AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the Difference?

2022 GMC Acadia parked

Many Southgate-area drivers choose all-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles because they offer enhanced traction for towing and off-roading when compared to front-wheel drive vehicles. Still, as you search for your next new vehicle, you may have questions about the difference—if any—between AWD and 4WD drivetrains.

Not surprisingly, many car-buyers assume that these similar-sounding terms can be used interchangeably. But although AWD and 4WD vehicles both send power to the front as well as the rear axle, AWD is not the same as 4WD. So, what’s the difference between them? AWD and 4WD distribute power differently between the four wheels. In the guide below, we’ll compare AWD vs. 4WD systems to help you determine which is the best fit for your needs.

What is AWD?

Typically, you’ll see AWD offered on vehicles with unibody frames like SUVs and pickup trucks, like the GMC Terrain and Sierra 1500. All-wheel drive systems divide power between the front and rear axles, which means that all four wheels receive power in equal amounts. There are several different types of AWD drivetrain configurations that offer different levels of convenience and utility for Brownstown-area drivers—including part-time and full-time AWD. Full-time AWD systems must be activated by the driver manually, while part-time AWD systems actively monitor the road conditions and automatically activate AWD when needed.

What is 4WD?

In a 4WD system, power is sent to each wheel individually. The system continues to monitor traction levels and driving conditions, adjusting the power balance between wheels as needed. So, what’s the difference between AWD and 4WD when you get out on the road? Actually, 4WD vehicles are designed to provide exceptional handling in off-road situations.

Comparing AWD vs. 4WD Vehicles

Given the difference between AWD and 4WD, which one is going to be your best bet—on or off the beaten path? If you do most of your driving on paved roads and highways around Dearborn, but are looking for enhanced traction on snow, mud, and ice, then an AWD vehicle should offer the capabilities you need. If you’re an avid off-roader or you require more control on unpaved job sites, then you may want to consider a vehicle with 4WD.

Shop Buick, GMC AWD & 4WD SUVs for Sale in Taylor

At Moran Buick GMC, we stock a range of new and pre-owned Buick and GMC vehicles that are ready to meet your needs. Our team is standing by to ensure that you head home in an AWD or 4WD vehicle with the capabilities you’re looking for, so contact us today to start moving forward!

 

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Contact Us

Main 734-939-0288 Sales 734-939-0288
14000 Telegraph Rd
Taylor, MI 48180
Glovebox
AudioEye
Moran Buick GMC 42.2046, -83.2687.