- 2010–2015 Honda Accord Crosstour: 6.2 inches of ground clearance
- 2016–2018 Volkswagen Beetle Dune: 6.3 inches
- 2020–2021 Nissan Versa: 6.8 inches
- 2016–2018 Volvo S60 Cross Country: 7.9 inches
- 2003–2007 Subaru Outback sedan: 8.7 inches
- Why is ground clearance important?
SUVs continue to enjoy popularity, but some car buyers want a higher driving position without the drawbacks of a large vehicle. Typical sedans and coupes don’t offer the ground clearance needed for inclement weather or light off-roading, and many consumers don’t want to spend thousands lifting a Mazda Miata or fork over $500,000 for a Singer Safari 911.
However, plenty of used cars have high ground clearance. According to Autotrader, here are the five best.
2010–2015 Honda Accord Crosstour: 6.2 inches of ground clearance
2012 Honda Crosstour EX-L | American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Before compact SUVs gained popularity, Honda released the Crosstour. Based on the Accord, this sedan had the versatility of a taller crossover while maintaining the ride comfort of a car. The 6.2 inches of ground clearance was bolstered by all-wheel drive to add off-road prowess to its cargo-carrying practicality.
Even high-mileage 2010–2015 Honda Crosstour models fetch near $10,000, according to nationwide listings on Autotrader. Regardless, those wanting the performance to match the utilitarianism should select the Crosstour with the more desirable 271-hp 3.5-liter V6.
2016–2018 Volkswagen Beetle Dune: 6.3 inches
Playing off the Baja-inspired Beetle-based dune buggies of the ’60s and ’70s, Volkswagen introduced the Beetle Dune in hardtop and convertible body styles. Although it stands less than an inch higher off the ground than the standard Beetle, the Dune is wider with fender flares, but the performance modifications stop there.
The Dune comes with the standard 170-hp 1.8-liter TSI inline-four engine and features Dune accents along the body sides. But Autotrader listings show the Beetle Dune holds its value well. Used models with 50,000 miles on the odometer sell for $22,000 to $30,000.
2020–2021 Nissan Versa: 6.8 inches
The Nissan Versa is a surprising addition to the list. Though this subcompact is the smallest in the roundup, it has only 0.1 inches less ground clearance than the Nissan Kicks crossover SUV.
Even though the Versa doesn’t boast the cargo capacity of an SUV, it benefits from its simplicity — something more consumers are looking for today. Moreover, oodles of used Versa models with less than 50,000 miles are for sale for between $18,000 and $21,000 on Autotrader.
2016–2018 Volvo S60 Cross Country: 7.9 inches
Safety has always been a part of Volvo’s philosophy, and features like ride height and ground clearance provide better driver confidence. The S60 Cross Country boasts not only nearly eight inches of ground clearance but also a strengthened off-road-ready suspension supporting AWD.
In addition, this wagon-like Volvo has plenty of storage space, an impressive suite of advanced safety features, and comfortable seating. However, that capability comes at a steep price. Edmunds shows used S60 Cross Country models cost around $25,000 to $30,000.
2003–2007 Subaru Outback sedan: 8.7 inches
Although it wasn’t as popular as its wagon sibling, the Subaru Outback sedan packed the same off-road punch. AWD and a 243-hp turbocharged flat-four or the larger, naturally aspirated 3.0-liter flat-six in the swanky L.L. Bean model made the Outback sedan a premier contender for buyers desiring SUV-like capability in a tighter package.
However, used Outback sedans are harder to find than the ubiquitous wagons. Nevertheless, Kelley Blue Book shows they fetch between $6,000 and $9,000.
Why is ground clearance important?
On average, vehicles with a higher ground clearance have lower fuel economy due to decreased aerodynamics, and their higher center of gravity compromises handling. Yet, not everyone is trying to hit the apex on the penultimate bend before arriving at the grocery store.
If your driveway is a farm track or you live in a major city with poorly maintained roads, you’ll benefit from more ground clearance. More room between the road and the bottom of the car means you won’t scrape the differential, oil pan, transmission, or other major components on the pavement, all of which can cause severe damage and expensive repair bills.