What is Ground Clearance?

Ground clearance refers to the vertical distance between a vehicle’s undercarriage or underside of the chassis and the ground. Sometimes known as “ride height,” ground clearance plays a key role in how a vehicle performs when navigating challenging conditions and terrain. 

So, how do you know what height ground clearance is right for you? Drivers who love off-roading adventures may prefer SUVs or crossovers with relatively high ground clearance—anywhere between 7.5 and 9 inches. This allows for easier handling on uneven surfaces and unpaved roadways. 

On the other hand, drivers who enjoy being able to better “feel” the road beneath them when maneuvering may favor vehicles with a lower ride height – typically between 5 and 7 inches of ground clearance. These options may include sports cars or sedans, such as sports cars or sedans. 

The good news is that whatever your preference, Subaru has a model with ground clearance to fit your unique driving style and needs.

Benefits of Increased Ground Clearance

Generous ground clearance can offer drivers a variety of benefits, chief of which is the ability to conquer challenging rocky or uneven terrain. The higher a vehicle’s ground clearance, the larger the tires it can accommodate. Large tires may enhance a vehicle’s traction, grip, and stability – especially in icy or slippery conditions. 

Increased ground clearance may also contribute to your vehicle’s durability, reducing the risk of scraping or damaging the undercarriage when encountering obstacles like rocks and road debris. Over time, damage to a vehicle’s underside can lead to rust, deterioration, or even component failure if not properly addressed. 

Ample ground clearance is often an asset when faced with inclement weather and rugged terrain. Vehicles equipped with both high ride height and a powerful drivetrain, like our Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD), tend to perform exceptionally well under such conditions.

Ground Clearance in Off-Roading

Ground clearance can play an important role in determining a vehicle’s capabilities in off-roading situations. Approach, breakover, and departure angles are particular areas where ground clearance makes a big difference.

  • Approach angle is the maximum incline or obstacle height that a vehicle can scale without damaging its front bumper. The higher a vehicle’s ground clearance, the steeper its approach angle capability. This can be especially helpful when encountering off-road obstacles like rocks or logs that could otherwise pump the brakes on your adventure.
  • Breakover angle refers to the maximum crest or peak a vehicle can climb without the undercarriage hitting the ground. Greater ground clearance enables a higher breakover angle, making bumpy obstacles less of a danger to the vehicle’s chassis.
  • Departure angle refers to the steepest decline a vehicle can descend without dragging its rear bumper on the road. Whether you’re driving off-road or on a more well-traveled path, vehicles with higher ground clearance tend to perform better where approach, breakover, and/or departure angle is a factor.

Whether you’re driving off-road or on a more well-traveled path, vehicles with higher ground clearance tend to perform better where approach, breakover, and/or departure angle is a factor.

Subaru Ground Clearance

With a diverse lineup of vehicles built to take on any terrain, it’s easy to find a Subaru that fits your lifestyle, with the right ground clearance you need to get where you want to go.

Subaru SUV Ground Clearance


All Subaru SUVs and crossovers are built with an impressive minimum ground clearance of 8.3 inches. Additionally, each model is equipped with Symmetrical AWD to support optimal traction and stability. 

For drivers who crave adventure, the Subaru Wilderness family of vehicles offers premium features specifically engineered for off-road exploring. Wilderness trims include upgrades to ground clearance, drivetrain, and comprehensive all-terrain capabilities. Our Outback Wilderness, Forester Wilderness, and Crosstrek Wilderness all boast a ground clearance of at least 9 inches and come standard with all-terrain tires to handle the rockiest, most challenging landscapes. Our Wilderness models are also outfitted with modified bumpers to improve approach and departure angles, allowing for even steeper climbing, avoiding larger obstacles without damaging the undercarriage. 

Explore the Wilderness Trim.

Subaru Car Ground Clearance

Subaru cars are designed with ride heights that optimize their handling and primary functions. Whether you want a practical, versatile vehicle for everyday driving or a high-performance, sporty option, Subaru cars are designed to balance maneuverability with safety and comfort. 

Our Impreza hatchback, along with the Subaru WRX and BRZ performance sports cars, all offer at least 5.1 inches of ground clearance, while the Legacy sedan has a minimum ground clearance of 5.9 inches.

Explore Subaru Vehicle Ground Clearances

Whether you’re game for off-road adventure or enjoy the feel of a vehicle that hugs the road, ground clearance makes all the difference. No matter what your preference, there’s a Subaru for you.

Explore the full line of Subaru Vehicles today.