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Contemplating first road trip, has an uphill off road component...

Discussion in 'Model S' started by demundus, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. demundus

    demundus Member

    Jul 5, 2015
    Oceanside, CA
    Hey all,

    Going to do the first of many trips into the mountains in Kern County, CA for the fall. Its great biking and hiking, and the cabin we stay at is superb. Friends suggest we try the Model S this time. I'm stoked! However, on the final stretch (the private road up to the cabin) of the trip, there is a pretty steep and somewhat rugged offroad section. I feel if I go slow and raise all the way up I should be ok, but I was wondering if anyone has had any moderate offroad experience in their Model S? For reference, here are other cars that regularly make the trip. Some have more clearance than the Model S, some less: Pontiac Vibe, F250, Honda Element, Subaru Crosstrek, Jetta TDI Wagon, RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Compass.

    This car is well suited for the rest of the trip, with the Tejon Supercharger being PERFECTLY situated, energy is of no concern. Just don't want to ruin anything by doing this.
  2. Seesaw

    Seesaw Member

    Nov 9, 2013
    Well with a titanium bash plate and flat underbody you will probably have one of the better cars for a rough road.
  3. Cyclone

    Cyclone Cyclonic Member ((.oO))

    Jan 12, 2015
    Charlotte, NC
    Personally, given the list of other cars that have made that pass (presumably relatively easily), I would be more worried about damaging my paint rather than damaging the car itself. I wish you luck!

    By the way, at my work, we have lots of speed bumps, some mild and some intense. I would end up bottoming out the suspension on a few of the intense once, but I was sure my body wasn't hitting the ground. My Service Center confirmed that I had a bad assumption on how air suspension worked. I thought on Very High, the car would have more room to compress the suspension as I went over the bumps. Instead, as I raised to Very High, it stiffened the suspension like being on stilts and walking like Frankenstein's monster. Once I switched to High, I stopped having problems. Thus, if the ground clearance isn't a concern at High, you might actually be more comfortable there than Very High. Good luck either way!
  4. kort677

    kort677 Banned

    Sep 17, 2015
    IMHO the car's low clearance would cause concern about taking the car off road.
  5. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin President, Florida Tesla Enthusiasts

    Aug 22, 2011
    Sarasota, Florida
    According to the specifications web page the standard ground clearance is 5.65" and the car has a ground clearance range of 4.7" to 6.40". That's only an additional 3/4" clearance over the standard clearance.

    If you do put the car in the Very High setting you must drive at less than 22 mph otherwise the car will lower the ground clearance to the High setting.

    In either case there's not much in the way of additional ground clearance.

  6. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

    Mar 8, 2012
    All of the cars mentioned have a shorter wheelbase than the Model S, so that can make a differences if the road has a lot of short undulations. The main problem I've found is the lack of sideways traction when it rains. I haven't had any particular problems with ground clearance and have rarely had to raise the suspension.
  7. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

    Jun 24, 2014
    Santa Cruz Mountains, USA
    I have taken my air suspension car up a pretty steep rutted road at a friend's place in very high, going very slowly. She did fine. I was surprised, and a bit nervous. I don't think I would try if it were wet.

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