AWD vs. 4WD – The Difference Between

The difference between AWD and 4WD

AWD is an acronym for All-Wheel Drive and 4WD is an acronym for 4 Wheel Drive. Both refer to systems that are used in vehicles. Some vehicles are equipped with only AWD, and others have only 4WD. Then there are others that have both systems built in. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems.

About 4WD

A vehicle that has four-wheel drive is able to deliver power to all four tires at the same time. This option is a good one to have where road conditions can get slippery or where there is a build-up of snow on the road. It is also used in vehicles that are used for off-roading. In this system, when one wheel starts to move, the corresponding wheel on the other side will move.

There are also two options – low 4WD and high 4WD. Low 4WD is used for speeds of 15km or less. It is more expensive to have a 4WD drive option on a vehicle – the extra cost can be between $3000 and $4000. This option is seen on heavy vehicles, such as trucks and SUV’s.

The driver is able to switch the 4WD on and off in vehicles that have both systems. This allows the driver to match the system to the road conditions at the time. There are some vehicles who have only 4WD, but this is not really a convenient option.

About AWD

In vehicles that have AWD when one wheel moves they will all move. It is cheaper to choose a car that has only AWD built in. It is lighter and provides a smoother ride. There are no low or high options and this drive system is not for off-road conditions. It does allow the car to move freely on all road surfaces.

The difference between AWD and 4WD

4WD is the option of choice in snowy conditions and is better suited for heavy vehicles. AWD is better for lighter vehicles, such as small cars and trucks. AWD is not recommended for off-road use because 4WD is better suited for these road conditions. 4WD is also more expensive.

On vehicles that have both systems built in, the driver has the option of switching between the modes depending on the driving conditions. There are two types of 4WD – low and high, with low being the one recommended for really slow speeds. There are no options on AWD vehicles.