rear wheel biased awd options for a family car, station wagon or a minivan

What i want is this:
a station wagon or sedan with plenty of backseat legroom (my toddler is rather long) so that I don't have to pull the passenger front seat forward to
accomodate a child seat (a 2 month old toddler in winter clothing does NOT fit into a rear facing child seat)
preferably with a heavy rear axle awd bias (70-80%), heavily sprung.
Is there anything south of the beemer 3??xi that would work?
i'm driving on unplowed streets regularly (but do not use chains, ever) and thus (i believe i) need some clearance between wheels and wheel wells (3?? is not so good in that respect) and gound clearance of 150-160mm or 6"-6.5" would be about right
money ARE an issue
thanks
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I'm going to weigh in on the kid facing the3 wrong way issue for just a second ... you are making a mistake if you think a baby should be allowed in a forward-facing seat.
Having said that, and not knowing anything about the issues facing you, I recently saw an AWD Volvo X90 (I think) that seems to appear to meet many of the specifications you have placed on a vehicle.
Of course, a 4-door pick-up truck or equivelent SUV would easily meet your needs for space and clearance.

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Well, I'm struggling to figure out how to strap in the 24" long package (more like 27" with winter clothing) in that tiny size 0 seat: it just does not fit with the legs sticking out for about 3-4"
I just gave up on rear mounting the seat as I just can't strap the babypack into the seat with the tinsy little straps of the seat. The thing seems to have been designed with summer in mind. The term "eurotrash" comes to mind to describe this Capri Eurobaby seat.
I was expecting that snowbelters on alt.autos.subaru have ground the topic to death but "rear facing winter" yielded just a reference to some old wrx vs. dakota trash

Yes, but then i'd be limited to sucky suv all season tires year round I'd rather have a wide selection of car tires for summer and winter

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wrote:

Well, I'm struggling to figure out how to strap in the 24" long package (more like 27" with winter clothing) in that tiny size 0 seat: it just does not fit with the legs sticking out for about 3-4"
I just gave up on rear mounting the seat as I just can't strap the babypack into the seat with the tinsy little straps of the seat. The thing seems to have been designed with summer in mind. The term "eurotrash" comes to mind to describe this Capri Eurobaby seat.
I was expecting that snowbelters on alt.autos.subaru have ground the topic to death but "rear facing winter" yielded just a reference to some old wrx vs. dakota trash
<JS> Well, I don't live where I have to deal with rolling a kid up in several pounds of clothing to ward off the cold, so my kids easily fit into the rear-facing seats until they were old enough to face the front. While I may be alarmed at facing a kid forward, I have no experience and no solution, so take my view with a grain of salt ...
</JS>

Yes, but then i'd be limited to sucky suv all season tires year round I'd rather have a wide selection of car tires for summer and winter
<JS> I drive an F150 with BF Goodrich Long Trail T/A tires -- recently changed out of BFG All Terrain tires -- and I have no complaints about the tires at all. The new tires are a long way from being "sucky", and are really very nice, both in terms of ride and noise. I would not consider an SUV based on the tire selection that might be fitted. You can always change the tires when they wear out, making any crappy quality that you worry about to be a transitory quality at worst. And, you can always have two sets of truck tires, just like you can have two sets of car tires. So, this argument is in your head more than it exists in reality.
Truck tires are available in an aggressive offroad tread pattern, or in a mild highway pattern. The BFG All Terrains are supposed to be good for the street, and they last a long time but are noisy. I bought my truck with them already on it, and I did not like them. When they finally wore out, I put on the BFG Long Trails, which are far quieter and offer a much better ride. I can't say how they do in the snow, but they are very good in water and on dry pavement. You're not stuck with an assortment of crappy tires if you get a truck or SUV, but you get loads of room for Junior, or Juniorette (you didn't say), kicking and screaming in the back seat. Plus, as the little monster grows, you will have plenty of room for sports equipment ...
</JS>
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now my primary concern is the grip and, comes winter, I don't think most SUV tires have any (once you leave unplowed section and are picking up speed on a plowed avenue) if there were a decent winter tire in that size, it would cost an arm an leg (did not check cayenne tire prices, but I suspect something north of $300 a piece)

Look, just about anything is good on dry pavement and, hydroplaning aside, is bearable traction-wise in 40F+ water. below 40F I would much rather drive on a winter slick than on an all season tire compound tire with an aggressive pattern. I think that's where winter tire tech for passenger cars was in 70s, 80s and it's a long way from there. But that's just me, the owners of trucks, buses and vans make do with all seasons year round somehow.

Hmm, noted. Albeit where I live gas and diesel is outrageously expensive, so a car is preferable unless I can justify to myself moving into the States yet again.
Tire selection aside, from what I've heard F150 is a very decent piece of equipment. Thank you.
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wrote:

now my primary concern is the grip and, comes winter, I don't think most SUV tires have any (once you leave unplowed section and are picking up speed on a plowed avenue) if there were a decent winter tire in that size, it would cost an arm an leg (did not check cayenne tire prices, but I suspect something north of $300 a piece)
<JS> The price of a tire is not dictated by the car it is mounted on. There's absolutely no reason to think that a tire in a Cayenne would cost $300 while a tire for a Nissan minivan would cost $100, assuming the same size tire. You can pay $300 for a Z-rated tire, but generally a tire of that size would not belong on a car that can do Z-rated speeds.
You also said you are interested in 4WD or AWD, so the SUV fits your criteria. You are mainig unfounded assumptions.
</JS>

Look, just about anything is good on dry pavement and, hydroplaning aside, is bearable traction-wise in 40F+ water. below 40F I would much rather drive on a winter slick than on an all season tire compound tire with an aggressive pattern. I think that's where winter tire tech for passenger cars was in 70s, 80s and it's a long way from there. But that's just me, the owners of trucks, buses and vans make do with all seasons year round somehow.

Hmm, noted. Albeit where I live gas and diesel is outrageously expensive, so a car is preferable unless I can justify to myself moving into the States yet again.
Tire selection aside, from what I've heard F150 is a very decent piece of equipment. Thank you.
<JS> The Ford Expedition SUV is the F150, and the Excursion is the F350 (I don't think you need that big of an SUV, but it looks like you need the point-of-reference). Chevy has the Tahoe and the Suburban, both based on the 1/2- or 3/4-ton Silverado trucks. These are fine vehicles. Dodge also has a nice assortment of full-size trucks that come in SUV configurations. Focus on the half-ton models, and I think you'll end ou with something that will make you happy. Of course, Nissan and Toyota offer the Aramada and Land Cruiser (or 4Runner) that are also very fine vehicles for the kind of thing you want your vehicle to do.
You don't drive a truck the same way as you would drive a car -- you posted in Mitsubishi, BMW, and Suburu groups, which are predominately cars -- so tires are not as big of an issue as you seem to think. You can get a very good winter tire for a truck on the factory whyeels, then put on a set of 22s or 24s for summer (warm weather) good looks. The ride comfort is certainly topshelf if you get the right trim package.
You asked about 60% or so RWD bias of AWD systems. You get 100% RWD in a 4WD SUV until you push the button to engage 4WD, then the bias is pretty much 50 -50. Seems to me that this meets your specification. All I'm saying is, don't ignore the possibility. Go and test drive some. You can find that many late-model full size trucks and SUVs can deliver mid-20s in fuel mileage on the highway, and high teens in the city. And, gas is expensive everywhere.
Personally, I like the 4WD offferings ahead of the AWDs. All Wheel Drive uses expensive and sometimes balky transfer case to distribute the power front-to-rear (rear to front is more accurate, by the way). When you need 4WD services, you simply press a button. The downside of 4WD is that you have to understand if yours can tolerate operation on surfaces where the traction is NOT compromised. The difference is denoted as Full Time or Part Time. The Full Time systems can tolerate dry pavement, whersas the Part Time systems demand there be snow/ice, or gravel, under the tires.
</JS>
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The car and truck tires are NEVER the same size, not to mention that the load capacities are different. Minivans take car tires and cayenne rides on truck tires: I wonder if anything else rides on tires in the size cayenne does and what use a truck that rides on car tires has. Maybe some trucks with aftermarket rims ride on cayenne sized tires but I would not hold my breath.

Could you specify at least one make and tire modelor a winter truck tire?
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The car and truck tires are NEVER the same size, not to mention that the load capacities are different. Minivans take car tires and cayenne rides on truck tires: I wonder if anything else rides on tires in the size cayenne does and what use a truck that rides on car tires has. Maybe some trucks with aftermarket rims ride on cayenne sized tires but I would not hold my breath.

Could you specify at least one make and tire model or a winter truck tire?
<JS> You asked about options that have RWD and can hold a carseat for a child. There are lots of options that are not on the list of those you said you are considering. The late model selections can give upwards of 20mpg, and some do better than that.
I think an SUV that's based on any brand of full-size truck, American or otherwise, is an option worth exploring. You also said that you are not made of money, which would tend to take the Porsche Cayenne off the table.
</JS>
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