What’s Better In the Snow – A Car or a Truck? [Video]

The real lesson here: Make sure you fit winter tires

Today, we’re staging a test with a difference and answering an age-old question. Which is better to have in the snow, a car or a truck? It’s likely many of you out there have some strong arguments on either side of the fence. On one hand, you may want a bigger truck, as they have beefier, more aggressive tires, high ground clearance and good all around visibility for tackling deeper snow. On the other hand, the car is lighter, easier to stop and there’s more weight over the rear end to keep it in check. In this video, TFL’s Roman and Tommy Mica take the 2018 Ford F-150 4×4 and the 2018 Subaru Outback into the snow to see which performs better in a series of tests.

2018 Subaru Outback vs. 2018 Ford F-150 - Which is better in the snow - car or truck?

The truck: 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat 4×4 w/ FX4 Off-Road Package

Let’s start with the Ford F-150. The F-Series is the most popular truck brand in America, selling north of 70,000 trucks every month. As such, there are plenty of them out there on the roads, particularly in rough winter climates. This particular F-150 has a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine with 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Now, power isn’t as important in snow as the means by which that power gets to the ground. It’s all about tires here, and that’s good news for the truck, since it’s rolling on Goodyear Duratrac tires. They’re not full-time winter tires, but they do have deeper, more aggressive tread than the Outback’s all-season tire. What’s more, The F-150 has four-wheel drive with an automatic mode engaged by a switch on the dash, which will shift power around as the wheels start to lose traction – just what you need in slippery conditions.

The car: 2018 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium

We live in Colorado, which may well be the Subaru capital of the U.S. There are nearly as many Subarus here as there are people, and there’s a good reason for that. With its Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, the 2018 Subaru Outback manages its power on snow right out of the box. On the power front, the Outback has a 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine with 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. However, while it’s down on power compared to the Ford, that’s not what it’s all about. More importantly, the name of the game is how the car gets that power to the ground.

On this Outback, we have Bridgestone Dueler all-season tires, as it came equipped from the factory. Again, these aren’t full-time winter tires, but they are mud and snow-rated.

To put both car and truck to the test, Roman and Tommy run a series of acceleration and braking tests. Then, they take each vehicle out onto the road to see which one is more surefooted in the snow.

The results

The 2018 Subaru Outback managed to claw its way to 30 mph in 10.4 seconds, while the 2018 Ford F-150 managed it in a slightly faster 9.72 seconds. On the braking run, the Ford also managed to stop in a shorter distance than the Outback, despite having more weight. However, out on the road, that extra mass does make itself felt compared to the car, which felt more maneuverable in the corners.

Of course, at the end of the day, there are advantages and drawbacks to having either the car or the truck. Whichever vehicle you end up choosing, what’s crucially important in winter weather is having effective tires for the job.

Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more news, views and real-world snow reviews!