I’m planning of getting a new used car, and have narrowed it down to an 06 or 07 Honda Pilot EX. I’m just not sure if it is necessary to get the AWD or just go with the 2 wheel drive. I drive a 4WD Ford Ranger right now, and do some off-pavement driving (mainly forest service dirt roads) a couple of times a year. I don’t drive in the snow. Would love some advice from some experience people on whether the 2WD can handle somewhat rough dirt roads with minimal-moderate grade.
Rough dirt road ability is more about driving style, ground clearence, and the right tires.
Unless there’s sufficient probability of mass quantaties of mud a 2wd can be great in the backwoods.
I’ve seen many a hunter out there with 2wd.
Back in the 80s our largest customer base bought plain 6cyl 2wd pickups and no one ever wondered. And THIS is rougher dirt road country than any forest service road I’ve ever seen ( four corners Navajo reservation )
Dirt roads can be negotiated by 2WD most of the time. Now add some rain, mud, and hills and the challenge goes up significantly. Forest service dirt roads doesn’t help much since some forest service roads are maintained much better than others. 4WD adds a lot of confidence if you encounter something difficult, you can go to 4WD and get out of trouble. If you go with a 2WD vehicle you might want to consider taking along a winch or some block and tackle if you are out in the woods by yourself. If you travel with a group and there are other people to help out, 2WD might be OK.
I would say that 2WD vs 4WD would depend on the quality of the dirt road. I’ve driven my FWD sedan on many miles of “improved dirt roads” (typically well graded gravel) without issue. Only you can judge the quality of the surface. Biggest issue I’ve ever had is having some “plowing” feel it I took a corner too fast. From the mileage perspective, the 2 mpg differential wouldn’t bother me as much since it is a used vehicle- buy whichever is better mechanically/price wise.
I’m with “Ken”. Dirt road travel is as much about ground clearance as drive train. Fwd can handle moderate rough roads, but, it can be a strain. If you do it frequently, you put more strain on a 2wd system, even if you can make it through, then on 4 wd. If it’s a seldom travel road when in poor condition, fwd will suffice. If you do it daily and wheel spinn is excessive, awd gives you better service with potentially fewer problems. Tire wear will also be much less on a large awd vehicle meant to carry loads than with the fwd. That’s why you encourage people with large SUVs to get awd, even in non snow areas, if the alternative is fwd. RWD option on a truck based SUV for you would be the best to avoid 4wd IMO.
Where I may disagree with “ken” is that most of those Hunters he has seen may be using rwd truck based vehicles oon sturdy frames and not fwd cars.
Well you already have a 4WD, go for the 2WD, just respect its limitations,as was said though consider the condition of the vehicle.You used to be able to buy a “Desert Runner” type vehicle with good ground clearence and LSD diff.Beings you dont drive in snow you shouldnt have much trouble ,but I would advise you to carry a tow strap and a " come along"-Kevin