All-Wheel Drive vs. Four-Wheel Drive Explained by Bob Smith Toyota

Here at Bob Smith Toyota, we love taking our Toyota vehicles out on the roads in the beautiful state of California, especially around the La Crescenta, CA area. Partic ularly, we love moving around the bends and turns of the road or taking our vehicle on an off-road adventure. In both cases, having four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive helps improve the driving experience and we are proud that many of our Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs offer impressive driving systems. All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are terms that are used frequently when discussing cars, but many people may still be confused as to what they actually do. Here at Bob Smith Toyota, we’ve provided our customers with a quick overview of what these driving systems offer.

The Edmunds Car Glossary[1] defines these terms as:

All-Wheel Drive (AWD): A drivetrain that employs a front, rear, and center differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD): A drivetrain that employs two differentials and a transfer case to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.

For example, with AWD you can accelerate more quickly because the traction will be equally distributed among all four tires. AWD can also improve handling in poor weather conditions. Therefore, AWD is a feature you would want to consider if you are thinking about purchasing a sportier vehicle, like the Toyota RAV4. Meanwhile, with 4WD you get better traction and towing. Trucks like the Toyota Tacoma and SUVs like the Toyota Sequoia both have capable 4WD systems that provide optimal control while driving through difficult weather conditions or taking your vehicle off road.

Now that you have a better idea of the differences between the AWD and 4WD let’s add some context as to when these features matter most. All-wheel drive is a feature that the performance enthusiast should consider, as it improves traction and handling. Our 2017 Toyota RAV4 features the available Dynamic Torque Control which offers an innovative All-Wheel Drive system that continually monitors and distributes engine power between the front and rear wheels to deliver optimum traction.

Four-wheel drive is definitely a feature to consider if you plan on using your vehicle for towing, driving off-road, or driving in snowy or rainy conditions. We pride ourselves on having a large selection of vehicles with impressive 4WD systems. With the 2017 Toyota Tacoma, shifting into four-wheel drive is as easy as turning a dial with the electronic shift transfer case. This compact and light system lets you easily shift between high-range 4WD, low-range 4WD or high-range 2WD. It’s not just our Toyota trucks that have four-wheel drive. Our 2017 Toyota Sequoia has a multi-mode 4WD system that can turn mountains into molehills. Just turn the shift dial to engage the available 4WD system and let the Torsen® limited-slip center differential go to work. The differential can be locked to get maximum traction on slippery or uneven surfaces.


Come by Bob Smith Toyotafor a test drive and try out the AWD and 4WD systems in many or our new vehicles and Toyota used cars. Our experienced staff has been serving the Los Angeles, CAfor years and is dedicated to helping you with any of your auto-related needs. From helping with Toyota Financing to questions about driving systems, we are proud Toyota dealers and look forward to welcoming you soon.


[1] http://www.edmunds.com/glossary/