Can an all wheel drive vehicle handle the heavy sand on the beaches of Nantucket.? Like the Kia Telluride? Or should I only buy a SUV which offers 4WD?
This really comes down to user preference. Most off-roaders would prefer 4wd over awd because of the way the two systems operate.
AWD applies power to all the wheels all the time usually in a fashion that if the computer senses wheel slip on one tire or more it will put more power to a tire that has more friction, although this varies drastically from manufacture to manufacture. I know some manufacturers have the drive train set up to apply full power to the side that is experiencing slip and other manufactures do it the complete opposite. You can probably find a YouTube video on how the AWD system of the Telluride works.
4WD deals usually deals with a transfer case that splits power 50/50 to the front and rear axel when engaged. However on more modern 4WD systems like Toyota’s full time 4WD it deals with acting similarly to AWD except you have a transfer case instead of a trans-axel in the F4H state, and then locking the center differential when F4L is selected and locking all diffs in the L4L for crawling scenarios. It is becuase of the control of the drive train that most off-readers prefer 4WD over AWD
Now from my experience, my dad and I have taken both our AWD 2019 Honda Ridgeline and Full Time 4WD 2015 Toyota 4Runner (in the F4L state) out onto the beaches of Carova NC and have had no problem with them there. Hope this helps!
Watch a few sessions of Matt’s Off Road Recovery in Utah and you get the idea of what is needed for sand. Of course as he says, there are different types of sand, round like in Utah and jagged in other places. Gotta know what kind of sand you have.
Plus with beach sand you have to take moisture into account. It can be very waterlogged if you’re running across it after the tide goes out.
My BIL had a trailblazer at their house on Nantucket, but I think they only walked to the beach.
The pink sand of Utah is the most challenging that I have driven on. Beach sand isn’t so terrible, I would trust any AWD vehicle.
I’ve never driven in soft sand, but I’m under the impression that lowering the tire pressure might help, for what that’s worth.
That’s what I’m finding, probably should have a portable compressor/inflator to get the tires back to the proper pressure before you start out on pavement again. Certain beaches here on the Washington coast are so hard packed that you don’t need to do anything. At least at Ocean Shores.