What's The Difference Between AWD, FWD and 4WD?


2019 engines

What's The Difference Between AWD, FWD, and 4WD?

The safety and stability of a vehicle are of primary importance when choosing a car. Driving technology has seen a leap over the years to align in accordance with a driver’s needs. Automobile engines are now built to power vehicles in a way that can provide maximum stability to move efficiently on different terrains. Read on to find out more about the difference between AWD, FWD, and 4WD cars.

  • All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

AWD vehicles are commonly confused to be the same as 4WD cars, but they do have some key differences. In an AWD model, the engine powers each wheel differently and distributes power based on the traction required on any particular surface. The system is automatic and does not require the driver to activate any function. 

AWD cars can also work in a way that powers either the front and rear or left and right pairs of wheels in order to boost the grip and stability of the vehicle. When the weight of the car is distributed unevenly, the engine powers different axels to power different sets of wheels to improve efficiency on rocky terrains.

  • Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

In FWD vehicles, the engine provides power primarily to the front two wheels. Special Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are built with this technology as they are meant to be driven in difficult terrains. 

While climbing uphill, the front two wheels will need to carry the weight of the car in order to propel the vehicle forward. The technology signals the engine to engage the most power to the two front wheels to provide traction and stability during the climb. Such models are also built to provide more rear leg space and are comparatively cost-effective to make. 

  • 4 Wheel Drive (4WD)

4WD vehicles power the four wheels of the car equally, therefore allowing each of the wheels to spin at the same rate as the others. They are most commonly seen in those capable of off-roading. 

In these cars, one can use either the high-gear or low-gear modes when driving over rocky or slippery terrains, as it powers the wheels equally and thereby enhances traction.

 Ready to learn more and schedule a test drive? Visit us today at Jerry's Ford Alexandria in Alexandria, VA, just a short drive from Annandale, Arlington, and Springfield, and beyond!

Source: Ford