It's that time again to get a new vehicle, but this time you need something that will fit the whole family and handle obstacles on backcountry roads. Thankfully, several SUVs have sufficient ground clearance for dodging unexpected obstacles that could cause damage to your undercarriage. Which SUVs have the most ground clearance, though? Not to worry, because we have researched every mid-size and full-size SUV on the market to determine which ones have the highest ground clearance.
Here is the list of mid-size and full-size SUVs with the highest ground clearance:
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- Tesla Model X (9")
- Mercedes-Benz G-Class (9.5")
- Toyota 4-Runner (9.6")
- Volvo XC90 (10.5")
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk (10.8")
- Jeep Wrangler (10.8")
- Land Rover Discovery (11.1")
- Land Rover Range Rover (11.7")
- Toyota Landcruiser (8.9")
- Lexus LX (8.9")
- Nissan Armada (9.2")
- Infiniti QX80 (9.2")
- Ford Expedition (9.8")
- Toyota Sequoia (9.9")
Well, that might look like a long list, but at least you know you have options! Not only can these SUVs handle rugged terrain, but they also boast enhanced safety features, luxurious interiors, and even impressive towing capabilities. But before you hand over your hard-earned cash, continue reading as we take a closer look at the top 10 SUVs with the highest ground clearance.
What Are The Benefits Of Owning A SUV?
Whether it's a car, SUV, or truck, each type of vehicle has its advantages. For example, cars get the best gas mileage, and trucks have the most towing power. SUVs are known for seating more passengers, but they also offer little of what cars and trucks have.
For shoppers who specifically need an SUV that has more truck-like attributes, you are in luck. Today, several SUVs have truck-like frames or body-on-frame that can handle rugged terrain. These SUVs also have a similar ground clearance to pickup trucks making it easier to avoid obstacles.
If finding an SUV with the highest ground clearance is high on your priority list, then continue reading.
Mid-Size SUVs With The Highest Ground Clearance
Mid-size SUVs offer an excellent combination of size, power, and fuel economy. They typically come equipped with five or seven-passenger seating and generous cargo space. However, they don't get much praise for having high ground clearance. That's why we researched the top five mid-size SUVs with the highest ground clearance.
When you think of a Volvo, you probably think of a vehicle with an impeccably smooth ride and advanced safety features. What you likely don't think about is the Volvo XC90 has a 10-inch ground clearance. Combine this with the all-wheel-drive trim package, and you have a vehicle that offers everything a driver could ask for. The starting MSRP for the XC90 is $49,000 and is available in a gas and hybrid option.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
If the name doesn't give it away, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk was meant for the road less traveled. The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk trim can be used for a reliable daily commuter, Hemi powerhouse, or an off-road warrior.
It has 10.8 inches of ground clearance and several features meant just for the off-road. The Trailhawk can accommodate five passengers and has a starting MSRP of $46,395.
The Grand Cherokee might be one of the most popular vehicles in the Jeep lineup, but the Jeep Wrangler is a name that everyone knows. It has the same ground clearance as the Grand Cherokee, but the Wrangler's rugged construction makes it a durable choice for extreme terrain.
Starting this year, Jeep is launching the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, which is an absolute beast. The Rubicon 392 is equipped with a 6.4-liter Hemi engine with 470 horsepower. This makes it the toughest and quickest Jeep Wrangler ever made.
Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery is a luxurious vehicle with a bad side. If presented the opportunity, this $53,900 vehicle can climb and crawl with the best of them. The Discovery has more ground clearance than the SUVs we previously mentioned, with a total of 11.1 inches. Land Rover makes the Discovery in a supercharged gas engine and a turbocharged diesel engine; both have more than enough power to get you out of a tough spot.
Land Rover Range Rover
The Range Rover is an iconic vehicle talked about in rap songs and seen being driven by celebrities. While this is great for Land Rover, the Range Rover is more than a flashy name. It has the most ground clearance out of our list of mid-size SUVs with 11.7 inches.
Every Range Rover rim comes standard with a four-wheel drive and has terrain options for dirt, rock, snow, and sand. With its high-end price tag of $90,000, you can expect the interior is nothing short of spectacular.
Full-Size SUVs With The Highest Ground Clearance
Full-size SUVs are perfect for fitting seven or eight passengers while also delivering enough power to tow heavy loads. This SUVs category is usually built on a body-on-frame, which we discussed in the article, "What SUVs Have Full Frames?"
Full-size SUVs have ground clearance optimal for driving over road hazards. Oddly enough, the SUVs we are about to discuss have less ground clearance than the smaller SUVs mentioned above.
The Armada has been Nissan's largest SUV for some time now. The Nissan Armada gets backlash because of its poor fuel economy and its rough truck-like ride. Nonetheless, if you want to drive to the mountains with seven friends, the Armada's 9.2-inch ground clearance and a powerful V8 engine can handle the task.
The Ford Expedition might be a large SUV, but it doesn't drive like one. The Expedition has been a top pick by consumers and experts because of its smooth ride, powerful yet economical twin-turbocharged V6 engine, and spacious cabin. We previously discussed the Expedition's ample cargo space in the article: "What Are The Ford Expeditions Cargo Space Specs [Breakdown By Trim Level]."
The Expedition doesn't stop there. When the road ends, the Ford Expeditions 9.8-inch ground clearance and smart technology four-wheel-drive take over, turning the family vehicle into an off-road rebel.
Last but not least, we have the Toyota Sequoia. The Sequoia has the highest ground clearance out of our list of full-size SUVs by just an inch. That's right; the Sequoia has a 9.9-inch ground clearance versus the Ford Expeditions' 9.8-inch clearance. In addition, the Sequoia has power, a roomy cabin, and cargo space. Where it comes up short is its poor fuel mileage and handling.
How Much Ground Clearance Is Enough?
A vehicle that can drive over boulders, climb hills, and dip through creek bottoms, requires higher ground clearance to avoid damaging the vehicle's undercarriage. But what is a recommended clearance for these situations? Typically, a vehicle with at least 8.5 inches of ground clearance is more than enough for obstacles on a main road or backroad. Drivers should still be cautious when driving over obstacles or steer clear of them altogether if possible.
How Does Ride Height Affect Handling?
The SUVs we have discussed all have adequate ground clearance for off-roading. But how do they do when presented with a winding highway? Does the high ride height affect its handling?
SUV handling is subpar compared to a car because of its height and weight. Cars can maneuver around corners at high speeds because they have a low center of gravity. A low center of gravity means there is less lateral weight transferred. An increase in height and weight is why large vehicles like full-size SUVs, trucks, busses, and semis are more likely to have roll-over accidents when driving at high speeds.
What Is The Easiest SUV To Get In And Out Of?
An SUV's ride height is great for off-roading purposes, but it also makes them difficult to get in and out of. If you are looking for an easy entry and exit SUV, then a compact SUV is your best bet. They are smaller and won't offer the same ground clearance, but they are easy to get in and out of. Compact SUVs also get excellent gas mileage compared to larger SUVs.
If a compact SUV isn't big enough, getting a mid-size SUV equipped with air suspension can also be a solution. SUVs with air suspension can lower closer to the ground for easy entry and exit. For more information on SUVs with air suspension, check out our article: "What SUVs Have Air Suspension [Mid-Size And Full-Size]."
As we discussed, SUVs have enough ground clearance and power to handle their own on unpredictable backroads. Finding the SUV that is right for you depends on your other needs. Create a list of the SUVs that have to meet your ground clearance requirements, and then narrow it down from there. Test drive your top five picks based on your needs, and those are the ones to test drive. This will help you make an educated buying decision.
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