AWD vs. 4WD: What's the Difference?

2019 Jeep Wrangler Grill

Whether you want more confidence on the road or you need the added power when you’re off-road or towing, it’s smart to choose an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle. Or a four-wheel drive (4WD) one. Confused on the difference between AWD and 4WD? You’re not the only one; you’re probably not even the only one in Opelika. What’s the difference between AWD and 4WD, and which should you choose when you’re shopping for a new vehicle?

Opelika Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram has the breakdown so you can decide between AWD or 4WD — including what 4WD means for a Jeep.

What is AWD?

With an AWD vehicle, torque is sent from the engine to the front and rear axles and then to all four wheels via differentials. These drivetrains can be full-time AWD or part-time AWD. Full-time AWD systems continuously deliver torque to the front and rear axles, while part-time AWD systems monitor road conditions and driving behavior to determine when to send torque only to the front axle. Many standard family vehicles that are available with different drivetrain options will have AWD — crossovers, some minivans, and some SUVs — and you’ll typically find it on vehicles with unibody frames.

Is AWD the same as 4WD? What is 4WD?

While their names make them sound similar, 4WD sends power to the front and rear axles as well as directs a specific amount of power between the left and right wheels. Usually you will find 4WD on vehicles with a truck-based platform, especially those that might frequently find their way off-road, like a work truck or a Jeep Wrangler.

Is AWD Better than 4WD?

AWD or 4WD? Which option is best for your daily drives and weekend adventures in Columbus, GA? When comparing AWD and 4WD, there is not always a clear-cut answer to this question. Most drivers will be fine with either, and your choice of AWD or 4WD often depends on the vehicle, so if you have your heart set on a particular model, that choice might be made for you.

But which is better? It really depends on what you are looking to get out of your vehicle. If you are looking for a vehicle that provides outstanding traction during inclement weather in Auburn, AWD is likely you best bet. Most AWD systems are automatic and do the work for you. If you’re planning to spend more time off-road than on it or like to have a hands-on level of control for your vehicle, you may want to consider a 4WD model.

Jeep 4×4 Systems

Jeep vehicles are known for their off-road prowess, and this is, in part, due to the iconic Jeep Brand 4×4 system. For decades, Jeep has been a leader in 4×4 technology meaning you can drive with complete confidence thanks to this 4WD system.

  • Off-Road Differentials: To maximize the amount of power sent to your wheels for optimal traction, Jeep vehicles are equipped with either mechanical, electronic, or brake-assisted differentials.
  • Front Sway Bar Disconnect System: This feature, which is a standard offering on the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, makes it possible to automatically disengage the front sway bar when driving under 18 mph in 4 Low mode. Doing this will improve articulation.
  • Skid Plates: Stamped steel skid plates are a common standard feature throughout the Jeep lineup. These help prevent damage to your vehicle when tackling tough terrain.
  • Rock Rails: Also known as sill guards, rock rails provide an additional layer of protection when off-roading.
  • Body-on-Frame Design: A fully-boxed frame on the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited provide peak durability, strength, and flexibility.
  • Dana® 44 Heavy-Duty Solid Axles: This feature helps Jeep vehicles deliver a quiet and smooth ride.

Find AWD and 4WD Vehicles in Opelika

Now that you know a little more about the difference between AWD and 4WD, it’s time to start shopping! The knowledgeable team at Opelika Ford Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram can help you find a vehicle with AWD or 4WD that checks all of the boxes on your wishlist. Contact us today for more information.

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