At Keyes Honda, when our customers are searching for a new or used Honda vehicle, one thing we often discuss is the drivetrain available on certain vehicles. The terms four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive are all disused and we understand that it can be slightly confusing trying to navigate between the differences. We hope that this overview will help break down the basics of the drivetrain options available.
The basic drivetrain option available on most passenger cars sold in the U.S. today is a two-wheel-drive system in which the entire drive package—engine, transmission, differential, and the wheels that are driven by the engine—are in the front of the vehicle. This is called front-wheel drive (FWD). Some vehicles are equipped with a different two-wheel-drive system called rear-wheel drive (RWD). It differs from FWD in that a long driveshaft transmits power from the engine in the front of the vehicle to the driven wheels at the back (versus the front two wheels).
For those looking for a more dynamic driving experience should look at vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD). By distributing traction equally among all four tires, AWD systems improve the driving experience by providing better traction and handling. AWD can also improve handling in poor weather conditions. This driving system is great to have if you like having increased control around the bends and turns of the road. The Honda CR-V and Honda Ridgeline both have capable AWD systems.
If you are considering taking your vehicle off-road or using your vehicle for towing, then a vehicle equipped with four-wheel drive (4WD) should be on your list. 4WD also engages all four tires and provides better traction and towing. Like AWD, it is a good feature to have in difficult weather conditions like snow, and will help power the vehicle on rocky or uneven ground.