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How Well Does A Chevy Colorado Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

GM has made the Chevy lineup more and more luxurious with each coming year. And the trucks are no exception. But the question is, how would they perform in extreme conditions.

The Rear-Wheel Drive does not perform well in snowy terrains. It’s certainly not the best option, but it will get the job done. The 4×4 cuts through the snow with ease, and If you are looking for increased traction, then 4×4 would be the option to go for. The electronics systems enhance grip even further when equipped.   

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story; it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have all the aspects discussed in detail. Below, we’ll start with a selection of curated comments from owners about the performance of the American-made Chevy Colorado in snowy conditions. After that, we’ll take a deep dive into this truck’s specifics, such as tires, drive systems, and electronic support systems.

Finally, we’ll talk about the ground clearance, the weight distribution, and the wheelbase. We’ll finish with a few suggestions for optional traction devices that can provide even more grip. Read on!

Also read: 7 Common Problems Of A Chevy Colorado Diesel (2016-Present)

Experience Of Chevy Colorado Owners

I sometimes would run my 2002 Nissan Frontier 4×4 in the snow in 2WD when there was light snow on the roads. I had a couple of hundred pounds of sand in the back, which made it a little better. However, there is not comparison to a 4×4 in the snow. I could get the truck to move in the snow in 2WD, but the tires would still spin. In 4WD, the truck just went when I wanted it to go. It was even better when I was running my dedicated winter tires, but there is just no comparison to 4WD in the snow.

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Had to feather the gas, needed to back off and generally stay under 30 MPH. Granted, this was on a completely unplowed road. It was driveable, but not what I would call stable. I reached the store and that’s when I realized that 4×4 had never actually engaged. I flipped the knob back to 2WD and then back to 4×4 (HI) and this time I waited for the LED to go solid on. NOW I was in 4×4. I drove back to my house in a completely different animal. I was able to reach about 50 MPH stably on an unplowed road (yes I’m sure there will be people yelling about my unsafe driving habits but it was a country road with no cars on it).

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The rear end of the Colorado is pretty light, and with the 2WD models being RWD, you’re bound to run into traction issues in a decent amount of snow/ice, mostly during acceleration.

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Also read: The Types Of Fuel A Chevy Colorado Uses (All Generations)

Does Chevy Colorado Have Snow Tires?

You get the all-season tires from the factory, which can do pretty good in all types of weather, but they can’t give traction when you are driving in a lot of snow. No matter what systems you have integrated to prevent your wheels from sliding, you will suffer in winter without snow tires.

If you live in a region that sees a lot of snow, then make sure to put on nice snow tires so the wheels will remain happy with their relationship with the road. Otherwise, they will block their connection with it, and you will lose signal from the road, which will cost you big time.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of All Chevy Colorado

Why should you go with the snow tires?

Well, snow tires have the following characteristics that make them suitable in heavy snow to black ice, and everything in between that winter has to offer.

The Tread Rubber

Extreme cold temperatures cause the tread rubber of an all-season or summer tire to stiffen and become less able to provide sufficient traction. To combat this, the tread rubber compounds of winter tires are composed such that they remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better.

Tread Depth and Patterns

Unique to snow tires are deeper tread depths and unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and thus provide better traction on the snow. The tread patterns, too, are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.

Biting Edges

Snow tires have many biting edges and high densities of small slits that increase the tread surface area, thus increasing grip in wet, icy, and snowy conditions.

Have Snow Tires Equipped As Soon As Possible

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

What Drive System Does A Chevy Colorado Have?

Chevy Colorado offers two types of drive systems, viz 4WD and RWD.

4 Wheel Drive

This is the system that is an absolute monster in snow. No matter how much snow you throw at these 4×4 trucks, they would cruise through with ease. When you have a 4×4 and live in areas that see a lot of snow, you would travel when everyone else is stuck.

Rear Wheel Drive

If you want to have your end go sideways, which is good when you WANT it to go sideways, yay, drift, then go for the Rear-wheel-drive variants, but it won’t be the best when you don’t want the rear end to go sideways.

As the phrase Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) suggests, the power from the engine is delivered to the rear wheels, which then pushes the vehicle forward. Compared to front-wheel drive (FWD), RWD vehicles handle curves and turns much better, but the traction is not as good, especially in wet or snowy road conditions.

With the bulk of the weight in the front because of the engine, the truck’s rear is lighter hence prone to fishtailing under slippery conditions.

Also read: What Transmission Does A Chevy Colorado Have?

What Electronics System Helps The Chevy Colorado In The Snow?

ABS

The Anti-lock Braking System is now a standard feature in all modern-day vehicles. Why is ABS so important? This system would ensure that the wheels won’t lock when you slam the brakes, in an emergency, or even in a normal situation. This feature will prevent your tires from sliding, thus increasing traction several notches.

Had it not been for the ABS, hard braking would have locked the wheels while turning and steering at the same time, and if the wheels do get locked and you happen to be turning, then that situation is a recipe for disaster.

It would be best if you never disabled ABS in any condition. If someone tells you that turning off ABS will help you in the snow, they lie. Without ABS, things will always go sideways. 

ESC

ECS stands for Electronic Stability Control, and in the Chevys, it is widely known as the StabiliTrak. This is one of the most important features that help you maneuver your vehicle in snow. This is the system that saves lives, especially when you are traveling in extreme weather conditions. Keep in mind that cruise control will be disabled when the ECS is in action.

This system is ever needed because so much stuff is automated, and you are hardly connected with the road.

One way or another, everything has been integrated with electronics, and you won’t be able to tell if the wheels are losing traction. So when the rear end even thinks of going sideways, the ECS kicks in, and the system will maneuver the vehicle in the direction according to the steering input.

In other words, if your steering is tilted to the right, but you are sliding to the left side (understeer), the ECS will make corrections by reducing the speed and adjusting power so that the vehicle can easily go to the right side, just as you originally intended.

Disabling ECS Will Help You In Snow?

It would be best if you never disabled the ESC by any means. There are only two instances where you can turn off the ECS.

  1. If you want to perform the rocking maneuver, where you rock the vehicle back and forth in case you are stuck in snow.
  2. If you want to have an accident.

Other than these two instances, you should never turn it off.

Traction Control

Almost everyone is familiar with traction control systems. The main job of a traction control system is to ensure the loss of traction is minimized. It is a regulation system that enhances the driver’s control over the vehicle by controlling the traction at the wheels. If wheelspin is detected, the traction system cuts the power off from that wheel to minimize wheelspin.

Wheelspin is the main factor that results in a loss of traction for the most part, and this worsens the driving conditions in winters and snow. Traction control will ensure that such behavior is nullified and maximum traction can be made available at all four wheels at all times, thereby reducing the threat of an unpleasant event.

Hill Descent Control

Driving in areas with snow worsens when the driver has to take the vehicle on inclined roads, adding challenges to the already unfavorable conditions. This is where the Hill Descent Control comes into play. We know that roads can’t always be plain, and the vehicle can experience inclines during its driving tenure.

The HDC utilizes traction control and ABS to continuously control slippage and maintain a regulated speed if the vehicle is on a steep surface. This further improves the vehicle’s drivability in slippery wet winters and snow.

HAC Hill-Start Assist

This is one of the best features that help the driver maintain traction even when going up a slippery slope, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible to climb. The older models have outdated tech, which won’t perform well. However, the latest models have amazing bells and whistles that make the Sonata drive extremely well, even on the snow.

This hill-start assist would automatically apply brakes for approximately 2 seconds and release the brake after 5 seconds or when you give it gas.

Some minor problems are going to be dealt with in this article in detail. Make sure you carry out all the necessary improvements. And after you have made all of those improvements, you will be good to go in the snow.

Also read: What Is The Oil Type, Capacity, And Weight Of A Chevy Colorado?

Weight Distribution

The curb weight is important because it impacts the performance and safety of the vehicle.

Lighter cars have better fuel economy, respond quicker to acceleration, and have better performance. Heavier cars are safer, provide better protection to the occupants when involved in a crash, and have better road traction.

A more important spec is the weight distribution. It impacts several key performance parameters such as response to acceleration/deceleration, cornering stability. Ideally, while braking, the weight distribution should be equal on all four tires.

Normally, the weight distribution differs in each trim level, and on top of that can differ even among the same trim levels due to different packages and add ons.

2021 ModelsWeight Distribution F/R
Chevy Colorado Extended Cab Long Box 2WD56/44
Chevy Colorado Extended Cab Long Box 4WD58/42
Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Short Box 2WD55/45
Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Short Box 4WD57/43
Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Long Box 2WD57/43
Chevy Colorado Crew Cab Long Box 4WD58/42

Ground Clearance (in):8.1

When deciding on buying a vehicle to drive in snow, ground clearance is an important aspect. Ground clearance is the distance between the chassis and the ground and is one of the basic dimensions of any vehicle. Lower ground clearance means more likelihood of the underbelly of the car scratching against the ground.

The low ground clearance can be a major issue if you live in an area with lots of snowfall. The higher the ground clearance, the better. We know it, and there is no way to refute this. Higher ground clearance adds to the vehicle’s winter-aptness.

A vehicle can easily knife through thick layers of snow with higher ground clearance, as that is one major point of concern for any winter driver. The sweet spot of ground clearance comes at 8 inches and above.

Here’s the drumroll……. Colorado is above 8 inches, yay! No wonder it’s good in snow, and especially when you have 4 Wheel Drive. Vehicles do get stuck on those piles left by the plows on the sides, so make sure to steer clear from those.

Wheelbase (in):140.5

The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and the rear tires. The wheelbase dimensions affect the vehicle’s weight distribution and are key in determining the balance and steering. Having a longer wheelbase means that the vehicle would be more stable at higher speeds.

On the other hand, vehicles with short wheelbase can usually corner faster but are less aerodynamic. In other words, a longer wheelbase translates into more stability because in cars with a longer wheelbase, the onset of sliding is delayed, thus giving the driver more time to make adjustments.

Chevy Colorado offers a wheelbase of 140.5, which is extremely good. But when you are equipped with the RWD, you might experience some issues.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Chevy Colorado?

Drivers in areas where they see heavy snow and severe winters, there are a few devices that can come to your rescue ‘snow traction devices’ as they like to call them. One of such devices is Cable chains. Cables chains can assist with building traction at the tires, and drivers can have a better driving experience than driving without them.

In addition to the built-in stability and control features, several alternates, such as snow tires (which we have already discussed), snowplows, and chains, are available that can be used in heavy snow. Each has its pros and cons.

Snow tires are expensive and require professionals to install and uninstall. In contrast, snow chains are relatively cheaper and easy to put on and take off but are more damaging to dry pavements and the car itself.

There are various options for one to choose from the plethora of available products in the Class S chain cables. Amazon is one marketplace where you can easily find quite a few options for Class S cable chains.

Keeping in mind all of the suggestions, we would recommend using the Peerlesschain, where you can find which chain would be the one for your tires as fitment is an important aspect when searching for snow chains. Manufacturers mostly recommend s class chains, and on this site, you will be able to choose from many different options.

Most drivers use these chain cables to enhance stability in winters and snowy conditions. It is always better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.

Happy driving.