Generally speaking, SUVs have great ground clearance although subcompact SUVs are on the lower end of the scale.
Despite this, the subcompact SUV segment is still a better pick in terms of ground clearance over the typical sedan and hatchback cars.
If you want a great balance of affordability, fuel efficiency, versatility, and size, then a subcompact SUV is worth considering.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the subcompact SUVs that have the best ground clearance.
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1. Subaru Crosstrek (8.7 inches)
The Crosstrek is a practical and affordable steed for your off-road and on-road adventures.
It has spacious seating, comfortable ride quality, and a variety of interior and exterior add-ons to make the driving experience more convenient.
The Subaru Crosstrek has a class-leading ground clearance of 8.7 inches which provides its users with enhanced off-road capability and is perfect for driving in snowy conditions.
The model comes in 6 trim levels: Base, Premium, Premium Special Edition, Sport, Limited, and Hybrid.
The most popular trim is the mid-level Premium variant which costs approximately $26,000.
The base powertrain of the Crosstrek is a 152-horsepower 2-liter engine paired with either a 6-speed manual or CVT transmission.
For those who find power lacking in the base engine, an optional 2.5 liter 182-horsepower engine is available (but only for the CVT variants).
While fuel economy for this model varies on the particular variant and engine selected, EPA estimates place combined driving fuel efficiency at around 29 to 30 MPG across all variants.
Noteworthy safety features include Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping System, and Pre-Collision Braking.
It was also able to secure stellar crash test ratings, securing a perfect 5-star NHTSA overall rating.
2. Jeep Renegade (8.0 inches)
The Renegade is a fantastic subcompact SUV that packs a lot of personality and style.
It provides owners with agility, dynamic off-road capability, and easy-to-use tech features.
The Jeep Renegade has an 8-inch ground clearance, which is more than enough for a variety of driving situations and off-road terrain.
The model comes in 6 trim levels: Latitude, Upland, Altitude, Red Edition, Trailhawk, and Limited.
The most popular among these variants is the midrange Altitude variant, priced at approximately $33,100.
The most recent model years are equipped with a turbocharged 1.3-liter 4-cylinder engine (177 horsepower).
Fuel economy estimates are respectable. EPA claims up to 26 MPG for combined driving, 23 MPG for city driving, and 29 MPG highway driving.
Interesting safety features include Blind Spot Monitoring, ParkSense Rear Park Assist, and LaneSense Lane Departure Warning.
A lot of owners praised this model for its abundance of standard features, upscale interior, and variety of trim levels.
3. Mazda CX-30 (8.0 inches)
The CX-30 is a sophisticated and sporty subcompact SUV that has upscale interior design, top-notch build quality, and a few advanced standard safety features.
The Mazda CX-30 provides great ground clearance at 8 inches. This is more than enough for a variety of different road and weather conditions, as well as the occasional off-road adventures.
There are a variety of trim levels to choose from (7 in total): 2.5 S, Select, Preferred, Carbon Edition, Premium, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus.
For those looking to purchase the latest model year brand new, expect to shell out anywhere from roughly $24,000 to $37,000.
4. Ford EcoSport (7.8 inches)
Introduced in the early 2000s, the EcoSport was designed with eco-friendliness and sporty characteristics in mind (hence the name EcoSport).
While criticized for its relative lack of power, the model provides above-average cargo space and intuitive control for its infotainment system.
The ground clearance of the Ford EcoSport is 7.8 inches, a respectable figure that allows owners to enjoy off-road excursions and worry less about potholes, bad weather and rough roads.
It comes in 4 trim levels: S, SE, SES, and Titanium.
The midrange SE trim, priced at approximately $27,000, is the most popular trim for the more recent model years.
All trim levels come with a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine (166 horsepower) matched with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive.
EPA claims that this model can reach up to 28 MPG for combined driving.
Notable safety features include Integrated Blind Spot Mirrors, Rear View Camera, and Blind Spot Information System.
While owners were left somewhat disappointed with the vehicle’s lack of power, the EcoSport more than made up for it by providing a smooth ride, convenient and accessible controls, and a relatively spacious interior.
5. Chevrolet Trailblazer (7.5 inches)
The Chevy Trailblazer is a competent all-around subcompact SUV that brings a lot of modern technology and safety features, along with roomy seating and ample cargo space.
The ground clearance for the Chevrolet Trailblazer starts at 7.5 inches for the entry-level LS trim. The higher-end LT, Active, and RS trims have better ground clearance at 8 inches.
As already mentioned, the Trailblazer comes in 4 trims: LS, LT, Active, and RS.
The midrange LT trim is the most preferred as it offers a ton of beneficial features for a slight price increase over the entry-level LS trim.
Depending on the trim selected, your model will be equipped with one of two engines: a turbocharged 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine (137 horsepower) or a turbocharged 1.3-liter 3-cylinder engine (155 horsepower).
Fuel efficiency would ultimately depend on driving habits and trim level, but you can confidently expect an average of 28 to 31 MPG for combined driving (based on EPA estimates).
6. Kia Seltos (7.3 inches)
The Seltos is roomy, stylish, and packed with safety and entertainment features.
It sports an upscale interior design, distinctive styling, and unique and vibrant body color options.
The Kia Seltos has a ground clearance of 7.3 inches. This can be increased by replacing the stock tires with a bigger set of wheels or installing a third-party suspension lift kit.
There are a total of 5 trim levels to choose from: LX, S, EX, Nightfall, and SX.
The most popular among these trim levels is the midrange S trim which is priced at around $25,000.
There are 2 engine configurations available: the 2-liter 4-cylinder engine for the base and midrange variants and the turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine for the high-end Nightfall and SX versions.
While fuel economy ratings will ultimately depend on driving habits and trims, you can safely expect around 27 to 30 MPG for combined driving (based on EPA estimates).
Blind Spot Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, and Driver Attention Warning are a few of the more valuable safety and driver assist features.
7. Honda HR-V (7.0 inches)
The Japanese automaker’s smallest-ever SUV is just as reliable as its bigger, chunkier siblings.
The HR-V packs a lot of utility and clever features into one affordable package.
Despite its compact form, it has roomy seating, respectable cargo space, and ample legroom for passengers at the back.
The Honda HR-V’s ground clearance is 7 inches. This is good for the segment and can be boosted a little bit more by replacing the stock tires with bigger wheels.
The HR-V comes in 3 trims: LX, Sport, and EX-L. Pricing of the more recent model years range from approximately $25,000 to $29,000.
All variants are powered by a non-turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder engine (158 horsepower) paired with either a front-wheel-drive or an all-wheel-drive.
Fuel economy varies ever so slightly for this model. Expect to reach up to 26 MPG for city driving, 32 MPG for highway driving, and 28 MPG for combined driving.
Owners like this model for its smooth transmission shifting (thanks to its CVT system) and overall reliability.
8. Nissan Kicks (7.0 inches)
The recently refreshed Kicks is a stylish subcompact SUV that provides the most up-to-date features and tech at a great price.
This model is fuel-efficient, easy to maneuver, and a blast to drive.
The Nissan Kicks has a 7-inch ground clearance. This can be marginally improved by replacing the vehicle’s stock tires or installing third-party suspension kits.
There are 3 trim levels to choose from: S, SV, and SR. All trims are priced closely, with the base-level S priced at approximately $21,600 and the top-spec SR priced at around $24,200.
Helpful safety features include Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, and Rear Door Alert.
Owners left a lot of positive feedback, stating that the Kicks has underrated power, convenient and intuitive tech, and great standard features.
9. Hyundai Venue (6.7 inches)
The Venue is the Korean automaker’s smallest SUV but do not let its stature fool you. It is feature-rich, premium in design, and intuitive.
The value you get out of any trim or model year of this vehicle is tremendous. It provides impressive features and equipment, decent legroom and cargo space, and various add-ons to make the driving experience significantly more appealing.
The ground clearance for all trim levels of the Hyundai Venue is 6.7 inches. While this figure is not the best in its segment, you can slightly boost this measurement by replacing the stock tires, installing suspension kits, or adding skid plates.
The Venue comes in only 3 trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited.
We believe that the SEL offers the best value for money as it comes with desirable upgrades such as 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, and a handful of driver assist features.
All 3 trims come equipped with a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine (121 horsepower) paired with a CVT transmission and front-wheel-drive.
Fuel economy ratings are similar across the board. EPA claims around 29 MPG for city driving, 33 MPG for highway driving, and 31 MPG for combined driving.
10. Volkswagen Taos (6.4 inches)
The German automaker’s smallest SUV is quite a big deal.
The Taos is generously equipped with modern entertainment and safety tech, excellent passenger and cargo space, and a bold exterior design.
The ground clearance of the Volkswagen Taos is 6.4 inches for the entry-level variants. However, opting for any of the midrange or high-end versions will provide you with a stellar 7.6-inch ground clearance.
Among the different variants and configurations, there are essentially 3 trim levels: S, SE, and SEL.
All versions are equipped with a turbocharged 1.5-cylinder engine (158 horsepower) paired with either an 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive or a 7-speed automated manual transmission and all-wheel-drive.