The best trucks with AWD take the whole workhorse thing to the next level, adding all-wheel drive to functionality features like an open pickup bed and durable body-on-frame construction. AWD can provide important assistance during daily driving, too, as it helps owners deal with poor weather conditions regardless of whether they’re going off road or just going to the office. It’s further worth noting that, because of advances in technology, trucks with the latest all-wheel drive setups aren’t much thirstier than their 2-wheel-drive counterparts. Another bonus: For truly trail-friendly trucks, most brands offer special trims that combine AWD with both off-road performance enhancers and aggressive style updates. Which explains why all-wheel drive is available for all of today’s pickups.
10 Best Trucks with AWD
Photo Credit: Ford
2017 Ford F-150
Many pickup people consider the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor to be No. 1 among the best trucks with AWD, and it’s easy to see why: The Raptor is ready to prey on its rivals with a first-in-class combination of a clutch-based, torque-on-demand all-wheel drive system and a mechanically locking, 2-speed transfer case for true 4-wheel drive. Meanwhile, providing power to all four wheels is a high-performance 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that can blast out 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. Optimizing that output is a standard 10-speed automatic transmission and a Raptor-specific Terrain Management System. If the Raptor’s not right for you, Ford furnishes all-wheel drive for all trims, from the entry level XLT to the Limited.
Photo Credit: Honda
2017 Honda Ridgeline
The 2017 Honda Ridgeline is one of the best trucks with AWD if you’re more focused on on-the-road performance, as the Ridgeline relies on a car-like unibody construction. But also more car-like are the vehicle’s occupant protection and fuel economy ratings: First, at press time, the Ridgeline was the only pickup able to earn Top Safety Pick+ recognition from the IIHS. The Ridgeline then checks in with Honda’s Intelligent Variable Torque Management system and best-in-segment AWD EPA grades of 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway/21 mpg combined. That said, the Honda’s setup promises “superior all-weather traction and robust medium-duty off-road performance.” The Ridgeline also was pickup enough to win this year’s North American Truck of the Year award.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet Media
2017 Chevrolet Silverado
For customers who want to split the difference between the smooth-riding Ridgeline and the rough-and-ready Raptor, the best trucks with AWD include the 4-wheel drive 2017 Chevrolet Silverado with the Z71 off-road package. In the mix here are a performance-tuned suspension, Rancho monotube shocks, a heavy-duty locking rear differential, hill-descent control, and an underbody shield for the transfer case. Yet because the Z71 bundle is available for the uplevel LTZ trim, owners additionally enjoy a standard 355-horsepower V8, full LED headlights, heated and leather appointed seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s chair, dual zone automatic climate control, and some of the industry’s top connectivity technologies. Leading the way is MyLink infotainment system with an 8-inch screen and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet Media
2017 Chevrolet Colorado
The best trucks with AWD and midsize dimensions also are well-known for their off-road-oriented 4-wheel drive models. A newer choice, for example, is the 2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2. A full-fledged performance machine, the Colorado ZR2 is the only truck in the segment with front and rear locking differentials, an available diesel engine, and Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspensions Spool Valve (DSSV) damper technology. This isn’t the place for full DSSV details, but all you need to know about this tech is that it first debuted on the 2014 Camaro Z/28. Of course, for the Colorado ZR2, the system’s muscle-car reflexes have been custom-tuned for off-road applications. Also included with the ZR2 are a 2-inch increase in ride height and steel-tube rocker protectors.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2017 Nissan Titan XD
The 2017 Nissan Titan XD is a bit bigger than the rest of the best trucks with AWD, since Nissan specifically engineered this beast to slot between light-duty fullsizers and the heavy-duty work crew. As such, the XD serves up robust outsized hardware like a 5.0-liter Cummins turbodiesel that can pour out 555 lb.-ft. of torque. With that monster mill beneath the hood—and when properly equipped—the result is a towing limit of 12,640 lbs. A similarly rugged approach informs the truck’s 4-wheel drive system, which is bolstered by a newly designed transfer, hill-descent control, hill-start assist, and Nissan’s Brake Limited-Slip Differential. A technological advantage then comes from a special off-road gauge that tracks the truck’s pitch and roll angles.
Photo Credit: Toyota Media
2017 Toyota Tacoma
Toyota’s best trucks with AWD come in two sizes, but unlike other brands, it’s the automaker’s midsize pickup that sets the pace—especially after the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro has been added to the lineup. Now, all Tacoma trims do offer a nifty 4-wheel drive system with an electronically controlled transfer case and an automatic limited slip differential. And TRD Sport and Off-Road models can raise the bar substantially, with sport-tuned shocks, crawl control and, for automatically transmissioned trucks, a Multi-Terrain Select drive system. However, it’s the TRD Pro that’s the ultimate trail-friendly Tacoma, backed by Fox internal-bypass shock absorbers, Kevlar-reinforced off-road tires, a 1-inch lift kit, LED fog lights, and suspension components tuned by Toyota Racing Development.
Photo Credit: GMC Media
2017 GMC Sierra
The best trucks with AWD from GM’s Professional Grade brand blend upscale design cues with all-wheel drive technology—with Denali models exemplifying this positioning. It’s the 2017 GMC Sierra All Terrain, though, that is likely to attract fans of 4-wheel drive. After all, the Sierra All Terrain showcases GM’s Z71 off-road package, which includes upgraded shocks, underbody shielding, Goodyear DuraTrac tires, an off-road inclinometer, and hill descent control. For matching style elements, GMC supplies a unique grille insert with black chrome accents, a black sport bar in the bed, and an array of LED exterior lighting. The truck’s cockpit also receives its share of premium content, from heated and leather-trimmed seating to an infotainment system with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
Photo Credit: Ram Media
2017 Ram 1500
Ram also has a pickup that’s ready to run with the best trucks with AWD: The 2017 RAM 1500 Rebel. A dedicated rock crawler with serious performance credentials, the Rebel rides on massive 33-inch all-terrain tires and Ram’s exclusive air suspension system, for 10.3 inches of ground clearance. Moreover, its stability-control program has been recalibrated to take those adjustments into account, while the Rebel’s optional engine choice is a hard-charging HEMI V8 that delivers 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. Shoppers also should keep in mind that the Rebel welcomed a wide range of new content for the new model year, such as a Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen and an anti-spin differential.
Photo Credit: GMC
2017 GMC Canyon
Guess who else has a new package for its best trucks with AWD? None other than GMC, which premiered the 2017 GMC Canyon All Terrain X for the current selling season. An off-road suspension, Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires, 3-inch step bars, hill-descent control, a spray-on bedliner, and all-weather floor liners are just some of the fresh goodies for the All Terrain X. Since this edition is based on the upscale Canyon SLE trim, owners also benefit from a rearview camera, an IntelliLink infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, LED headlight accents, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel as standard equipment. Key Canyon options extend to navigation, Bose premium audio, and heated front seats.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2017 Toyota Tundra
Customers looking for the best trucks with AWD, fullsize proportions, and special attention from Toyota Racing Development can find all that and more in the 2017 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. For instance, not only did TRD furnish the truck’s quarter-inch-thick aluminum front skid plate and its cat-back dual-exhaust system, the team also tuned up the Tundra’s Bilstein shocks, which feature 3-stage compression damping, internal hydraulic bump stops, and piggyback external reservoirs. Translating that into English, the Tundra has what it needs to handle some of nature’s fiercest terrain—with the assistance of 4-wheel drive, Active Traction Control, and an automatic limited slip differential. At the same time, standard leather-trimmed TRD Pro seats, with a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s chair, ensure comfort in all conditions.