Compare: AWD vs FWD vs 4WD

Compare: AWD vs FWD vs 4WD

Vehicle technology has come a long way. Over the years, cars have become smarter and more efficient. Thanks to advancements in technology, different parts including drive systems have become more responsive and performance-oriented than ever before. The drive system is one of the most critical components of a car and is designed to bring about its dynamic movement.

Three main drive systems used in modern cars are all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive. Let’s take a look at how these different drive systems work.

All-wheel drive
Many drivers confuse all-wheel drive, or AWD vehicles, with four-wheel drive. Though both systems are designed to engage all four wheels of a vehicle, there are some basic differences between them. Typically used in vehicles with car-type platforms, all-wheel drive is designed to help maintain traction when driving on wet roads.

AWD cars work by distributing torque between the front and rear axles, which helps avoid slip and loss of traction. AWD is a recent technological innovation. Most modern cars that employ this system use sensor to monitor traction and wheel speed. There are two different types of AWDs, full-time AWD, and part-time AWD.

Front-wheel drive
Front-wheel drive, or FWD, is arguably the most common drivetrain and can be found in vehicles of different makes. FWD cars are designed to send maximum power to the front wheel. Front-wheel drive vehicles are known for their simplicity, and the system is designed to help save cabin space. FWD vehicles typically get better fuel efficiency and also produce fewer emissions.

FWD vehicles can help maintain better traction when driving in the snow. However, many drivers claim that FWD vehicles are fewer fun cars to drive.

Four-wheel drive
Four-wheel drive, or 4WD, or 4X4 is designed to transfer power to the transmission and then to the transfer case, which is divided between the front and rear axles. 4WD cars equally distribute power to all four wheels. 4X4 is usually offered on vehicles with truck-type platforms. Drivers who want to save fuel can turn off their 4X4 system and operate the vehicle in RWD. Furthermore, 4WD vehicles can be driven on almost any terrain.

Source: Ford