How to Tide the Roads Less Travelled
India is a diverse country with a vast variety of road conditions. In fact, different parts of the country showcase road conditions as diverse as snow, sand, dirt, tar, and of course, potholed roads. Out of these, individuals are most troubled by potholed roads that tend to swell in size with the arrival of the monsoon season. For any vehicle to keep its occupants composed on such roads, certain features are essential. This is perhaps one of the reasons why people look for cars with high ground clearance to drive over unruly terrains.
If one looks at the 80s and 90s, most cars available then were infamous for low ground clearance values. Among them, the Premier Padmini at a ground clearance of 128 mm, managed to scrape its underbelly on virtually every speed breaker around. Times have changed, and now almost every car is being built with a ground clearance adequate to tackle difficult roads across the Indian geographic landscapes. In fact, a high ground clearance of 180 mm, which has now been upgraded to 184 mm, has been the cornerstone of the Renault Kwid’s success. Incidentally, the KWID is a vehicle in the compact hatchback segment, but its design, in addition to the car's high ground clearance, has been made in a manner to resemble SUVs in several ways.
The immense success of the KWID in the Indian market has been remarkable; it is interesting to note that Maruti Suzuki came up with a suitable competitor much later: the SPresso. Even the Datsun RediGO has an SUV-like stance, and it clearly appears that more cars with high ground clearance will be seen in the hatchback segment in the near future.
Indians love SUVs and “tall” cars
The Maruti Gypsy was the first true SUV to become popular in India during the late 80s, 90s, and the early 2000s. It was capable of conquering just about any terrain. This was the first among the cars with high ground clearance, at an astounding 210 mm.
An SUV gives the feeling of being the king of the road and can comfortably seat large groups as well as accommodate considerable luggage. Most SUVs today are characterized by ground clearances in excess of 200 mm, making them very comfortable for long drives for the driver as well as passengers. For instance, Renault Duster with a ground clearance of 210 mm, is ideally suited for long-distance travel and adventurous road trips.
Driving on hilly terrains
If you are the kind who either lives or loves to drive across hilly terrains every once in a while, it would be best to choose cars with high ground clearance. Such terrains are uneven in nature and are likely to have several undulations every few kilometres. High ground clearance would help you ensure that the underbelly of your car is not scraped even on unruly terrains.
Boosting your car’s ground clearance
There are a few ways of improving the ground clearance of your car, such as using assisters for spring coilers and fitting in taller tyres; these upgrades may help gain better traction on suitable surfaces. However, these practices are also likely to affect the handling dynamics of your car.
So, if you are an explorer and aspire to travel on different roads, it would be in your best interest to shortlist cars with high ground clearance up front.