Most pickup customers pick their vehicles based on factors like towing capability or bed size, but some owners prefer the highest ground clearance trucks. With those vehicles, folks can be more confident in getting to out-of-the way campsites and jobsites alike, and naturally, many of the most elevated pickups are those created for off-road enthusiasts. Yet they also enable a more commanding view on the road, too. Well, enough with introductions; it’s high time we got down to business with these high-altitude pickups.
10 Highest Ground Clearance Trucks
Photo Credit: Ram Trucks
2016 Ram 1500 - 10.3 Inches
Unsurprisingly, when Autobytel experts broke out their rulers, the king of current off-road pickups, the 2016 RAM 1500 Rebel, immediately stood out among the country's highest ground clearance trucks. As compared to other high-flying Ram models, the Rebel gets an extra inch of ride height to help it clear off-road obstacles, and with standard 33-inch all-terrain tires—and the truck's air suspension in its most extreme setting—owners enjoy 10.3 inches of ground clearance. Oh, and the Rebel's new rubber, from the tire experts at Toyo, doesn't merely deliver tread patterns that were engineered for maximum performance in the most challenging conditions. The tires also get turned into a design cue in the truck's cab, because the same pattern is used to accent the Rebel's seating. That said, Ram crew-cab pickups with the air suspension can raise ride heights to 10.7 inches.
Photo Credit: Ford
2016 Ford F-150 Raptor - 11.2 Inches
Before we discuss the 2016 Ford F-150, let's first get this out of the way: The Blue Oval has yet to reveal full specs for the next-gen 2017 Raptor—the F-150's high-performance off-road variant—and that's likely to raise the bar in the segment above 11.2 inches. After all, that represents the ground clearance of the previous-generation Raptor, and the new one will undoubtedly go higher as "Ford's toughest, smartest, most capable truck for ultimate off-road performance." As for the rest of the F-150 lineup, a number of different configurations supply 9.4 inches of ground clearance, including SuperCab 4X4 trims with a 6.5-foot box, SuperCrew 4X4 trims with full rear doors and the 5.5-foot box, and regular-cab 4X4 editions with both 6.5- and 8-foot boxes. Another bonus: Ford's 4-wheel-drive trucks offer two EcoBoost engines for an exclusive combination of brute force and fuel economy. And so do rear-wheel drive trucks, with 8.8 inches of standard ground clearance.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2016 Toyota Tundra - 10.6 Inches
It doesn't get nearly the buzz of the Raptor or the Rebel, but the 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro is a highly capable off-roader in its own right, complete with 10.6 inches of standard ground clearance and new black leather seating that, in turn, is set off by red contrast stitching and TRD Pro logos. As expected, the TRD Pro model also rocks a specially tuned suspension, highlighted by Bilstein hi-po shock absorbers, and it rolls on off-road rubber from Michelin. There's also a new-for-2016 color for the truck: Quicksand. But you're not stuck with the Tundra's most aggressive model if you want the brand's highest ground clearance trucks. Along with the 4X4 crew-cab TRD Pro, the Tundra SR 4X4 regular- and double-cabs, and the SR5 double-cab 4X4, further furnish 10.6 inches of ground clearance. It's additionally worth noting that even the lowest Tundras have 10 inches of elevation.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2016 Toyota Tacoma - 9.4 Inches
The 2016 Toyota Tacoma stands tall as the top midsize pickup among the highest ground clearance trucks right now, while the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro will up the ante for the upcoming model year: The current Tacoma lineup is listed with 9.4 inches of ground clearance across the board, and the TRD Pro version will get an extra inch up front thanks to its off-road hardware. That includes TRD tuned front and rear suspensions that leverage fancy FOX 2.5 internal bypass shocks, along with trail-tested tires that have been reinforced with Kevlar for improved durability. Also, keep in mind that the rest of the 2016 Tacoma roster was significantly revised over the previous model, with highlights like a new V6 engine that's more powerful and more efficient than the standard 4-cylinder unit. The 2016 Tacoma is safer as well, and is backed by available driver-assistance measures such as a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 GMC Sierra - 9.1 Inches
Because there is much in common beneath the skin of GM's two fullsize pickups, the 2016 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado share common engine choices, tow ratings, EPA ratings and more. But the Professional Grade brand's highest ground clearance trucks do sit a little taller than their Bowtie counterparts. Thus, the Sierra double-cab models, which have down-sized rear doors, have 9.1 inches of ground clearance with their 4X4 drivetrains (and 8.9 inches with rear-wheel drive). Autobytel experts also recommend matching that extra altitude with extra off-road attitude, in the form of the 2016 Sierra All Terrain. That truck mixes standard 4-wheel drive with an off-road suspension package, all-terrain tires and an exclusive All Terrain grille surround. The result is a rugged-looking truck that's ready to leave the pavement behind—but while still staying connected through a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, 4G LTE connectivity, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Photo Credit: Nissan USA
2016 Nissan Titan XD - 8.8 Inches
The 2016 Nissan Titan XD has garnered plenty of attention for its available V8 diesel engine and a towing maximum of more than 12,000 lbs.; however, it also provides a dedicated off-road model, the PRO-4X, that boasts 8.8 inches of ground clearance. On the other hand, that pickup actually isn't one of Nissan's highest ground clearance trucks. The uplevel SL and range-topping Platinum Reserve each have 9.1 inches of altitude in a rear-wheeldrive configuration and 9 inches when equipped with Toyota's 4-wheel-drive technology. Autobytel experts also remind you that the Titan XD is sort of the XL version of Nissan's fullsize pickup. So, even though it's not as big as the heavy-duty trucks from the domestic brands, it is noticeably larger than "regular" fullsize pickups, like the 2017 Titan that will be in dealerships later in 2016. The Titan XD was Autobytel's 2016 Pickup Truck of the Year, too.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 Chevrolet Silverado - 8.8 Inches
The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado High Country has an ideal option for the highest ground clearance trucks: power-articulating assist steps that can both provide a leg up into the cabin and automatically swing backward somewhat for easier access to the front of the cargo bed. It's the kind of thing that comes in handy when you're climbing up 8.9 inches of ground clearance, as is the case with the crew-cab High Country 4X4, and it won't hurt any with rear-wheel-drive versions, which have 8.8 inches. Double-cab Silverado 4X4 trucks also supply 8.9 inches of ground clearance, although without those nifty side steps. Chevy takes its tech benefits to new heights, too, by adding support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, plus faster infotainment processors and wireless phone charging, to its mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and 4G LTE connectivity service.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
2016 Chevrolet Colorado - 8.4 Inches
Like their fullsize siblings, the midsize GM pickups—the 2016 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon—also have distinct ground-clearance specs: The highest ground clearance trucks for both nameplates have 8.4 inches of height, but for the Colorado, that's only for the extended-cab body style when it's paired with rear-wheel drive and the company's 6-foot, 2-inch cargo bed. With 4-wheel drive, ground clearance is 8.3 inches, and the lowest models, with crew cabs and the 6'2" box, top out at 8.1 inches. Further distinguishing the Colorado and Canyon are special editions like Chevy's Z71 Trail Boss truck, since that vehicle showcases exclusive styling cues—such as black rocker steps and cast-aluminum wheels with a painted dark-argent metallic finish—and a variety of the Bowtie brand's robust off-road hardware. Perhaps chief among those goodies are a Z71 off-road suspension package, a G80 locking rear differential and front recovery hooks. (Details for the Canyon are next.)
Photo Credit: General Motors
2016 GMC Canyon - 8.4 Inches
Consider it the Professional Grade edge: Despite the 2016 GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado both offering a maximum of 8.4 inches of ground clearance, it's the former that features that ride height as standard for all powertrains, all cab styles and all bed sizes. In the same way, the Canyon model that best represents the GMC's highest ground clearance trucks—the All Terrain edition—goes a bit beyond its Bowtie-brand counterpart as well. The Canyon All Terrain gets the expected off-road suspension upgrade, but also welcomes lux cues like standard heated front seats in a sophisticated Jet Black/Cobalt Red color scheme. Owners can select the All Terrain Adventure package, too. It extends the Canyon's versatility with a spray-on bedliner, 3-inch round step bars, all-weather floormats and a GearOn bar package for the truck's standard cargo-management system. Shoppers also should remember that both the Canyon and Colorado can be ordered with OnStar's 4G mobile Wi-Fi service.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2016 Nissan Frontier - 8.9 Inches
The 2016 Nissan Frontier has become somewhat dated for the segment, yet it does have a few advantages over the newest entries, including in ride height. All V6-powered Frontiers have at least 8.6 inches of ground clearance with rear-wheel drive and that jumps to 8.9 inches with Nissan's 4-wheel-drive technology on board. Moreover, those numbers apply to the Frontier's "king" cab models, with small rear doors, and the crew-cab pickups with full doors all around. The automaker also specifically notes that some of the Frontier's hardware, such as its rear differential, are positioned even higher, to get over more off-road obstacles safely. To tackle hard-core obstacle courses, the Frontier PRO-4X also packs high-performance shock absorbers from Bilstein, underbody skid plates for protection from rocks and a tire/wheel package specifically engineered for Nissan's highest ground clearance trucks.