What is AWD?
AWD or All-Wheel-Drive is a system that is similar to 4WD or Four-Wheel-Drive in which all four tires of a particular vehicle are given power for performance and traction. But unlike its 4WD counterpart, AWD’s don’t have a “low range” setting which is valuable in off-road conditions.
AWD systems were used to be associated with bigger cars like sports utility vehicles only. But newer cars of today, including sedans and hatchbacks, have the AWD system built-in for improved driving capabilities. With the increasing sophistication of car buyers, manufacturers today try to produce vehicles with the best possible features to ward off stiff competition in this particular industry.
AWD vehicles are said to be more reliable and stable in almost any road condition because of the power provided to all four wheels. In any driving condition, if one wheel slips and loses traction, the AWD system will provide an extra boost of power to avoid slippage. And since there is power and control on all four wheels, AWD cars are considered the optimum choice in various road conditions including driving through lots of snow, gravel, debris and during rainy and slippery conditions.
Some vehicles are equipped with an “intelligent” or “real-time” AWD system wherein only two wheels are powered on normal driving conditions. But when the system detects some slippage, the AWD system will automatically activate to provide better traction. But since AWD systems don’t have a “low ratio” setup available, car performance won’t be as good as 4WDs on off-road conditions. The low ratio in 4WD is said to provide more torque or power to the wheels which is very essential in difficult driving conditions.
Most people are confused though with different variations to AWD’s, with some interchanging the term with basic 4WDs or part-time 4WDs. If one needs to know the details of a particular car feature, he/she must consult with experts in the field, especially if the main goal is to choose the best car for his/her lifestyle.