AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the Difference?

2020 Mazda CX-9  parked by a home

North Wales drivers wondering, “what is the difference between AWD and 4WD?”, are in the right place. Some of you probably never guessed that there was a difference between AWD and 4WD in the first place. You’re forgiven. Most Colmar drivers assume that AWD is the same as 4WD. Read on to distinguish between AWD and 4WD so you can better decide whether you’d prefer AWD or 4WD. We’ll cover the basic differences and answer the question, “is AWD better than 4WD?”. 

Once you’ve read our guide, fill out a pre-approval and give us a call at (215) 918-4862 to test drive both drivetrains. If you have other questions about Mazda models, be sure to check out our manufacturer guide for more informative reads about the available Mazda AWD models and more! 

What is AWD?

To know what the difference is between AWD and 4WD and whether AWD is better than 4WD or vice versa, Lansdale drivers will need to know what AWD is in the first place. AWD stands for “all-wheel drive.” In an all-wheel drive system, torque is directed from the engine to the front and rear axles. There are a couple of different AWD systems. These include full-time AWD and part-time AWD. 

With full-time AWD, torque is sent to your front and rear axles continuously. With part-time AWD, your vehicle monitors the amount of spin in each wheel and intelligently balances them out by applying torque as needed. Now that you know what AWD is, it’s time to find out if AWD is the same as 4WD, as well as which is better: AWD or 4WD. 

What is 4WD?

4WD is also known as “four-wheel drive” or “4X4.” Unlike AWD, 4WD systems send power to the front and rear axles and the left and right wheels. What does this mean for Harleysville drivers? More stability. You’ll find 4WD systems on trucks and off-road savvy SUVs.  

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

Is AWD better than 4WD, or is it the other way around? Is AWD the same as 4WD? When it comes to the efficacy of AWD vs. 4WD, which is better comes down to your unique needs. 4WD is more expensive than AWD, because it offers superior traction for off-roading. If you’re not going to be off-roading, it may not be worth the added cost. If you want AWD because you want to increase your traction on wet or icy roads, AWD will do the trick.  

Experience the Difference Between AWD and 4WD for Yourself 

Most years, Mazda models only offer AWD, but with our large lot of used vehicles in tow, we can lay any curiosities Chalfont drivers have about 4WD to rest. Is AWD better than 4WD? You’ll know whether you’re an AWD or 4WD driver after a few test drives. Now that you’ve read our AWD vs. 4WD comparison, be sure to check out our in-depth overview of the unique Mazda i-Activ AWD® system.