You’ve probably heard the terms two-wheel drive (2WD), four-wheel drive (4WD), and all-wheel drive (AWD), but did you know that there’s an important distinction between each of them? Choosing the right drivetrain is easier than you might think.

According to Autotrader, a drivetrain is the system that sends the power from the engine to the wheels. A 2WD system sends power to just two wheels, either in the front (FWD) or in the rear (RWD). This is good for mild climates, usually offering better overall performance, especially when it comes to fuel economy.

The 4WD systems, sometimes written 4×4, send power to all four wheels. In most new cars, this can be turned on and off by pushing a button or pulling a lever. This gives vehicles better traction, and is ideal for off-road travel, especially at low speeds.

Last but not least, the AWD system sends power to each individual wheel when needed. It is highly computerized, giving optimum traction for bad weather and high-speed travel. This is ideal for most people, useful for everything from everyday travel to harsh climates. The cons of this system are that fuel efficiency is usually worse than some other models, a FWD car for example. It’s also a highly complex, ergo expensive, system.

Now that you know the difference, you can choose the drivetrain that’s right for you.

Choosing the right drivetrain

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