ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) has revised norms and mandates for measuring ground clearance for vehicles sold in India. Under new norms, cars (all body-styles) will be tested in GVW conditions (Gross Vehicle Weight conditions). This implies that the car will be weighed down to general usage levels and the new measurements will be based on the lowest fixed point of the car. Until now, the vehicle was measured at its kerb weight.
Additionally, automakers will have to ensure that their respective products return a minimum fuel efficiency of 18.2kmpl, which is about 15 per cent more than existing mileage. Although manufacturers can sell cars which return lesser than 18.2kmpl, they will have to ensure that their other models offer a higher mileage to ensure that the average of all models meet the rule. It is unclear for now as to how it will be achieved. By April 2022, the government plans to further increase the average to 22kmpl.
Owing to fresh revision, the car manufacturers in the country will soon project lower ground clearance figure on papers, while in reality there is no change to its dimensions. Toyota Fortuner, which once projected 225mm ground clearance, has now been changed to 184mm. Fiat, on the other hand, which claimed 205mm ground clearance for the Avventura, has now been revised to 156mm.
Interestingly, the new rule was the original methodology which was used to measure ground clearance till mid-2013.