Understanding Drivetrain Differences

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When you're shopping for a car, one of the first things you probably look at is what type of drivetrain does the vehicle have. With more options than ever before, FWD (front-wheel drive), RWD (rear-wheel drive), AWD (all-wheel drive), 4WD ( four-wheel drive or 4X4), Intelligent AWD, and Intelligent 4WD, things can get confusing but have no fear, we are here to break it down for you!
Front-Wheel Drive (FWD):
Front-Wheel Drive, most commonly seen as FWD, means that the power from the engine is delivered to the front wheels on your vehicle. This means that the front wheels are pulling the vehicle forward and causing the rear wheels to spin. The rear wheels do not receive any power from the engine. FWD vehicles, like certain Ford Fusion models, can maintain traction in rain or light snow but can get stuck or slide during heavy snow-storms. 
Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD):
Rear-Wheel Drive, most commonly seen as RWD, means that the power from the engine is delivered to the rear wheels on your vehicle. This means that the rear wheels are pushing the car forward. RWD works the opposite of FWD. RWD vehicles, like the GT350, are said to be more exciting to drive but do not perform well in poor weather. 
All-Wheel Drive (AWD):
All-Wheel Drive, most commonly seen as AWD, means that the drivetrain employs a front, rear, and center differential to provide power to all four wheels of the vehicle. As implied by the name, the engine's power is dispersed to all of the wheels, not just the front or just the back. AWD vehicles are typically coupes, sedans, and certain SUVs, like the Ford Edge.
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive:
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive is something that is equipped in Ford vehicles. A Ford vehicle that has an intelligent All-wheel drive drivetrain has a system that uses sensors that calculate the road conditions and monitors a variety of factors including speed and throttle. The system will then respond by delivering torque and power where it is needed most. For example, during rain or snow, if wheel slip is detected in the front wheels, up to 100% of the torque can be sent to the rear axle. The system is not just reactive though, it can proactively respond within milliseconds and redirect the power to the wheels with the most traction to help prevent slip from happening in the first place.
Four-Wheel Drive (4WD, 4X4):
Four-Wheel Drive, most commonly seen as 4WD, is very similar to AWD because the power of the engine is also delivered to all four wheels all of the time. 4WD is typically found in vehicles that have off-roading capabilities, such as trucks and SUVs. 
Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive:
An Intelligent Four-Wheel Drive vehicle has pretty much the same technology as Intelligent an AWD vehicle but vehicles with Intelligent 4WD can handle rugged terrain better. With Intelligent 4WD, sensors automatically and instantly respond to wheel slip on off-road surfaces such as rocks, mud, and grass or snow, adjusting torque and power to the wheels. This instant reaction provides prevents slippage while adding a nice boost of driving confidence.
Now that you know the differences between drivetrains, you can easily decide what type of vehicle is right for you! Contact your Bill MacDonald Ford sales representative or our internet manager, Tori, to learn about our newest models, financing options, or to schedule a test drive!


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