June 7th, 2018 by

It’s common to see vehicles listed as either All-Wheel Drive or 4-Wheel Drive models, but what does that mean? In some cases, the terms are used interchangeably, however, both systems operate differently and are only available on certain vehicles. Here’s an explanation of the two drivetrains.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

This is a drivetrain that operates by employing a front, rear and center differential to provide certain amounts of power to each of the wheels on a vehicle. It will electronically and physically divert power away from a slipping wheel to the wheels that have traction. There are typically two types of AWD drivetrains: a full-time AWD it drives all the wheels continuously and part-time/automatic AWD which operates mostly as 2-Wheel Drive with power delivered to all of the wheels when more traction is needed. All-Wheel Drive systems can be found on sedans, crossovers and SUVs like the Chevy Equinox and Chevy Traverse.


Better control under all road conditions
Works all the time
Sportier handling
Broader range of vehicles

Increases vehicle weight
Slightly lower fuel economy
Not as good at off-road conditions as 4WD
More expensive
4-Wheel Drive (4WD)

This system employs two differentials and a transfer case that send power to all four wheels. 4WD increases traction when it’s needed, and it can handle tougher and more rugged terrain. Like AWD, there are two types of 4WD: full-time which sends power continually and can sometimes be controlled through selectable modes, and part-time which is more traditional where the vehicle drives with two wheels (usually rear) and the driver then engages 4WD when it’s needed. There are also usually low and high ranges that drivers can select, with the low option providing maximum traction when off-road and the high option being the default setting, which is good for slippery on-road conditions. 4-Wheel Drive is primarily found in trucks and larger SUVs, like the Chevy Silverado and Chevy


Amazing traction in off-road conditions
Can be turned off (which improves fuel efficiency)
Better towing ability
Proven and reliable technology

Increases costs
Lowers fuel economy
Increases vehicle weight
Smaller range of vehicle types than AWD
For more information about All-Wheel Drive and 4-Wheel Drive systems and which Chevrolet models feature it, you can contact us at Robbins Chevrolet. You can also check out our new Chevrolet inventory.

Posted in New Inventory