What is the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

2021 Nissan Rogue Tires

At Anderson Auto Group, we offer a wide variety of all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles across our six locations in California and Arizona. Although these terms sound similar – after all, cars only have four wheels, so wouldn’t all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive refer to the same thing? – there are actually some significant differences. You should be aware of these differences if you’re planning on purchasing an AWD or 4WD vehicle, and the team at Anderson Auto Group is here to help. Whether you’re wondering about AWD or 4WD in AZ or AWD or 4WD in California, we’ve got you covered! Read on for a helpful guide detailing the major differences between AWD and 4WD, and hopefully, you’ll discover which one best suits your driving needs in Lake Havasu City and beyond.

What is AWD?

With an all-wheel drive (AWD) car, torque is directed from the engine to the front and rear axles to all four wheels via differentials. AWD systems are most commonly found on vehicles with unibody frames. Within the AWD system, there are a couple of different configurations, including part-time and full-time AWD. If you have a part-time AWD system, your car can monitor road and terrain conditions to direct torque only to the front axle when necessary. By contrast, a full-time AWD system sends torque to both axles all the time.

What is 4WD?

Four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles are also able to direct power to the front and rear axles simultaneously, but unlike AWD, 4WD systems can actually direct specific amounts of power between the left and right wheels rather than powering everything equally. These types of systems are designed to maximize off-road capability and are most commonly found in trucks and larger vehicles.

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

Is AWD better than 4WD? Is it the other way around? Is AWD the same as 4WD? Now that we’ve discussed the difference between AWD and 4WD, you might be wondering which one is more advantageous. The truth is, it depends on your own unique driving needs around Bullhead City and beyond. AWD vehicles are usually a better choice for drivers who stick to cities and suburbs but want a bit of extra traction for inclement weather and the occasional road trip through tough conditions. 4WD is intended more for drivers who will be frequently taking their vehicle through rugged off-road conditions, dangerous weather, or other circumstances where they need to maximize their traction far beyond the average vehicle.

Find Your Next AWD or 4WD Ride at Anderson Auto Group!

We’ve gone over the details of AWD vs. 4WD on paper, but you might be interested in seeing how each drivetrain handles on the road. Contact our office or stop by our dealership to set up a test drive of an available model around Hemet! You can also reach out with any questions about AWD or 4WD vehicles, and a member of our team will be happy to help you out. If you want to get a jump-start on the process of bringing your next ride home, you can apply for financing right from our website!

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