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truck questions - 4x4 vs. 4x2, etc.

Jan. 2, 2011, 12:31 a.m.
Posts: 669
Joined: Nov. 15, 2002

I'm considering replacing my Subaru Legacy wagon with a truck, could use some advice on the age-old questions of "do I need a 4x4?" and "do I need 4 doors?" from the wise truck-owning folks here. TIA!

Background: Currently I use the Suby mostly for "recreation". Commute miles involve getting to from the airport or west coast express. My summer time activities consist of (surprise) biking, hiking, but I have aspirations of getting into moto this year. Winter time I ski, but so far at least only "in-bounds". So I just have to get to/from the ski hills (local, Whistler, Baker). For ski duty I have few complaints with the suby. With winter tires it gets pretty much everywhere without trouble, and generally can carry a few people + ski gear (rooftop box). The problem with the suby wagon is that it has almost no ground clearance, the suspension is too soft, and with the rear hitch to carry bikes I scrape bottom 'round back shockingly easily. Add a couple people and gear, bikes, throw in a non-paved road.. and, well, let's just say I'm not a team player on shuttles or multi-day trips. :|

So I'm considering a used truck. Of course I want a 4x4, but I'm questioning whether or not I need it. My guess is that in the summer, I don't. Logging roads are no problem. Just need to get to trail heads, carry a few bikes or whatever in the back. I am less confident in a 4x2 being ok for winter ski travel, though. Should I be? Maybe in the next few years I might venture outside the ski-resort boundaries, or if a pot of money fell onto my lap I could see myself enjoying a sled.. Would I just be killing myself without 4x4 on anything resembling a logging road covered in snow? What about just going up to Seymour while the snow is falling?

My logic against 4x4s is simple: They're a lot more money upfront, and it looks like slightly more expensive to insure. I'd rather save the cash for trips and adventure than sink it into a 4x4 transmission. But this is BC, there are hills. And snow. So maybe a 4x4 is just the cost of doing business. (and I don't mind admitting that I have indeed effortlessly passed spinning front and rear wheel drive cars/trucks in the snow many times in the suby.)

Second line of questioning involves "crew cabs" vs "extended cabs". Obviously, again, the 4 door crew cabs are a lot more money. Most of the time I can't see myself having more than one other passenger, and for the few times I do, well.. whoever is in the back has to suck it up, obviously. I do, however, have two young kids (4 [HTML_REMOVED] 6). They haven't, so far, come on many of adventures. That's probably going to change soon for the 6 year old, but if it's just him no prob he sits up front with the airbag disabled. My guess is that the kids could fit in the extended cab without too much complaining on an entirely hypothetical trips where all 4 of us would be travelling in the truck instead of in my wife's RAV4. Any experience with this theory? Am I just stupid to think a human of any size is going to fit back there for longer than a shuttle run up a hill? Is it safe back there in a crash? (ah, things I didn't worry about 6+ years ago..)

Thx for any tips!

(BTW, my current front-runner is a 4 to 5 year old Frontier "king cab". )

Jan. 2, 2011, 12:35 a.m.
Posts: 7967
Joined: March 8, 2006

Get a 4runner with a 3.4 or 2.7 if you want to fuel friendly or a pathfinder with a 3.5 if you want something nice

Pathfinders a nicer vehicle, 4runner is more functional

Posting a budget helps.

Any Nissan prior to the 4.0 will be pretty thirsty for the power you get. And I'd steer clear of autos.

The toyota/nissan 4.0's are thirsty, but also powerful. Imo they're not a bad powerplant to live with.

Jan. 2, 2011, 12:38 a.m.
Posts: 669
Joined: Nov. 15, 2002

Thinking $15K-$20K .

Jan. 2, 2011, 12:42 a.m.
Posts: 7967
Joined: March 8, 2006

Disregard my post.

It's a little expensive, but something like this fits the bill.

http://abbotsford.en.craigslist.ca/cto/2120827692.html

Jan. 2, 2011, 12:54 a.m.
Posts: 669
Joined: Nov. 15, 2002

I have considered a truck-based SUV (basically a tougher version of my wagon), but assumed 4runners would be too expensive. Maybe not, they must depreciate like SOBs vs. the trucks.. Hmm. I do like the idea of a truck bed, but of course there are pluses to the SUV too. Would a Frontier really suck more gas than a 2005-ish 4L 4runner?

Jan. 2, 2011, 12:59 a.m.
Posts: 7967
Joined: March 8, 2006

I have considered a truck-based SUV (basically a tougher version of my wagon), but assumed 4runners would be too expensive. Maybe not, they must depreciate like SOBs vs. the trucks.. Hmm. I do like the idea of a truck bed, but of course there are pluses to the SUV too. Would a Frontier really suck more gas than a 2005-ish 4L 4runner?

The 4.0 frontiers and 4.0 Tacomas are pretty similar engine wise. And transmission wise.

I thought you were refferring to the older frontiers v-six in the other post.

The nissan IMO is better built, and nicer inside. The toyota is better built to get you there with 4-wheel drive. The frontier just seems like a street truck from factory. FYI, I work part time building 4x4's and stripping wrecked trucks, this is where I get my opinions from.
I'm of course reffering to 05-10 trucks.

This wouldn't be a bad option. especially if you got it for in the 13's

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/bnc/ctd/2137848844.html

If you want the newer years you're going to be 5-7,000 more.

I'm not vouching for these ad's fyi, I don't know them just throwing out examples.

oh and don't buy anything supercharged, it seems cool, except to your mileage.

Jan. 2, 2011, 4:01 a.m.
Posts: 0
Joined: June 15, 2008

I've got a relatively new Frontier Crew Cab 4x4, and I have to say it's an awesome truck. I use the crew cab for shuttle rides and road trips with adult friends, or for keeping bags inside when traveling with the wife. If you figure 99% of the time it will be just you, or you and the kids, then the king cab should be fine. It's too bad they don't do the sideways-facing seats anymore. My dad had an 84 Nissan King Cab with flip-down side seats and I still fit semi-comfortably in the back when I hit 6'-4", even with ski boots on.

As for the 4x4 vs 2x4, I live in Rossland, and it tends to snow here, and we have hills. My daily commute is mountain driving. I think so far this winter I've needed the 4x4 once, used it twice when I probably would have been okay in 2, and come close to needing it twice (probably should have used it) but kept it in 2 just to prove that I could. All that is with god winter tires, but no studs and no extra weight in the back. I grew up here, so i learned to drive on snow.

If you keep a few sand bags, a shovel and some tire chains in the back and good winter rubber on the wheels you should be okay in the 4x2. But, if you're not already comfortable driving a rear-wheel drive in snow, then with two little kids sounds like a crappy time to learn. I fishtail around a corner once or twice a week (usually on purpose) and I've been pretty successful keeping it between the lines so far, but my Wife piled it into a snowbank, so she leaves it in 4x4 now in anything more than bare pavement.

Jan. 2, 2011, 5:11 a.m.
Posts: 4983
Joined: Dec. 6, 2002

I have a 4door TRD Prerunner. 2wd. Gets sweet mileage and has lots of jam with the 3.4.

Chains and weight and Im going anywhere I want within reason.

C4 Rider Training 2013

Contact me at: cory@c4ridertraining.com

I am not so good at returning PM's as some have noticed.

c4race.com

Jan. 2, 2011, 6:53 a.m.
Posts: 11204
Joined: Nov. 18, 2004

A 2wd drive with a locking diff will do surprisingly well.

Jan. 2, 2011, 7:30 a.m.
Posts: 18446
Joined: May 29, 2004

The thing is that if you buy a 2wd,you will soon find yourself in a spot where you wished you had popped for a 4wd.

Look into a recent f150 4 door or gm 1500….no need to go import,they're all similar quality these days..the fullsized american trucks also put down similar mileage numbers to their smaller import cousins.

Jan. 2, 2011, 7:42 a.m.
Posts: 3865
Joined: Sept. 12, 2003

I just got a new ranger sport 4x4, and it had ridiculous discounts….before taxes under 20$.
A bit more than you wanted to spend with taxes, but it is an impossible deal for a V6, 4door, 4x4 that is well equipped, but not loaded…go to squamish, the have lots and they are willing to deal a bit…i have not got a new car in years, and said i never would again but i was wrongo

WTF, Over?

Jan. 2, 2011, 7:51 a.m.
Posts: 14378
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I just got a new ranger sport 4x4, and it had ridiculous discounts….before taxes under 20$.
A bit more than you wanted to spend with taxes, but it is an impossible deal for a V6, 4door, 4x4 that is well equipped, but not loaded…go to squamish, the have lots and they are willing to deal a bit…i have not got a new car in years, and said i never would again but i was wrongo

Same here $190045 for a ranger another $1000 off if I had a costco card

sure I would have liked a tacoma but they are anther 13K

quality wise I would say the truck is on par with the japanese car companies which make everything in north america and no defects …I havent had to go back to the dealer

Jan. 2, 2011, 7:56 a.m.
Posts: 14537
Joined: Dec. 16, 2003

a lot of people will say "bah, I get everywhere with 2 wheel drive" but if you don't want to mess with chains, sandbags and more of a chance of not getting (or getting out of) where you you need to be just get 4wd. Sideshow's memory isn't too good, it was just a short while ago he was looking for someone to pull his truck out of the ditch.

Almost full load F150's are coming back off 3 year leases for 17-20k buyouts.

Jan. 2, 2011, 8:39 a.m.
Posts: 16284
Joined: March 15, 2003

The nissan IMO is better built, and nicer inside. The toyota is better built to get you there with 4-wheel drive. The frontier just seems like a street truck from factory. FYI, I work part time building 4x4's and stripping wrecked trucks, this is where I get my opinions from.
I'm of course reffering to 05-10 trucks.

i'd say it's the other way around, actually. the stock toyota suspension is so soft it drives like a corolla and the ground clearance is less than the frontier's.

anyways - to the OP - here's my $0.02

if you are considering going to a truck, then with your kids being the age they are, you should definetly consider 4 doors. they are at the age where most people round here are upgrading their trucks to 4 doors for the added space. also, try to find something with a 6' box. the small boxes don't even fit a bike in them easily, and the added space is perfect for moto etc that you have listed, plus anything else you plan on hauling around. a raised roof canopy and you can get a lot of things in there (like fridges etc).

yes, a 2wd with a locker can go many areas. but more so a 4x4 with a rear locker. it's good to have the option, so i would always say get the 4x4 if you can afford it.

i have a 07 frontier and it is thirsty on gas. really thirsty - like 18l per 100km. so my daily commute from squish to the city costs me $40. there has also been a few little glitches along the way that are inherent with the 4.0 litre drivetrain that is shared across the line with pathfinders and xterras that would make me say i wouldn't buy another one brand new - they take a hit on resale. even with 4 doors, there is not much room in the back seat area, i would hate to think about having a king cab. they truck is great in 4x4 and the vdc and abs system always keep you straight, so i have full confidence in my truck in the snow and off-road.

a little rip up brohm last year:

Jan. 2, 2011, 8:40 a.m.
Posts: 36
Joined: Dec. 3, 2010

4X4 CONS- more money to buy, operate and insure and more costly to repair…
4X4 PROS- LESS likely to get stuck.
4X2 CONS- you may get stuck. less beefy suspension
4X2 PROS- cheaper to buy, cheaper to operate, cheaper to insure and cheaper to repair if it breaks.. ( generally)

the thing is with 4 wheel drive. if you get stuck while you are in 4 wheel drive, you are really stuck!! if you get stuck in 2 wheel drive and you have 4 wheel drive option to use, then you can get unstuck. ( usually) so as long as you drive within your trucks abilities, then 2 wheel drive is all you may ever need, thus saving yourself much dollars in the long run.
2 wheel drive with GOOD tires and some sandbags in the back ( and tire chains for snow) is your most ecconomical route and probably all you will ever need, save for that one time when you fark up and do something silly like headlong a large snowbank and end up stuck tight. but drive smartly and the snowbank wont be a factor.

get extended cab, or larger with either option you choose tho.. the extra space is invaluable.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

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