The Differences Between All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive

When it comes to finding the ideal vehicle for the future, drivers throughout the greater Fargo area know that combatting adverse weather and terrain conditions is sometimes necessary, and the best way to take on the challenges with confidence is in a vehicle with All-Wheel Drive or Four-Wheel Drive. But for many throughout Grand Forks, Moorhead, West Fargo, and beyond, these two terms are somewhat interchangeable. So let's take a look at each to see how they are used to increase the capability of new Toyota models, as well as the confidence of you the driver.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

What is Four-Wheel Drive?

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) often referred to as 4x4, is a system commonly seen on vehicles geared towards off-road adventures. Power is pushed from the transmission to the transfer case, which splits power between front and rear axles so that torque is delivered to each wheel. Most 4WD models are either full-time which means they stay engaged, or part-time and must be manually shifted between 2WD and 4WD modes. Many also offer High and Low gear range, used to increase low-speed climbing power as needed. The downside to this is that models without differentials will find wheels turning at the same speed, which can result in a loss of efficiency.

What is 4WD Best Used For?

While 4WD is sure to benefit drivers focused on off-road adventures, it will also benefit drivers throughout the Fargo area who find themselves driving in the deep snows of winter. Plow trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles are all likely to feature 4WD systems, though most will require drivers to actively engage the system as needed.


What Types of Vehicles Offer 4WD?

4WD systems are usually found in trucks like the Toyota Tundra and Toyota Tacoma, as well as in off-road capable vehicles like the Toyota Land Cruiser, 4Runner, and Sequoia. With impressive 4WD capabilities and ground clearance, these vehicles are designed to take on the off-road adventures and grueling weather conditions to provide a more confident experience to the driver and passengers within.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

What is All-Wheel Drive?

As one might guess from the name, AWD delivers power to each of the four wheels. Designs vary, but AWD usually can provide maximum forward traction during acceleration, and AWD normally delivers power primarily to one set of wheels, front or rear and diverts power to the other axle if slippage is detected. Some systems will provide a minimum amount of power to the alternate axle, however it is more common to find 100% of power going to the front axle, especially on front-wheel drive vehicles fitted with an AWD system.

What is AWD Best Used For?

Ideal for tackling most normal snow conditions and light-duty off-road adventures, many drivers in the greater Fargo area will find AWD systems to be more than enough for handling the worst weather of the region. As the snow builds up your vehicle will balance power between the wheels as needed automatically, and you won't have to worry about engaging the AWD system.

What Kinds of Vehicles Offer AWD?

All-Wheel Drive systems are more commonly found on cars, car-based SUVS, and even small trucks in some cases. Vehicles like the Toyota Sienna, Highlander, and RAV4 each offer available AWD for drivers to enjoy. And while they may not be as prepared as others to tackle grueling off-road adventures, drivers will enjoy the enhanced confidence to take on challenging weather and adverse conditions with ease.