How does the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado handle in the snow?

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado behaves well in the snow

The 2017 Chevrolet Silverado behaves well in the snow

Quite well, if you get one with 4WD and best if it’s equipped with all-season tires instead of all-terrain tires. The advantages of 4WD are pronounced when it comes to pickup trucks. With their heavy engine and transmission forward of the cab, pickups with an empty cargo bed carry only about 40 percent of their weight over the rear wheels.

Here, 2WD means rear-wheel drive, so accelerating and turning on snow can easily trigger tire slip off the line and fishtailing in turns. Putting weight in the bed can help snow traction. And some Silverado models, such as the LTZ and those with the NHT Max Trailering Package, have an automatic locking rear differential, which helps 2WD versions manage tire slip. But there’s no substitute for 4WD. It sends 50 percent of the engine’s power to the front wheels, essentially doubling a Silverado’s tractive ability. All season tires are designed for the broadest range of conditions, including snow and light-duty off-roading. All-terrain tires enhance off-road traction, partly through blocker tread that can throw off mud but isn’t as suited to gripping in snow. All-terrain tires (and the locking diff) are standard with the Z71 Off Road package on 2LT and 2LZ trims with 4WD.

Silverado shares this rear-drive versus 4WD and the all-season versus all-terrain tire story with every other conventional pickup. So if you’re looking for a pickup that may be better in the snow right out of the box, it’s the Honda Ridgeline. This midsize crew-cab is the only pickup that comes with front-wheel drive, which concentrates its mechanical mass over the tires providing traction. It’s also available with all-wheel drive to apportion power rearward, giving the back tires some traction responsibilities. And it comes only with all-season tires.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]