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Old 01-17-2021, 05:32 PM   #1
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Is your 4x4 a "Must Have" or "Nice to Have"

I know it depends. I know a skilled driver can get further in a 4x2 than a newbie in a 4x4, but in general, for long term adventure travel, do you consider the 4x4 on your SMB a must have?

I'm looking for a starter rig and will be driving a 4x2 tomorrow even though I'd rather have 4x4.
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Old 01-17-2021, 06:49 PM   #2
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I bought mine because it is 4x4. I wouldn’t be without 4x4 with what I’ve done and plan to do. Likely gone with a difFerent make otherwise.
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:34 PM   #3
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4X4 comes in handy when the situation presents itself. Plenty you can do without it (baring a lack of common sense), Coupled with the fact you can always add it down the road - figure approximately $20K+ if you have it done.
If the price of the Van you're looking at is reasonable and in great condition, it would probably be listed $20K higher with 4x4 to begin with. The benefit of adding 4x4 is you would then own a Van with no miles & no wear associated with all parts/equipment from the upgrade - you inherit all that if you purchase one that has already been outfitted with 4x4. Just something to take into consideration.
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Old 01-17-2021, 09:37 PM   #4
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Depends on how far away from civilization you want to be when you get stuck.

One thing to keep in mind is that 4x4 will lower your fuel economy and make the ride rougher. If you only plan on using it occasionally, and you expect to be putting on a lot of highway miles, that may not be a great tradeoff.
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:33 AM   #5
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Sportsmobile is pretty much synonymous with offroad capability. The 4wd's and owners who use them for that greatly outnumber the 2wd's. I can only really think of one reason to buy a 2wd one and that's if you want a full size van with a pop top you can park in a lower height garage/door.

If height is not a concern there are a lot better options for small camper vans these days.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:15 AM   #6
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It's a must have with what I like to do. Snow plows do not exist in the backcountry.
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Old 01-18-2021, 10:47 AM   #7
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Got my first van in 1972, a 2wd Econoline. After multiple stucks - and multiple times of loading a lot of rocks in the back to get some traction to the back tires - 4 years later I splurged on a 4wd van conversion. Never been without a 4wd van since. Well worth the extra money to me. But that's because of where I live and where I drive. Very few paved roads around here - if I leave my house and drive south it is 102.5 miles till I get to the first pavement. I consider 4wd a necessity, not an option.

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Old 01-18-2021, 11:21 AM   #8
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As a kid I grew up in a 2WD family. We loved to adventure but whether we were out in the the pickup or the van, it was a 2WD. I spent hours upon hours of my life learning as a kid that when I get older, I will own a 4x4 for my adventures as I spent a lot of time digging and getting branches to help get un-stuck. Well that day came about 25 years ago when I got my first 4x4 and I still drive a 4x4 everyday, both a pickup and van. I would never have it any other way. Now it is exceptionally rare that I get stuck and when I do it typically just involves airing down the tires a little and I am out. I go many places that you NEED 4x4 to navigate through. Also, if you drive in snow country, wouldn't you prefer to not need to put on chains? As a buddy of mine said, if Highway Patrol is requiring both 4x4 AND chains, you really need to rethink why you should be driving under those conditions.

Just my 2 cents worth as a VERY happy 4x4 owner for over 25 years.
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Old 01-18-2021, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
Sportsmobile is pretty much synonymous with offroad capability. The 4wd's and owners who use them for that greatly outnumber the 2wd's. I can only really think of one reason to buy a 2wd one and that's if you want a full size van with a pop top you can park in a lower height garage/door.

If height is not a concern there are a lot better options for small camper vans these days.

I really wonder if thatís true (4WD SMBs outnumbering 2WD). The forum sways heavily to 4WD folks represented, but Iím sure SMB has built a lot of 2WD vans over the years that are still kicking around. Iíve owned two of them.

I can think of 20,000+ good reasons ($$$) to buy a 2WD SMB instead of 4WD. With decent tires and LSD Iíve gotten to every place Iíve wanted to go (and back again), including plenty of western BLM lands and USFS roads.
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Old 01-18-2021, 12:35 PM   #10
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It's a nice to have for sure, used it a handful of times. But we've changed our travel style a little bit so we decided 4x4 wasn't really needed for us, we have since purchased an AWD Transit (still awaiting delivery).


Orv makes a really good point about ride comfort, we put a lot of seat time in our van and its quite harsh. Another is fuel economy and range, the Transit will double our fuel economy and range but comfort was our biggest reason for switching platforms.
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