Do All SUVs Have All-Wheel Drive? (Explained)

Not every single SUV sports a four-wheel-drive or All-wheel Drive, and it goes much further than that since there are many issues concerning the subject.

In fact, there is little knowledge to be had about the four-wheel-drive in other areas of the world since other terms are coined or interchangeable, to a certain extent, colloquially.

Depending on your country, the term for all-wheel drive could mean crossover SUVs or battery-powered hybrids that perform almost the same as the 4WD. So, we’re going to tell you exactly what an AWD is and why SUVs aren’t all-wheel drives all the time.

What is an SUV?

In the car industry, an SUV is a term used by many as a category of vehicles that look similar to off-road vehicles that are best utilized for higher ground. These vehicles often share characteristics like being spacious inside, decent hauling capabilities, and four-wheel drive functionality.

Read Also: Is an SUV the same as a truck?

As SUVs are becoming more widespread, newer SUV models may no longer be categorized as four-wheel-drive vehicles. Some aren’t entire four-wheel drives anymore and are seen to become more two or partial-wheel drives.

There are many variants to SUVs, and now that car manufacturers are turning a blind eye to old tech, there might be more innovations coming in this industry than we initially thought.

What is an AWD?

A four or all-wheel drive is a vehicle with a particular drivetrain configuration whose engine is powered by all car wheels.

This configuration ensures that the car gains traction at higher terrains and rougher pavements. It delivers torque to all four wheels to achieve a more powerful force when driving. It is perfect for rigorous roads that require so much pressure in the wheels that make your car capable of sifting through blocky and rocky roads ahead.

When most drivers talk about four-wheel drive, they usually describe the Jeep Wrangler and the Land Rover Defender. An AWD system isn’t switched off and is only used if the driveway is hard to get across.

SUV pictures

Is AWD hard to drive?

A vehicle is hard to drive when you lose so much control. In this sense, you have all the power on the four wheels, but the path of least resistance is always a better drive since you have more control over your vehicle.

So to answer this question, we think it depends entirely on whether or not you’re comfortable driving on more challenging roads, but the control you have will vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Generally speaking, an SUV is on the larger end of the spectrum, which means it will have a tough time surging through roads that are so tough on the pavements. Instead, it will be an adamant time driving on mountainous or dirt terrains.

In the general scheme of things, a four-wheel drive is not necessary for smoother pavements and is only ever used when the driver chooses to exert extra torque on all wheels. So, the answer to this question depends on how you look at the subject of hard-to-drive roads and smoother drives on more accessible paths.

Are AWD Cars Harder to Maintain?

Since you bought an AWD SUV for driving through more challenging roads, it’s going to be more difficult to maintain your wheels because you’re exerting full force and torque on them.

Moreover, it also takes much more than standard equipment to clean out the other wears and tears a vehicle gets, so it’s no question that you have to maintain a four-wheel-drive much more often than a partial wheeler.

When it comes to the cost of the maintenance, you’re going to pay much more than regular maintenance because of the hassle of going through all the mileage of challenging road driving, companies who do maintenance will cover all the hard work that will be put on to your wheels as it becomes brand-new looking again.

How do you tell if your SUV is AWD?

Here are the steps to know if your SUV is an AWD:

  • Check the bottom of your car on whether or not the following components have suitable drivetrain systems. These components are wheel axles, differential, driveshaft, auxiliary gearboxes, etc.
  • Know what type of vehicle you are sporting. This means that checking the specs from the manufacturer will immediately tell you if your vehicle is a four-wheeler drive.
  • Check your engine under the hood to see if your vehicle is capable of torquing for all four wheels.
  • Figure out where the location of your drive belts is. If it is facing the front rear of your car, it is more likely that your driving system is not a four-wheel drive.

These are the few things you need to consider when learning whether or not your car is a four-wheeler drive!

is All-wheel Drive good in snow?

All-wheel drive transmits the power generated by the engine to all four wheels at the same time. The latest AWD systems can now recognize each wheel’s power requirements, thus creating an efficient system so that all-wheel drive vehicles have better traction on snowy or icy roads. Because of these advantages, all-wheel drive vehicles are very popular in some states with intense winters such as Alaska and Colorado.

Are AWD and 4WD the same? Which is Better?

While both are almost identical in features, there are still noticeable differences between them that cater to specific people who desire to drive on different terrains.

The only difference is that an AWD provides more force and power on all four wheels than a 4WD because both components are connected through a transaxle in different configurations.

To determine which one is better, you have to look at your particular usage for a more powerful configuration. For example, if you are an action junkie who loves going out to the rougher roads, you need a 4WD rather than an AWD. However, the cities have more uneven roads than others, so a comparable power-efficient configuration like the AWD is enough to get you past these roadblocks.


The 4WD and AWD systems are built to withstand wear and tear when going off the road, which is less suitable for cars without them. So you must get this configuration if you are planning to go out and sport an SUV when driving.