a premier SUV from the house of Ford, Endeavour comes in 3 trims at a price range of Rs.22.16 lakhs to Rs.25.67 lakhs (Ex Showroom, Delhi). The vehicle’s high ground clearance SUV of 8.27 inches ensures that it travels unhindered over rough terrain and manages to avoid potholes and slushy surfaces. The SUV holds on its own against strong competitors like Tata Safari Storme, Chevrolet Captiva, Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton, and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
The Tata Safari Storme, a premium SUV from Tata Motors promises excellent off-road capabilities. To augment the power and efficiency of the SUV, Tata Motors has ensured a high ground clearance SUV of 8.07 inches for the Tata Safari Storme. One of the principal competitors of the Tata Safari Storme is the Mahindra Scorpio which falls in the same price range as that of the former. However, the Mahindra Scorpio has a low ground clearance SUV of 180mm which is a serious limitation for the SUV.
Renault Duster is an SUV from the stable of Renault that boast of 8.07 inches ground clearance. This high ground clearance SUV comes in handy to the driver when he/she is driving in off road condition. The high road clearance protects the underside of the vehicle from getting damaged by getting hit with protruding rocks or even earth mounds. The high ground clearance also allows it to clear nullah when it is driven in the cross country environment.
Nissan Terrano as a premium Japanese SUV holds a relatively better ground clearance SUV of 8.07 inches. This data is in consonance with the ground clearance SUVs figures of and ensures that the SUV remains on a good stead when negotiating the rugged roads of the countryside. This height of the car deck is more than enough to wade into knee deep water encountered during the rainy season. Moreover, the SUV can breeze through the speed breakers quite easily, for its underside will be way above the supposed ‘troublemakers’ on the road.
Fiat Avventura is a GOOD ground clearance SUV of 205 mm. This small ground clearance does not allow you to travel in off road condition because that could seriously damage the undercarriage of this vehicle from jutting rocks or branches. The relative high ground clearances, though allow it to wade through flooded streets or negotiate the pot-holed roads.
he ground clearance provided by Mahindra for its SUV XUV500 is 200 mm, which is considered to be the average ground clearance of SUVs available in the Indian market. As Mahindra XUV500 is an SUV it is important that, it features a relatively higher ground clearance SUV that would enable it to drive off the road without any problems. Higher ground clearance ensures practicality of riding these vehicles over roads that are not level. But a higher ground clearance SUV is not necessarily a good thing because it disturbs the center of the gravity of the vehicle making it harder to handle.
Mahindra Thar also promises a smooth ride due to its good ground clearance SUV of 200mm offered by its top-end variant named Mahindra Thar CRDe. The other lower end variants carry a ground clearance figure of 7.87 inches. The top-end variant of Mahindra Thar, when compared to other competitors, offers a decent ground clearance SUV.
In the highly competitive SUV arena, Ford EcoSport makes its presence felt with 10 variants – 6 petrol and 4 diesel driven trims. Available within the price range of Rs.6.75 lakhs to Rs.10.19 lakes (Ex Showroom, Delhi), the SUV comes in a robust body with symmetrical dimensions. As a SUV is meant to travel through rough terrain, a high ground clearance SUV arena will always keep the vehicle in good stead, for it can manoeuvre the sharp bends or slushy surfaces of the countryside. And with 7.87 inches, Ford Eco Sport can smoothly glide over the uneven country terrain with élan.
Mahindra Bolero offers a high ground clearance SUV of 7.68 inches in its top end variant that makes the vehicle easier to drive on the Indian roads. Some of its variants come with a ground clearance SUV figure of 180mm and 183mm. It competes strongly with Maruti Gypsy that also falls in the same price bracket. Maruti Gypsy comes with a better ground clearance of 210mm and beats Mahindra Bolero in this respect comfortably.
The high ground clearance SUV of 7.52 inches offered by the powerful SUV Mahindra tuv 3oo, helps it sit up high enough so that its belly is not scrapped. It helps in attaining a comfortable and smooth ride even on bumpy roads. There are many strong rivals of Mahindra tuv3oo in the Indian market that come with an even better ground clearance figures and challenge Mahindra tuv3oo in this respect.
The high ground clearance SUV of 180mm or 7.09 inches offered by the powerful SUV Mahindra Scorpio, helps it sit up high enough so that its belly is not scrapped. It helps in attaining a comfortable and smooth ride even on bumpy roads. There are many strong rivals of Mahindra Scorpio in the Indian market that come with an even better ground clearance figures and challenge Mahindra Scorpio in this respect. Tata Safari, a powerful SUV from Tata’s stable and hugely popular in the Indian market comes with a higher ground clearance SUV of 205mm that makes it all the more desirable over Mahindra Scorpio.
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Highest Ground Clearance SUV Comparison Chart