How much ground clearance do you really need?

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TheGreatAbyss TheGreatAbyss
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How much ground clearance do you really need?

Question to the Forum:  How much ground clearance do you really need to make it to the ski hills and back?

I'm ready to buy another car, and I'm definitely getting something with AWD, but beyond that I'm debating.  The normal choice for a ski car is a high riding SUV, but I have a few issues with that:

1) I'm a short guy - At 5'6" it's a giant pain in the a** to climb on top of these things to get my skis out of a Thule box.
2) Because of of #1 I always end up throwing my skis in the car which not only reduces cargo area, but is actually quite dangerous
3) I live in Brooklyn, and having a more compact car is easier to park

I'm thinking that getting a regular sedan or hatch would be easier to get on top of, easier to park, and actually safer when it comes to transporting skis if I'm putting them on top.

Does anyone have any experience driving a regular height AWD sedan or hatch through snow storms and snowy / muddy parking lots?  I'm thinking of something like a regular Impreza hatch, or the little Mazda CX-3.  Does increased ground clearance really do anything for traction?  I'm not going off roading or anything.

Thanks,

 
raisingarizona raisingarizona
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

I'm driving an old 2002 Subaru Legacy right now and I love it for going to the ski area and back. It trucks in the snow and it's easy to get around town in.

I like Mazda's a lot. My gf has an older 3 and it's really fun to drive. I wish the 6 came with AWD.
MC2 5678F589 MC2 5678F589
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

In reply to this post by TheGreatAbyss
We have an Impreza and a 4Runner.

We end up taking the Impreza everywhere because, while we thought we would need the additional ground clearance of the 4Runner for super snowy days, it turns out that we didn't.

Plus the Impreza gets better gas mileage.
TheGreatAbyss TheGreatAbyss
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

MC2 - Is it a hatch or a Sedan?

Also do you think the WRX (not STI) would be too low?   I've always wanted one but at 4.9 inches of Ground Clearance I'm worried that might be too low for those crazy potholed ski resort parking lots.
Harvey Harvey
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

In reply to this post by TheGreatAbyss
Do you stay overnight in the mountains? What is the driveway like, where you stay?
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
Z Z
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

In reply to this post by TheGreatAbyss
I live on a dirt road in the Daks.  I’ve had both a Subaru Outback and a Legacy Sedan along with several other SUVs  I felt the Legacy drive the best in snow and didn’t have any issues bottoming out

I’m looking at getting a Legacy again for my next car.  The Impreza seems pretty cramped to my inside.
"It is better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think of sport."
Artic Explorer Fridtjof Nansen
TheGreatAbyss TheGreatAbyss
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

In reply to this post by Harvey
I do stay overnight at various different places.  At worst they are unplowed dirt roads, at best they are plowed parking lots.  The worst I've probably seen was a VRBO in Lake Placid that was up a steep unplowed dirt/ice hill.  My old Ford Escape did get me up and down just fine.
TheGreatAbyss TheGreatAbyss
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

In reply to this post by Z
The legacy has 5.9 inches of clearance.  Surprisingly high for a sedan.  That being said I do prefer the compactness of the impreza for parking reasons.

https://www.caranddriver.com/subaru/legacy/specs
Ethan Snow Ethan Snow
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

In reply to this post by TheGreatAbyss
TheGreatAbyss wrote
Question to the Forum:  How much ground clearance do you really need to make it to the ski hills and back?
About this much.



Anything else, it's all the same shit nowadays. The make and model is almost irrelevant, all cars are built mechanically very similar with very little ground clearance to improve fuel economy. I'm not saying to go out and buy a Fiat, I'm just saying that if ground clearance is a concern, well, It's really just what works best for you.

AWD is really just a marketing game on the vehicle manufacturers part. There's a differential between the front and back wheels in an AWD (that's how they stay in AWD all the time) so once you are really in a slippery situation and the diff spins out you aren't really that much further ahead than with a regular front wheel drive vehicle than gets better mileage anyway.  I've seen AWD vehicle get stuck, and there's still only one wheel spinning.  4 wheel drive that you shift into manually when you start slipping creates a solid mechanical link between the front and back wheels, and will be the only thing that's really going to save you if you really do get into some serious shit.

Honestly, Tires are the biggest thing here. If you're looking for a small car, get yourself a Honda or a Nissan, and put snow tires on it for the winter months. I have a Nissan Sentra (and a 4wd truck) with just 2 Cooper Weathermasters on the front and that thing will shred the gnar. I've driven it on a lot of powder days this season, as well as commute every day on rough roads all winter long, and have not had any issues. Meanwhile my mom has an AWD Chevy Traverse, and i've driven it a lot but personally I think it handles horribly on snow compared to my little car. Partly because she runs all season tires. My dad has an AWD Subaru Legacy, and it honestly doesn't handle any better than the Nissan. I actually think the snow tires on the 2wd Nissan still handle better than the Legacy with whatever tires he has on it.

Basically, no standard vehicle is "designed" to handle in conditions other than pavement, unless you mod the heck out of them
I'll take boilerplate ice over wet snow any day
Harvey Harvey
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Re: How much ground clearance do you really need?

Ethan Snow wrote
TheGreatAbyss wrote
Question to the Forum:  How much ground clearance do you really need to make it to the ski hills and back?
About this much.

How much is that?
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp
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