What Drivetrain is Best for You?

December 28th, 2015 by

Need Help deciding what Drivetrain is best for you?

awd logo 4wd 4x4



Today’s cars come in a large variety of drivetrains everything from true 4×4 to AWD (all wheel drive) and FWD (front wheel drive). This large spread brings into question what is the best drivetrain option for you.  Do you need AWD or will a front wheel drive car suit your need?  The answer is, ‘it depends.’  It depends on: what are you using the car for, what are your driving tendencies and where are you driving. Below I’ll give you the 411 on a few of the different options

What is FWD (Front Wheel Drive)

By far the most common type of car drivetrain is front wheel drive. The engine sits in the front of the car providing weight over the tires that power the car. This added weight in combination with good tires gives most cars a fighting chance in the winter conditions found here in Montana. Most efficient and lightweight this transmission is going to save the owner on everything from purchasing and maintenance costs to savings at the pump.

What is AWD (All Wheel Drive)

This is a common drivetrain configuration found in smaller SUV’s and sedans. This type of drive train can either continuously or intermittently send power to the non-primary powered wheels. Take for example the Toyota Rav4 AWD, in everyday driving scenarios it will be a front -wheel drive car, however sensors in the car detect slipping in the front axle and automatically send power to the rear axle giving the car excellent acceleration in slippery conditions. Some cars for example Subaru have a full time AWD system, which provides power to all tires at all times, typically a 80/20 split front/rear axle. The front axle is connected directly to the drivetrain while the rear is driven through a center differential. Advantages for AWD include a less complicated system for the driver automatically adjusting to driving conditions, lighter system, higher mileage possible, less levers/knobs, typically less expensive and easier to maintain.


4WD (Four Wheel Drive)

4WD is commonly found in the larger SUV or off road line of cars (4Runner’s, Tacoma’s, Tundra’s). These drivetrain systems have a dedicated transfer case typically allowing the driver to manually select between 2wd, 4wd high and 4wd low. Low range allows the transfer case to in effect multiply the torque allowing the vehicle to crawl over more difficult obstacles. 4WD in essence gives the control back to the driver; it does come at a cost however though. Disadvantages of the 4WD include; added maintenance costs, heavier, less fuel efficient, and my favorite is the mentality that I can get anywhere anytime.

part-time-4wd-explainedIn closing:

Each system provides a possible solution to any drivers need.  However, at the end of the day with any given system, it doesn’t matter how good the car is if the tires are racing slicks.  If that is the case you won’t be going anywhere quick in the snow or mud. Thank you for reading my blog!

anders raineMy name is Anders Raine and I am a sales professional at Toyota of Bozeman. Please contact me when you are in the market for a “new to you” vehicle and I will be happy to assist you! You can reach me at 406-599-7188 or email me at araine@resslermotors.com. Also, check out our website for the latest inventory of new and used vehicles (click link HERE).


Posted in Car Buying Tips