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I purchased a new 2019 Compass a month ago and am loving it so far and am eager to take it on the beaches here in Delaware and Maryland.

The state and national park beaches here require a minimum 7 inches of ground clearance. When I researched the Compass, the Latitude 4x4 I was looking at showed 8.2 inches of ground clearance. That was a primary factor in buying it. The salesman also said that his Compass customers drove their cars on the beaches here.

However, I noticed a week ago that the front of the car looks low. And while the sides and rear of the car clear 10 inches, I found what appears to be an extension of the front bumper (possibly an air dam from what I have read?) is barely 6 inches above the ground.

This piece of plastic is enough to reduce the ground clearance on the front to below the 7 inches required to drive on our local beaches.

I'm curious about a few things:
  • How ground clearance is measured (i.e., by the lowest point or an average around the car)
  • The experiences of any non-Trailhawk Compass owners who have driven on the beaches at Delaware's state parks or Assateague National Seashore
  • Can that piece of plastic be removed or are there other solutions if this is the problem I think it is?
 

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You are worrying about this way too much. People with little subarus go all kinds of places like that and they don't go around their car first like a goof holding a tape measure trying to figure out if they've got enough clearance or not.

Let me tell you about that plastic front lip: That thing is one tough piece of plastic. I scrape it all the time, it always bounces back for me. I figure one of these days it will finally fall off, but I don't worry about it and it hangs in there. I've hit it hard man, real hard, I've come home with that little horizontal space crammed full of pea-sized rock forcing it wide open. I scrape out the rocks, it goes back to normal. If it does fall off, who cares?

7 inches is not a magic number, no matter what some bureaucracy or your wife tells you. Good tires and common sense carries people in tiny FWD cars 10x farther than idiots in a jacked up truck. No one scientifically determined 7 inches of clearance will guarantee your success when stepping off the pavement, it just gives authorities some teeth when emergency services are requested to help some moron who buried his 1992 honda civic with bald tires into the sand.

If you are that timid about it I'm not sure going off the pavement is for you.
 

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I think OP emagill is concerned that the "goof" with the tape measure is a park ranger who issues permits to drive on the beach. Call him a goof and you WON'T get on the beach even if you've got a seventeen inch clearance!
 

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If you’re truly concerned about it, rocky road outfitters has a nice 1.5 inch puck lift that’s decently priced. And reliable from what I read. Toss on a set of KO2’s and you you’ve a real nice set up on stock rims. Or Pirelli scorpion AT plus tires the ride is much quieter and still looks great and slightly cheaper. Either way, the ride height might be much more comfortable and better looking. Even a 1’lift will be an improvement. And it should’t affect the ride quality Just my opinion though.
 
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