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All wheel drive

what is the difference between all wheel drive and four wheel drive

Nothing…it seems now to be used interchangeably. The difference is really in “part time” 4wd and “full time” 4wd which may be called awd when it’s engaged all the time with no choice.
Part time locks center differential or has none with the 4wd engaged from 2wd and is used only in slippery conditions
Full time 4wd or awd can be used all the time with it’s limited slip center differential, in “almost” any driving condition with exceptions noted in owner’s manual
google more complete answers…this is just basics and plenty of confusing when car companies seem to have no standard way of defining them themselves.

All wheel drive is full time, and does not require the driver to make any changes. Four wheel drive is part time, and only works when the driver engages it.

AWD is better for on-road driving. 4WD is better for off-road driving.

There are major differences between 4WD and AWD, and there are also major differences between different AWD systems.

Why do you ask?

I would normally have preferred your simpler explanation, till companies like Honda and Jeep continually refer to their systems as 4wd. That’s why it gets a little confusing and I have to include part time and full time 4wd in the discussion.
4WD = Low range and High Range gearing
AWD = Only high range gearing


http://www.rubicon-trail.com/4WD101/difference_4WD_awd.html

my daughter is buying a mariner that is all wheel drive…will this be as good in the snow

Yes it will have all wheel drive all the time, the trade off is 4 wheel drive on demand gives better gas mileage.

It will be just as good in snow as your tires will allow. Make sure you have snow tires or tires rated well in snow.

Punch “AWD” into this boards search feature

It won’t stop any better or steer any better than a 2wd, FWD vehicle…

And your point is ? This board is not always correct in it’s formulated opinions. I hope you read my entire post and not just the first line…
What do we call cars like a v8 4Runner with “full time 4 wheel drive” with low range off road capability. It is always engaged, as is some Vitara models
I believe the difference in awd and full time 4 wheel drive is 4wd in general has a low range and awd does not; and it’s that simple. So “part” and “full time” is an issue when 4wd is discussed and just saying 4wd is always part time ain’t enough IMVHO.

Modern AWD actually do steer and handle better than fwd under acceleration or climbing even slight grades in either slippery or dry conditions, as the torque is taken off the front wheels and shifted more to the rear automatically. Under these conditions, the fwd with torque steer and any front slippage is always at a disadvantage in steering and handling to modern awd.

For most people, 95% of their driving is on dry, clear roads. Few drivers have ever experienced “torque steer”. Most people just want transportation, not a rally car…In my opinion, the cost of buying and maintaining an AWD vehicle is not worth it…

I couldn’t agree with you more for the overall need you describe vs the cost… but I can’t say awd does not steer any better than fwd when it does, even if limited to snow, hills and freeway on ramps in slippery conditions, emergency maneuvers, towing, heavily loaded car, etc. People buying AWD cars should expect them to steer better in the “snow conditions” OP was referring to. That’s all…

often//Differences such as locking axles and low range transfer cases are often the only differences between all wheel drive and full time four wheel drive.

I would normally have preferred your simpler explanation, till companies like Honda and Jeep continually refer to their systems as 4wd. That’s why it gets a little confusing and I have to include part time and full time 4wd in the discussion.
4WD = Low range and High Range gearing
AWD = Only high range gearing

I respectfully disagree with the above. I drive a Mercedes ML 320 AWD that has a low range, as they all do.

The Mariner will be automatic AWD.
No switches for the operator to select anything. AWD is engaged when slippage is detected, otherwise 2wd on the front wheels.

My wife has an 06 Escape hybrid AWD and loves it on the snowy, icy city streets. No off roading or towing with that one.

I’m only going by what off road aficionados say about awd/4wd and I just disgree with 4wd having to be “put in being only part time”. Car makers can call their cars what ever they want…but officially awd drives with lockers and low range gearing are referred to by them as full time 4wd with off road capability. My 4Runner has 2wd full time 4wd with lock or unlocke center diff and even low range with an open differential foe bare road crawling. They wouldn’t call it awd, and neither would they call yours that.

AWD is better for on-road driving. 4WD is better for off-road driving.

Depends…Major snow storms…I want 4wd…It’s FAR FAR superior in deep snow where you have to drudge your way through just to get home.