SUVs with the lowest and highest ground clearance


It’s a question we often get asked: which SUVs offer the most ground clearance?

It’s not just a matter of off-road ability, for which clearance is admittedly just one metric. SUVs sales have surged as people have come to realise how much more comfortable or accessible they can be.

Buyers have been seduced by ground clearance as one potential means of giving them a higher hip point or a more commanding view of the road ahead, as well as greater capabilities.

Not all SUVs are created equal, however. Let’s take a look at each mainstream SUV segment and see which SUVs stand tall.

Light SUVs

Unsurprisingly, the rugged Suzuki Jimny – the only genuine off-roader in this segment – boasts the highest ground clearance at 210mm.

Also unsurprisingly, the Mazda CX-3 sits the lowest. Though its looks are more hatchback than off-roader, the CX-3 is one of the few vehicles in this segment to offer all-wheel drive.

Model Drive type Ground clearance
Ford Puma FWD 164mm-166mm
Hyundai Venue FWD 170mm
Kia Stonic FWD 165mm (S), 183mm (Sport & GT-Line)
Mazda CX-3 FWD or AWD 155mm
Nissan Juke FWD 172mm
Renault Captur FWD 165mm
Suzuki Ignis FWD 180mm
Suzuki Jimny 4WD 210mm
Toyota Yaris Cross FWD or AWD 170mm
Volkswagen T-Cross FWD 185mm

Small SUVs

The Jeep Compass Trailhawk is the victor in this segment with 225mm of ground clearance, with the Subaru XV close behind at 220mm. Perhaps more of a surprise is the second-place Peugeot 2008, which is listed as having 221mm of ground clearance.

The lowest vehicles are electric: the Kia Niro EV (155mm), Hyundai Kona Electric (158mm) and the Mazda MX-30 E35 (135mm). But the MG ZS EV, at 161mm, has a higher advertised ground clearance than its petrol ZST sibling (154mm).

Model Drive type Ground clearance
Haval Jolion FWD 168mm
Honda HR-V FWD 170mm
Hyundai Kona FWD or AWD 170mm (base), 177-178mm (others)
Hyundai Kona Electric FWD 158mm
Jeep Compass FWD or AWD 186mm (Launch Ed), 212mm (Ltd & S-Ltd), 225mm (Trailhawk)
Kia Niro FWD 160mm (HEV and PHEV), 155mm (EV)
Kia Seltos FWD or AWD 177mm
Mazda CX-30 FWD or AWD 175mm
Mazda MX-30 FWD 180mm (G20e), 135mm (E35)
MG ZS FWD 164mm
MG ZST FWD 154mm
MG ZS EV FWD 161mm
Mitsubishi ASX FWD 205mm
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross FWD or AWD 180mm (petrol), 188mm (PHEV)
Nissan Qashqai FWD 186mm
Peugeot 2008 FWD 221mm
Renault Arkana FWD 199mm
Subaru XV AWD 220mm
Suzuki S-Cross FWD 180mm
Suzuki Vitara FWD or AWD 185mm
Toyota C-HR FWD or AWD 137mm
Volkswagen T-Roc FWD or AWD 158mm (140TSI Sport), 161mm (110TSI Style)

Mid-sized SUVs

Once again, Jeep and Subaru vehicles sit at the top of the list.

The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is the most rugged vehicle in this segment, and it’s no surprise it has the most ground clearance at 221mm. Mind you, that’s only 1mm higher than the Subaru Forester.

Close runners-up include the front-wheel drive only Peugeot 3008 (219mm), as well as the Nissan X-Trail and Renault Koleos corporate cousins (210mm).

The Skoda Karoq Sportline sits the lowest at 164mm.

Model Drive type Ground clearance
Citroen C5 Aircross FWD 186mm
Ford Escape FWD or AWD 178mm (ST-Line), 190-191mm (base & Vignale)
Haval H6 FWD or AWD 170-172mm
Honda CR-V FWD or AWD 198mm (FWD), 208mm (AWD)
Hyundai Tucson FWD or AWD 181mm
Jeep Cherokee AWD 185mm (Ltd and S-Ltd), 221mm (Trailhawk)
Kia Sportage (2021) FWD or AWD 172mm
Mazda CX-5 FWD or AWD 193mm (Maxx & Maxx Sport), 200mm (all others)
MG HS FWD or AWD 175mm
Mitsubishi Outlander & Outlander PHEV (2021) FWD or AWD 190mm
Nissan X-Trail FWD or AWD 210mm
Peugeot 3008 FWD 219mm
Peugeot 5008 FWD 230mm
Renault Koleos FWD or AWD 210mm
Skoda Karoq FWD or AWD 164mm (140TSI), 172mm (110TSI)
SsangYong Korando FWD or AWD 182mm (FWD models), 164mm (Ultimate AWD)
Subaru Forester AWD 220mm
Toyota RAV4 FWD or AWD 190-200mm
Volkswagen Tiguan FWD or AWD 191mm (110TSI), 201mm (all others)

Large SUVs

The large SUV segment is more diverse than the others, with a mix of car-based crossovers and body-on-frame SUVs that are typically based on a ute platform.

More rugged SUVs like the Ford Everest (227mm), Isuzu MU-X (230-235mm) and Jeep Wrangler (225-252mm) top the chart.

There are some surprises, however. The Triton-based Mitsubishi Pajero Sport clears the ground by 218mm, which is lower than crossovers like the Mazda CX-9 (222mm). We’d still be more comfortable taking the Pajero Sport farther off-road, though.

The lowest-clearance vehicles are the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento corporate cousins (176mm) and the Volkswagen Passat Alack (173mm).

Model Drive type Ground clearance
Ford Everest RWD or 4WD 227mm
Haval H9 4WD 206mm
Hyundai Palisade FWD or AWD 203mm
Hyundai Santa Fe FWD or AWD 176mm
Isuzu MU-X RWD or 4WD 230-235mm
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD 218mm (Trailhawk and S-Overland are 205-260mm depending on air susp. level)
Jeep Wrangler 4WD 225mm (Rubicon 2-dr),
232mm (Night Eagle Unltd), 242mm (Overland Unltd), 252mm (Rubicon Unltd)
Kia Sorento FWD or AWD 176mm
LDV D90 RWD or 4WD 210mm
Mazda CX-8 FWD or AWD 195mm (Sport & Touring), 200mm (all others)
Mazda CX-9 FWD or AWD 222mm
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 4WD 218mm
Skoda Kodiaq AWD 191-194mm
SsangYong Rexton 4WD 203mm
Subaru Outback AWD 213mm
Toyota Fortuner 4WD 216mm
Toyota Kluger FWD or AWD 208mm
Toyota Prado 4WD 219mm
Volkswagen Passat Alack AWD 173mm
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace FWD or AWD 201mm

Upper Large SUVs

The Nissan Patrol stands taller than the antediluvian Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series and the thoroughly modern 300 Series in this tiny segment of huge off-roaders.

Model Drive type Ground clearance
Nissan Patrol 4WD 273mm
Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series 4WD 245mm
Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series 4WD 230-235mm


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