If you’re looking for a car and are getting confused by the seemingly similar all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) options, you are not alone.
As manufacturers continue to apply enhancements to AWD and 4WD systems, the lines separating the two have blurred, and both now share numerous advantages and drawbacks. For example, both AWD and 4WD perform better than a two-wheel-drive vehicle in severe weather conditions and ensure smoother handling. However, the one-time and recurring expenses of AWD and 4WD vehicles tend to be higher, as their costly advanced systems and weighty components place additional load on the engine - lowering their fuel economy and increasing gas, oil change and general maintenance expenses.
Having said that, there are still many factors that differentiate them based ultimately on how you plan to put the vehicles to use. Let’s explore together the areas where the AWD and 4WD excel.
Why Choose an AWD Vehicle?
With an AWD vehicle, the driver does not have to make any decisions. The system is designed to automatically detect loss of traction and send power quickly and accurately to the wheels that need it most. This means all four wheels can gain traction independently of each other.
So, how does this affect you? For starters, the improved traction distribution among all four tires offers better acceleration. Compared to a front-wheel or rear-wheel-drive vehicle, the AWD is also more capable of responding to a range of everyday weather conditions, such as rain, snow and ice, as well as accommodating towing and light off-roading in dirt or sand. Best yet, many AWD cars, trucks and SUVs of varying sizes are available today, presenting drivers with a wider range of options to choose from.
Why Choose a 4WD Vehicle?
If you’re a true off-road enthusiast or live in or routinely drive to remote areas, a 4WD is the right choice for you. That’s because 4WD is usually more robust and durable than AWD and comes equipped with low and high system ranges that the driver can manually select. When the low setting is activated, the vehicle receives maximum traction in an off-road environment filled with challenging unpaved, rugged terrain and sharp inclines and declines. In contrast, the high setting helps with driving and towing on wet, slippery road conditions like snow, ice, sand and gravel. Additionally, the 4WD system is typically found on trucks and large SUVs, making them ideal for heavy hauling.
Now that we’ve covered the key differences between an AWD and 4WD, you can make an informed decision when buying your next vehicle. While personal preferences play a part, you must remember where you live and work and the kind of roads you often take that warrant your investment in an AWD or 4WD. Visit our Markazia Lexus showroom on Mecca Street to browse the perfect Lexus car for you.