AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the Difference?

2021 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

When you’re shopping for new vehicles for added traction during Bellaire winters, you’re almost certainly going to be asking yourself about the difference between AWD and 4WD. Is AWD the same as 4WD? The short answer is no, AWD & 4WD are two different drivetrains that serve different purposes on Traverse City-area roads. Is AWD better than 4WD? That depends on how and where you’re driving. Let the service department at Serra Traverse City help you decide which is better: AWD or 4WD.

What is the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

The difference between AWD and 4WD comes down to where torque is directed. Both systems can send torque to all four wheels, but they do so in different ways, with different amounts of power. If you’re trying to decide between AWD and 4WD, take a look at them individually:


4WD, or “four-wheel drive,” is the 4×4 drivetrain. The difference between AWD and 4WD is that while 4WD systems are able to send power to the front and rear axles, and also direct a specific amount of power between the left and right sides. This offers more power and control for rough terrain if you’re going off-road or regularly navigating bad weather and roads. It’s most often found on trucks like the Toyota Tundra, or SUVs built on truck bases.


AWD stands for “all-wheel drive.” This drivetrain directs torque from the engine to the front and rear axles. A front-wheel drive sends torque to the front wheels. There are several all-wheel drive systems available: full-time AWD and part-time AWD. The former continually sends power to the front and rear axles, while part-time AWD senses when you need AWD power and delivers it. It’s usually found in vehicles with unibody frames.

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

Now that you know the difference between AWD and 4WD, you can probably tell that one isn’t inherently better than the other. It depends on how the vehicle’s being driven in Lake City. For most regular driving AWD offers plenty of power even in rainy or snowy weather conditions. For drivers who need power for off-roading or commercial work sites, 4WD is usually the better option.

Browse the Selection of AWD & 4WD SUVs at Serra Traverse City!

With over seven brands under one roof, you’ll have plenty of choices in AWD vs. 4WD at Serra Traverse City! Browse our extensive inventory, and contact us with any questions you have about which is better: AWD or 4WD for your Traverse City-area drives. Ready to learn more? Explore the Cadillac AWD lineup today!

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