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There’s no debate about whether or not the Ford F-150 is an excellent truck. In fact, it’s one of the most popular vehicles in North America. This tough vehicle is useful in a wide variety of situations, but how does it handle driving in snow? We’ve done the research to bring you that answer.
The Ford F-150 is an excellent choice of vehicle for driving in the snow. No matter what density or depth of snow you may face on the road, the F-150 can tackle it all. The key features that ensure its snowy driving success are:
- Excellent Ground Clearance
- Long Wheelbase
- Four-Wheel Drive Modes
- Advanced Stability Control System
A lot of factors come into play where driving in snow is concerned. Modern vehicles like the F-150 have features that can aide drivers of all ability levels in managing challenging road conditions like a pro. Read on to learn more about these features.
Why The Ford F-150 Is Good In Snow
The F-150 has many of the same strengths and weaknesses as other pickup trucks do in the snow, but it has many significant features that many other vehicles do not have.
Check out this video that shows a winter test of the thirteenth generation of the F-150:
To understand why the F-150 is a great vehicle for driving in snow, let’s take a more in-depth look at the features it offers to achieve that.
When driving in very deep snow, having some extra ground clearance can be really helpful. More ground clearance has two main benefits.
First, you won’t get as much snow caked inside your wheel wells. Large frozen chunks of slush building up around your wheels can be a major problem for turning and otherwise controlling your vehicle.
Secondly, in vehicles with low ground clearance, the vehicle’s body may need to be pushed through the snow. This means that your engine has to work a lot harder to move your vehicle through the snow due to additional resistance. You are essentially plowing with the front of your vehicle.
With 9.4 inches of ground clearance, neither of these issues are things that you have to worry about in the F-150.
The wheelbase is another factor that affects handling in snowy conditions. A vehicle’s wheelbase is the distance between the front and rear wheels. With a longer wheelbase, spins and slips are initiated more slowly and are easier to recover from than in vehicles with a shorter wheelbase.
Depending upon the body style, the F-150 has a wheelbase ranging between 122.4 inches and 163.7 inches. To put that into perspective, the Ford Escape has a wheelbase of 106.7 inches, and the Ford Explorer has a wheelbase of 119.1 inches.
Pickup trucks are most commonly rear-wheel drive by default. However, Ford offers the ability to upgrade all of its F-150 models to be four-wheel drive vehicles. Adding four-wheel drive capabilities to your F-150 will give it a significant edge in winter driving conditions.
The four-wheel drive won’t always be engaged unless you have the full-time four-wheel drive option. You can turn it on when you need it.
Advanced Stability Control System
The F-150’s ability to power through even the most extreme snowy conditions has a lot to do with Ford’s selectable drive modes.
These stability control systems make automatic micro corrections to steering, braking, and power distribution while you are driving. By doing this, your vehicle can often prevent slips, spins, and other types of accidents that occur due to a loss of traction before you’re even aware of what’s going on.
Ford takes this system a step further and allows the driver to select an optimized mode for a specific driving condition such as snowy, wet roads.
What Does Snow/Wet Mode Do For The F-150?
As mentioned above, Ford equips its vehicles with an advanced stability control system that allows the driver to select different driving modes to match the current driving conditions. The F-150 has a snow/wet mode that optimizes driver input and makes minute corrections for snowy, wet, slippery driving conditions.
While in snow/wet mode, the stability system relies on wheel sensors to detect losses of traction. When the system identifies wheel slippage, it applies corrective actions to regain traction. These corrective actions often include modifying driver input to steering, braking, and throttle pressure. However, they are usually so subtle that most drivers won’t notice them taking place.
Check out the video below to see an F-150 take on some exceptionally deep snow:
Is A Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) Truck Good In Snow?
Many drivers argue that front-wheel drive vehicles are better in snow due to having more weight over the front axle. The weight of the motor aids in providing traction, and therefore many think it is ideal for slippery roads.
However, many drivers prefer rear-wheel drive vehicles, and for good reason, too. If you know how to operate the vehicle correctly, rear-wheel drive is typically considered a better drivetrain for snow than front-wheel drive.
Take a moment to consider what kind of vehicles you see on the roads in the winter. Think about which types of vehicles are out plowing roads and driveways—the answer: trucks. Many trucks are equipped with four-wheel drive, but trucks are normally rear-wheel drive by default.
How Does Rear-Wheel Drive Compare To Front-Wheel Drive In Snow?
In snowy driving conditions, front-wheel drive vehicles offer fewer options for making corrections when a loss of traction occurs. Your best option to regain traction is to slow down. Due to the vehicle pulling its load rather than pushing it, you will experience understeering. Understeering is where your car does not turn enough and continues in a straight line.
Conversely, when the choice is between rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive vehicles in snow, many experienced drivers prefer rear-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive vehicles are more challenging to control, but when they break traction, the driver has higher chances of recovery if they know how to do so. Unlike front-wheel drive vehicles, broken traction will result in oversteering, which means the vehicle is turning too much. Oversteering can sometimes result in spins or rollovers.
Is The Ford Raptor Good In Snow?
The Ford Raptor is the off-road, top of the line model in Ford’s F-150 series truck lineup. So to put it simply, yes, it’s good in snow. The Ford Raptor is an excellent vehicle choice if you often find yourself driving in very snowy conditions.
To expand on the features offered with the base model F-150 trucks, the Ford Raptor includes improved suspension and additional driving modes to make it the best possible truck for challenging driving conditions.
The Ford F-150 is an excellent, battle-tested vehicle for driving in the snow. With full-time and part-time four-wheel drive options available, and a selection of driving modes to choose from, the F-150 can handle anything Mother Nature throws at it.
Even without four-wheel driving modes, experienced drivers will still find this truck to be plenty capable in difficult driving conditions. Further, if you want something that can handle even more than the standard F-150, the Ford Raptor will not disappoint.