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Four-wheel drive - Usually, when carmakers say that a car has four-wheel drive, they are referring to a part-time system. For reasons we'll explore later in this article, these systems are meant only for use in low-traction conditions, such as off-road or on snow or ice.
Four-wheel drive, also called 4×4 ("four by four") or 4WD, refers to a two-axled vehicle drivetrain capable of providing torque to all of its wheels simultaneously. It may be full-time or on-demand, and is typically linked via a transfer case providing an additional output drive-shaft and, in many instances, additional gear ranges.
4 Wheel Drive and Sport Utility Magazine focuses on the four-wheeling lifestyle with real-life adventures exploring the backcountry, along with the vehicles built to do so.
Better acceleration: An AWD or 4WD vehicle can accelerate better than a two-wheel-drive vehicle in inclement weather. "The advantage provided by AWD is mainly in the acceleration, as the traction needs will be equally distributed among all four tires," says Cyrille Roget, a spokesperson for Michelin North America.
In two-wheel-drive trucks, rear-wheel drive is essential because the back of the truck is so light that putting the entire drive system up front would make an empty pickup more difficult to drive.
16 Powerful 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles That Get Great Gas Mileage Here are the 16 vehicles that are great in the snow and have excellent fuel efficiency, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The four-wheel drive system can be engaged at the flick of a switch or touch of a button (or yank of a center console-mounted lever on older trucks) in low-traction situations.
Best Four-Wheel Drive SUVs. Taking things up a notch, the four-wheel-drive 4Runner models add a dual-range transfer case, hill-start assist and hill-descent control. Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 ft-lbs of torque. A five speed automatic is the only transmission offered.