AWD vs. 4WD: What's the Difference?

2022 Acura MDX A-Spec on Highway

Whether you need extra grip during a rainy road trip or a snowy commute, all-wheel drive can be a huge asset for your performance and peace of mind. But if you’ve been browsing through your options, you may have seen 4-wheel drive models advertised with top-notch traction as well. Many customers wonder, “What is the difference between AWD and 4WD – and which do I really want?” We’re here to walk you through the key differences between the AWD and 4WD drivetrain, so you can choose the best model for your wants and needs.

What is AWD?

All-wheel drive or AWD is a popular drivetrain configuration found on everything from sedans to SUVs. In this configuration, torque is sent from the engine to the front and rear axles to all four wheels via differentials. You might see full-time AWD which always routes power to all four tires. However, modern Acuras also use Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive that alternate between AWD and FWD based on road conditions. This improves fuel economy while delivering the grip that you need in Broomfield.

What is 4WD?

4WD, or “four-wheel drive,” is a traditional 4×4 drivetrain. The main difference between 4WD and AWD is that 4WD offer even more control and precision. While 4WD models also send power to all four wheels, they can direct a specific amount of power between the left and right sides. This is a great feature for those who need serious off-road power, which is why you’ll find it on many truck-based platforms.

Which is Better: AWD or 4WD?

Is AWD better than 4WD, or is it the other way around? Only you can decide whether AWD or 4WD is your best choice. All-wheel drive is the more versatile of the two, which is why you’ll find it on so many vehicles. Part-time AWD systems like Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive offer even more benefits for everyday driving conditions. But if you need as much grip as possible for tough off-road conditions or hectic worksites, then 4WD is the more utilitarian option.

Find Your Next Vehicle at Fisher Acura

If you want to try out some options, see which Acura vehicles have AWD and contact us with any questions about Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. We can walk you through our new AWD vehicle inventory and get you behind the wheel of your next car in Boulder.


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