Which Cars Have High Ground Clearance?

Vehicle with high ground clearance

Cars with the highest ground clearance

South Africa has an extensive road network consisting of national highways, byways and rural roads throughout all nine provinces. While efforts are made to keep roads in good condition, there are still bumps and potholes to contend with, not to mention going off-road and that requires cars with high ground clearance.

The good news is there are many cars with high good ground clearance to combat this. In this basic guide, we briefly discuss vehicles from various segments that have high ground clearance.

Small Cars With High Ground Clearance

Given the condition of our roads, cars with high ground clearance may be useful when dealing with potholes on daily commutes. While we commonly link high ground clearance with big SUVs, what if you want something smaller and more affordable? Here are some of the best small cars with high ground clearance.

Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny is in high demand since it’s a modern, stylish, compact and economical 4×4 with a high ground clearance of 210 mm. Despite being small, it can keep up with many larger and more expensive SUVs when the going gets tough. It has a low-range gearbox for greater control on steep hills, four-wheel drive and a lightweight body which make the Suzuki Jimny a go-anywhere vehicle. Certain models also come with hill descent control for greater stability when going downhill.

Renault Duster

The Renault Duster is a family-friendly SUV at a fraction of the price with exceptional value for money compared to many other brands, especially when buying a used Renault Duster. Since most versions of the Renault Duster are front-wheel drive, they’re ideal for those who spend most of their time on the road.

However, the 210 mm ground clearance and tough underbody mean it can handle just about anything in its path. If you opt for the newer Renault Duster 4×4, you may have to spend a little more on fuel but the impressive four-wheel-drive system can handle most terrain types. Still, the running costs are lower compared to bigger SUVs.

Mitsubishi ASX

Mitsubishi has developed many incredible cars over the years. Who can forget the Mitsubishi Colt Club Cab and Double Cab bakkie, or what about the Mitsubishi Pajero? As you’d expect from these tough workhorse-type vehicles, they had good ground clearance but so does the Mitsubishi ASX.

The ASX is one of the many small SUVs available in South Africa and while it’s been on sale for some time, models built after the 2019 update are regarded as among the best. It has a ground clearance of 190 mm and either a 4×2 or 4×4 with different driving modes which allow you to send power to different combinations of wheels.

Suzuki Vitara

Like the Jimny, the Suzuki Vitara offers great value for money, with low prices, a long list of standard equipment and good reliability. It’s also a great car to drive with its lightweight body and exceptional engine options. Front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models have the same ground clearance of 185 mm which is ample when dealing with rougher roads.

Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross

Mitsubishi’s continued success building solid and reliable 4x4s is just one reason to buy the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross. Other deciding factors include impressive engines, a long list of features and good fuel economy. The automatic CVT gearbox delivers a smooth driving experience while the car’s respectable ground clearance of 183 mm makes it one of our favourite family vehicles.

SUVs and Bakkies With High Ground Clearance

The demand for hi-riding SUVs and bakkies in South Africa has increased drastically over the last few years but which are the cars with high ground clearance? The Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger lead the bakkie segment with 247 mm and 237 mm ground clearance respectively, while the Range Raptor rides even higher with 283 mm of ground clearance.

Despite this, there are a few other bakkies worth mentioning but in terms of cost, SUVs in South Africa seem to offer the widest range of sizes and there are several cars with high ground clearance in this segment.

Mahindra Pik-Up

Mahindra’s continued efforts to develop impressive engines have paid dividends with the addition of the legendary 2.2 litre, 4-cylinder mHawk turbo-diesel. It is now in all variants of the Pik-Up range and mated to the always-reliable six-speed transmission. With its good fuel economy, low running costs and ground clearance of 210 mm, the Mahindra Pik-Up is a good choice as a weekend tourer or full-blown off-road adventure.

Mitsubishi Triton

As the successor to the Colt bakkies, the Mitsubishi Triton needs little introduction as this stalwart seems to have it all. This vehicle offers outstanding performance on tarmac and off-road without skimping on comfort, safety or utility. While it is a tough-as-nails bakkie with a good ground clearance of 220 mm, a payload capacity of around 900 kg and 3100kg braked towing capacity, the Triton does have some SUV-like characteristics in terms of handling and interior and exterior design.

Nissan Navara

Among the most prestigious bakkies is the Nissan Navara, not only in terms of styling but also in performance. It has heavy-duty independent double-wishbone with stabiliser front suspension and Leaf spring rear suspension for superior on- and off-road performance, best-in-class technology and segment-first features. Sporting a 221 mm ground clearance, powerhouse engines and a good payload between 980 kg and 1086 kg, the Nissan Navara has your back no matter where you go.

Mitsubishi Pajero

While the only new model in South Africa is the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, you can still find quality used Mitsubishi Pajero SUVs for sale. Although this full-sized SUV has been discontinued, it is an impressive vehicle with incredible off-road ability made even easier with a ground clearance of 235 mm.

Nissan Patrol

The Nissan Patrol may be among the largest and most expensive SUVs on the market but it delivers on all fronts. It is formidable, luxurious, stylishly bold and garners respect wherever you are. Better yet, it can go just about anywhere thanks to its strong build quality, powerful engine, a tremendous four-wheel-drive system and around 272 mm of ground clearance.

Toyota Fortuner

Was with the Toyota Hilux, the Toyota Fortuner is at the top of the list of cars with high ground clearance. Sitting high at 279 mm, coupled with good suspension, a powerful engine, smooth gearbox and an advanced four-wheel-drive system, the Toyota Fortuner is still among the best-performing SUVs on- and off-road. It’s a stylish and rugged family SUV with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern car of this stature. It can seat up to seven people in relative comfort with an uncanny ability to handle almost any type of road.

Whether you are touring, towing or carrying, there is a car perfectly suited to your specific needs. While this list of cars with high ground clearance is by no means exhaustive, it highlights some of the more well-known vehicles. If you’re looking for a new or quality pre-owned vehicle, visit the Group1 used car showroom and book a test drive at your nearest dealership.

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