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The O'Brien Experience

All-Wheel Drive vs. Four-Wheel Drive at O'Brien Nissan of Bloomington

Vehicles are becoming so high-tech nowadays, that it can be difficult for the average consumer to keep up with all those special features. At O'Brien Nissan of Bloomington, we think it’s our duty to take some of the confusion out of car shopping. When you look through our showroom of new and pre-owned Nissan cars, our dealers will always be on hand to answer any questions you may have about their available features. One of the things we’re asked to explain most frequently is the difference between all-wheel drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD).


The Difference Between AWD and 4WD

Differences at a glance:

  • AWD never turns off
  • AWD is common on sports cars and luxury vehicles
  • 4WD is better for off-roading
  • 4WD is typically found on SUVs and trucks

Any Bloomington Nissan dealer knows that if you drive in Illinois, you need to be prepared for inclement weather and slippery roads. Thankfully, both AWD and 4WD vehicles are great options for these harsh Midwestern conditions. The AWD system distributes power to whichever wheels need it the most, so it can shift to the rear wheels to help you get out of a snowdrift. Or, it can power the front wheels across rain-slicked roads to prevent hydroplaning. You will usually find AWD on high-performance vehicles, such as muscle and sports cars.


Alternatively, 4WD is found on rugged SUVs and trucks that are designed for off-roading. With most 4WD systems, you can lock the front and rear axles together to distribute torque evenly across all four wheels. So even if one wheel gets stuck in mud or wedged in rocks, the other three can continue to spin until the vehicle comes loose.


Driving Conditions for AWD and 4WD

Driving conditions at a glance:

  • AWD is preferable on on city roads and highways
  • 4WD is better for snow, mud, and other off-road conditions

If you spend a lot of time commuting into the city or driving down the interstate, an AWD vehicle might be preferable. Consider the 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport, a family-friendly SUV that comes jam-packed with safety and convenience features. Folks who love exploring nature and trekking down backroads should opt for a 4WD vehicle like the 2018 Nissan Frontier. This pickup can handle all sorts of terrain, and it has plenty of power and space for hauling heavy loads.


If you’d like to learn more about these two drivetrains, come to O’Brien Nissan of Bloomington today. Any one of our knowledgeable Nissan dealers will be happy to assist you. While you’re here, we also encourage you to check out our inventory of all-new Nissan cars and trucks.