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". )