What Is the Difference Between All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive?



In today’s automotive world, buyers have a lot of drivetrain choices. Front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are somewhat self-explanatory, but the difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive can be somewhat confusing. We’re glad to explain the difference for you.


All-Wheel Drive

This is the newer and more prevalent of the two drivetrain systems. In a general sense, all-wheel drive (AWD) is always on. All four wheels are getting power all the time, but not necessarily equal amounts. Depending on the type of car it is, the system might send more power to the front or rear wheels. And, with modern torque vectoring, the system can respond to road conditions and traction needs to send more power to the wheels that need it.


Four-Wheel Drive

Thee days, four-wheel drive (4WD) is reserved for vehicles that spend some time operating off the pavement, like a pickup truck or real sport utility vehicle. 4WD can usually be turned off when not needed to increase fuel efficiency, but it will not automatically turn back on. The driver has to manually change the drivetrain setting to get the traction he or she needs.

4WD is much more capable off-road than an AWD vehicle would be. Most 4WD vehicles come with some type of low-range gearing and locking differentials to help negotiate rough terrain.


For a selection of dependable vehicles with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, visit us at Danny Len Buick GMC.


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