2WD vs. AWD vs. 4WD – What’s The Difference?
For the layperson, the difference between two-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive is as foreign as a fish out of water. At Ventura Volkswagen, we strive to inform customers so that they can choose the right vehicle to fit their lifestyle needs and budgets.
Let’s begin learning the difference between the different drivetrain configurations.
There are four distinct powertrain options to select from: all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and rear-wheel drive. It should be noted that all passenger vehicles from 2012 on come equipped with electronic stability control and traction control. These two systems improve traction capabilities regardless of the drive wheels. Despite that, here are how several of the drivetrains work.
The majority of vehicles on the road these days utilize front-wheel drive. This system simply routes the engine’s power to the front wheels. Front-wheel drive vehicles offer better traction while climbing hills and driving on slippery surfaces as the engine’s weight is situated over the front wheels. Front-wheel drive can affect the performance of the vehicle, but it offers excellent balance and traction as a compromise.
All-wheel drive configurations feed power to all corners This allows your vehicle to maintain traction while accelerating. It can also help propel you through mud, sand, snow, and whatever other loose or slick surface you encounter. Most all-wheel drive systems deliver power to one set of wheels, either the front or rear. When your vehicle begins to slip, the system shifts power to the other axle in an effort to find more traction.
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Four-wheel drive is necessary for when you take your vehicle off-roading. This includes bouldering, driving through deep water, and fighting up steep hills with loose surfaces. Many four-wheel drive systems use a heavy-duty transfer case with a high and low gear range. This is to increase torque at the wheels. Most all-wheel drive systems are automatic, which means that the vehicle switches between two- and four-wheel drive. Some are part-time systems, which requires the driver to switch between modes. Vehicles with a part-time system should not be driven on dry pavement when in four-wheel drive mode.