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FWD, AWD and 4WD Whats the deal?

Differences between FWD, AWD, 4WD and RWD – Which one do you need?

With so many options to consider when shopping for a new vehicle, it’s important to be aware of how each feature compares to its alternative. For instance, you may be curious to learn about the differences between front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and four-wheel drive as well as which drivetrain is best suited for you and your lifestyle. Fortunately, we have some information that should help you out!

Front-wheel drive (FWD)

As the most common drivetrain, front-wheel drive can be found in a variety of different vehicles. It sends power directly to the front wheels and holds most of its weight over the front wheels, helping drivers retain traction on slippery roads. FWD is also a compact system that weighs less than other drivetrains and frees up extra cabin space for riders to enjoy.

All-wheel drive (AWD)

All-wheel drive is typically used in vehicles with car-type platforms and is designed to get the most traction in slippery conditions. AWD splits the torque between the front and rear axles on the center differential and is constantly on. All-wheel drive is a more recent innovation than FWD and 4WD, and most current models utilize advanced technology with sensors on each wheel that monitor traction, wheel speed, and more.

Four-wheel drive (4WD or 4×4)

With four-wheel drive (also known as 4×4), power is transferred from the engine to the transmission and then to the transfer case, which splits it between the front and rear axles, evenly distributing it to all four wheels. 4WD is usually offered on vehicles with truck-type platforms and, unlike AWD, can be turned on and off. Four-wheel drive is typically used for off-road driving and traversing rough terrain.

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

As you’ve probably guessed, rear-wheel drive vehicles channel their power strictly to the vehicle’s rear wheels. RWD vehicles can handle more horsepower and higher vehicle weights, which you will find on most sports cars. They are able to handle turning and curves better but will have some issues in wet or snowy conditions.

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