What is Difference Between 4×4 and 4×2 Vehicles?

With a 4×4 wheel drive vehicle you will not get stuck in snow and you can go off-road with good traction. A 4×2 gets better gas mileage, costs $2k less, and can tow about 5% more.

Some cars like the Jeep Wrangler use the 4×4 drivetrain. Also, most variants of SUVs and trucks have this drivetrain. Some have AWD – all wheel drive, which is 2 wheel drive until you start slipping, then 30% of power is sent to other 2 wheels.

On the contrary, the 4×2 that is also known as a two-wheel drive sends torque to two wheels which can either be the rear or front wheels. The 4×2 drivetrain has the same working mechanism for all kinds of vehicles, even if it is an SUV, jeep, or truck. In this case, all front-wheel drives and all rear-wheel drives are classified as 4×2. The 4×2 drivetrain is the most common compared to the 4×4, especially on cars.



Example models:

Lincoln Navigator

Ram 2500

Ford Expedition

Ford Escape


Road performance

The 4×4 vehicles offer the best performance on adverse weather conditions and off-road tracks. That is because the drivetrain offers stability and superior traction on treacherous roads.

Also, vehicles classified under this category tend to be the safer option when it comes to snow, rainy, watery, and ice roads. Since the four-wheel drive has extra drivetrain components, you can find it more complicated and harder to drive.

If you wish to take frequent trips in off-road conditions, purchasing a four-wheel SUV vehicle or jeep can be a good idea. On contrary, the two-wheel vehicles are the best on highways and city roads. In case you need vehicles that you can use for your daily community, a 4×2 can be a better choice.

These vehicles provide improved handling and can be easier to drive due to their better weight balance compared to the four-wheel drive.

The four-wheel-drive might be fitted with locking differentials, mechanical differentials that make them handle rough terrain and carry heavy loads. Other vehicles enable the driver to switch between the 2WD and 4WD.

Others will transition automatically or constantly run as 4WD. In this case, vehicles that can shift back and forth are referred to as All-Wheel Drive. The 4WD has additional control and power, which means that they provide better traction than the 2WD regardless of the condition.

The four-wheeled vehicles have more parts because all other wheels are powered. Therefore, they are heavier than the two-wheeled vehicle. That means that the four-wheeled vehicles burn more fuel, more expensive to service or buy, and challenging to drive than the 4×2.


Fuel economy

The two-wheel drive is the winner because it only engages two wheels when you are driving it, and it is lighter when it comes to fuel economy. In contrast, four-wheel-drive vehicles need more power to consume more fuel than 4×2 vehicles because of their larger displacement engines. Fortunately, modern technology has assisted in minimizing fuel consumption in 4×4 vehicles.

Towing capacity

A 4×2 vehicle provides higher towing performance because of its lighter weight. In contrast, the 4×4 does not offer a good towing performance because of its heavier construction which does not assist in carrying a weighty payload.

Despite that, the towing capability of the four-wheel-drive improves in slippery inclines and rough terrains. If you have a 4×2 you will find that it performs poorly in such conditions. That is because power will only be directed to two wheels, meaning that the wheels which are not actively driven will lack the power to maintain control in a snowy or slippery surface.



A 4×4 vehicle is costly than a similar vehicle that has a 4×2 drivetrain. In particular, the models have a price difference of between $2000 to $3000. The 4×4 drivetrains also demand more repair and maintenance costs. Due to their considerable upkeep expenses and piece, most insurance firms charge higher monthly premiums for the 4×4 vehicles.

Arguably, if you own a two-wheeled drive you will find it advantageous because the insurance company will you less since your vehicle has a risk of accidental exposure.

The two-wheel vehicles have fewer moving parts that mean that you will incur fewer chances of breakdown and maintenance. In contrast, the four-wheel-drive has several moving parts which means that they are exposed to more wear and tear. As a consequence, you will incur considerable replacement and repair costs in the long run.

Shopping for a new car might be mind-boggling. In this case, there are numerous aspects that you are supposed to consider starting from the in-built hands-free technology to advanced driver assistance systems. You can consider these aspects if you are planning to move out of your comfort zone so that you can test your state-of-the-art vehicle that has advanced features than the one that you used to drive. Whether you buy a truck, Jeep or SUV, there is a likelihood that you will find either find a 4×4 or 4×2 drivetrains.You can also get a RV with 4 wheel drive.

A vehicle’s drivetrain determines the amount of torque or drives that it delivers to certain wheels. The four-wheel-drive delivers torque and power to all its four wheels. In general, the four-wheel has a stouter chassis that has more ground clearance and bigger tires than the 2-wheel drive.

Surprisingly, most people have a misconception that a four-wheel-drive means that all its four-wheels rotate simultaneously at the same speed.

However, in reality, you will find it complicated. In this case, when a 4×4 car turns, its outside tires tend to turn faster than its inside tires. As a consequence, the differential in the axle compensates for the longer distance covered by the outside wheel than the inside one.

When considering purchasing a new car, you should conduct your research before deciding on the model that suits you. Generally, a two-wheel vehicle is the best for most car owners. However, if you have specific needs, including handling snowy driving conditions or driving regularly off-road, then a four-wheel drive can be the best choice.

If you want great traction then get the 4×4.


4×4 Pros and Cons


  1. Off-roading prowess: With a 4×4, the world is your playground! Go ahead and tackle those muddy trails, sandy dunes, and rocky mountains. These vehicles laugh in the face of “No Trespassing” signs.
  2. Towing champ: Need to tow a boat, a trailer, or your friend’s dinky sedan? No problem! 4x4s come equipped with powerful engines and towing capabilities, making them the heroes of the highway.
  3. Higher ground clearance: Pesky potholes and speed bumps? Pfft, child’s play. 4x4s offer higher ground clearance, so you can conquer the urban jungle with ease.
  4. All-weather warrior: Snowstorm? Torrential rain? 4x4s scoff at such trivial matters. They’re all-weather warriors, ready to tackle any road condition Mother Nature throws at them.


  1. Gas guzzlers: While 4x4s may laugh at off-road challenges, they cry at the gas pump. These vehicles are notoriously thirsty, so be prepared to fork over some serious cash to keep them quenched.
  2. Parking space hoggers: Good luck trying to squeeze your monstrous 4×4 into a compact parking spot. These behemoths demand space, so you may need to park in the next town over.
  3. Not-so-nimble: With great size comes… well, not-so-great agility. If you’re used to zipping around in a sports car, a 4×4 might feel like you’re driving a tank. Expect slower acceleration and wider turns.
  4. Pricey maintenance: Owning a 4×4 is a bit like dating a high-maintenance partner. Expect to shell out more money for everything from tires to maintenance, as these vehicles demand the best.