FWD vs. AWD vs. 4WD: What’s The Difference Between Them?



You may have heard about “front-wheel drive,” “all-wheel drive,” and “four-wheel drive.” It is common to feel confused between which term means what as found there are distinct differences between them. Let’s take a look at them here. One of the first decisions you face when shopping for a vehicle is what type of drivetrain you should get. There is a drivetrain to fit just about any driving style from front-wheel drive to all-wheel drive.

Comparing FWD, AWD, and 4WD in Neptune

Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

Most passenger vehicles sold around Neptune, Freehold, Asbury Park, Belmar and other cities of the United States today have front-wheel drive (FWD). Under this system, the engine’s power is directed to the front wheels. A handful of SUVs have front-wheel drive vehicles, with additional systems that transfer some output to the rear wheels when the need arises. 

Front-wheel drive cars are less expensive to manufacture and are considered more space-efficient compared to rear-drive systems. In addition, they provide better traction on hilly terrains because the weight of the engine falls on the front wheels. The system also eliminates the need for a space-consuming driveline hump along the center of the cabin floor.


All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

All-wheel drive (AWD) delivers power to each corner of the vehicle and provides maximum forward- traction during acceleration. This system is most effective for driving in sloppy road conditions and on slightly off-road terrain. Most AWD systems deliver power primarily to one set of wheels, front or rear. 

When slippage is identified at one axle, AWD systems divert power to the other axle to regain more traction there. They are especially useful in rapidly changing road conditions, like driving on a road with sporadic snow and ice. SUVs, as well as certain minivans typically have AWD.


Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

Four-wheel drive (4WD) is suited to serious off-road driving situations like fording deep water, climbing over boulders or steep hills, and low-traction surfaces. Vehicles with four-wheel drive tend to include a two-speed gear with both low and high ranges. 

4WD systems in passenger vehicles either stay engaged full-time or require the driver to manually switch between two- and four-wheel drive. Vehicles having a part-time 4WD should be off-dry pavements, which cause damage to its drivetrain.


Which Drivetrain Suits Your Lifestyle?

We are happy to put you behind the wheel and let you try out every different drivetrain.  You can conveniently schedule your test drive here online or you can call us. Come experience the features of your next vehicle. We are sure that we can help you find the ride that fits you. We want you to feel comfortable in your next car, truck or SUV. Come and test drive with us today!