Whats the difference between AWD and 4WD?

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Jill, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. Jill

    Jill Guest

    Hello all,

    I have a CRV which is 4WD, and some of my girlfriends have Subarus
    which have AWD (all wheel drive). Is there a difference and if so what
    is it? They all say the All wheel drive is more modern and better than
    4WD which is an older technology. Is there any truth to that?

    Thank you,

    Jill, Aug 10, 2010
  2. Jill

    jim beam Guest

    attention whore.
    jim beam, Aug 10, 2010
  3. no, you have a CR-V which is AWD.
    Elmo P. Shagnasty, Aug 10, 2010
  4. Jill

    C. E. White Guest

    AWD is a form of 4WD. Generally when people refer to a system as AWD they
    are talking about a full time four wheel drive system or an automatically
    engaged on-demand sytem that does not require driver intervention to
    activate the 4WD. Often when people say 4WD, they are talking about a part
    time system that requires manual engagement of the front drive axles. But
    there are so many variations and shadings it is hard to make any definitive
    statement about exactly what is an AWD system as opposed to the more general
    4WD system. You might want to look at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_wheel_drive .

    Subarus have used several different AWD systems. Some have used a center
    differential to allow for difference in the speed of the front and rear
    axles. At least in recent year all of the Subaru systems can be
    characterized as full time 4WD.

    You did not mention what vintage CRV you own. The current Honda CRV System
    is also a type of AWD. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CRV#Real_time_four_wheel_drive_system .

    The current Honda system, although not the same as any particualr Subaru
    system is most certainly modern and all wheel drive.

    It seems to me that people who buy Subarus often have a "my 4WD car is
    better than your 4WD car" attitude. I've never experienced the joy of
    driving a Subaru, so I don't know if it is true or not. I have owned several
    different AWD vehicles, but the ones I owned used the electronic clutch
    method for allowing slippage between the front and rear wheels - essentially
    an on demand type of system, sort of like what the CRV has - the four wheel
    drive is essentially only active when there is slip between the front and
    rear wheel. The Subaru system (at least for most current models) is always
    engaged to some extent. Maybe this is useful in cold climates where you see
    a lot of snow, but where I live the difference is trivial (or non-existent).

    I think you don't need to care whether your AWD is better than your friend's
    AWD. When theu say my AWD is better than your 4WD just smile and nod. I know
    several years back Subaru ran TV ads that were designed to "prove" their 4WD
    was better than the CRV 4WD in use at that time, but like a lot of ads, it
    was mostly marketing BS that had little real world application.

    C. E. White, Aug 10, 2010
  5. Jill

    Jill Guest

    My CRV says "4WD" right on the back of the hatch...
    Jill, Aug 10, 2010
  6. "Jill" wrote

    I found at this link:


    the following, halfway down the page:

    * Honda calls their all-wheel-drive system "Real Time 4-Wheel Drive."
    According to Honda, "When there is insufficient traction at the front
    wheels, the 'Real Time' 4WD system automatically uses dual hydraulic pumps
    to transfer power to the rear wheels. There is no need for driver
    intervention. The greater the degree of front-wheel slippage, the more
    torque is directed to the rear wheels." *
    Howard Lester, Aug 10, 2010
  7. Jill

    Cameo Guest

    I wonder how these Japanese AWD/4WDs compare to Audi's.
    By the way, does Honda have any AWD sedans (not crossovers)?
    Cameo, Aug 11, 2010
  8. Jill

    Jill Guest

    Hi Ed,

    Thanks very much for the information. I kind of had that idea just
    talking to them. I think they were brainwashed! Oh well. :)

    Thanks so much,

    Jill, Aug 11, 2010
  9. Jill

    billzz Guest

    Just an observation here. 26 years in the army I have been in a
    number of Jeeps and other 4WD vehicles. My wife and I have twin Jeep
    Grand Cherokees (4WD,) which we now drive in the Sierra Nevada. We
    also now own a 2010 Honda Pilot Touring (AWD.) We have had both
    vehicles on severe slopes, on highway 1, up to a ranch, on dirt roads,
    and if you know highway 1, on the coast of California, you know.
    Anyway, I have placed the Jeep in "all-time" 4WD (meaning that there
    is some slippage, so the tires don't get scrubbed) and only one time,
    in severe snow, in the Sierra, in "part-time" 4WD, meaning that the
    tires (final drives) are locked and they all pull together. The
    difference is very obvious. We've had only two trips, on the same
    route, in the Honda and I have to say that we have never noticed when
    it went into AWD (if it has ever gone into AWD!) So the Honda is a
    generation ahead, and we much prefer it, on this trip. But (and there
    is always a but) we have not driven it in the snow, and to be
    truthful, I have not dared, not knowing what the AWD will do. If it
    kicks in will I be crosswise on a narrow mountain road, with a hundred
    foot drop off? So for the last year (the only year that we owned it)
    I picked the Jeep, in the snow, with the 4WD that I know. I get to
    pick the gear, the 4WD position, and I know what I am getting. Maybe
    the Honda AWD is better, in the snow. I don't know. I am actually
    afraid to try it. The road that I am on, US 50, from Sacramento to
    South Lake Tahoe is absolutely notorious for killing motorists in the
    winter. So there you go. I have both types of vehicles and I don't
    billzz, Aug 11, 2010
  10. Jill

    Zeppo Guest

    Yes. In the US Honda came out with the Accord Crosstour, an AWD version of
    the Accord sedan. It has a higher back and sits taller and higher off the
    ground, but is very 'Accord' looking.

    Zeppo, Aug 11, 2010
  11. Jill

    Zeppo Guest

    I haven't had any issues in snow with any of the AWD cars I've had. Subarus,
    Hyundai's and BMWs have all performed quite well. Course your definition of
    snow is probably different than mine. I haven't tried any of them in
    waist-high drifts. I live in the NE part of the US so I haven't really
    driven in more than a foot of snow.

    Zeppo, Aug 11, 2010
  12. Jill

    Cameo Guest

    Oh, I don't know ...
    I've seen it but I find it a rather ugly looking crossover.
    Cameo, Aug 11, 2010
  13. Jill

    Jill Guest

    I purposely didn't get the CrossTour because I thought it was ugly
    looking and the starting price is 30,000 without AWD. I think thats a
    lot since the Pilot started at around 27,000. I wanted a lot of
    comfort features without paying 6-7k more than what I already spent.
    The price I spent on my CRV with all the options I got was just about
    29k and I thought that was a little more than I wanted to spend.
    Jill, Aug 12, 2010
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