AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the Difference?

2021 INFINITI QX50 AWD

Many of our Overland Park shoppers wonder, “is AWD the same as 4WD?”, “What is the difference between AWD and 4WD?”, and “Which is better: AWD or 4WD?”. For an answer to your question, “is AWD better than 4WD?” and for a thorough breakdown of the difference between AWD and 4WD. If you have other questions about car shopping, be sure to check out our car buying tips for fun reads about how to use online shopper for a virtual car buying experience and more! 


What is AWD?

Is AWD the same as 4WD? No. In AWD, or “all-wheel drive,” your engine directs torque to the front and rear axles of your vehicle via differentials. There are two types of AWD systems: part-time AWD and full-time AWD. With a part-time AWD system, your vehicle will monitor the levels of torque being sent to your wheels as well as road conditions. If it senses any loss of traction, it will apply torque as needed to optimize your grip on Olathe roads. Full-time AWD, on the other hand, continuously applies torque to all 4 wheels. So now that you know what AWD is, what is the difference between AWD and 4WD? 

What is 4WD?

4WD, or “four-wheel drive,” is a traditional 4×4 drivetrain. While both AWD and 4WD mobilize all the wheels on your vehicle, 4WD provides even greater traction. Whether you choose AWD or 4WD, you’ll enjoy excellent traction, but if you frequently drive off-road or on unmaintained back roads, 4X4 is ideal. That’s because, while AWD provides torque to the front and rear axles, 4WD provides torque to front axles, rear axles, left axles, and right axles, offering you even greater traction. 

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

Is AWD better than 4WD, or is it the other way around? While you know that 4X4 provides better traction, it’s also more expensive, and not everybody has to drive on the roads that demand that kind of traction. AWD isn’t as powerful, but it’s more affordable, and if you’re just looking to have smoother handling on ice or slick roads, it’s more than enough for the job.

Explore the Difference Between AWD and 4WD at INFINITI of Kansas City

Merriam and Lees Summit drivers looking to truly know what the difference is between AWD and 4WD can give INFINITI of Kansas City a call to test drive both powertrains. Which is better: AWD or 4WD? It depends on your needs as a driver, but if you’re still not quite sure which one is going to be better for you, there’s no better way to find out. Our sales staff will show you everything you need to know about AWD and 4WD by giving you comparative AWD vs. 4WD test drives. But first, be sure to explore our new vehicle specials and apply for financing

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