We’ve come a long way since four-wheel drive was exotic. Good luck finding a four-door Subaru without it, and any SUV or pickup worth its salt better have it as an option. But it takes more than decent traction to charge through a foot of snow without running into problems. For that, you are going too need plenty of clearance, advanced tech, and tires built for the job.
You’ll be surprised how far some of the badass trucks will go to do this for drivers these days. In researching the most fearsome pickups and utility vehicles around, we found trucks that would be just as comfortable going to war as tackling a climb for a ski trip. We had to strike a balance between rides built for Balkan warlords and the winter-ready vehicles available at a few U.S. dealerships. (Someone had to do it.)
Here are the 10 trucks that can tackle ice, snow, and possibly anything else you could encounter on the road.
1. Land Rover LR4
The Land Rover LR4 has decent clearance and the ability to wade through 2.3 feet of water, so it starts out with solid off-road specs. However, Land Rover’s Terrain Response is what makes this car go in the snow. LR4 ($50,900) can adjust to gravel and/or snowy conditions by changing the response time of its brakes. Just click on the mode designed for snow and feel the wheels lock at a faster clip until you make it back to asphalt.
2. Dartz Prombron
The fellows over at Dartz have a flair for excess. As the self-proclaimed car company for “billionaires, czars, superstars, and dictators,” the automaker doesn’t hold back with the Prombron series. The rolling sledgehammer is built on a Mercedes GL platform with 1,500 horsepower under the muscular, armor-like hood. Available in a variety of design choices like the Aladeen in solid, polished gold finish or the Black Shark, this is the truck to get you to work during a snowstorm — or a civil war.
3. Ford Raptor
You don’t have to overthink it if you need a great truck for winter. Just identify the most badass variant of the most respected truck — say, Ford F-150 Raptor — and run with it. Beadlock-capable wheels with 17-inch BF Goodrich all-terrain KO2 tires make it a game vehicle in the snow. In the video above, professional stuntman Ken Block shows how Raptor handles itself with a bit of powder on the ground. We suggest taking out an insurance policy before getting air like Block, but you’ll be fine making regular trips through the snow.
4. Conquest Evade
Toronto-based Conquest Vehicles Inc. specializes in fully armored, handcrafted SUVs, and Evade is one of the company’s gnarliest releases to date. The best features are its night-vision capabilities and its bulletproof exterior just in case you find yourself outside the Green Zone in Baghdad. The ballistic flat tire system means you’ll never have to change a tire in a snowstorm again. Keep driving and let someone else deal with the flat later.
5. Mercedes-Benz G550
You know the trucks you’re describing are insane when the normal one starts at $122,400, but here we are. The Mercedes-Benz G550 sports 22-inch wheels that ought to get you through snow drifts measuring 17 inches or lower. Meanwhile, dual-spring struts and an extra 10 inches of track let Mercedes owners enjoy snowy terrain as it’s meant to be — as part of some joyous occasion where risk is an afterthought.
6. Icon BR
If you’re a retro purist, you’ll love the newly rebuilt Icon BR. Icon remanufactures vintage Land Cruisers and first-generation Ford Broncos into the ultimate drive machine for near-impossible conditions. The body may be first-generation, but a Ford 5.0-liter V8 from today’s Mustang GT delivers 400 horsepower and just under 400 pound-feet of torque. Eibach coils, an Atlas II four-wheel drive transfer case, Stoptech brakes, and Fox Racing shocks make snow days — or just about anything else — a cinch.
7. Bentley Bentayga
If driving in the snow is not your thing, why not get chauffeured to work during an ice storm in a Bentley Bentayga? It’s Bentley’s first SUV and it was the first to get the automaker’s twin-turbo W12 engine that cranks out 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Hill Descent Control, air suspension with damping, and drive dynamics come standard, but you’ll want to add on the all-terrain spec as well. That will make this plush SUV as snow-ready as any truck on the road.
8. Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6
Until recently, a 6X6 G-Wagen could only be driven by a lucky few outback patrollers in the Australian military. But Mercedes made the world a better place by sharing the fun and producing a street-legal version for anyone with $500,000 to spare. The three-axle tank clears more than 3 feet below to get you through deep snow or the flooded streets of a ruined neighborhood. The interior is typically appointed in Mercedes-AMG premium style with heated seats, a quilted leather interior, and carbon trim. It’s like riding a monster, if the beast in question booked you a first-class ticket.
9. Nissan Rogue Warrior
Why mess around in a little crossover when you could strap on 2.5-foot snow tracks? In a nutshell, that was the idea behind the Nissan Rogue Warrior, a prototype snow crusher built on the platform of the popular compact vehicle. Not only does it have a 2-foot clearance; it can also break 60 miles per hour. If you were wondering what type of vehicle turns up at the Montreal International Auto Show, here you go.
10. Ford RaptorTRAX
Hennessey Performance loves taking Ford F-150s and making them supercharged, off-road ready super-trucks on steroids. The 600 horsepower VelociRaptor is nice, but have a look at the Ford RaptorTRAX. Ken Block’s RaptorTRAX is the stuff winter powder dreams are made of. It started as a stock 6.2-liter Raptor, then Block added the set of Mattracks designed to conquer any winter terrain. Apparently, the thrills of a standard Raptor are only a starting point for some people.
Cynthia Bowman also contributed to this article.