Difference Between All-Wheel and Four-Wheel Drive

Benz patent motor vegan was the first modern car with lots of features like a solid rubber tire, headlights, steel spoked wheels, and a rear-mounted engine.

Cars manufactured at this age have more complex and latest technologies to make the car more economical and easy to use, for example, adaptive cruise control, four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive, etc.

Most people got confused between four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Both of these features are provided for better traction of tiers.

Both these systems help the driver to decide whether he wants to divide the torque between the tires or not to avoid slippage to tires.

All-Wheel Drive vs Four-Wheel Drive

The main difference between All-wheel and Four-wheel drive is that the All-wheel drive system applies torque directly to all four wheels of the vehicle, either separately or together. While the Four-wheel drive system applies torque in a fixed amount to each tire, and unlike the AWD system, drivers can choose to switch it on or off.

All Wheel Drive vs Four Wheel Drive

An All-Wheel Drive system is a modern technology that transfers torque to the wheels that require more traction to avoid the sliding effect in tiers. It is for all-weather use and, is on, all the time.

It can run on any road condition, whether the road is wet or slippery, icy, or a road with dirt.

A Four-Wheel Drive system is a part-time system that needs to be activated when required or in an emergency, either by pushing a button or pulling a lever. It allows all Four-wheel of the vehicle to spin concurrently or simultaneously.

In this system, a transfer case is placed between the front and the rear axles.

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

Parameters of ComparisonAll-Wheel DriveFour-Wheel Drive
DefinitionAll-Wheel Drive is referred to a system in which all four wheels of a vehicle are always connected to one source of power. and can rotate at a different speed.It is a system that transmits the power in a fixed amount to all the wheels of a vehicle continuously.
When to useIt is for all time usage and suitable for all roads conditions whether rough or muddy. It is not meant to be used all the time and used for off-roading and rugged terrain.
Activation methodAll-Wheel Drive is active all the time and there is no need for its manual activation. Four-Wheel Drive is activated either by pressing a knob or dragging a lever.
Maintenance costAWD is very expensive and requires high maintenance services. Four-Wheel Drive is less expensive and easy to maintain.
ExampleExamples include Dacia Duster, Fiat Sedici, and Nissan Qashqai, etc. Examples include Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Landcruiser and Mercedes Benz class, etc.

What is All-Wheel Drive?

All-Wheel Drive is mostly used in small four wheels drives and is active all the time. It is controlled by an advanced computerized system and is fuel-efficient as it adapts according to the road conditions.

For example, in a dirt road, the system will evenly distribute the torque to all four wheels. While on a normal road, the system sends most of the torque to rear wheels only.

There are mainly two types of All-Wheel Drive systems one is part-time AWD, and another is full-time AWD.

The part-time all-wheel-drive system is for normal road conditions in which only a real axle is driven, and it does not include a central differential, whereas the full-time all-wheel-drive system is for permanent use and it includes a center differential that can be locked in slippery conditions.

The biggest benefit of the all-wheel-drive system is its remarkable grip system and better weight distribution, which provide more constant handling.

What is Four-Wheel Drive?

The Four-Wheel drive system uses differential to distribute power to all four-wheel of a car. In high traction driving, power is only required to the rear wheels and, there is no need to engage four-wheel drive, but in a connection where the traction is low, the differential can be adjusted, and the wheels with more traction will get maximum power.

Four-wheel drive helps in gaining adhesion in difficult driving conditions such as ice, rocks which can make vehicle control difficult. By employing both sets of wheels, traction and control improve or get better.

FWD is ideal for rough roads and is thus generally used in heavy vehicles.

Four-Wheel Drive also has some drawbacks, such as its added costs for purchase and maintenance. Added weight due to which the braking distance needed to make a complete stop increases and the fuel efficiency decreases.

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

  1. All-Wheel Drive is referred to a system in which all four wheels of a vehicle are always connected to the source of power and can rotate at a different speed. On the other hand, Four-Wheel Drive is a system that transmits the power in a fixed amount to all the wheels of a vehicle continuously.
  2. Four-Wheel Drive is less expensive, easy to maintain, and can be handled by anyone. While All-Wheel Drive is very expensive and requires high maintenance services.
  3. Four-Wheel Drive examples include Subaru Crosstrek, Toyota Landcruiser, and Mercedes Benz class, etc. Whereas All-Wheel Drive examples include Dacia Duster, Fiat Sedici, and Nissan Qashqai, etc.
  4. Four-Wheel Drive is not meant to be used all the time and used for off-roading and rugged terrain. While All-Wheel Drive is for all time usage and suitable for all roads conditions, whether rough or muddy.
  5. All-Wheel Drive is active all the time, and there is no need for its manual activation. Whereas Four-Wheel Drive is activated either by pressing a knob or dragging a lever.
Difference Between All Wheel and Four Wheel Drive

Conclusion

Both All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive have drawbacks and advantages. It depends on the driver whether he wants All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive according to his skills and requirements.

Four-Wheel Drive is generally used in SUVs and Trucks or lorries cause they require more power, while All-Wheel Drive is used in small crossovers because they are not typically used for off-road and heavy towing.

Both these systems are used for better traction and control but are not foolproof. All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive can lose grip and control if the vehicle is traveling too fast.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1200259/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4357384/
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