What Makes an SUV Off-road Capable

Ford Bronco Sport | courtesy Ford Motors

Ford Bronco Sport | courtesy Ford Motors

Ok so you bought a brand new or used SUV, it has all the usual stuff that make these big bodied vehicles stand out in any crowd. Now your thinking of taking it to the back roads, but is it truly Off-road capable?

Off-road driving is a fun and exciting way to explore the outdoors, but it requires a special set of vehicles that are capable of handling the rough terrain. SUVs are some of the most popular vehicles for off-roading, and there are certain features that make them more capable than other vehicles.

Ground Clearances Compact SUVs chart
Ground Clearances Compact SUVs – chart

Don’t just assume that because your vehicle is an SUV, therefore it’s Off-road capable, only certain types truly are. You could inflict serious arm on your car by driving it through terrain it wasn’t designed to properly handle. Here’s a look at what makes an SUV an off-road capable vehicle.

yellow h3 hummer
Itching to go off-roading? Check if your car’s up for the challenge first | image courtesy Irfan Rahat – pexels

Ground Clearance

The first and most important feature of an off-road capable SUV is its ground clearance. This is the amount of space between the bottom of the vehicle and the ground, and the higher the clearance, the better the vehicle will be able to go over obstacles like rocks and tree roots. Most off-road capable SUVs have 8-10 inches of ground clearance.


Tires are another important factor in off-road capability. Off-road tires are designed specifically to handle rough terrain, and they are typically wider and have deeper tread patterns than regular tires. These tires provide better traction and can help keep the vehicle from getting stuck in mud or sand.


The suspension is another key component of off-road capability. Off-road capable SUVs usually have a stiffer suspension system than standard vehicles, which helps them handle the bumps and dips of off-roading more easily. This suspension system also helps keep the vehicle stable and prevents it from bottoming out on rough terrain.

Four-Wheel Drive

Four-wheel drive is a must for any off-road capable SUV. This system sends power to all four wheels, which helps the vehicle maintain traction on slippery surfaces. It also helps the vehicle climb steep hills and navigate over large obstacles.

Video of the 10 best off-road capable SUVs | video courtesy SUV GEEK YouTube


These are just a few of the features that make an SUV an off-road capable vehicle. With the right combination of tires, suspension, ground clearance, and four-wheel drive, an SUV can tackle almost any terrain.

If your vehicle meets all these simple requirements then my friend it is fully Off-road capable. We publish stories on where to find some of the best backroad driving spots across Canada and America, in places like California and Nevada, for example.

Whether you’re looking for a vehicle to explore the great outdoors or just want the confidence of knowing your vehicle can handle whatever comes its way, an off-road capable SUV is the perfect choice.