Difference Between All-Wheel and Four-Wheel Drive (With Table)

The Benz patent motor vehicle was the world’s first modern automobile, boasting many innovative features, including a solid rubber tyre, headlights, steel spoked wheels, and an engine positioned at the rear. Cars now include more complex and up-to-date technologies to make the vehicle more fuel-efficient and easier to operate, such as adaptive cruise control, four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, among other features and functions.

All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive were confusing to the vast majority of responders. These elements are supplied to improve the traction of tiers in the game. It is the driver’s decision whether or not to distribute torque between the tyres to minimize tyre slippage that is assisted by both of these systems.

All-Wheel-Drive vs Four-Wheel Drive

The main difference between All-wheel Drive and Four-wheel Drive is that the All-wheel Drive system distributes torque directly to all four wheels of the vehicle, either individually or in concert with each other. On the other hand, the four-wheel-drive system distributes torque in a defined quantity to each tyre, unlike the all-wheel-drive system, drivers have the option of turning it on or off at any time.

Today’s All-Wheel Drive (AWD) systems send torque towards the wheels that require higher traction to prevent sliding layers from occurring. It is suitable for usage in all weather conditions and is operational at all times. Regardless of the road condition, it can run whether it is wet or slick, icy, or a dirt road.

Four-wheel-drive systems are only activated when necessary or in the event of an emergency, such as when the driver presses a button or moves a lever. It allows the vehicle’s four wheels to turn in unison or tandem. The front & rear axles must be connected via a transfer case for this layout to work.

Comparison Table Between All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive

Parameters of ComparisonAll-Wheel DriveFour-Wheel Drive
Definition“All Wheel Drive” is a term that refers to a vehicle’s four wheels all being connected to the same power supply at any given time. the ability to alter the pace at which it rotatesTransmission of power to all four wheels of a vehicle in a constant, predetermined amount is what this system is all about.
When to useWhether it’s a muddy or a bumpy route, this vehicle can handle it.It is not intended to be used for off-roading or difficult terrain travel to a large extent.      
Activation methodIt is unnecessary to explicitly turn on AWD because it is always turned on by default.A lever or knob can be used to engage four-wheel drive.
Maintenance costAn all-wheel-drive vehicle is expensive to purchase and maintain, and it requires a significant investment of time and money.Four-Wheel Drive is cheaper and easier to maintain than a two-wheel drive.
ExampleVehicles like Nissan Qashqai, Fiat Sedici, and Dacia Duster are examples of this.Example: Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Landcruiser, Mercedes Benz class

What is All-Wheel Drive?

One of the most common types of four-wheel drive, known as the All-Wheel Drive (AWD), is a permanently active system used in small four-wheel motions. It is controlled by a sophisticated computerized system and is fuel-efficient because it responds to the circumstances of the road. For example, the system will ensure that the torque is distributed evenly between all four wheels on a dirt road.

The terms “part-time AWD” and “full-time AWD” refer to two different types of all-wheel drives. AWD on a part-time basis is much more common than AWD permanently. It drives one genuine axle in normal and slippery conditions, using a centre differential that can be locked.

The most significant advantage of an all-wheel-drive system is its unique grip system and improved weight distribution, which allow for more consistent handling.

What is Four-Wheel Drive?

Four-Wheel Drive delivers power to all four wheels via a differential in a car. High traction driving necessitates only the use of the rear wheels; therefore, four-wheel drive is unnecessary. This can be remedied when the traction is terrible enough such that power is routed to those wheels that have it.

Four-wheel drive aids in acquiring adhesion in demanding driving situations such as ice and rocks, making vehicle control challenging to maintain. Traction and control are improved or made better when both wheels are used simultaneously. FWD is great for uneven roads, and as a result, it is commonly found in heavier vehicles.

Four-wheel drive does have some disadvantages, such as the fact that it is more expensive to purchase and maintain. Braking distance increases and fuel efficiency decreases because of the added weight.

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

  1. Alles vier Rader eines Fahrzeugs sind immer a der Energiequelle angeschlossen und können drehen. The transmission system of a vehicle provides a constant quantity of energy to all four wheels.
  2. 4-Wheel drive is less expensive, requires less maintenance, and can be used by almost any vehicle enthusiast. The all-wheel campaign is costly and time-consuming to maintain compared to other options.
  3. Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Landcruiser, Mercedes Benz series, and other four-wheel-drive vehicles are examples of this driving. Dacia Duster, Fiat Sedici, Nissan Qashqai, and other all-wheel-drive cars are front-wheel drive vehicles.
  4. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is not intended to be used daily but rather for off-roading or rough terrain. Compared to AWD, which may be used at any time and in every weather condition, including rough or muddy roads.
  5. Because the All-Wheel Drive system is always on, manually engaging it is required. Instead, Four-Wheel Drive is enabled by pressing a knob or moving the lever to the desired position.


Each type of all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive has its own set of disadvantages and advantages. All-Wheel Drive and four-wheel drive are available depending on the driver’s preferences and abilities. SUVs, pickup trucks, and lorries typically have four-wheel drive. They require more power, whereas compact crossovers usually have all-wheel drive because they are not commonly utilized for off-roading or heavy towing. Although they are not infallible, these techniques are employed to improve traction and control. All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive vehicles might lose grip and control if they move at too high a speed.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00423114.2012.743668
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1243467/