What's The Difference Between All-Wheel Drive And Four-Wheel Drive?


Deciding between all and four-wheel drive can be challenging if you don't know the difference or significance. This guide explains exactly what these drive trains are, what they do and their primary differences, so you can make a more informed decision when you purchase a car from Blainville Chrysler.

What's The Difference Between All-Wheel Drive And Four-Wheel Drive

When you buy a new or used vehicle from a car dealership in Blainville, you might notice four or all-wheel drive on the car's specs. Many of us overlook this detail, but whether your car is all or four-wheel drive is more significant than you think.

From traction control to power, the drivetrain of your car makes a big difference to your driving experience and whether your car is suited to certain types of terrain and driving.

To help you decide which drive type is best for you, we've created this in-depth guide to the differences between all and four-wheel drives and the impact on your vehicle's performance.

What is The Significance of All and Four-Wheel Drive?

Before we discuss the specifics of each drive type, it's essential to address the significance of wheel drive systems. All-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) play a significant role in a vehicle's performance, power, safety and versatility. Primarily, these systems improve vehicle performance in certain conditions and ensure that a car has specific road capabilities to offer the driver better handling while keeping them safe in challenging terrains or road conditions.

AWD and 4WD distribute power across the front and rear wheels, offering better traction in slippery conditions. These systems send power to the wheels, reduce the likelihood of skidding, getting stuck in ditches, mud or snow, and keep a vehicle stable when offroading. AWD and 4WD also significantly affect car performance when towing and hauling.

These systems help cars haul heavier weights while maintaining performance and higher speeds. You'll usually find that AWD and 4WD cars are SUVs or trucks, but some sedans and sports vehicles also offer these drive modes for performance purposes.

What Are All-Wheel Drive Vehicles?

All-wheel drive vehicles refer to cars with a drivetrain with power diverted to all wheels simultaneously. That means each wheel provides the same amount of power and works together to improve traction, handling and stability for a better driving experience.

AWD systems usually use computer technology and sensors to detect road conditions and adjust power distribution across the wheels to maintain terrain control. Drivers will find that this drivetrain is handy in wet or icy road conditions where skidding is likely. Therefore, AWD is a vital safety component that can actively prevent accidents.

What Are Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles?

Four-wheel drive (or 4x4) is one of the most universally recognizable drivetrains and provides a similar power distribution service to all-wheel drive. By distributing power evenly across all four wheels, this drive train ensures heavy-duty vehicles like SUVs and trucks can haul and tow heavy loads and manage uneven road conditions.

The critical difference between this drivetrain and two-wheel drive is that two-wheel drive only propels the car forward with the help of the rear two wheels. Front-wheel drive uses only the front two wheels and performs best on dry pavement. Drivers will usually find that 4WD systems differ significantly from two-wheel dries in terms of ground clearance and suspension strength, which is why 4X4s make the best vehicles for off-roading.

Four-Wheel Vs. All-Wheel Drive

At face value, four and all-wheel drive cars are the same. And while you're correct to an extent, several defining features can make a big difference to your driving experience, fuel economy and price tag. Here are the main differences between 4x4s and AWD:
  • Fuel economy: One of the most significant differences between 4WD and AWD is fuel efficiency and the cost of running your vehicle. Drivers will usually find that AWD systems are more fuel-efficient than their 4x4 counterparts, as they only receive the power they need for their conditions. 4WD cars send power to all wheels at all times, resulting in increased fuel consumption and higher operating costs.
  • Cost: Whether your car is AWD or 4WD will also impact the price tag of your vehicle. In most cases, AWD systems are cheaper to manufacture and therefore don't add much to your car's RRP. As 4WD cars are typically larger and have a more complex drivetrain system, these cars tend to cost more. So, if you want to make the best decision for your budget, an AWD car may be more beneficial.
  • Traction: Although both AWD and 4WD offer better traction control, AWD may be better for very troubling conditions like snow, ice and rain, which is particularly important here in Blainville! You'll find that AWD offers better performance on pavements, whereas 4WD is better suited to harsh terrain during off-roading thanks to its ground clearance, size and suspension durability.
  • Adjustment speed: AWD is designed to adjust your traction control and power distribution to the road conditions at a moment's notice. You won't have to manually intervene to change this, as the car's computer decides the power requirements. This makes AWD better for those that want a super easy driving experience and don't want to think beyond the road ahead of them. 4WD is better for lower speeds and doesn't adjust as quickly. However, drivers will find that speed adjustment capability on 4WD vehicles is much more beneficial on rocky, muddy and extremely uneven terrain and offers a more comfortable experience than AWD cars.

Find the Best Four or All-Wheel Drive Vehicle For You

Visit Blainville Chrysler and find the best four or all-wheel drive vehicle that is best suited to your driving needs. Our team of knowledgeable and friendly experts can help you navigate all parts of your purchasing journey, helping you secure the drivetrain that enhances your performance. We can help you with all parts of your car-buying journey, from financing to requesting parts and accessories. Visit our car dealership in Blainville today to find your perfect vehicle, or contact us to arrange a test drive.