Difference between AWD and 4WD

September 5th, 2018 by

There are so many options available when buying a car that sometimes it can all get confusing. Especially when some manufacturers use terms like All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and Four-Wheel drive (4WD) interchangeably. To ensure you’re receiving the most knowledge before your next big purchase, Ultimo Motors is here to compare AWD and 4WD. In hopes of simplifying the terms.

All Wheel Drive

In cars that provide AWD, your car will be receiving power for both the front and rear wheels. Most cases, no input will be needed, all the wheels will be receiving the same amount of torque to power the wheels so they are working hard. All wheel drive distributes power to all wheels so car traction is optimized. Within all wheel drive there is two sub categories. Part-time AWD and full-time AWD.

Part time AWD

Part time allows for the driver to choose base on the road condition they are driving in. When a driver is on the part-time AWD the car is sending torque to two driven wheels and the other two wheels will become engaged when needed for extra traction for road conditions. This is useful when a road condition changes unexpectedly.

Full time AWD

Full time all wheel drive consists of the front and rear axles working hard consistently throughout your journey. The car is more powerful in full time AWD when the car is driving in dry conditions. The dry conditions allow for the vehicle to receive more power.

Four Wheel Drive

Capable of more serious off-roading, four wheel drive allows for the driver to be more adventurous with the places they go. Commonly found in large trucks and SUVs, 4WD delivers torque to front, rear and center differentials. Allowing for the most rugged terrain to be conquered when driving.

Different from AWD, 4WD allows the driver to select a low and high range. Low range allows for maximum traction being used when off roaring, while high range is useful for slippery on-road conditions one might run into. High range is best used when dealing with snow, ice, sand and gravel.

Similar to all wheel drive, four wheel drive has a full time and part time as well that do the same thing. With part time four wheel drive the driver can choose when to engage in 4WD with a button or lever.

Ultimo Motors

When given the opportunity to walk into Ultimo Motors you will find an array of vehicles. Our showrooms have tons of options ranging from all wheel drive, four wheel drive and others. All of our cars are treated with care and kept inside to prevent them from being exposed to harsh weather conditions that the Chicagoland area might have.


Posted in Tips about Cars