What’s the Difference Between FWD, RWD, AWD and 4WD?

Difference between RWD AWD FWD 4WD

Let’s talk about the differences between FWD, RWD, AWD and 4WD

When looking for a new vehicle there are several things to take into consideration. One of the most important is to find the right drivetrain for you. Each has advantages and disadvantages and it’s important to understand the differences. The four different types of drivetrain are all-wheel-drive (AWD), front wheel drive (FWD), rear wheel drive (RWD), and 4WD (4 wheel drive).


Rear Wheel Drive – RWD Meaning

Rear wheel drive (RWD) means that engine power is delivered to the rear wheels which in turn push the car forward. The front wheels do not receive any power. Since the weight of a RWD vehicle is more evenly spread than many front wheel drive vehicles, there’s a better balance of weight. This is why most sports cars such as the Corvette and Camaro are RWD – and more exciting to drive. The disadvantage of a RWD vehicle is that they do not perform well in poor weather conditions such as rain or snow because they are more prone to traction-loss.


Front Wheel Drive – FWD Meaning

Front wheel drive (FWD) means that the power from the engine is delivered to the front wheels. With FWD, the front wheels are pulling while the rear wheels don’t receive any power. The pros of a FWD vehicle are that they typically gets better fuel economy. Since the weight of the engine is located above the driving wheels, a FWD vehicle can maintain better traction in the snow. However, performance enthusiasts have claimed FWD vehicles are less fun to drive.


Four Wheel Drive – 4WD Meaning

4WD means the power from the engine is delivered to all 4 wheels – all of the time. The biggest advantage of a 4WD vehicle is that it provides the versatility and power to tackle any terrain or weather condition. The con of a 4WD vehicle is that they are often less fuel efficient when 4×4 is activated.


All-Wheel Drive – AWD Meaning

All-wheel drive uses a front, rear and center differential to provide power to all four wheels of a vehicle.

All-wheel-drive systems power both the front and rear wheels all the time. But in practice, there are actually two types of drivetrains that are called AWD. One drives all of the wheels continuously, and some manufacturers refer to this as full-time AWD. The second AWD drivetrain operates most of the time in two-wheel-drive mode, with power delivered to all four wheels only when additional traction control is needed.