Let me start out by saying I think 4wd is seriously overrated for most paddlers. I've gotten to the end of the road in alot of places on this continent, and usually there is a car sitting there that seems to have negotiated the road just fine. That said... if you need 4wd (like driving down roads that require 8 inches of ground clearance)... you need it there really is no substitute. But on nearly all roads (paved, paved with snow, paved with black ice, gravel, gravel with snow, gravel with lots of snow, a car with a set of dedicated snow tires handles monumentally better than a truck or SUV with stock tires in all seasons)
I'd rather buy my car for the 22,000 miles I drive a year than worry about the optimal vehicle to get the last 3 miles to the put-in. I find that I access the put-in for most of my trips via some other form of transportation than my car anyways.
I live in snow country here in MI. I paddle year around, and nordic ski plenty. We get about around 300-400 cm of snow a season, and for work I've driven a K1500, F-150, Ram 1500, Jeep Cherokee, Toyota Tacoma, Blazer, Durango, Dakota, and I'll take my VW with snow tires on any icy road any day. However, all these vehicles perform better driving around construction sites, or landfills. But I find that for the combination of every day driving, hauling two canoes and a month of camping gear, or getting up to NW Ontario where we often trip, the VW rides better, handles monumentally better, and hauls nearly as much as anything but a pick-up, gets far better gas mileage, and is way way, way way more fun to drive!
So I've already got my eye on my next car, and I will again opt for a european wagon, and I'll put dedicated snow tires matched to the conditions I regularly do my 70 mile daily commute. But then again, my current car with 227,000 miles on it, might just go for few years as my trusty canoe carrying steed.