After our recent storms here in the Northwest, you may be interested in investing in a vehicle better-equipped to handle wintry conditions. But is that an all-wheel drive (AWD) or a four-wheel drive (4WD)? No, the two are not interchangeable! Here’s a little guidance to assist your selection.
First, either one can provide you extra traction in the snow. Both 4WD and AWD are typically designed to send power to all four wheels of the vehicle as needed (as opposed to a front or rear wheel drive vehicle, which has power to only two wheels), allowing it to increase traction. Since AWD’s mechanism isn’t quite so heavy-duty, it tends to be not quite so useful for offroading. In general, 4WD has heavier-duty mechanisms – this can be both a pro and con, as the vehicle is powerful, but it has decreased fuel economy.
Both AWD and 4WD options can be more expensive. If they are out of your price range, also consider a 2WD vehicle with traction control, which has advanced computer systems to help you maintain traction in snow and ice.
Keep in mind that these types of vehicles can help you get through the snow, but they won’t give you any additional help stopping in the snow or ice! So, whatever you’re driving, please exercise caution, and stay safe!