I bought my X-Terra back in 2004 when she was brand new and only had 17 miles on her.
[Yes, that is me back in 2004 when I worked at the Target Photo Lab in CA during the summer between Freshman and Sophomore year at BYU]
Nine years later we hit the 100K mark. I can't believe it!
Well, I can. When I bought my car I told myself that I would take good care of her (yes, my car is a girl). And I have. I keep her clean (inside and out), I get her fixed when she breaks, and I always get the oil changed on time.
This car is a trooper! She's been through rain, ice, snow, freezing rain, -55 degrees, blizzards, sunshine, crapy dirt roads, and extreme heat. We have never been in an accident or slid off the road. And have never had a flat tire and the only time she decided to break down was when I was traveling alone through Baker, CA (home the the "World Largest Thermometer" and "Gateway to Death Valley") in the summer. Ugh. It was really hot that day.
She has been in 14 states and has only had a run-in with the cops three times: (1) I got a ticket for speeding. But I did traffic school and it's off my record. (2) I got pulled over when I was leaving the bar with two of my buddies. I was the responsible DD. The cop just wanted to make sure I wasn't drinking and driving. I wasn't. I was just making sure my buddies got home safely. No ticket. (3) I got pulled over when I hit the emergency-wake-up-bumps on the side of the road in front of a cop. He pulled me over because he wanted to make sure I was awake and not falling asleep behind the wheel (Utah has a HUGE problem with people driving while drowsy so I understood). I wasn't though. No ticket.
I like my SUV. I really do. Sure she is only a 4-cylinder, no 4-wheel drive, a manual, rear-wheel drive, no cruise control, manual locks and windows, only has two speeds for the windshield wipers, AND has an annoying squeak when it's too hot or cold, BUT I lover her. That's why I call her a girl. She has an attitude sometimes (kinda like her owner).
A lot of people have asked me how I've lived in Utah, Colorado, and North Dakota without 4WD. Honestly, it hasn't been too terrible. But I don't recommend it. At all. Sometimes it's been a real pain. Like when I lived on the bench in SLC and we had a bad storm and my car couldn't make it up the hill to my house so my roommate had to come and get me (and then I traded my car to my parents for a few months so I could travel around with ease in their Titan). Or the few times that I had to park on the street and I got snowed in by a big snow plow (luckily ACE was only a few blocks away so I walked there, bought a shovel, and started digging).
I'm not going to lie. I've been in some pretty nasty snow storms in Utah while I've been on the road. During those storms I wish I had 4WD, but I didn't. So, I just got into the right-hand lane, found some some semi trucks, got behind them, went slow, prayed to God, and followed their tracks. I always made it home safely.
Side note: During one of the storms I had some nice trucks and SUVs pass me in the left-hand lane. I thought they were crazy for driving so fast during the storm. And they were. Even though they had 4WD I saw them later up the road in the ditch. Just because you have 4WD doesn't mean you are invincible and can drive like a maniac!
While in North Dakota I have been able to manage without 4WD by planning my outings properly. If I want to go grocery shopping but there is too much snow on the ground I will just go another day. Also, the town square (where everything is) is on low ground. You can get down there easily, but if the roads are bad it's hard to get out. I found this out the hard way. I went into the town square to go to the Post Office and then I realized that I wouldn't be able to make it out the same way I came in. So, I found another road. This road had a gradual slope (unlike the other steeper roads). It takes me a little longer (like 3 minutes) to get home because it takes me a little out of my way, but I still make it home in one piece! :-)
I think not having 4WD has worked because I don't HAVE to be somewhere or anywhere right now. I'm an unemployed, stay-at-home-girlfriend. I don't have a job that I have to be at everyday, I don't have kids that have to make it to school every day, I don't have any huge responsibilities that require or need me to be somewhere at a specific time. Hopefully, that will all change in the near future. But for now my X-Terra is getting the job done.
I'm pretty sure that my next car will have 4WD and cruise control. It's just more convenient that way.