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Sitting Taller: The Top Seven Used SUVs With Great Ground Clearances

What’s the perfect used SUV for sale that will give you confidence in every condition? SUVs are popular because they offer higher driving positions and more expansive cabins to accommodate passengers and cargo, but there’s another factor to consider when exploring your options–ground clearance. Many assume that only off-roaders and adventurers looking to venture off the pavement are interested in ground clearance. However, this number plays a critical factor in how confidently an SUV can handle itself in rainy conditions and inclement weather.

An SUV with a higher ground clearance can tackle wet and slippery conditions easier than one sitting lower to the ground. Automakers give drivers the best of both worlds, accounting for the increased clearance by designing SUVs with more rugged designs and integrated stability control systems. As a result, you have more room between the SUV’s underbody and the road without a top-heavy design. So, what models offer this stellar combination? How can you kickstart your search for the perfect SUV for your needs? Here’s a closer look at seven best-selling SUVs with impressive ground clearances to shop for on the used lot.

#7. Nissan Xterra (Up to 9.1 Inches)

The Nissan Xterra gained a cult following in the late 1990s, garnering acclaim for its athletic design, versatile performance, and well-equipped cabin. The Xterra was the athlete in the Nissan fleet, and drivers fell in love. Even so, Nissan eventually discontinued the SUV in 2015, making the last generation Xterra a popular find on the used lot.

The Xterra’s last redesign came in 2005 with its second generation debut, as Nissan made final updates to the SUV in 2009, 2013, and 2014. Because of this, second-gen Xterras are more common on the used lot, with many drivers turning to PRO-4X trims because of their more rugged components. For example, the PRO-4X has a higher ground clearance of up to 9.1 inches. It’s a four-wheel drive model with a rear-locking differential, unique interior details, and a rugged suspension for better performance in slippery and technical conditions.

A used SUV for sale, a blue 2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited, parked in the mountains.

#6. Toyota 4Runner (Up to 11.1 Inches)

The Toyota 4Runner is an excellent option for drivers looking for a well-rounded SUV with a higher ground clearance and an outstanding reputation. The 4Runner is a beloved road warrior renowned for its longevity and handling, two characteristics that have defined the SUV since its debut in 1984. Over the years, the 4Runner has seen several updates, with most used models falling within the fifth generation.

Toyota introduced the fifth-generation 4Runner in 2010, but you’ll want to look for a model built after the introduction of the TRD Pro trim in 2015. The 4Runner TRD Pro is the ultimate road warrior because Toyota designed it for the trail. This makes it even more favorable on the used lot among drivers looking for a confident road warrior to handle slippery and rainy conditions. Thanks to its exclusive TRD-tuned components and a ground clearance of up to 11.1 inches, the 4Runner TRD Pro can tackle every condition without missing a beat.

#5. Chevy Tahoe (Up to 10 Inches)

Chevy fans have a great option with a best-selling full-size SUV like the Tahoe. Often sharing the spotlight with the larger Suburban, the Tahoe is revered for its shorter wheelbase and heightened agility. Chevrolet capitalizes on this in trims like the Z71, the Tahoe’s most athletic and capable trim that boasts a ground clearance of up to 10 inches.

The Z71 trim is no stranger to the Chevy lineup, with the trim well-known for taking performance to the next level. The same is true for the Tahoe Z71, which Chevrolet updated in 2015 during the Tahoe’s fourth-generation refresh. With a new grille, skid plates, four-wheel drive, and a higher ground clearance courtesy of better suspension, the Tahoe Z71 is well-equipped and ready for every condition. Shopping for late fourth-generation models guarantees this capability and adds tech-savvy conveniences and features that are more comparable to newer models at a fraction of the price.

#4. Ford Expedition (Up to 10.6 Inches)

The Blue Oval knocks it out of the park with the Ford Expedition, a staple in the lineup since 1997. The full-size Expedition is Ford’s largest SUV, making it ideal for drivers who appreciate the capacity to haul passengers and cargo comfortably. Yet, Ford managed to make the Expedition even more attractive with major updates to the fourth-generation model in 2021. Those updates include the debut of the Expedition Timberline, the most rugged, capable, and innovative Expedition in history.

The Expedition Timberline’s recent introduction means it’s a hot commodity on the used lot, with drivers anxious to get behind the wheel of Ford’s best-selling SUV. With a ground clearance of 10.6 inches, it’s no surprise the Expedition Timberline can handle itself in any condition. Yet, Ford ups the ante and guarantees the SUV offers best-in-class power, exceptional responsiveness, and an entire suite of innovative driver-assist and safety tools that instill confidence as you tackle even the rainiest conditions.

Rear view of a red 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee driving in the rain.

#3. Jeep Grand Cherokee (Up to 10.9 Inches)

The Grand Cherokee, Jeep’s most awarded SUV, gains a coveted place near the top of our list. Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee to its lineup in 1993, proving drivers could satiate their penchant for adventure without compromising luxury, comfort, or innovation. Over the years, the Grand Cherokee has remained true to its roots, aging gracefully and defying expectations with every new generation.

Depending on your budget, shopping for a used Grand Cherokee means exploring late fourth or early fifth-generation models. Jeep introduced the Grand Cherokee’s fifth generation in 2021, making later fourth-gen models perfect for budget-savvy shoppers. Top-tier trims with Jeep’s Quadra-Lift air suspension offer a ground clearance of 10.9 inches, with Jeep adding to the SUV’s appeal with the Selec-Terrain traction management system that gives you more control over the Grand Cherokee’s performance by letting you select between drive modes.

#2. Jeep Wrangler (Up to 12.9 Inches)

The Jeep Wrangler is another iconic SUV that offers an impressive ground clearance of up to 12.9 inches, depending on the trim. Although it officially debuted in the late 1980s, the Wrangler’s roots go back to World War II, when the American military sent out a bid for a light reconnaissance vehicle. Although over 130 bids were placed, only three automakers responded, and Jeep, known then as Willys, was among them.

Drivers looking for a piece of this history will certainly find it in a used Wrangler and enjoy a rugged SUV with impressive clearance. The Wrangler’s last major round of updates came in 2018 with its fourth-generation debut, making these models excellent finds on the used lot. Officially known as the Wrangler JL, the models feature Jeep’s award-winning powertrain lineup and legendary four-wheel-drive technology that ensures you can confidently navigate every condition. Top-tier trims like the Rubicon take this confidence even further because of its exclusive components that heighten its agility, handling, and stance.

#1. Ford Bronco (Up to 13.1 Inches)

Our list of SUVs with exceptional ground clearances wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Bronco. Ford’s first adventurer debuted in the 1960s and had a stellar run until the late 1990s. While many couldn’t imagine a Ford lineup without the icon, Ford kept the Bronco on the shelf until 2021, when it reintroduced the SUV to widespread acclaim. Today, finding a Bronco on the used lot is the equivalent of hitting the used SUV jackpot.

The Bronco is revered for its capability on and off the pavement, boasting a ground clearance as high as 13.1 inches on trims like the Raptor. Of course, the Bronco’s relatively recent reentry into the Ford lineup means it’s likely one of the higher-budget models on our list. Even so, drivers are certainly willing to pay more to experience the icon firsthand as it navigates rain, sleet, snow, mud, rocks, and dirt with grace and ease.