Hitch rack ground clearance

I’m looking at buying one of the hitch mounted 2-bike tray-type racks discussed in some other threads in the forums, but need advice about one issue. I’ll be mounting the hitch and rack on a 2006 Toyota Prius, so there’s not much ground clearance as it is. And I live in an area with gravel driveways that can have ruts or dips on which I’ve occasionally scraped the car’s front spoiler (but never the rear end). Do the racks and hitches vary significantly in ground clearance? Can people with similarly low cars tell me about their experience with these types of racks, or make any recommendation?
I have very low clearance on our Chrysler Pacifica and I use that style rack. It has scraped a couple times but nothing really major. I've learned to strategically drive at an angle when there is a sharp driveway entrance or elevation change. by hitting it at an angle it starts one side raising when the second side is still on the level, by the time the other wheel hits the rise it doesn't scrape so it just takes a little practice. The plus side is we don't have to lift our bikes way up to put them on the carrier.


Well-Known Member
It's not the rack as much as how low the hitch sits, after being attached to your car, The bottom of the aftermarket hitch mounted on my VW station wagon only sits 7.25" off the ground. Alone, it will scrape on things like speed bumps or a steep entry to a filling station, because of the way the car is shaped. My bike rack itself angles upward as it leaves the hitch. I think many racks do this.

Going back to a bigger vehicle next year, Won't have this problem.
Thanks for the tips. It sound like I’ll want to be conscious of the type of hitch receiver, and of how far the hitch rack attachment extends straight out of the receiver before it angles upward. The Etrailers website lists two Class 1 (1 1/4” US standard) receivers that fit the Prius. Anyone have any information about whether one has better ground clearance than another? And it lists many racks. Has anyone seen in person if any specific one angles upward especially close to the receiver?