Getting It Straight When Discussing All-Wheel-Drive Vs. Four-Wheel Drive
All-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive are often confused as being the same thing, but in fact, the applications are different for different purposes. Each application does cause all four wheels to receive power, and thus increase traction of the vehicle.
The four-wheel drive concept is familiar to most people as it has been around the longest. It provides its action by utilizing a split differential and a lower gear ration than normal. It is found in larger off-road SUVs and pickup trucks. Its primary use is off-road and rough terrain driving.
The all-wheel-drive application is found in high-performance cars, sedans, and crossover vehicles. This system sends a steady, even power flow to each wheel with variations based on the condition of the pavement. Designed to run on paved roads, the all-wheel-drive delivers an even, smooth driving experience.
The all-wheel-drive systems are excellent for driving in difficult weather conditions such as ice, snow, and heavy rainstorms.