AWD vs. 4WD vs. 2WD Configurations: What’s the Difference?

By Product Expert | Posted in Features & Technology, Model Information, Vehicle Comparisons on Thursday, April 6th, 2023 at 12:46 pm
2022 Nissan Sentra parked outside a building

Key Differences in AWD, 4WD, and 2WD Vehicle Configurations 

When shopping for a vehicle, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right drivetrain. There are three main types of drivetrains: All-Wheel Drive (AWD), Four-Wheel Drive (4WD), and Two-Wheel Drive (2WD). In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between these three drivetrains to help you make an informed decision. 

Head to Glendale Nissan in Glendale Heights, IL, and explore the latest Nissan models available on our lot. You can test drive the vehicle you find interesting. Find a table comparing the AWD, 4WD, and 2WD configurations below.

AWD vs 4WD vs 2WD – Comparison 

Here is a table that clearly outlines the main differences in AWD, 4WD, and 2WD configurations: 

Feature AWD 4WD 2WD 
Power Distribution Automatically distributed to all four wheels based on traction conditions Shifted between 2WD and 4WD modes as needed Distributed to two wheels (either front or rear) 
Best Use Cases All conditions, including rain, snow, and off-road driving Off-road driving, heavy snow conditions Mild climate, paved roads 
Price Range Typically more expensive than 2WD vehicles More expensive than 2WD vehicles but less than AWD vehicles Least expensive option 
Fuel Efficiency Typically better than 4WD vehicles but not as good as 2WD vehicles Typically better than AWD vehicles Typically the best fuel efficiency option 
Handling and Performance Provides better handling and performance than 2WD vehicles but not as good as some 4WD vehicles Delivers excellent handling and performance in off-road conditions but can be less comfortable on paved roads Provides the least impressive handling and performance 

[3-minute read: What’s New About Nissan In-Development Driver-Assistance Technology?]

2023 Nissan Ariya in an icy terrain

Shop New Nissan Models in Glendale Heights, IL 

There are three main types of drivetrains: 2WD, 4WD, and AWD. Each has advantages and disadvantages; the right choice depends on your needs and preferences.

Take the time to consider your options before deciding, and test drive each type of drivetrain to get a feel for how they behave. 

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