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What is best on sand?

what is best on sand ,going to the outer banks, carova north Carolina and we have a 1999 Subaru legacy outback wagon all wheel drive 30th anniversary limited ,my mother in law has a 2007 Toyoda rav4 with 4 wheel drive with 4wd lock.which should fare better driving a half hour on the beach or should we rent a 4x4 suv

Rental is most likely out. Most rental contracts specifically forbid driving on sand because it isn’t good for the car.

I’d pick the car you care about least, actually.

Since almost anything can get stuck in sand I’d say the two are about equal.

The best thing would be to NOT drive on the sand. Then you won’t have to worry about getting stuck. Once you’re stuck, you’re really stuck.

Neither…That’s impossible to answer. There are different sand types. Generally, soft sand needs more flotation than a RAV can provide. Don’t drive an AWD car based Suv anywhere you wouldn’t drive a comparable 2wd vehicle. If you think a Camry would get stuck, don’t drive a RAV over it either. They aren’t off road vehicles, regardless of foolish u-tube excursions.

The subaru is to low to the ground. I would rent if you can,sand and salt is badddd.
If you take the RAV4 air down to about 15psi in the tires ans do not stop in soft sand if you can help it.
When you leave get 2o miles out and go to a car wash.

The right tires are more important then the vehicle. You need sand/mud flotation tires. And a friend with a winch.


The RAV4 will probably be fine, though taking the tire pressure down is pretty normal. Stay out of the red sand.

If you do have the cash there are more & more places in that area that rent these little sand dune buggys - way too cool and a lot more fun.

If you really want the scoop look for some discussion boards on beach driving on the OBX - there must be some. The folks you want to hear from are those that hang around there a lot.

Be sure you take a video camera so you can post your beach driving adventure on U-Tube. Especially if you get in a situation where the tide is coming in…

Why risk your car? Go with the mother-in-law’s or the rental.

Sand is tricky, some spots are packed down and other areas can be soft. Before going out with any car I’d observe what other vehicles are being driven on the beach you intend to visit. If you see only 4X4 trucks with oversize tires for instance I’d not take either car on the beach. If you see other Subaru’s, then you could be ok.

Sand is abrasive, ie sandpaper, and it can quickly wreck suspension parts, bearings, etc. Check to be sure all your CV boots are intact before you venture out. If you really get into some deep stuff you may need to spray down the underside of the car to get all the sand off.

I agree with UncleTurbo…
Just a reminder too, that most awd systems get really “stressed” by deep mud, sand and snow and are really made for prolonged optimal traction requirements more on slippery surfaces conditions. The newer RAV with the 4wd lock switch helps, but if I were spending much time in sand, it would be with a light vehicle with good flotation(tires) and truck based part time 4wd system with traditional limited sslip or locking rear with a winch. Get a 4wd short bed Toyota PU (or old Sidekick/Tracker) and have at it. Excess weight will also be your enemy in soft sand.
Set it up right and enjoy, but be ready for accelerated wear on some components.


One of these would probably do well on sand.

It’d probably roll over. Then people would sue Delta, Delta would sue Firestone, and in the end the feds would require the vehicle to have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.