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AWD vs. 4WD: What’s the Difference?

2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum AWD in Moon Dust


We’ve got a full lineup of new and used all-wheel drive (AWD) Toyotas for sale at our dealership near Fort Worth. If you’re shopping for a new vehicle, you may be wondering if all-wheel drive is the same as four-wheel drive. They sound similar – after all, a car only has four wheels! But, it turns out there are a few key differences between these two systems. Shottenkirk Toyota of Weatherford has put together a guide outlining everything you need to know about AWD vs 4WD.



Check it out to learn the difference between AWD and 4WD, then head to our online inventory to start picking out your perfect vehicle!

What Is AWD?

AWD – all-wheel drive – directs torque from the car’s engine to both the front and rear axles and all four wheels. AWD comes in either part-time or full-time systems. Full-time AWD directs torque to both axles all the time, while part-time systems monitor road conditions and sometimes send torque only to the front axle. You most commonly see AWD on cars with unibody frames.

What Is 4WD?

4WD – four-wheel drive – is a more traditional 4×4 drivetrain system. These systems also direct torque to the front and rear axles, but they go a step further by directing specific levels of power between the left and right wheels. This makes 4WD ideal for more rugged vehicles intended for off-roading or difficult terrain. You tend to see 4WD on vehicles with truck-based platforms. 

Which Is Better: AWD or 4WD?

When comparing AWD and 4WD, it’s worth asking if one system is better than the other. The truth is there’s no one answer to this question – it all comes down to your needs. If you’re a city-based or suburban driver who occasionally faces inclement weather or rough roads, an AWD vehicle is the way to go. If you’re planning on taking your car far from Mineral Wells on off-road adventures with rugged conditions, a 4WD vehicle is a better choice. You’ll have to evaluate your needs and your lifestyle and make an informed decision based on what you’re planning on using your Toyota for the most. 

Now that you know what the difference is between AWD and 4WD, visit Shottenkirk Toyota of Weatherford to find the Toyota that has the drivetrain and performance capabilities you need. 

Browse the Toyota AWD & 4WD SUVs at Shottenkirk Toyota of Weatherford!

If you have any further questions about AWD vs. 4WD or just want more information about our inventory of vehicles, feel free to contact our office anytime! You can also stop by our dealership for a test drive around Azle or to examine our vehicles up close.


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Shottenkirk Toyota of Weatherford 32.758058, -97.700117.