I'm a real estate photographer and drive from house to house all day long. Having only 2 seats is not an issue for me and the back looks like it would be just fine for my camera gear. Although I would be worried about wearing out the back hatch shocks or the latch since I would open and close it several times a day. My Ford Focus (piece of poop) went through 3 latches in 1 year. My RAV4 back door is now showing signs of wear so we shall see.
Winter tires? I use my tires till the belts start showing. I think I have about an 1/8 of an inch to go. If I think I'm going to get stuck I put the chains on. I don't know what the brand of the chains are but they sure work good.