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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.

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).

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.

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 Alltrack (173mm).

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.

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