All Wheel Drive (AWD) is a very prominent technology that is incorporated in heavy vehicles, cargo trucks, and military vehicles. It is a system that enables the engine to control, or send power to all the wheels of the automobile, regardless of how many wheels and axles the vehicle has. On the other hand, Four Wheel Drive (4WD) is a similar technology which is generally found in muscle cars, sports cars, luxury cars, and SUVs manufactured today. Remember that the 4WD system controls only two axles, or four wheels of the vehicle. Many people get confused between the two of these automobile terms. If the vehicle has an AWD system, the driver does not have an option of switching between wheel controls. This means he cannot make the engine control only two wheels in case of an AWD vehicle, whereas, in 4WD cars, the driver can either drive the car with 2×2 or 4×4 control, as and when required.
These are just the basic differences between the two technologies. Both the terms can generally be used interchangeably, as long as you do not get into the technicalities. AWDs are ideal for places with a lot of sand and snow.
|The Best AWDs|
|Audi Q5||Lexus IS 250 AWD|
|Infiniti G37x||BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon|
|Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution||Chevrolet Equinox|
|Infiniti G37x AWD||Volkswagen Tiguan|
|Toyota Highlander Hybrid 4WD||BMW 335i xDrive Coupe|
|Subaru Outback||Ford Taurus|
|Mazda CX-9 Sport AWD||Suzuki SX4 Crossover|
|Buick LaCrosse||Ford Explorer XLT 4WD|
|Cadillac CTS 3.6L Performance AWD||Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic|
|Lexus RX 450h AWD||Ford Flex|
|Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited||Ford Escape Hybrid|
|Subaru Legacy 2.5i||Volvo V50 T5 AWD|
|Ford Fusion V6 SE||Toyota Sienna LE|
Subaru Forester 2.5X
The Forester is one of the best AWD cars in the market, and is the brainstorm of Japanese automaker Subaru. Powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, the Forester produces 224 horsepower, making it a joy to drive. Its Symmetrical AWD and 8.9 inches of ground clearance makes this vehicle easy to drive in difficult conditions. The car handles especially well in wet weather and snowy conditions. Delivering 21 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway, the car is quite economical as well. The Forester comes in a price range of $23,000 - $30,000.
The Volvo S60 is another AWD car you can safely opt for, that features 'Advanced Haldex AWD Technology with Instant Traction', which ensures better driving conditions on all road surfaces. Its electronically monitored system ensures that the wheels with the best grip get the most power. The S60 comes in 3 models that range from 250 horsepower to 325 horsepower, with its city mileage ranging from 18 mpg to 30 mpg, depending on the model. Prices start at about $31,000 for the base model and go up to $45,000 for the higher models.
Hyundai Tucson GLS AWD
The 2012 Tucson GLS AWD is powered by a 2.4-liter engine that provides 176 horsepower, and yet manages to keep the economy at relatively high levels of 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The Tucson features an optional AWD that uses the front wheels most of the time, but automatically moves to AWD if it senses loss of traction. In addition to this, there is also a button that allows the Tucson to be driven in AWD mode, where the power is split 50-50 between the front and real wheels. This makes it easy for driving in slippery conditions and snowy areas. The price starts at $26,000 and goes up to $32,000 for the limited edition with navigation.
BMW 535i xDrive
The 535i xDrive comes from BMW's 5 series line up of sedans, and is powered by a 3-liter engine that generates 300 horsepower. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that makes driving this AWD sedan a complete pleasure. Virtually unnoticeable in dry conditions, the 535i xDrive's AWD comes into play in wet and snowy conditions, and makes it one of the best sedans to dive in such conditions. Being a BMW, the sedan does not come cheap, and is priced in the upper $50,000 price range. The high price, however, means that you get all the features that come in standard BMW cars. At 30 mpg, the car is economical as well, and is one of the premier AWD cars to buy.
The Acura MDX falls in the midsize luxury range. As such, the pricing is on the higher side, ranging from about $45,000 to $55,000, depending on the options. With its 6-speed automatic transmission and comfortable seating for up to 7 occupants, the Acura MDX makes traveling a breeze, be it through dry weather or slick snowy roads. The Super Handling All Wheel Drive enhances driving in dry weather as well as wet weather conditions. This car features a 3.7-liter VTEC® V-6 engine that delivers 300 horsepower.
If you are looking for an AWD car with good mileage; you can go in for options such as MINI Cooper S Countryman All4, Nissan Juke AWD, Subaru Impreza, Audi Quattro, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Mercury Milan, or the Saab 9-3. Good AWDs that are on the cheaper side are the Dodge Journey SXT, Toyota RAV4 Sport, Honda CR-V, Ford Taurus SEL, Suzuki Kizashi S, Ford Fusion SEL, Toyota Venza, Nissan Rogue, and the Mazda CX-7.