4WD vs AWD: What is the difference, and which is better?

A major debate in the motor vehicle industry centers around four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). While these two systems are similar in some regards, there are some areas where they differ quite a lot. This article will compare the two systems and hopefully help you decide which one is the best for you.

Four-wheel drive (4WD)

In a 4WD system, the engine powers all four wheels evenly. They generally come in two different types – full-time and part-time. Many 4WD systems also have low range and high range options, which have to be selected by the driver. The former provides the most traction when off-roading, while the latter is excellent in situations where the road surface offers little grip (for example, on wet roads).

A 4WD system is perfect for people who want to do some serious off-roading, but it should be noted that these kinds of vehicles are generally less fuel efficient. Part of the reason for this is that they are fitted with heavy-duty suspension. However, the ruggedness and pulling power (torque) of a 4WD system is virtually unmatched.

All-wheel drive (AWD)

In all-wheel drive systems, each of the four wheels is powered individually. AWD systems, as is the case with their 4WD counterparts, can be either full-time (where the system is operational all the time) or part-time (when the system has to be manually engaged or engages automatically).

While the AWD system offers good off-road capabilities, the general consensus among automotive experts is that these systems do not offer quite the level of performance as a 4WD system.

Is one system better?

Neither system is inherently “better” than the other. Each offers its own unique set of advantages. At Pace Car Rental, we have great 4×4 bakkie rental options for you to choose. If you are planning an off-road adventure, you can rent a 4×4 double cab. Or perhaps you need a vehicle to transport cargo to and from challenging locations such as mines and construction sites. Renting a 4×4 single cab will provide you with the right vehicle for the task, at the right rate.

Simply call us on 011 262 5500 or email info@pacecarrental.co.za and speak to one of our bakkie rental specialists, who will help you find the right vehicle for your needs.