What’s the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L


At Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, we offer a ton of new and used cars for sale with a variety of driveline systems. That of course, includes both AWD and 4WD. Which technology is a better choice for your next new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or RAM? That depends on your needs. Often, we get asked, “Is AWD the same as 4WD, or is AWD better than 4WD?” The answer to both questions is “No,” but not necessarily for the reasons you think. Read on to learn more or contact us here at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram anytime with additional questions.

What is AWD?

“All-wheel drive,” often abbreviated simply as “AWD,” is a vehicle driveline configuration that allows for torque to be directed from the engine to both the front and rear axles at the same time. In essence, it sends engine power to all four wheels via differentials, usually at once, but not always. 

There are a few types of AWD, including full-time AWD and part-time AWD. Full-time AWD systems send torque to the front and rear axles simultaneously. Part-time AWD systems, on the other hand, monitor driving behavior and send torque only to the front axle until it’s deemed otherwise necessary. Cars and crossover SUVs with unibody frames often utilize the latter type of AWD system for extra efficiency.

What is 4WD?

“Four-wheel drive,” usually abbreviated simply as “4WD,” is a more traditional kind of 4×4 drivetrain, meaning power is also sent to all four wheels at once, but with one key difference to AWD. Namely, 4WD systems can divert power between the left and right wheels as well as the front and rear axles. Trucks and truck-based SUVs that are “body-on-frame” generally tend to use 4WD due to its increased off-roading potential compared to AWD.

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

Is AWD better than 4WD? Is 4WD better than AWD, conversely? As most any auto expert will tell you, the answers to both of these questions is “No,” but that’s not to say that the answer is “No” for everyone. In fact, for some people one driveline type will invariably be a better pick, but not for others. So, in essence, 4WD might be better for you, but so might AWD. Discover which driveline better meets your needs today with the experts at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram! 

Shop AWD & 4WD Vehicles at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram!

Ready to find a new car or used vehicle that has AWD or 4WD equipped? We’ve got a huge selection to choose from here at Olathe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram! Just give us a call at (913) 755-9611 today to schedule a test drive in any one of our 4WD or AWD vehicles, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you with any other questions you have while you’re on the line.

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