The difference between them is which wheels get power and when. Two-wheel drive vehicles are available in either front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. With technology improving, the difference between four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive isn't as drastic as it once was. The main difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive is that one offers more customization and the other doesn't.

Find out the differences between each and which may suit your driving needs best.


Front-wheel drive is often what you will find on the standard model for most vehicles. The engine's power is directed to the front two wheels while the weight of the is poised over the front wheels for extra traction when climbing hills. Rear-wheel drive is generally found in high-performance vehicles or trucks for more even weight distribution, making for better handling and traction with a large load.

Four-wheel drive vehicles usually are associated with off-roading since they can be fine-tuned for certain driving conditions. With full-time and part-time 4WD systems, you will either have power running to all four wheels all the time or just when you choose to engage all the wheels. High and low range options make it possible to customize the amount of traction you have.

4WD is chosen for many who like to drive off-road, but if you are unfamiliar with which driving mode suits the situation best or hit a slippery patch without the 4WD system engaged, it could create problems for you.

All-wheel drive is similar to 4WD in the sense that both are available in full and part-time driving modes and power can be sent to all four wheels. The big difference is that AWD systems typically operate without any driver input. With a part-time AWD system, when the system senses a loss of traction or slippery conditions, it can automatically send torque to the wheels with the most traction.


Most Subaru models come with the legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, which offers superior balance, smoother power conduction, and excellent handling. To see how this advanced all-wheel drive system compliments our new Subaru inventory, schedule a test drive today to experience all of the benefits!

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