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My wife and I are planning a vacation to the Outerbanks later this year. We were looking at some of the rentals on the beach where you would need a 4wd vehicle to get to the house. In the description it says no AWD vehicles. I know the Escape has the intelligent 4wd which is basically AWD. Do you guys think we would get stuck in the sand with stock 19" tires?
 

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IMHO - you should also be concerned with the amount of clearance between your rear axle, etc. and the sand. 4 wheel drive won't do you any good if you sink to the axle (Escape doesn't sit up real high).
 

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The Escape will do just fine in "soft road" conditions (dry dirt, gravel, etc.) but probably not so well in "no road" conditions.

Also, sand requires special tires, and more importantly - lots of experience to - to be able to drive on it effectively.

4WD or AWD does not an off roader make - the driver is what makes an off roader.
 

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I don't have my Escape yet (any day now) so admittedly anything I have to say about it will be conjecture. What I do have is quite a bit of experience with sand. With sand you have to stay on top of it to go anywhere. This why if you air down your tires you create a larger tire foot print. When you do this it's like driving a completely different vehicle. I have been in sand where I was on the verge of getting stuck in my pickup in 4x4 and aired my tires down to10psi. and could go almost anywhere I wanted in 2x4. I think you might have a problem in deep lose sand with the 19in tires and probably the 18in also. These tires don't have enough sidewall so when you air them down the tire won't spread out enough to allow them to float. If the sand is wet or dense like on the beach close to the water you will be fine.
That's my 2cents.
Mark
 

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Be ready to turn off the traction control. Personally, I'd avoid driving in deep sand.
 

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I don't have my Escape yet (any day now) so admittedly anything I have to say about it will be conjecture. What I do have is quite a bit of experience with sand. With sand you have to stay on top of it to go anywhere. This why if you air down your tires you create a larger tire foot print. When you do this it's like driving a completely different vehicle. I have been in sand where I was on the verge of getting stuck in my pickup in 4x4 and aired my tires down to10psi. and could go almost anywhere I wanted in 2x4. I think you might have a problem in deep lose sand with the 19in tires and probably the 18in also. These tires don't have enough sidewall so when you air them down the tire won't spread out enough to allow them to float. If the sand is wet or dense like on the beach close to the water you will be fine.
That's my 2cents.
Mark
^---- I'd listen and completely agree. Ask any military people also that's why the original Hummers and some Humvees had the central tire inflation system :D
 

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Sand is a terrain depending on how loose, you may end up getting stuck. Funny enough I remember going Beach ridin in my friends Durango, coming back we found this guy in his brand new BMW X5 - Xdrive. Apparently he was under the impression, that he can take this street car with street tires, off road. Plus made the mistake of bringing his wife (adds to the embarrassment factor) plus not bringing any equipment, shovel, rope, air compressor, etc. He was dug in so deep that he was resting on the chassis, it took this Big Dodge 4x4 to whip it out, that was a funny site, might I add, looked like a pitbull playing with a tire.

What to take away, the Escape may survive some terrain that is sand, but I wouldn't trust it that much. Esp with Street tires.
 

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I remember years ago I was setting in my 74 F100 4x4 right off the Sand Hwy in Grover Beach California when low and behold here comes a 65 Mustang with paddle tires. He was able to go anywhere we could go! It was fun to watch. Incidentally for those who are not familiar with the Sand Hwy, it was a state Hwy right through the dunes and was the only Hwy that you could legally drink and drive on. I'm not sure the date but that has changed and if drink or drive drunk on the Sand Hwy the same laws are in forced as any other state Hwy. My how things change, it was fun while it lasted.
Mark
 

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I use to drive my 1972 Nova Hatchback up and down Pismo Beach when I was stationed at Vandenburg AFB years ago. I never got stuck, but I stayed out of the really deep loose stuff and drove on the pack stuff near the water most of the time. If they allow vehicle traffic on the beach to get to the cottages, then there may be packed down areas that people drive on. If you know where you are going to be staying, use Google Earth and look the place over. You may be able to see what other cars are driving on the sand as well. You could always rent a Bug... they drive over anything. :D

Mike
 

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My wife and I are planning a vacation to the Outerbanks later this year. We were looking at some of the rentals on the beach where you would need a 4wd vehicle to get to the house. In the description it says no AWD vehicles. I know the Escape has the intelligent 4wd which is basically AWD. Do you guys think we would get stuck in the sand with stock 19" tires?
I've spent plenty of time in the Outer Banks of NC. It sounds like you're talking about renting something up past the Duck area. The transition/entry to the beach is very rutted up and I would advise against it in a vehicle with 19 inch wheels. Also the front of the Escape does not have great ground clearance, found that out after the recent bought of snow in our area and you'll end up plowing the front into the sand.

Like others have said there is just not enough sidewall on those tires and hardly any advantage in airing tires that size down to improve the footprint. I drove up the beach for miles in the 09 CRV that we had. Of course it was only AWD but it had 17 inch tires and I did not air them down. My buddy with a lifted Sequoia thought I was crazy but I made it through the entry and kept up with him for the entire trip.

Bottom line it will depend greatly on the condition of the entry which is the worst part. The rest of the beach is fairly hard packed sand but most get stuck trying to enter the beach. I would not try it with 19 inch wheels they will most likely dig into the sand and you run the risk of roughing up the painted finish on those big rims. Also just FYI tows out of the sand there are quite exspensive:D
 

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How well do the brake rotors and wheel bearings hold up with all that fine sand working it's way into everything?
Those should be fine. Wheel bearings today are all sealed units.

The biggest issue with the Escape on sand is clearance. In real loose sand, it'll bog down and bottom out. Most people would make the mistake of hitting the gas when a wheel starts to spin, which just makes the issue worse. Trying to get off a beach (uphill) is where most get stuck. Gravity (and sand) suck.

You have to keep moving and stay on top. Even a 4x4 truck can get stuck if the nut holding the steering wheel doesn't know what he's doing. :D
 

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In sand speed is your friend, so keep moving.
Mark
Yes, momentum is key to any off road, deep snow or slippery situation. If you are moving, you can usually keep moving, if you stop, you may find yourself dead in the water.

As far as airing tires down for sand, your tires will behave like crawler tracks on a bulldozer. But, you must have special off road tires, ordinary street tires can be severely damaged by driving at extremely low pressures.
The sidewalls of street tires can be damaged by the extreme "crush".
 

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Another thing that a lot of die hard Jeep folks have is locking differentials, which are very helpful in conditions where the car has trouble getting a good foothold - like loose sand.
Locking diffs are usually not found on normal SUV's or CUV's because if improperly used they will destroy tires or even the drivetrain.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks everyone! Looks like we will look into places more inland. Getting stuck would definitely ruin the joys of the vacation!
 

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As DKazoroski professed, best way for Sand is a locked diff, on true 4wd vehicles, you may venture and do ok, but its not something I would go in and expecting a lot.
 

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Thanks everyone! Looks like we will look into places more inland. Getting stuck would definitely ruin the joys of the vacation!
That's probably wise. And to be fair, it's not the case that Ford promoted the Escape as capable of this kind of driving. Sand is so unpredictable that virtually anything has a chance of getting stuck in it.
 

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