Skip to main content

Ground clearance doesn’t actually matter that much in a sedan, and it’s pointless in a sports car. However, it’s crucial in a heavy-duty truck. From going off-road to handling workloads that would crush a sedan, it’s just something a truck has to have to operate properly. So that’s why we found it so shocking that there are currently two heavy-duty trucks on the market that have a ground clearance less than 10 inches. 

The tall and mighty

A 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 Harley-Davidson with great ground clearance.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD | Creative Commons

Ground clearance is the distance between the lowest point on the vehicle to the level surface beneath it. In other words, if you’re truck is sitting on flat pavement, the lowest point will be from the air dam/deflector, front spoiler, front valance, radiator, or any low-hanging parts on the chassis. This helps with routine maintenance, superior visibility, and the ability to go off-road. 

Most heavy-duty trucks have ground clearance of over 10 inches. For example, the Chevy Silverado 2500HD and the GMC Sierra 2500HD have 10.2 inches. This barely helps them squeak by the 10-inch threshold, but it still counts.

The Chevy Silverado 3500HD and Sierra 3500HD show up their smaller siblings by getting a one-inch bump, raising their ground clearance up to 11.2 inches. 

The Ram 2500 trails this with 11.1 inches, while the Ram 3500 towers over them all with a whopping 13.3 inches of height. This makes it easier than ever to go over dunes, rocks, and hills but makes it a real hassle to climb up into.

Is being short really that bad?

Yes, it may be easier to get inside, but as we already discussed, having a lower ground clearance means that the bottom of your truck is at greater risk of damage. If you just plan to use it to go back and forth to work at a job that doesn’t require you to go off-road or use it to haul heavy loads, this probably doesn’t matter. Not everyone who drives a truck needs it for work purposes. Some people love a truck and don’t care about the ground clearance.

If this matters to you, it’s important to note that the Nissan Titan XD, Ford F-250, and F-350 don’t have a ground clearance over 10-inches. In fact, they’re way below that golden number.

The Ford F-250 and F-350 only have a ground clearance of 8.7-inches, which is shocking because they’re both marketed as being work trucks that can handle anything. They’re still not as short as the Nissan XD, however. It’s easily the shortest with a mere 8.2 inches of ground clearance.

You can have more ground clearance if you choose wisely


Why Pickup Trucks’ Blind Spots Is So Much Bigger Than Even SUVs

So does this mean you shouldn’t buy the Nissan XD, the Ford F-250, or F-350 if you need more ground clearance? Well, not exactly. You can get a ground clearance of more than 10-inches if you pick the proper trim.

The Nissan XD doesn’t quite meet the 10-inch clearance, but the PRO-4X Crew Cab does get up to 9.8 inches, according to Edmunds, as well as the Platinum Reserve Crew Cab. The Ford F-250 and Ford F-350 also don’t get over 10-inches but range from 8 to 9 inches. 

If you aren’t into bigger trucks, picking the proper trim can help land you a truck that is easier to climb in and out of. Depending on the trim, you can also find a truck with even more ground clearance. Then there are also truck lift kits which will take your wheels even higher if that’s what you want, so don’t feel like you have to settle for a certain amount of ground clearance.