10 January 2017

Difference between AWD and 4WD

What is the all-wheel-drive?

AWD cars are fitted with a centre differential that contains a clutch or viscous drive unit splits torque front-to-rear, directing it away from the spinning wheel. It can go from grippy pavement (where the differentials need to allow different speeds side-to-side and front-to-rear) to slippery snow, rain, or dirt (where torque also needs to be apportioned to wheels with grip). That’s why AWD is the better choice for most drivers and why it helps you safely navigate both inclement weather and light off-road driving.

What is the four-wheel drive?

4WD works by locking the front and rear axles together and splitting torque half-half between them provides great traction, but a vehicle locked in 4WD cannot safely be operated on dry pavement because its front and rear axles are forced to rotate at the same speeds so you use 4WD mostly on off-road or in deep snow.

Let us have a deep insight into the difference between them. 

Difference : 

  • In an AWD a front, rear and centre differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle whereas two differentials and a transfer case to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle in 4WD. 
  • 4WD puts power to all four wheels all the time while AWD vehicles actually have the power to only one rear wheel.
  • 4WD refers to systems that allow the driver to manually switch between driving two wheels and driving all four while the driver usually cannot choose to engage all four wheels in AWD. 
For example 4 wheel drive trucks and truck-based SUVs are rear-wheel drives by default and the driver can switch to 4x4 which will engage the front axle as well, and all four wheels will be engaged until the driver switches back to 2x4 mode.
  • 4WD provides best off-road traction capabilities while AWD provides better grip and sporty feel.
  • AWD gives higher safety ratings.
  • 4WD is not suitable for all driving conditions.
  • 4WD provides equal power to the axles and is either on or off, whereas AWD can direct power as it sees fit to certain axles.
  • 4WD is generally found on trucks and SUV’s such as the Dodge Ram or Chevy Silverado while AWD are found on vehicles such as the Subaru WRX or Audi R8.
  • AWD vehicle has both 2WD and 4WD capabilities while 4WD has the only 4WD capability.
  • Most AWD vehicles are more automatic and most 4WD vehicles are designed in extreme conditions for drivers who want manual control.
  • 4WD has both high and low gear options, while AWD only has a high gear option.
If you plan for using vehicle off-road 4WD will be the best decision to make is reliable and perfect for low-speed terrain while an AWD vehicle will be the better choice if provides a better safety net on the road.