What is the difference between 4-Wheel-Drive & All-Wheel-Drive?
Try looking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-wheel_drive
2wd=rear wheel(s) driven only
4wd=front and rear wheels driven at same speed, good system for really deep snow and offroad as nearly all have a low range. Otherwise cruddy on the road in non extreme conditions. Usually reverts to RWD with exceptions like Subaru in pre-AWD days which was either FWD or 4wd.
awd=variety of things, however typically means a center differentials allows for slightly different speeds front to back so turning is much easier on dry pavement. AWD is not created equal across makes, many are simply FWD(front wheel drive) with a split of torque to rear wheels when needed. Others are dedicated always front and rear wheels with power(Subaru/Audi/VW) and allow for a small amount slippage front to rear.
Note some systems labeled 4wd (like real time 4wd) are really AWD. Honda uses this name which is FWD with rear wheels kicking in occasioanlly.
Try using the search feature of this board. There is a current thread on this subject…
It’s very confusing because really they mean the same thing and have been used interchangeably during various points in automotive history. However, nowadays the concensus is that AWD powers all four wheels all the time and is usually found on car-type vehicles, whereas 4wd is the kind you have to shift into and is usually found on truck-based vehicles.
Just as in the other post that is currently alive and well here…
you MUST consider what you expect this vehicle to DO FOR YOU over the life of ownership.
Read all of the other advice and reference links to help YOU decide for yourself.
I have both AWD & 4X4 They are very different in utility and I could go on and on… but won’t unless asked.