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.

ModelDrive typeGround clearance
Ford PumaFWD164mm-166mm
Hyundai VenueFWD170mm
Kia StonicFWD165mm (S), 183mm (Sport & GT-Line)
Mazda CX-3FWD or AWD155mm
Nissan JukeFWD172mm
Renault CapturFWD165mm
Suzuki IgnisFWD180mm
Suzuki Jimny4WD210mm
Toyota Yaris CrossFWD or AWD170mm
Volkswagen T-CrossFWD185mm

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 mostly 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).

The Toyota C-HR is listed as having 137mm of ground clearance, which also puts it at the bottom.

ModelDrive typeGround clearance
Haval JolionFWD168mm
Honda HR-VFWD170mm
Hyundai KonaFWD or AWD170mm (base), 177-178mm (others)
Hyundai Kona ElectricFWD158mm
Jeep CompassFWD or AWD186mm (Launch Ed), 212mm (Ltd & S-Ltd), 225mm (Trailhawk)
Kia NiroFWD160mm (HEV and PHEV), 155mm (EV)
Kia SeltosFWD or AWD177mm
Mazda CX-30FWD or AWD175mm
Mazda MX-30FWD180mm (G20e), 135mm (E35)
Mitsubishi ASXFWD205mm
Mitsubishi Eclipse CrossFWD or AWD180mm (petrol), 188mm (PHEV)
Nissan QashqaiFWD186mm
Peugeot 2008FWD221mm
Renault ArkanaFWD199mm
Skoda KamiqFWD188mm
Subaru XVAWD220mm
Suzuki S-CrossFWD180mm
Suzuki VitaraFWD or AWD185mm
Toyota C-HRFWD or AWD137mm
Volkswagen T-RocFWD or AWD158mm (140TSI Sport), 161mm (110TSI Style)

Mid-sized SUVs

Once again, Jeep and Subaru vehicles sit on the podium but, perhaps surprisingly, Peugeot has the highest ground clearance figure with its 5008 at 236mm.

The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is the most rugged vehicle in this segment, and it’s no surprise it has one of the best ground clearance figures 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.

ModelDrive typeGround clearance
Citroen C5 AircrossFWD186mm
Ford EscapeFWD or AWD178mm (ST-Line), 190-191mm (base & Vignale)
Haval H6FWD or AWD170-172mm
Honda CR-VFWD or AWD198mm (FWD), 208mm (AWD)
Hyundai TucsonFWD or AWD181mm
Jeep CherokeeAWD185mm (Ltd and S-Ltd), 221mm (Trailhawk)
Kia Sportage (2021)FWD or AWD172mm
Mazda CX-5FWD or AWD193mm (Maxx & Maxx Sport), 200mm (all others)
MG HSFWD or AWD175mm
Mitsubishi Outlander & Outlander PHEV (2021)FWD or AWD190mm
Nissan X-TrailFWD or AWD210mm
Peugeot 3008FWD219mm
Peugeot 5008FWD236mm
Renault KoleosFWD or AWD210mm
Skoda KaroqFWD or AWD164mm (140TSI), 172mm (110TSI)
SsangYong KorandoFWD or AWD182mm (FWD models), 164mm (Ultimate AWD)
Subaru ForesterAWD220mm
Toyota RAV4FWD or AWD190-200mm
Volkswagen TiguanFWD or AWD191mm (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 Alltrack (173mm).

ModelDrive typeGround clearance
Ford EverestRWD or 4WD227mm
Haval H94WD206mm
Hyundai PalisadeFWD or AWD203mm
Hyundai Santa FeFWD or AWD176mm
Isuzu MU-XRWD or 4WD230-235mm
Jeep Grand Cherokee4WD218mm (Trailhawk and S-Overland are 205-260mm depending on air susp. level)
Jeep Wrangler4WD225mm (Rubicon 2-dr),
232mm (Night Eagle Unltd), 242mm (Overland Unltd), 252mm (Rubicon Unltd)
Kia SorentoFWD or AWD176mm
LDV D90RWD or 4WD210mm
Mazda CX-8FWD or AWD195mm (Sport & Touring), 200mm (all others)
Mazda CX-9FWD or AWD222mm
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport4WD218mm
Skoda KodiaqAWD191-194mm
SsangYong Rexton4WD203mm
Subaru OutbackAWD213mm
Toyota Fortuner4WD216mm
Toyota KlugerFWD or AWD208mm
Toyota Prado4WD219mm
Volkswagen Passat AlltrackAWD173mm
Volkswagen Tiguan AllspaceFWD or AWD201mm

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.

ModelDrive typeGround clearance
Nissan Patrol4WD273mm
Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series4WD245mm
Toyota LandCruiser 70 Series4WD230-235mm
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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