As per the directives of the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), ground clearance measurements must now be done with the vehicle loaded to its maximum authorised gross vehicle weight (GVW). Prior to this, measurement was done with a vehicle at its kerb weight (unladen).
Ground clearance is the distance between the ground and the lowest point of the centre part of the vehicle. The centre part is that part contained between 80 percent of the least distance between points on the inner edges of the wheels on any one axle.
A vehicle suspension compresses under load and thus ground clearance values will be lower with a fully loaded vehicle. With the new measurement process, a vehicle’s minimum ground clearance emerges as against the earlier maximum clearance value.
Fiat has released the new ground clearance values for their models, for example, the Fiat Avventura now has a value of 156mm as against the earlier value of 205mm. However, all manufacturers do not declare ground clearance values, and some are still displaying older (unladen) values.