What is the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

Winter tire wheels using 4WD

In the match of AWD vs. 4WD, Phoenix drivers want to know: Is AWD the same as 4WD, and which drivetrain is better? The biggest factor in finding the right drivetrain for you is to think about the type of driving you will do. Do you need a vehicle for daily commutes and weekend getaways or something that can handle serious off-roading? Check out our inventory of pre-owned vehicles at Rocky's Auto Credit to see a whole range of AWD and 4WD cars, SUVs, and trucks. 


All-Wheel Drive

All-wheel drive, or AWD, is the drivetrain configuration that directs torque from the engine to both the front and rear axles through differentials that spread power over all four wheels. All-wheel drive also has a couple of different systems, full-time AWD and part-time AWD. Full-time AWD means that the front and rear axles receive torque all the time, while part-time AWD systems decide when it makes sense to send torque to the front axles by monitoring the road conditions and driving behavior. 

Four-Wheel Drive

A traditional 4×4 drivetrain is called four-wheel drive, or 4WD. Both drivetrains send power to the front and rear axles, but the difference between AWD and 4WD is that 4WD also directs a certain amount of power between the left and right wheels. 4WD systems are typically meant to provide vehicles with the best off-roading capabilities and are found on vehicles with truck-base platforms. 

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

When asking is AWD better than 4WD, the answer depends entirely on the driver and what they need from their vehicle. Glendale suburban drivers looking to conquer bad road conditions and gain extra traction in tough weather will find AWD adequately suits their needs. However, drivers looking to conquer the rugged off-road or who need a bit of extra support on the jobsite will find 4WD is the way to go. 

Find Your Next AWD or 4WD Vehicle at Rocky's Auto Credit!

Which drivetrain will you choose in the debate of AWD vs. 4WD? Make your choice and contact us at Rocky's Auto Credit to schedule a test drive on the streets of Tempe. Learn how to keep your 4WD or AWD tires in good condition by learning when you should rotate your tires.

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