AWD vs 4WD: What’s the Difference?

February 10th, 2019 by

2019 RAM 1500 on Desert Road

There’s still plenty of confusion over the advantages of AWD vs. 4WD. All-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive can both provide added traction, but they tend to work better under different circumstances. We’ve put together a quick and easy guide that compares AWD vs. 4WD. Learn more from Midway Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, serving drivers in Grand Island and Hastings.

The Design and Advantages of 4WD

4WD systems, sometimes referred to as four-by-four or 4×4, have been used longer than AWD systems and aren’t quite as complex. So, when comparing 4WD vs. 4×4, Lexington drivers will find that they’re essentially the same. Power comes from the engine and is transferred to the transmission where the transfer case divides it between the front and rear axles. The key take-home is that power is sent to all four wheels equally.

Advantages include:

  • Great for Off-Roading: The equal split of power ensures outstanding traction across rough terrain and low-traction situations.
  • Fantastic Towing: With all four wheels turning at the same rate, 4WD models can usually tow plenty behind them.
  • Option to Switch Off: Most modern 4WD systems are “part-time”, so you can switch them off once you get back on the road.

Thanks to their outstanding capability, 4WD (or 4×4) systems are usually found with SUVs like the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee or trucks like the RAM 1500.

The Design and Advantages of AWD

When comparing AWD vs. 4WD, Grand Island drivers should note that AWD vehicles send a varied amount power to each axle. If one wheel needs more power to maintain control, more power is sent.

Advantages include:

  • No Driver Interaction Required: An AWD system is always working to improve traction. You don’t need to turn it on and off, so you’ll never be caught out by a random patch of ice or unexpected loose terrain.
  • Great on the Road: AWD works well in all conditions and is better at maintaining control on the road than 4WD.

Because AWD systems are great for road usage, they tend to be seen across a more diverse range of vehicles. You can easily find sedans, crossovers, SUVs, and minivans with an AWD system available.

Compare AWD vs. 4×4 by Taking a Test Drive at Midway!

Whether you’re looking for 4WD trucks or AWD sedans, you’ll find a fantastic range of options among our selection of new vehicles. To find out more or arrange a couple of test drives, feel free to contact us today.


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