All-Wheel Drive vs 4×4

by Gilbert Jaime

All Wheel Drive & 4×4

The bigger the car, the more power it will need to get moving. When the people hear power, they don’t realize it’s not only the engine that’s in play, but also the drivetrain you should know about. SUVs and trucks are usually all wheel drive (AWD) or 4×4, also there are a few sedan, coupe, and hatchback style cars that have an all-wheel drivetrain. With this type of drive train you are capable of going absolutely anywhere and not be restrained specifically to streets. Even though they both are very similar, they have differences that will limit how off road you are able to go.



All wheel drive (AWD) is the drivetrain in which the powers both front and rear wheels. The drivetrain of AWD is always on unlike the 4×4. Unlike the FWD and RWD that only have one differential, the AWD drivetrain has three differentials. The first and main differential is in the middle of the car, while the other two are in the front and back wheels. The differential is what distributes the power to the wheels. Now the question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of the AWD? The advantages are simple, control and handling is good under any circumstance, the newest models comes with computers that show live data of the car while you drive, and clearly is much more easier to drive than most of the other cars. The disadvantages for AWD include: expensive repairs if the computer or sensors malfunction, it’s not fuel efficient, and AWD has its limits which are very extreme off road.



The 4×4 drivetrain is set up to give power to each wheel individually instead of being paired up with the neighboring one. 4×4 automobiles are mostly trucks and SUVs. A 4×4 is the real deal when it comes to off road circumstances. Unlike the AWD drivetrain, the 4×4 drivetrain isn’t always on, which helps improve fuel economy. The driver has the option of “4 High” or “4 Low”. Now what is the difference between those two modes? “4 High” should be switched on while in snow, mud, or overall extreme off road conditions. The advantage of “4 High” would be that you can drive at high speeds, it’s recommended that it shouldn’t be driven over 55pmh. On the other hand “4 Low”, increases more torque. Just like the “4 High” has a speed limit, “4 Low” has a very rigid speed limit. It’s recommended for it not go to over 10 mph. With these two key points established, is there any advantages of buying a 4×4? Some advantages are good traction for off road & you can turn off the 4×4 mode making it into an AWD. The negative side to the 4×4 are, the automobiles are heavier and also they are more expensive than 2 wheel drive cars.   


At the end of the day, AWD and 4×4 are very similar. They both are good in all terrain, with the slight advantage of 4×4 being the toughest in extreme off road condition. Depending on how extreme and adventurous the consumer is, is the way the car should be chosen.



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