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What are the differences between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive?

By Product Expert | Posted in Accessories & Features, Tips & Tricks on Thursday, September 14th, 2017 at 9:55 pm
what are the differences between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive

With the countless options one is faced with during the car shopping process, it can be confusing to learn what features and capabilities you actually need in a vehicle. For instance, you’ve probably come across models that are equipped with all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Although some shoppers may assume those terms mean the same thing, they actually function quite differently and offer unique advantages. Read on to learn about the key differences between all-wheel and four-wheel drive.

all-wheel drive on snowy road

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

All-wheel drive (AWD) uses the front, rear, and center differentials to distribute engine torque evenly to all four wheels. AWD is most commonly found on cars and crossovers with car-based frames. It is designed to offer a better grip on the road, especially in slippery conditions. AWD is also associated with higher safety ratings, since it provides better acceleration on slick roads.

four-wheel drive for off-road driving

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD or 4×4)

Four-wheel drive (4WD), also referred to as 4×4, uses two differentials and a transfer case to evenly disperse torque to all four wheels. 4WD is often found on trucks and truck-based SUVs and is typically associated with off-road vehicles and those that offer all-terrain capabilities. It provides great traction on rough terrain and, unlike AWD, can be turned off when it is not needed.

Read more: 7 Questions to ask yourself before buying a used car

Do you need a vehicle with AWD or 4WD?

If you spend a lot of time driving in inclement weather, such as snow or heavy rain, you may consider investing in a vehicle with all-wheel drive. If you plan to do a lot of off-road driving, a four-wheel drive vehicle may be the right choice for you. It’s important to note that both of these systems add additional weight to the vehicle, which can take a toll on efficiency. And, while they improve driving confidence in less-than-ideal conditions, drivers must continue to exercise caution, especially when turning corners and braking.

If you are interested in learning more about all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, we invite you to get in touch with our team at Stop 23. Feel free to check out our current inventory to see if we have a model that piques your interest.

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