You don’t need a 4-wheel drive in Yucatan unless you plan on going to the middle of the boondocks somewhere, which I highly recommend not doing because it is tough on the car and you’re going to meet a whole lot of a different types of people out there, which could be dangerous. As far as around the normal expat areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, the roads are not a problem.
As an example, from Chelem to Dzilam de Bravo (in the state of Yucatan) is an hour and 15-minute drive but it’s all along the coast. It’s all beach road all the way with beautiful scenery, pink flamingos, storks, herons, and pelicans. They are improving the road as I write this. There is one section of road before Dzilam de Bravo (an isolated are with very, very few expats), which a year and a half ago was just a one-lane road so if you met someone coming from the opposite direction, one of you had to pull over to the side and let the other one go by. I just went down that road recently and saw that they are turning it into a gigantic four-lane road going all the way through.
Dzilam de Bravo has a very small amount of expats; it’s almost entirely Mexican. It can almost be considered the boondocks but yet it’s safe and we have a road. The only thing that we are missing in Dzilam de Bravo are large grocery stores in the general area. I have to drive about an hour and a half to get to a major grocery store or shopping mall. Other than that, the roads are good going to there, I have the Internet, which is not top of the line, but I do have Internet connection.
(Monument in Merida to Francisco de Montejo y Álvarez, the elder and the younger, Spanish explorers and conquistadors of Yucatan, Mexico, pictured.)