4x4 vs. 2WD with Traction Control System (TCS)

I just bought a 2007 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Lariate 2WD with the Traction Control System. I had planned on buying the 4x4 version but couldn’t pass up the price on this one. So my question is, how will this 2WD TCS handle compaired to the 4x4 version on ice and snow (I live in Colorado and drive every Winter to the mountains to ski)?

Traction control system and four wheel drive have different purposes. We have a 2003 Toyota 4Runner that has both traction control and selectable 4 wheel drive. This vehicle can be driven in 4 wheel drive all the time (in fact, the V-8 4Runner in the 2003 model year had full time 4 wheel drive–the 4 wheel drive is always engaged. In our V-6, we run it in 2 wheel drive most of the time). Roughly speaking, the 4 wheel drive is for going in the snow and the traction control system is to help on the ice, but does nothing to pull you through deep snow. I have heard the traction control system engage while running in both 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive. I don’t know if the Ford F-150 4 wheel drive system can be left engaged all the time, or is strictly intended for situations that call for 4 wheel drive. In any event, the traction control system isn’t a substitute for 4 wheel drive.

If your only need for the 4wd is driving up to ski areas, the TCS will work better for you because you can’t use the part time 4wd on partially dry/partially snowy or icy roads anyways. Invest in a couple hundred pounds of traction sand, though.

The 2wd will work fine with capabale all seasons or true winter tires on plowed streets or a few inches of loose snow. The substaintial difference is you will get stuck in more than a few inches of snow unless you have some dedicated winter tires, even then let those 4x4’s pass on by.

They have decent plows out there, just avoid/defer the driving.

Traction control is no substitute for 4wd or AWD. The only thing it does it limit wheel spin. In snow the TCS may become overwhelmed with wheel spin and your truck simply won’t move. If you’re into skiing and frequently transverse roads covered in snow, the 4WD truck would’ve been the better option.

If I had to choose between the two, I would take the traction control, especially considering the traction problems trucks have in the rear.