Toyota AWD vs 4WD vehicles

Which is better: four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive?

Toyota 4WD vs AWD vehicles

When shopping for a truck or SUV, you’ll have to consider a variety of factors. As more compact and subcompact SUVs make their way to the market, perspective car buyers need to know the difference between all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (FWD). There are a few important factors to keep in mind when choosing a Toyota 4WD vs AWD vehicle. We’ve attempted to explain some of the similarities and differences between the two drive modes below.

New crossovers, like the 2016 Toyota RAV4, come available with AWD — AWD is even available on pickup trucks nowadays. Vehicles equipped with 4WD capability have been around for over 75 years. Modern 4WD systems are certainly different than older versions, allowing drivers to electronically turn on and turn off the system at will. AWD capability is typically found on all new crossovers, SUVs, and even some mass production cars.


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Unlike 4WD, AWD systems are constantly online. They’re most helpful driving in wet or slippery conditions where one or more wheels is constantly experiencing poor traction.

There are pros and cons to each system. Whether you end up purchasing a 4WD or AWD vehicle, you can have the peace of mind that you’ll have a little extra traction when the weather turns harsh or if you have to venture off-road.

Toyota four-wheel drive vehicles in Decatur AL

Pros and cons of AWD vs 4WD vehicles

4WD Pros

  • Superior traction when traveling off-road. Different modes are available, depending on what vehicle and what terrain you’re moving over.
  • Modern 4WD systems can be turned on and off to improve fuel mileage.
  • 4WD technology is proven and reliable. It’s been used on generations of trucks and SUVs from a variety of automakers for nearly a century.
4WD Cons

  • Unable to be utilized in all conditions (like rain).
  • More expensive than two-wheel drive systems.
  • Adds weight to most vehicles, reducing fuel efficiency.
AWD Pros

  • Offers improved traction in all weather and road conditions.
  • Constantly online.
  • Provides improved handling on many vehicles.
AWD Cons

  • Unlike 4WD, AWD does not excel off-road.
  • Increases weight and reduces fuel economy.