What’s the difference between AWD and 4X4?
Discover why AWD systems, like Volkswagen 4MOTION®, are the best choice for Canadian roads.
For many of us, car terminology, let alone the technology behind it, can be confusing. So, it only makes sense we hear all-wheel-drive and four-by-four drivetrain technology used interchangeably. Add in the acronyms and car-company branding and it can seem difficult to understand.
Here’s a primer on the main differences between all-wheel-drive vehicles and 4X4: what each system does, and the benefits to the driver, including increased traction, control and safety.
What is 4WD?
Four-wheel drive, sometimes called 4WD or 4X4, is a type of drivetrain technology common in off-road vehicles and some larger SUVs. With these systems, power is distributed equally to each wheel, giving the vehicle better traction, especially on uneven surfaces. In most cases, the driver turns the system on or off, depending on road conditions.
What is All-Wheel Drive?
With all-wheel drive, or simply AWD, the drivetrain automatically directs power to the wheels that need it most, in real-time, without having to turn it on. For example, let’s imagine you were turning a corner on a slippery surface. An AWD system – such as Volkswagen 4MOTION® – would instantly provide additional power to the outside wheels, giving you much better control and traction.
Which one is better?
While you could debate the merits of both, for most Canadians, the decision comes down to peace of mind. With AWD, there’s no decision to make or button to press. It simply works, when you need it, such as in snowy, icy conditions, or on rough or uneven surfaces, such as twisty rural roads.
Speaking of choice, Volkswagen 4MOTION® comes standard on the Golf R, Golf Alltrack and Arteon. 4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive is also available on the Tiguan, Golf SportWagen and Atlas.
What makes Volkswagen 4MOTION® unique among AWD systems? Watch our 4MOTION® FAQ videos.