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Pickup trucks, compact or otherwise, are often used for adventuring, which means a lot of time spent on off-road trails. Ground clearance becomes increasingly important to help drivers overcome large obstacles such as rocks without damaging their cars. With that in mind, off-road drivers might want to avoid the Honda Ridgeline, given that it offers the least ground clearance in its class at well below 8 inches. However, before getting to just how much ground clearance you get with the Ridgeline, here are some slightly better alternatives.

Compact pickup trucks offering just over 8 inches of ground clearance

In the ranking list for compact pickup trucks with the least ground clearance, the 2022 Ford Maverick is the runner-up. The vehicle, starting at $19,995, has a 2.5 L hybrid engine, FWD as standard, and an electrically variable-speed automatic transmission. Also, according to Ford, an alternative 2.0 L engine with available AWD offers better-towing capabilities. Nevertheless, the Ford truck has 8.3 inches of ground clearance on its baseline trim level.

Next is another pickup truck from the same manufacturer, the Ford Ranger, with $25,980 as its recommended starting price. Ford fits this model with a 2.3 L inline-four engine with a towing capacity of up to 7,500 lbs and a maximum payload capacity of 1,905 lbs.

The Ranger’s standard ground clearance stands at 8.4 inches, something it shares with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. For context, pricing for the Chevrolet truck starts at $25,200 with a choice of three engines; the 2.5 L four-cylinder, a 3.6 L V6, and a 2.8 L turbocharged diesel option. Towing capacities also vary, with the diesel option having the highest at 7,700 lbs, according to Chevrolet.

Given that General Motors manufactures both the Colorado and Canyon, the two trucks share quite a few features and build similarities. These include the engine options, output figures, and maximum towing capacity. As mentioned above, the standard ground clearance is also the same at 8.4 inches.

The Honda Ridgeline has the lowest ground clearance

The 2022 Honda Ridgeline Sport pickup truck parked in a grassy field near hills of forest trees
2022 Honda Ridgeline Sport | American Honda Motor Co., Inc

As for the Honda Ridgeline, its starting MSRP is $38,140, making Honda’s offering one of the more expensive compact trucks available. All trims have a V6 engine with a 280-hp output and 262 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, it uses a nine-speed automatic transmission across the board coupled with all-wheel drive.

Similarly, the towing capabilities are identical for all four trims available at 5,000 lbs. However, there are slight disparities in the payload capacity, with the highest being 1,583 for the Sport trim, while the lowest is 1,509 in the Black Edition and RTL-E trims.

The Ridgeline has the lowest baseline ground clearance among compact trucks at 7.6 inches. As such, despite Consumer Reports giving it an excellent overall score, the reviewer notes that it has limited off-roading capabilities.

Compact trucks with the most clearance

If off-roading capabilities are a must-have in your vehicle purchase, the three compact trucks with the most ground clearance are the Nissan Frontier, Jeep Gladiator, and Toyota Tacoma. The 2022 Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are tied in second with 9.4 inches of clearance.

Notably, the Nissan is competitively priced, starting at $28,690. Engine options are limited to a 3.8 L V6, which produces 310 horsepower and 281 lb-ft torque, and can tow up to 6,720 lbs. Additionally, it has a payload capacity of 1,600 lbs.

The Tacoma, on the other hand, is available with dual engine options; a 3.5 L V6 and a 2.7 L Inline four. The V6 outputs significantly more horsepower and torque than its 2.7 L counterpart. That said, the maximum payload and towing capacities stand at 1,685 lbs and 6,800 lbs, respectively.

Lastly, the Jeep Gladiator has a starting price in the same range as the Honda truck at $37,565. In addition to a 3.6 L V6 or a 3.0 L diesel V6 engine option, this price gets you impressive payload and towing capabilities at 1,700 lbs and 7,650 lbs, respectively. Also, it has the best in class ground clearance at 10 inches, according to Edmunds.

Notably, some of these trucks, including the Jeep Gladiator, are provided with more ground clearance for some of the higher packages and trims. The figures provided above are for the base trims. Nonetheless, the Honda Ridgeline is one of the few with the same ground clearance across its lineup.


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