Here’s Why You Should Pay More Attention To A Car’s Ground Clearance

‘Ground clearance’ is a term that’s heard often when you research cars. It is one of the most important things buyers consider when making a purchase. Let us take a closer look at why ground clearance is so important.

What Is Ground Clearance?

Ground clearance is also called ‘ride height’. It is the distance measured between the road surface and the lowest point on the vehicle’s underbody. Low ground clearance gives a car better stability and handling characteristics on the road, which is why racing cars sit so close to the ground. However, if the vehicle needs to go off-road, highr ground clearance is always better, which is why almost all SUVs stand tall, with great ground clearance.

How Is Ground Clearance Measured?

The vehicle in question is parked on a flat surface, and the lowest point on the underbody is identified. In an SUV like the Ford Endeavour, it is usually the midpoint of the axle where the differential is housed. This distance is measured, and it gives us the ground clearance of the car.

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) changed the rules of measurement of ground clearance of vehicles in India in 2017, decreeing that a vehicle’s ground clearance should be measured with it fully laden and not unladen – that is, with the gross vehicle weight (the weight of the car plus the maximum load it is allowed to carry) and not the kerb weight (the weight of the car with no passengers or luggage).

Does Ground Clearance Matter?

It certainly does; you do not want a vehicle that has the risk of hitting its underside constantly. Besides, numerous obstacles like speed bumps, potholes, unpaved roads, debris, and others are common on Indian roads. Therefore, you need to get a car with adequate ground clearance.

Note – Remember that the ground clearance stated is with a fully-loaded vehicle that sits low on its suspension, so that is the minimum ground clearance available to you at all times.

Should You Get A Car With Higher Ground Clearance?

In the real world, more ground clearance is always better. This is because the car can take whatever is thrown at it, whether loaded or not, without you having to worry about scraping its underside and damaging something. And as stated above, considering the condition of Indian roads, all cars, be it hatchbacks, sedans or SUVs – need to possess the ability to traverse giant speed bumps and tackle deep potholes with a full load. Whether you frequently drive in a rural area, mountainous region, or a city, your car needs to have optimum ground clearance.

How Much Ground Clearance Is Necessary?

A car cannot course through hindrances of all heights, and the average height of road obstacles vary to a great extent:

  • Speed breakers – 100mm to around 150mm
  • Potholes – 50mm to 200mm
  • Boulders – 40mm to 450mm or even more

Since the height of the obstacles is not fixed, and a car has its own limitations and requirements, according to experts, a ground clearance of 170-180mm is suitable for Indian roads. In other words, the ground clearance needs to be at least 165mm to safely traverse Indian roads and minimise damage.

Ford Cars – Ideal For Indian Conditions

Ford Figo, a hatchback, and Ford Aspire, a compact sedan, come with a class-leading unladen ground clearance of 174mm. Though sedans and hatchbacks usually have a lower ground clearance, both these cars are carefully designed to take on Indian roads without breaking a sweat.

However, if you need a car that can handle your daily commute with efficiency and comfort and still take you off the beaten path on weekends, you will be better served with something lighter yet comes with a lot of ground clearance. Enter SUVs like the Ford Freestyle and Ford EcoSport, with large ground clearances so that you can point them down a dirt track with no worries. While Ford Freestyle comes with best in class ground clearance of 190MM, Ford EcoSport stands high at 200mm. Even their bumpers have been designed to accommodate challenging terrain, so there is less chance of them snagging on a rock. This ensures you get to enjoy your drive rather than worry about clearance issues and damage.

Our robust SUV, Ford Endeavour, offers an outstanding ground clearance of 225mm, making it capable of conquering almost everything in its way. Its incredible ground clearance supports its ability to keep up with mountain goats by allowing the underbody to stay far out of reach of destructive rocks or mud/sand that can bog it down. In addition to this, the car is loaded with advanced car technology such as all-wheel drive, Terrain Management System, and a locking rear differential, Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control that allow it to go well beyond the point where any normal car would give up. Of course, it helps that the car has the world’s first 10-speed gearbox that allows you to lock into a gear. And its Terrain Management System has been optimised for all kinds of terrains – sand, snow, mud, and rock, ensuring that no surface can stop you.

At Ford, when we say #GoFurther, we ensure you can do so with our more than capable cars. And with increased ground clearance, all our cars promise to make your every drive safe and comfortable.

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Driving Ford is the official blog of Ford India. Established in 1995, Ford in India manufactures and exports automobiles and engines made at its integrated manufacturing facility in Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sanand, Gujarat. Ford’s current range of award-winning products in India includes the Ford Mustang, Ford EcoSport, Ford Figo, Ford Aspire, and Ford Endeavour.