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AWD Vs 4WD:Major Differences.

Car terminologies may be confusing, to say the least. Other than the notions of four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, few other illustrations accurately depict this truth. So, let’s look at the differences between four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive in modern automobiles.

To put it simply, all-wheel drive drives both the front and rear wheels at the same time, as the name implies. Four-wheel drive, on the other hand, describes a circumstance in which a driver-selectable system mechanically engages all four wheels.

As a result, a layperson description of four-wheel drive is a car with a ‘part-time system;’ whereas an all-wheel drive automobile has a ‘full-time system,’ meaning all four wheels of the car are always ‘powered.’


The notion of four-wheel drive is most typically seen in modern SUVs, including family SUVs and mid-size SUVs. That means it’s more popular in automobiles engineered to make use of 4WD’s improved traction in off-road situations.

Furthermore, the term “all-wheel drive” has come to represent a vehicle that drives all four wheels at the same time. In this instance, the car’s system must contain a mechanism like an electronically controlled clutch that allows for a rotational differential between the front and back axles.

4WD and AWD

The power is transmitted to the rear wheels in a four-wheel drive system, which means the back wheels of a car propel the vehicle forward while the front wheels function or spin freely. To engage the four-wheel drive system in almost all modern cars, the driver must press a button or pull a lever. But keep in mind that the 4WD isn’t supposed to be on all the time.

When it comes to all-wheel drive; the system is constantly ‘on’ rather than being switched on at a specific point throughout the journey. Typically, if one is traveling on a straight highway; or a typical highway, the car’s system will transfer more power to the wagon’s rear wheels for maximum fuel efficiency.

When the road conditions vary, such as when driving in rain or snow, the car’s system distributes power evenly across all four wheels, hence the term – All Wheel Drive. This procedure gives the car more traction and prevents wheelspin. Variable Torque Distribution is another name for this concept.

Advantages Of Four-wheel Drive.

Let’s talk about the advantages of four-wheel drive vs all-wheel drive.

When traveling over difficult terrains or extreme surface conditions; such as flooding or deep muddy terrains a four-wheel drive system can offer the driver with additional traction and control.

When it comes to typical driving conditions, on the other hand, all-wheel drive is always the preferred mode of operation.

However, it’s vital to note that the same benefit that four-wheel drive provides a vehicle in difficult terrain is precisely what is undervalued on typical terrain. Consider the example of a corner.

When approaching a corner, all four wheels spin at different speeds; but if you turn on the four-wheel drive system, the system will strive to get all four wheels spinning at the same speed, making on-road cornering impossible.


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