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Beaches that allow vehicles, but advise that only 4-wheel drive vehicles should enter, have hard packed sand. Would you feel confident that an Outback, with lower ground clearance than many large SUV's or pick-up trucks, could handle this type surface without getting stuck?
 

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I would have the utmost confidence in my Outback. Just watch the bumpy areas - departure and approach angles aren't the best.
 

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decent tires and avoiding 'high center' conditions? sure. Usually best to go with a friend in another vehicle I guess, and/or during days/hours when help would be available, at least the first coupla trips.


be certain to thoroughly wash the undercarriage (uh - of the car OK?) after any seaside beach romp.

lol!
 

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In a word, yes.

More words... My estimation would be that the 4WD requirement is so 2WD open-diff vehicles don't go out there, get one wheel spinning, and get stuck..
 

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Where do you get that Outbacks have lower ground clearance than many large SUVs or pickups? Remember that the stratospheric location of the body doesn't matter one bit when the suspension bits stick down to 8" above the ground anyway. I've sat in traffic and looked at how often the truck or SUV in front of me has the differential and shock or spring mounts sitting no higher - if not even lower - than the lowest part of my ground clearance.
 

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Where do you get that Outbacks have lower ground clearance than many large SUVs or pickups? Remember that the stratospheric location of the body doesn't matter one bit when the suspension bits stick down to 8" above the ground anyway. I've sat in traffic and looked at how often the truck or SUV in front of me has the differential and shock or spring mounts sitting no higher - if not even lower - than the lowest part of my ground clearance.
yeah - some of the lower mounts for rear shocks look like they're begging to snag something.
 

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Where do you get that Outbacks have lower ground clearance than many large SUVs or pickups? Remember that the stratospheric location of the body doesn't matter one bit when the suspension bits stick down to 8" above the ground anyway. I've sat in traffic and looked at how often the truck or SUV in front of me has the differential and shock or spring mounts sitting no higher - if not even lower - than the lowest part of my ground clearance.
Exactly! With the King Springs, I definitely have more clearance than most of what's on the road. The Outback is more of a "what you see is what you get" sort of situation. Nothing really hangs down much lower than anything else. The exhaust pipe going to the muffler is the lowest point in mine, and it's still over 9" off the ground (even stock it was almost 8"). I bet many pickups and SUVs have parts that hang lower than that--sometimes ones that span across the entire vehicle...so under the doors might be higher, but if you look at the rear diff/suspension/etc., for instance, it is probably hanging down quite a bit.

If you look up the minimum ground clearance specs on many of the SUVs and pickups out there, you'll find that they are less than the Outback's.

Now, in terms of approach/departure angles, that's a different story!

As far as sand...maybe not with my current tires, but with whatever I replace them with, definitely!

For example:


2013 Ford Explorer = 7.6"
2012 Chevrolet Traverse = 7.2"
2013 Ford F-150 Regular Cab 4x4 = 8.5" (Super Cab is 8.1")
2012 Honda Pilot = 8.0"
2012 Toyota Highlander = 8.0"
2012 Chevy Silverado 1500 = 7.7"
2013 Jeep Liberty = 7.8"
2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee = 8.6"
2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport = 8.8"
2013 Toyota Tacoma = 9.3"
2012 Volvo XC70 = 8.3"
2013 Honda CR-V = 6.7" (AWD)
2013 Honda Ridgeline = 8.2"
2013 Subaru Forester = 8.9"
2013 Subaru Outback = 8.7"
 

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Yes, we do it all the time on the unpaved roads in our state. There are more miles of unpaved roads than there are paved!
 

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Having driven on Daytona beach and the OBX, I advise you to bring a small shovel and a good sized board for traction in case you have to dig out - similar to driving in snow (I have an army surplus folding trenching shovel and a piece of wood 2" X 8" by about 18" long). Also bring an air pump that you can plug into your 12v outlet, since you will want to let some air out of your tires before driving on sand. I found that using a valve stem remover is quickest because you'll want your tire pressure to be about 15 lbs. Not kidding!

If the sand is really packed you can get away with all season radials. I have a set of M+S tires on steel wheels that I swap for off-roading and deep snow. Easy on the gas and brakes and have fun.
 

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...absolutely! No different than packed snow...and I drive on that for 3 to 4 months of the year.
 

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... Remember that the stratospheric location of the body doesn't matter one bit when the suspension bits stick down to 8" above the ground anyway. I've sat in traffic and looked at how often the truck or SUV in front of me has the differential and shock or spring mounts sitting no higher - if not even lower - than the lowest part of my ground clearance.
It is indeed the minimum clearance (and what undercarriage bits stick down that far) that is the real issue.

And, speaking of sitting in traffic, I was behind a new-generation Outback today, and the rear suspension arms were well below the center of the wheels, much lower than the differential case. It's hard to judge inches when looking at things that way, but it sure looked like that minimum clearance was less than what I'm used to in earlier generation Outbacks.

Are there bits sticking down lower on the new models? Or was this just an optical illusion? HPH
 

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......Are there bits sticking down lower on the new models? Or was this just an optical illusion? HPH
I just took a peek under my 2011 sitting in the garage and it looks fairly "level" across the underside. Don't know the proper name but the rear independent suspension arms are a bit lower at the wheels. That might be what you saw.
 
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