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Old 04-29-2015, 05:17 PM   #1
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Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

Hello, New to forum and looking to buy a smb soon. I am assessing our families vehicles. Do very many use their smb as a daily driver. I have a loaded up ram crew cab 1500 that I love but when loaded up with 3 kids, wife and dog it is crowded. My wife has a Honda minivan but not good in the snow here in Ohio, mtn's of WV. We love to ski, pull boat, mtn bike, some camping, atv , paddle board, kayak and drive back and forth for weekend trips to West Virgina and Tennessee frequently and going to do a 2 week out West trip in a month or two. I was debating on looking on 15-25k range for a older smb weekend cruiser but might get rid of my truck and allocate funds to newer one but I know these can be pricey. Any thoughts on 4 wheel drive vs. 2 wheel with my needs? Daily driver? I usually drive about 13k a yr.
Thanks so much!!!
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:07 PM   #2
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

How old are your kids? If they're in car seats, then it might be tough to fit in most SMB configurations.

If you're only camping sometimes maybe just getting a 4x4 passenger van will be a better fit rather than a SMB. You'll have more room for the family and plenty of windows to look out of during the road trips.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:35 PM   #3
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

I use mine as a daily driver. It's 4x4 and I have two kids in car seats. I put about the same mileage on it maybe a little more with trips added in. It's configured with four captains chairs then a gaucho and cabinet with appliances running down the sides behind the captains. Seats four (forward)/sleeps four.
It's not super practical but neither is having kids. Ha! I wouldn't trade it, except for a newer one.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:39 PM   #4
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

A 5.4 (v8 gas) SMB, which there are plenty of, will get you probably 12 mpg or so commuting, and in my opinion they don't drive any differently than full size trucks and SUVs that everyone else uses as a daily driver. An EB will barely fit in a parking space lengthwise but it will fit. I would say go for it. Every now and then I make it a point to drive mine to work every day for a month just because I love driving it. Also, I think it's better for any vehicle to get used than to sit around all the time.

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Old 04-29-2015, 06:56 PM   #5
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

Thanks for the input. My kids are 12,10 and 7.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:58 PM   #6
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

I like the idea of 3 to 4 captain seats.
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:58 PM   #7
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

4x4 or 2x4, it's still a big van. Once you get used to the size, there's no reason you can't drive it daily. If mine were gas or my commute was long enough to warm up my diesel, I'd drive my van daily just because I like driving it!

IMO, it's the layout that determines the van's everyday usefulness.

I have two little kids in carseats and an RB50 4x4. It's fine in trip-mode, but otherwise not that good for people hauling. There are only 5 seatbelts including the driver's. The bench seat is too far back to hear / reach / deal with kids.
If I were to buy again, I'd get a floorplan with second row capitains chairs. They'd be more comfortable for everyone, carseats would go in and out easier, and they'd be closer to the front. The tradeoff would be losing the '50 "living room" when camping (which is awesome when camping with little kids in the rain).
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Old 04-29-2015, 07:47 PM   #8
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

It depends on the age of your children. After about the mid fours they become somewhat self sufficient and the need to be able to help them while in transit becomes less of an issue. I really like the fact that my son can play, make a little racket and the wife and I can still enjoy some conversation. Yes, sometimes it would be nice to have another seat in between the couch and passenger seat but not often enough that I am going to ad it. We own the EB 50 layout. I would however point out that there is about 51" of width in the couch. Fine for two adults, three children not needing child seats, or one child w/ child seat and one adult. I have another vehicle, (Wrangler) and drive whichever suits me. Sometimes the Wrangler if the sun is out and I can take off the windows and top. I enjoy the SMB more though for a family rig. Nice to be able to pull off and fix a lunch, at the end of the day pull out a cold one, etc.
On the 2WD vs 4WD. If it was in the budget I'd spring for the 4WD, they just look better - however I would not do any serious wheeling with a starcool system on the belly, just too exposed. A good option is to look for both, a clean 2WD can always be converted and sometimes less expensive than a 4WD already converted. The great thing about taking a 2WD as well, you know it hasn't been abused. And, another option is to take the 2WD, lift it and put LSD. You get the look at about a 1/3 the cost.
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:33 PM   #9
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

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Old 05-03-2015, 08:20 AM   #10
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Re: Daily Driver, 4wd vs 2wd

Thanks everyone, great input. I like the idea of captain chairs. I like the look of a 4 x 4 but price and gas milage of 2wd. I went and looked at one yesterday that I really liked but noticed the ceiling height in the back was a little tight. It was the E-250 which I like the looks of. I am 6 ft and my I needed to lean a little to not hit my head while sitting on the back bench seat. It would be fine for kids but looks tough for adults and if hit bumps. Is this typically the case as looks like the floor was raised some?
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