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What’s the Difference Between an All-Wheel Drive and a Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

four wheels diagonally lined up

Choosing the Right Type of Transmission for Your Driving Style

At Auto Bank, your source for affordable Kansas City auto sales, we’re often asked the difference between four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Truthfully, most drivers won’t notice a huge difference between these two, but they are often used differently in the motoring industry.

Many vehicles come with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options. In this article, we’ll look at what each of these different setups brings to the table to help you decide which is best for you.

What is a Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle?

Four-wheel drive, also known as 4x4 or 4WD, is a drivetrain system that powers all four wheels of a vehicle. This system is designed to provide improved traction and stability, especially on rough or slippery surfaces.

Four-wheel drive vehicles have a drivetrain that sends power to all four wheels. This can improve traction and stability, especially on icy roads. The power is typically distributed evenly to the front and rear wheels, but some four-wheel drive systems allow the driver to adjust the power distribution for different driving conditions.

In contrast, in a two-wheel drive vehicle, the engine power is sent to either the front or rear wheels, depending on the configuration. This can be sufficient for normal driving conditions but can become problematic on slippery or uneven surfaces. For example, if the front wheels lose traction on a wet road, the vehicle can become difficult to control.

What Are the Benefits of This System?

One of the main benefits of four-wheel drive available in vehicles at car lots near you is improved traction. A four-wheel drive vehicle can maintain better grip on the road, even on slippery surfaces, by powering all four wheels. This can help prevent slipping and sliding and improve the vehicle's ability to climb hills or traverse rough terrain.

Another benefit of four-wheel drive is improved stability. Because the power is distributed evenly to all four wheels, a four-wheel drive vehicle can maintain a more balanced and stable driving experience. This can be especially helpful when driving at high speeds or cornering, as it can help prevent the vehicle from losing control.

If you are considering buying a Kansas City used car with four-wheel drive, be sure to research the different types and features available, and choose the one that best fits your needs.

How is All-Wheel Drive Different?

All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are similar, but distinct drivetrain systems, both designed to provide improved traction and stability on the road.

Four-wheel drive powers all four wheels of a vehicle. This system is typically used on vehicles designed for off-road driving, such as trucks and SUVs.

In contrast, all-wheel drive is a drivetrain system that powers all four wheels of a vehicle but is designed for use on normal roads.

One of the main differences between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is how power is distributed to the wheels. The power is distributed evenly to the front and rear wheels in a four-wheel drive system. In an all-wheel drive system, the power distribution is more dynamic and can be adjusted based on the driving conditions.

Another difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is the system’s efficiency. Because all-wheel drive is designed for normal roads, it is typically more efficient than four-wheel drive. This means that all-wheel drive used cars in Kansas City typically use less fuel and produce lower emissions, than a comparable four-wheel drive vehicle.

Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles to Consider

These popular vehicles often come equipped with four-wheel drive.

  • Ford F-150: This pickup truck comes in rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, depending on model year and trim level. It’s the most popular truck in America for a reason!
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee: A four-wheel drive SUV like this one gives you enough room for the whole family and all your gear.

Consider These Vehicles with All-Wheel Drive

If you want better fuel efficiency, these all-wheel drive cars and SUVs may meet your needs.

  • Ford Escape: This compact SUV is big on cargo space, but is small enough to easily navigate city streets.
  • Chevrolet Equinox: Another compact SUV, the Equinox’s styling and roomy interior will have you pining to own this vehicle.

Find a Safe Vehicle for Winter Driving at an Auto Bank Car Lot Near You

When it’s time to get a reliable vehicle, not just any Kansas City auto sales company will do, especially if you’ve ever had difficulty securing car financing in the past.

Auto Bank, with convenient locations at 2000 E. Truman Road and 6901 East Front Street in Kansas City, can help you get into a nicer, newer vehicle - perhaps one with all-wheel or four-wheel drive - for more comfortable winter driving, even if you have credit challenges.

Get pre-approved for financing on our website, then visit one of our locations so you can drive away in just a few hours!