AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the Difference?

2021 Honda Pilot Elite AWD Off-Road


When most people go car shopping they’ll surely come across vehicles with different drive types. At Western Motors Los Banos, we sell a variety of vehicles that are either AWD or 4WD, but not many people know the difference between the two. If you’re one of these customers, use this guide put together by our expert technicians to learn more.

Knowing the difference between AWD and 4WD can help in the decision process when you’re car shopping. At our Los Banos dealership, we can explain what AWD vs. 4WD, and how it can affect your driving experience. Contact us at our Newman-area dealership for more information on our AWD or 4WD. Also, reach out to our finance center to see what deals and specials you can get. Apply for financing today!

What is AWD?

Also known as all-wheel-drive, this drivetrain configuration is when torque is directed from the engine to the front and rear axles to all four wheels via differentials. There are also two variations of AWD drive that can improve your drive experience:

  • Full-Time AWD: This system sends torque to the front and rear axles all the time
  • Part-Time AWD: These systems are able to monitor road conditions and driving behavior in order to decide when it makes sense to send torque only to the front axle

What is 4WD?

Many of our customers ask is AWD the same as 4WD. That’s not the easiest question to answer. Where 4WD stands out from AWD is that 4WD systems are able to send power to the front and rear axles, they’re also able to direct a specific amount of power between the left and right wheels. These are ideal for off-road terrain.

Is AWD Better Than 4WD?

Aside from asking is AWD the same as 4WD, the next logical question is usually, “Is AWD better than 4WD?” It all depends on what you’re planning on using the vehicle for. When comparing AWD or 4WD vehicles, 4WD drive works better on off-road terrain, while AWD is better for harsh weather and snow conditions.

Test Drive AWD or 4WD Vehicles at Western Motors Los Banos

Now that you’ve learned more about the difference between AWD and 4WD, come down to our Davenport-area dealership and test drive these incredible vehicles for yourself today. Here, you can see is if AWD or 4WD is better for you and your lifestyle. Contact us today for more information on our AWD or 4WD vehicle inventory today!


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