4WD vs AWD

AWD Mitsubishi Vehicles 


A common question for us at White Bear Mitsubishi is the differences between four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Although both concepts are similar, the difference lies in each system having two different ways of delivering traction to all four-wheels.


Four-wheel drive systems are found on most modern trucks and traditional SUVs. Ideal for the off-road or all-terrain vehicle, four-wheel drive is meant for the ultimate experience in terrain management. four-wheel drive is essentially a system with two axles each possessing a differential. They are connected by driveshafts onto a transfer case. The transfer case sends power from the engine and transmission to the axles to independently manage traction.

Older four-wheel drive systems were engaged manually in their vehicles. Front wheel hubs had to be unlocked by a nob to enable the extra drive axle to be used to increase traction. Then, a lever on the floor of the vehicle had to be switched. This switch controlled the transfer case and engaged the four-wheel drive from the era's standard two-wheel drive. Today, this is a fully automated system with automatic locking hubs and transfer case switching.

Transfer cases came standard with two gears. High gear was used to increase traction on wet, snowy, or otherwise rough roads. Low gear was engaged for off-road terrain such as moving over large rocks or on slick hillsides. Low gear restricts power to the axles, making travel easy on rough terrain at a safe and slow speed.


The principle behind all wheel drive is simpler than its four-wheel drive counterpart. The difference is the use of a center differential instead of a transfer case. The center differential acts as a regular drive axle, without control on range or speed except from the engine and transmission. All wheel drive systems are controlled by the vehicle's computer which is connected to the engine, throttle, transmission and axle hubs. This ensures the correct amount of torque transfer to all the axles.

Some all-wheel drive vehicles can enable a center differential lock, which allows for all-wheel traction. This is usually found on cars, minivans, and smaller crossover SUVs.


When choosing a vehicle, consider your primary location and your primary reason for purchasing. four-wheel drive systems are great for those who live, work, or often adventure on rough terrain. All wheel drive vehicles are an excellent choice for areas with regular weather patterns with less rugged roads.

At White Bear Mitsubishi we know that Having a safe and consistent vehicle is important no matter the time of year or the area in which you choose to drive. That is why we sell the Lancer, the Outlander Sport, and the Outlander with All-wheel control. We also have plenty of used cars, trucks, crossovers and SUVs with options for all wheel drive or four-wheel drive

Contact our excellent sales team to test drive a vehicle and see the difference between the two systems first-hand.