All-Wheel Drive vs. Four-Wheel Drive

At Kearny Mesa INFINITI, it’s our pleasure introducing drivers near San Diego, CA and beyond to the terrific INFINITI lineup that we feature. Once you try them, we think you’ll love our INFINITI cars as much as we do, and our passion is making sure you find the vehicle that fulfills all your needs and desires. You might find sometimes that there’s a dizzying array of features and technologies that cars can come equipped with these days, and we’re more than happy to help you figure which ones might be a good fit for you.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and the extra capabilities that they give your vehicle, we’d be happy to teach you the ins and outs of these systems. These terms are often used interchangeably, but although they both use all four wheels of your car to move you forward, there are some basic differences regarding how they work and they tend to be matched with different kinds of vehicles.

All-wheel drive employs three differentials—front, rear, and center—that send power to all four wheels of your vehicle. All-wheel drive is on all the time, and your car uses a sensor in order to know what wheels are in need of the most power. With four-wheel drive, in comparison, it’s often up to the driver to turn it on. In a four-wheel-drive system, power is sent to a transfer case which then splits power evenly between the front and rear axles. Four-wheel drive tends to be found on trucks or truck-based SUVs with all-terrain capability, while you’ll often find all-wheel-drive on sporty cars and SUVs for better grip and handling.

If you’re planning on taking your vehicle on a lot of off-road adventures climbing over roots and slogging through sand and mud, or you plan on driving up north into harsh wintery weather, you should look into four-wheel-drive. But if you’re just looking for better traction and acceleration in your everyday driving, all-wheel drive will probably be your best bet. We have a range of vehicles at our INFINITI dealership that offer INFINITI Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, which goes above and beyond a regular drivetrain by intuitively sending power to the wheels with the most grip and adapting as the conditions of the road change. Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is available in compact luxury sedans like the 2016 INFINITI Q50 as well as the roomy 2016 INFINITI QX60 crossover. Four-wheel-drive is available on the full-size truck-based 2016 INFINITI QX80 SUV.

To try some of these luxurious and capable vehicles out for yourself, make a trip down to our INFINITI dealership. We’d love nothing more than to put you in the driver’s seat of a new or pre-owned INFINITI car. The friendly and knowledgeable team at our 4607 Convoy Street location looks forward to seeing you soon!