What's the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?
The difference between all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) is a topic of confusion for many car, truck, and SUV buyers. Both systems send power to the wheels where traction is needed most. But if you find yourself wondering which is better, AWD or 4WD, these guidelines will help:
- AWD is a good fit for everyday all-weather conditions, light off-roading, and certain kinds of performance driving
- 4WD is the better choice for taking on heavier workloads and traveling over challenging terrain
Photo: Christian Wardlaw
For these reasons, we usually associate AWD with cars and crossovers and 4WD with SUVs and pickup trucks. However, the lines of distinction between AWD vs. 4WD remain blurry for many. Therefore, a car buyer should understand the operational differences between the two systems before deciding which one is right for them.