That is horrible thinking/advice. First, if you are in an area that is snows regularly for 6 months out of the year, you should have winter tires regardless if it is 4wd or 2wd. 4wd doesn't help you stop or turn (very few know how to help it turn with awd/4wd), all it does is help accelerate and mostly is beneficial on an incline. Second, that expense of tires that should be on both 2wd & 4wd vehicles is compounded with the 4wd option being $4k. On top of the added financing costs, insurance, wear and tear, mpg hit and then if something breaks the cost of those parts (ever priced out a transfer case or front axle?) and you might get back half of that amount in resale; so you spent a dollar to get back 50 cents... Unless you absolutely need 4wd off road or regular snow seasons in hilly/mountainous areas, it is pretty safe to say you don't need it (pretty much assume a good portion living south of the mason dixon line). Only those that are purchasing know their actually uses, I would bet a there is a good portion who buy for the image though.
BTW, when you run snow tires it makes the other tires last longer and you can usually sell them if need be as well. So the financial cost overall is minimal, especially compared to the cost of 4wd.
YUP! YUP! YUP!
My 2wd with a G80 and a set of snow tires WILL outperform a 2WD that has a 4x4 sticker on it. It won't go straighter as suggested because without snows the rear will spin alot faster than the front with more weight on it causing BUMP STEER. Add a G80 to the 4x4 2wd and make it a 4x3 and I'll add front snows and at some very rare times the 4x3 may accelerate better but I'll stop better and out steer you. The only way to beat it is by adding Snows to the 4x4 and now it gets the advantage, but if you need a AWD with snows on it, well it's time to get off the road and stay home til its over.
Cost wise its also a misnomer/bad advice. The 4x4 actually being a 4x2 costs $4000+ more, rims and tires will cost me less than $1000 and as stated above you summer tires will last longer since there not on all winter, so cost is wiped.
PITA doing this, well if your rotating tires either by yourself at home or using a dealer etc, whats the difference in swapping out types of tires, no extra anything. You just adapt your service schedule to late fall and late spring for rotation.
40+ years of driving in a area that has snow 6-7 months a year, over 120+" on average of total snowfall, I've never even considered a 4x4 because of snow or even a AWD for the wife. Me and a locker and snows, the wife FWD and snows is all we ever had at best. Like I said before, its all in the ability of the driver knowing the limits than it is the ability of the vehicle. Most all the vehicles that get stuck, run off into ditches etc are the 4x4's and the AWD's, false sense of security makes stupid happen!