India is a land of vivid cultures and landscapes. But it is a land of vivid roads too. Ranging from 6 lane highways to half-lane gallis, India has got everything. And for such a variety of paths to tread on, we need to choose our cars properly. The first thing to look out for in the dimensions part of a car is the Ground Clearance. But how much is enough Ground Clearance? To answer that question is our top priority, but first, let’s take a look at the average ground clearance of different segments in India.

Segment-Wise Average Ground Clearance

Segment Ground Clearance (Average)*
Hatchback 168mm
Compact Sedan 170mm
Sedan 165mm
Compact SUV 190-200mm
SUV 225mm
Sports Coupe 135-140mm
*This is not an official number. Just an average of the best selling in the respective segments.

So, it is clear from the table that the usual top-selling segments in India have a ground clearance of around 160-170mm. The fully-grown SUVs such as Toyota Fortuner offer a ground clearance of over 225mm. Sports Coupes such as Lamborghini Huracan has a low ground clearance of 135mm. Types of obstacles in India is what we should take a look at now.

  • Speed Breakers

    Speed Breakers | Ground Clearance vs Indian Roads
    Speed Breakers | Ground Clearance vs Indian Roads

    According to the official guidelines, the average height of the speed bumps or the speed breakers should be 0.1metres or 100mm. But a true Indian must have faced bumps much higher than that. Around 10-15% of the speed bumps on the Indian roads follow the guidelines. Such roads include the highways or the newly constructed roads. You can still expect the height of many speed bumps to be around 150mm or maybe even 170mm.

  • Potholes

    Potholes | Ground Clearance vs Indian Roads
    Potholes | Ground Clearance vs Indian Roads

    Other countries use 3-D printed potholes in order to slow down the traffic. In India, the authorities need not use such techniques. One rain and the straight plain roads turn into the worst nightmares of every driver. These have no official guidelines for sure! So you can expect them to be in a range of 50mm to 200mm. That’s deep!

  • Unpaved Roads

    Unpaved Roads
    Unpaved Roads

    Although most of the Indian roads have been paved now, thanks to the Government, there are still a few roads left unpaved. These roads seem to be fun to drive for the most of the drivers until you here the underbody touching the ground and you start questioning yourself. These can lead to a great unease to the occupants of the car and damage to the car itself.

  • Debris

    Landslide
    Landslide Debris

    This is a common sight in hilly areas where landslides occur at a regular interval. Authorities do try to keep the roads as safe as possible but sometimes, you might come across some debris. The range of such boulder can range anywhere between 30mm to 500mm. They can even be over metres high, but then the roads will surely be closed. If it’s too large, no car can go across, for sure.

So, how much Ground Clearance is good Ground Clearance?

One thing for sure, you cannot expect your car to course through every obstacle, whatever be the height. And you won’t possibly come across large obstacles, until and unless you live in a hilly area. So, the answer to the question is a minimum of 170-180mm of ground clearance is required on the Indian roads. Note that this is the figure for an unladen car. Anything above that, and you will be able to course through obstacles easily, well, most of them!

But, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. You really need to look out for your surroundings while deciding the minimum ground clearance. If the roads are paved and follow the proper guidelines, even the 125mm of ground clearance on Sports Coupes will be enough. But for the roads with potholes and poorly designed speed breakers, you will have to go for better ground clearance.

What do you think is the ideal ground clearance for a car? Let us know in the comments section below.

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