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Which is Better AWD or 4WD?

The All Wheel Drives (AWD) and the Four Wheel Drive (4WD) use all the four wheels to get their drive power. The differentiating factor is that an AWD uses all the four wheels all the time while the 4WD will only call on the four wheels during extraction in off-road experiences.


In the recent past, all-terrain vehicles had a simple 4WD system that needed to be on when in off-road terrain. Before long, the shift changes from manual to the modern AWD systems found in most of the trucks, SUVs, and cars that have both the AWD and the 4WD.

Before deciding on the type of car that suits your driving style and road terrain, it is vital that you know there two options and how they operate. To help with the thinking, we will look at different vehicle models and get some basics on the advantages and disadvantages of both the AWD and the 4WD and other related features.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of 4WD

You may have gone through car dealers who offer advice to customers on the best car to choose between the one that uses 4WD or AWD specifications. However, deep inside of them there the spirit of breaking sales and increasing company profits at the end of the day. I am sure you are looking for an objective angle when analyzing the two engine operations.

Advantages of the 4WD

They have been around us for many years and are still have a significant market share. Car makers still see the relevance of manufacturing a dedicated 4WD system for the rugged terrain and SUVs to create a balance in performance.

If you are looking for a vehicle that you can control the driving characteristics, 4WD is the only choice because all the different modes depending on manual activation. Getting stuck gives you an option of using the 4-low gear to get out of trouble.

Apart from controlling the vehicles drive unit, turning on 4WD when necessary saves on fuel consumption.

There is also the extra traction given when gliding over slippery surfaces.

Disadvantages of the 4WD

The general opinion in the car market dictates that if you never use your 4WD more than twice in a year, then AWD could be a better choice. If your natural terrain is full of snow and ice invest in a 4WD.

You need to study and understand the nature of the road you are driving on so that you know when to turn on the 4WD to avoid wheel wind-up.

Advantages and Disadvantages of AWD

The modern AWD car has many advantages, but that does not mean they do not suffer any drawbacks. However, the main war is won on the fact that you can change the drive train at your convenience.

Advantages of AWD

Any car that used an AWD does the automatic shifting for you because you do not have to study the terrain and shift to 4WD. The automation keeps you differential and axle free from axle damage.

The idea that you can drive without bothering about the nature of terrain gives you peace of mind.

Disadvantages of AWD

An AWD is a component made of many integrated systems, therefore diagnosing a failing AWD system means examining almost every aspect of the drive train to pinpoint the exact problem.

How the AWD and 4WD Work – The Mechanics

A car with an on-demand 4WD gives the driver the chance to select the drive train forcing the wheels to lock and use the same spin rate. For some models, you can further increase the power coming through the differentials by selecting high or low gear.

For the AWD the vehicle has a central differential that automatically distributes power to the wheels. The differential at the center automatically detects the change of terrain and directs power to where it is needed rather than waiting for power to be transmitted through the path of least resistance.

The link between differentials in AWD in SUVs monitor the drive wheels and immediately sends power to the differential once there is a sign of slipping.

To both the AWD and the 4WD car manufacturers have added the electronic control systems to read terrains quickly and with accuracy. Understanding how the two drives work will play a crucial role when lining up to buy your next car.

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Final Words

An all-true AWD vehicle means that the driver is not supposed to do anything to initiate drive change. The 4WD uses normal drive train until the driver feels or sees that the terrain does not favor the vehicle and will have to switch the 4WD drive on and off to navigate tough terrains.

When you love convenience in a matter of seconds then, the best SUV should be the one with an AWD drive train because such cars have twice the level of traction at any given time.

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