Best cars and pick-up trucks for ground clearance

If you need a high ride height and lots of ground clearance, one of these cars or pick-ups could be just what you’re looking for

James Allen
Dec 16, 2021

Some drivers pick a car with a good amount of ground clearance to have a higher ride height, which helps give you a clearer view of the road ahead over a normal car. However, there are more plus points to lots of ground clearance than a commanding driving position - especially if you plan on taking your car off the beaten track.

This is because higher ground clearance gives you a much better chance of driving over tough terrain without your car being damaged or getting stuck - whether that's a bumpy driveway to your house or seriously challenging off-road tracks. After all, if there’s lots of distance between the ground and the underside of your car, you’re less likely to scrape the bottom of the car over steep crests or uneven ground.

Because they sit high off the ground, many cars with lots of ground clearance have very good wading depths, too. As a result, they’re strong choices if you plan on driving off-road through stretches of water, or live in an area that tends to be flooded after a very heavy downpour.

Whatever your reason for wanting a car that's high off the ground, if you’re looking for a new set of wheels with the most ground clearance possible, check out our selection below of the best cars and pick-up trucks for ground clearance.

Best cars and pick-ups with high ground clearance

1. Toyota Hilux

Ground clearance Up to 310mm
Used deals from £19,948
Monthly finance from £0*

As many models have four-wheel-drive and tall ride heights - with a greater distance between the bottom of the tyre and the lowest point underneath the vehicle - pick-up trucks tend to be ideal if you regularly drive over uneven ground or through deep water. As a result, it’s no surprise to see the Toyota Hilux is quite handy over tough terrain.

In its highest-riding Double Cab guise, the Toyota Hilux has up to 310mm of ground clearance, which Toyota claims is the best you’ll find in any new pick-up truck. The Single Cab and Extended Cab models - which swap cabin space for a longer load area - aren’t shabby either at 277mm and 289mm respectively. These figures are very high, meaning that the Hilux should cope with whatever terrain you come up against, whether it's a pothole-covered rural road, a poorly-maintained farm track, a green lane or an off-road path.

Regardless of the spec, every version of the Toyota Hilux has a maximum wading depth of 700mm - which is pretty high - so they won’t be flustered by roads that are flooded by a couple of feet of water either.

TOYOTA HILUX BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Range Rover

Ground clearance Up to 297mm
Used deals from £27,490
Monthly finance from £1,206*

Land Rovers have long been associated with excellent off-roading ability, and the Range Rover is no exception to that rule. The Range Rover is particularly good in the ground clearance stakes; even in its standard setup, the 220mm on offer is pretty decent, and you can raise this to up to 297mm if you put the Range Rover into its off-road driving settings. Better still, it can wade through 900mm of water - which is the highest possible in any standard road car.

The reason why the Range Rover’s ride height can increase so much is because it has an adjustable air suspension system, rather than the more conventional fixed-rate spring setups used on many other cars. Better still, the air suspension does more than simply improve the Range Rover’s off-roading ability - it also makes it really comfy to drive, as the air suspension does a good job at soaking up lumps and bumps on rutted trails and poorly-maintained roads.

RANGE ROVER BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Land Rover Defender

Ground clearance Up to 291mm
Used deals from £62,440
Monthly finance from £1,006*

Regardless of whether you think the latest Land Rover Defender - which is now both hardy and luxurious - is a worthy successor to the rugged and basic original, there’s no denying the new version’s off-roading credentials. In fact, the current Defender surpasses its predecessor by a fair margin in the ground clearance stakes - whereas the old Defender had 250mm of ground clearance, the new one is better still at up to 291mm.

As with the previously-mentioned Range Rover, that lofty ride height is down to the adjustable air suspension system. However, while it comes as standard on the Range Rover, it isn’t available across the range on the Defender - on Defenders with the standard suspension setup, ground clearance drops to 226mm. That’s still pretty decent, though, and helps allow even the lowest-riding Defender to have an impressive wading depth of 850mm. Other versions, meanwhile, can handle up to 900mm of water - like the Range Rover above.

READ MORE ABOUT THE LAND ROVER DEFENDER

4. Ford Ranger

Ground clearance Up to 283mm
Used deals from £15,995
Monthly finance from £574*

As a rough-and-ready workhorse, the Ford Ranger promises on paper to be a pretty capable machine. Depending on the specified engine and bodystyle configuration, the Ranger can carry payloads of up to 1,252kg - which is an impressive amount for a pick-up, and haul trailer loads as heavy as 3,500kg. It’s pretty decent at traversing uneven ground, too, thanks to the Ford’s maximum ground clearance of 237mm. It can also wade through water up to 800mm deep, which is one of the highest figures you'll find.

If you need even more than that, then there’s also the Ford Ranger Raptor (pictured above) to consider. Because it has chunky tyres and the sort of suspension that wouldn’t look out of place on an off-road racing buggy, this version comes with up to 283mm of ground clearance. Do bear in mind this Raptor model carries a very hefty price premium over the regular Ford Ranger, regardless of whether you decide to buy one new or used, and its payload capacity of 620kg is far down on what the standard pick-up can manage as well.

FORD RANGER BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Land Rover Discovery

Ground clearance Up to 283mm
Used deals from £18,395
Monthly finance from £794*

It may not carry the 'Range Rover' badge, but the Discovery can get pretty close to its bigger brothers in the ground clearance stakes and it's also impressively luxurious, too. Put the air suspension system at its highest setting, and you’ll have a family SUV with up to 283mm between the ground and the bottom of the car. Models with air suspension can also wade through 900mm - as with the more expensive Range Rover and more off-road-oriented Defender.

The Land Rover Discovery isn’t just versatile as an off-roader, either; because it comes with seven seats, the SUV is pretty handy if you regularly have lots of passengers in tow. Just be wary of the fact that adults will feel a bit hemmed in when seated in the third row, and the boot space is tiny when all seven seats are in use.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Range Rover Sport

Ground clearance Up to 278mm
Used deals from £21,495
Monthly finance from £659*

Because it’s a smaller and not-as-tall car, the Range Rover Sport doesn’t quite have the same amount of ground clearance as the full-fat Range Rover. You’re not missing out on that much by going for the Sport model, though, as it still has up to an impressive 278mm on offer. Plus, that lofty ride height means it also has a wading depth of up to 850mm, which is only 50mm down on what the larger Range Rover can manage.

There are areas where the smaller Range Rover Sport has the edge over its bigger brother, too. It’s handily more affordable like-for-like - both new and used - but while the larger Range Rover only gets five seats, the Range Rover Sport is available as a seven-seater - though not on all versions. As with the previously-mentioned Land Rover Discovery, though, the Range Rover Sport’s third row of seats isn't the most accommodating for adults.

RANGE ROVER SPORT BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Jeep Wrangler

Ground clearance Up to 260mm
Used deals Limited stock

While it comes with the sort of creature comforts its predecessors could only dream of having, the current Jeep Wrangler is very much a utilitarian tough terrain traverser at heart - like the basic older versions, which prioritised off-road ability over pretty much everything else. As a result, if you’re after a 4x4 that is ultra-luxurious and comes with plenty of the lates kit, the Wrangler may not be the car for you.

It’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for something that can shrug off whatever Mother Nature can throw at it, however. Depending on the version you go for, the Jeep Wrangler has between 242mm and 260mm of ground clearance, which should mean you won’t get stuck when driving over really uneven ground. That high ride height helps contribute to a maximum wading depth of 760mm, too, so you’ll be able to plough through water on a road flooded after a heavy downpour.

JEEP WRANGLER BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Range Rover Velar

Ground clearance Up to 251mm
Used deals from £31,980
Monthly finance from £515*

By Land Rover’s own admission, the Range Rover Velar is some way short of having the best off-road ability of any car it makes. After all, in its regular ride height setting for road use, there’s 213mm of ground clearance on offer. However, if you put the Range Rover Velar in one of its off-road driving modes, you can boost this to a much more impressive 251mm.

As a result, even if other Land Rovers boast better off-road credentials, the Range Rover Velar shouldn’t be flustered by uneven ground, lumpy terrain or even badly flooded roads. Handily, the Velar is a bit more affordable to purchase than its Range Rover bigger brother - though you’ll still need to pay a pretty penny for one, regardless of whether you go down the new or used route. You do get tonnes of style and a luxurious, high-tech cabin, though, which goes some way towards justifying the cost.

RANGE ROVER VELAR BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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