Deciding to get either an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle should only be done once you understand what each of them offers. This information can impact the value such a vehicle can have for you. It can also impact how much you are willing to spend for that vehicle. Chances are you have heard the terms all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive tossed around out there again and again. Yet there often isn’t any explanation about what this means or the differences they offer.
Advances with technology and vehicle systems have made it possible for more all-wheel drive vehicles to be introduced on the market. They range from fast sports cars to family-friendly SUVs. While there are plenty of perks with this type of option, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to drive safely or slower during adverse weather conditions. Some consumers have a false sense of security when it comes to all-wheel drive vehicles.
It is true that a vehicle featuring all-wheel drive has additional safety. This is because overall it offers more stability and it has additional traction control. The power from the vehicle is sent to all four of the wheels, not just the two in the front or the two in the back. However, the division of the power isn’t always evenly divided. It is common for either the front or the back two tires to get more of the power than the other set. It all depends on the specific brand and model of vehicle.
For example, Nissan and Toyota are family-oriented companies. Their vehicles typically have the additional power going to the front two tires. When it comes to performance-based companies including Audi and BMW, more of the power from the vehicle will go to the two back tires. One of the huge standouts with all-wheel drive vehicles is Subaru. These vehicles feature a patented system that sends the same amount of power to each of the four tires. This enhances the stability and traction of the vehicles, making them safer than most other brands available.
At the same time, all-wheel drive vehicles are simple in design and operation. This system is always in place, you don’t have to remember to turn it on or turn it off. The vehicle has built-in sensors that tell it when the power should be managed and how to direct it to the four tires on that vehicle. For those that often drive in harsh weather conditions, an all-wheel drive vehicle can be safer to operate.
Typically, four-wheel drive is reserved for off-road vehicles. There are exceptions though such as hybrid pickups and SUVs. They can be daily drivers but they can easily be put into four-wheel drive by the operator for more challenging terrain. Such vehicles tend to be heavy-duty, and designed for hauling trailers and other items.
The manner in which the four-wheel drive is activated or disengaged depends on the brand and model of vehicle. The goal is to make it simple and efficient. Many of the vehicles have buttons on the dash or a shifter designed to control this change. It can take some learning for someone to successfully learn how to correctly operate a vehicle to best use the four-wheel drive feature. These heavier vehicles tend to use far more fuel and they are harsher on the environment than all-wheel drive vehicles.
Which Option is Best?
Both of these systems are designed to offer convenience and complete need particular needs. They can be useful so it comes down to the circumstances that work best for the consumer. Take your own use of vehicles into consideration to determine if you should buy an all-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive vehicle.
If you need a daily commuter or a family a vehicle to get around in, an all-wheel drive may be the better choice for safety and economy. If you often haul equipment or a trailer, the four-wheel drive option can help you have the additional power you need to do so. Farmers and ranchers often rely on these heavier vehicles for a dual purpose, both for personal use and business practices.