Looking for a pickup or sport utility vehicle? It is highly likely that you will have to choose between a 4x4 and a 4x2 vehicle. The following information will provide some insight on the difference between the two types of vehicles, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing one over the other. If you are curious about the reason why 4x4s typically cost more than 4x2 versions of the same vehicle model, the following information can help.
We are constantly bombarded with inquiries regarding the factors that make a 4x4 ride superior to, or even safer than, a 4x2 ride.
We realise that the price difference is quite substantial; however, in this article, we would like to discuss some technical aspects that will demonstrate that the upgrade is absolutely deserving of the additional cost.
If you're looking for a top quality service body then give our experienced team a call to see how Ridgeback Service Bodies can make your business, fleet or recreational service bodies make your life on the road easier and safer.
Do you need a four-wheel drive?
It is dependent on the destination that you have in mind or the activity that you want to perform while driving your vehicle. Simply put, you do if you intend to use your vehicle for any kind of off-roading activity. If you are building a two-wheel drive high-speed Prerunner, dune buggy, or two-wheel rally car on purpose, you are one of the few people who will be able to go off-roading without the need for four-wheel drive. Recreational off-road driving is also referred to as "four-wheeling," and not without good reason. If you use a vehicle with two-wheel drive for so-called "four-wheeling," you are inviting trouble and making life more difficult for yourself.
You may have noticed that SUVs and pickup trucks typically come with two drivetrain options: either a 4x2 or a 4x4 configuration. Because the vehicle appears virtually identical across all available trim levels, this may not matter too much to purchasers of automobiles who place a lower value on aesthetic quality.
However, the type of drivetrain that is selected can have a significant effect on how well a vehicle performs. It also determines the cost of the vehicle as well as the total weight of the vehicle, among other things. In a nutshell, a 4x2 vehicle and a 4x4 vehicle will each have their own set of positive and negative characteristics. But before we get into the advantages and disadvantages of 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains, let's first discuss what a drivetrain actually is.
A four-wheel drive system, also known as a four-wheel drive or 4x4, transmits power and torque to all four of the vehicle's wheels. In comparison to a 4x2, a 4x4 typically features a more robust chassis, in addition to larger tyres and increased ground clearance. It is a widespread misunderstanding that having four-wheel drive means that all of the vehicle's wheels are turning at the same speed at the same time.
In reality, the situation is much more complicated than that. When a vehicle with four-wheel drive makes a turn, the outside tyres turn more quickly than the tyres on the vehicle's interior. The axle contains a differential that makes up for the longer distance travelled by the outside wheel in comparison to the ones on the inside of the vehicle.
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Pros of 4x4s
On off-road surfaces and in other difficult terrains, 4x4s offer exceptional control and manoeuvrability due to the fact that all of the wheels in the vehicle are powered. In challenging conditions such as mud, steep inclines, and even floods, they perform noticeably better than 4x2s. When equipped with the appropriate tyres, a four-wheel drive vehicle can effortlessly navigate even the roughest of terrain, regardless of how severe the conditions may be. In spite of the fact that they typically have a payload or towing capacity that is lower than that of a 4x2, their towing ability cannot be matched by a 4x2 when the vehicle is on a slippery surface or a steep incline.
Cons of 4x4s
The price tag on a 4x4 SUV or truck is typically higher than the price tag on a comparable 4x2 model of the same vehicle, and these vehicles also have slightly lower fuel efficiency. The increased number of drivetrain components makes 4x4s more difficult to both maintain and operate.
4x2 vehicles, also known as two-wheel drives, are only capable of transferring engine torque to two of the vehicle's wheels—either the front or the back. They have a less complicated setup, and as a result, they are typically the much more readily available model for almost all vehicle types that offer both 4x2 and 4x4 options. This is because of the fact that they are less expensive to produce.
Pros of a 4x2
Because of the higher torque that can be produced by such a configuration, 4x2s typically have a greater towing capacity than 4x4s do. This was previously mentioned. When compared to the 4x4 version of the same model, many 4x2s have lower fuel consumption as well as lower overall ownership costs than the 4x4 version of the same model.
This is because of their simpler construction and lower weight. In addition, the starting price for 4x2s is lower, and the price difference between the two can reach five digits when expressed in our country's currency. A better distribution of weight across the vehicle results in improved handling in 4x2s, which is another advantage of these vehicles.
Cons of a 4x2
For those who make their home in the city, the drawbacks of driving a 4x2 are largely academic. Those who do a lot of driving on unpaved roads and trails, however, may find that a 4x2 isn't sufficient for their needs.
It's important to weigh the pros and cons of both four-wheel drive (4x4) and two-wheel drive (4x2) models when shopping for a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) or pickup truck. Similar consideration should be given to how those advantages pertain to you as an individual motorist. Give serious thought to all of your choices before settling on an SUV or a pickup truck.
To power both of a vehicle's wheels at once, the transfer case must have two speeds and be equipped with a system known as four-wheel drive (4WD). Off-road enthusiasts and purists alike tend to favour this setup. All-terrain and "go-anywhere" capability were commonly associated with the four-wheel-drive label. However, technological advancements and consumer demands have resulted in the production of products with "four-wheel drive" that are still limited in their ability to handle all terrains.
All-wheel drives are a special kind of four-wheel drive vehicles that are built specifically for use on paved roads. To qualify as having all-wheel drive (AWD), a vehicle must be built with a drivetrain that not only transfers power to all four wheels (typically continuously), but also does so via a transfer case that has only one gear and no low-range capability. While some AWD vehicles are based on trucks, the vast majority are car-based and are designed to handle wet, icy, and snowy conditions as well as normal driving conditions.
The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are two examples of compact crossovers that offer all-wheel drive. Both the RAV4's Dynamic Torque Control AWD and the CRV's Real Time AWD systems keep power to the front wheels until a slip is detected, at which point it is sent to the rear wheels. The Porsche 911 Turbo is all-wheel drive but it drives more like a rear-wheel drive vehicle, with most of the power going to the back. This setup is ideal for high-horsepower applications due to the weight transfer that occurs during hard acceleration, which favours the rear tyres.
Even though all-wheel drive has its uses, drivers who want to take their vehicles off-road and explore areas far removed from the nearest Starbucks will need four-wheel drive equipped with a low-range transfer case. In terms of four-wheel drive systems, both full-time and part-time configurations are common, with the latter being the norm.
As its name implies, this is the most popular form of four-wheel drive. A system that operates only part-time is designed solely for use off-road and on low-traction surfaces like grass or gravel. The part-time system does not include any means of adjusting the speeds of the front and rear axles independently. Driveline bind, tyre squeal, poor handling, and increased driveline wear are the results of using a part-time system on dry pavement. Driveline bind can be disengaged when driving off-road in low-traction conditions.
Most modern partial four-wheel drive setups let the driver toggle between two- and four-wheel drive on the fly. Altering course mid-stream is a common tactic.
Most shift-on-the-fly part-time four-wheel drive systems rely on a front-axle disconnect of some sort. In most cases, the front axle disconnect will be included in the front differential's overall assembly.
When coupled with a shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system, the front axle disconnect serves dual functions. First, the front wheels are disengaged from the driveline when the vehicle is in two-wheel-drive mode. The driveline experiences less wear because the front wheels no longer have to drag it when turning.
Second, the front axle disconnect employs a synchro mechanism to synchronise the rotational speeds of the front and rear driveshafts prior to engagement during "on-the-fly" (while-driving) transitions from two-wheel to four-wheel drive. It's done just before the front axle starts turning. This allows the driver to easily switch in and out of four-wheel drive while the car is in motion without disrupting its momentum (but usually below 100 kph).
One of the most widespread drawbacks is the front axle disconnect system's complexity, which can lead to less reliability. A front axle disconnect will typically use a vacuum or electrical component to detach from the front drive shaft. It's possible that this system is less reliable than the traditional manual hub system, which has been around for much longer but is now considered obsolete.
Full-Time four-wheel drive (4WD)
Full-time four-wheel drive means that the drivetrain always sends torque to both axles, on or off the road. To differentiate between all-wheel drive and full-time four-wheel drive, a low-range gearing option in a two-speed transfer case is a common feature. Since it is desirable to have the front and rear axles move at different speeds, full-time four-wheel drive systems necessitate a centre differential. Improved traction in any weather can be had with full-time four-wheel drive, but it may come at the expense of the vehicle's gas mileage.
Automatic Four-Wheel Drive (A4WD)
When it becomes necessary, this type of drive system switches to four-wheel drive automatically. This is accomplished with monitors that sense the varying speeds of the wheels and then engage the 4WD system. This type of automatic system can be found in the Polaris Ranger Electric Vehicle.
Shift on the Fly 4WD
The driver is able to manually shift from 2WD to 4WD Hi without having to first stop the vehicle thanks to this 4-Wheel-Drive system. These systems typically have a maximum speed limit at which they can be engaged, and in most cases, that limit is lower than sixty miles per hour. Because OHVs that have an electronic actuator (like a push-button rather than a shift lever) will only permit shifting to 4WD-Hi while travelling at speeds that are lower than the rated speed, pressing the button will not attempt to engage the 4WD system.
It's possible that cars equipped with shift levers won't realise when they're going too fast to switch into 4WD. To start, there is the potential for this to be harmful. If you have an On the Fly 4WD system, refer to the owner's manual for instructions.
All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
All-wheel drive is a type of full-time, single-speed four-wheel drive (4WD) system that distributes power to all four wheels of the vehicle. Each system has a unique ratio of power delivery to the front and back of the vehicle.
Rear Two-Wheel Drive
For the most part of the automobile industry's existence, rear-wheel drive vehicles dominated the North American market. Until the 1980s, when manufacturers started moving towards front-wheel drive in order to make cars smaller, the rear-wheel drive vehicle was the most common type of vehicle on the road. Some popular examples of rear-wheel-drive automobiles include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan and the Chevrolet Corvette sports car from the United States. Unlike with front-wheel drive vehicles, the mass of a rear-wheel-drive SUV is distributed more evenly, getting much closer to the ideal 50/50 split.
It allows the front wheels to control the vehicle's direction while the back wheels can receive power from the engine and propel the vehicle forwards. However, a sport utility vehicle equipped with only two-wheel drive is limited to paved roads, as all four wheels are needed to navigate rough terrain.
Front Two-Wheel Drive
Although front-wheel-drive vehicles' roots can be traced back to the 1920s, they failed to live up to the Detroit Big Three's vision of a robust and well-proportioned automobile at the time. In response to the fuel crises of 1973 and 1978, the auto industry shifted to producing smaller vehicles. For this reason, the engine and transmission are typically located up front in front-wheel-drive vehicles.
The driveshaft that normally connected the engine to the back wheels was eliminated. Companies that make compact crossover SUVs have embraced the idea of front-wheel drive. Crossover SUVs are based on car chassis and suspensions, but they look and feel more like truck-based SUVs due to their raised ride height. Mini-SUVs with front-wheel drive include the Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape.
The engine's output is sent to all four wheels via a two-speed transfer case and the drive axles of a four-wheel-drive SUV. The most important feature of a four-wheel drive system is the transfer case's ability to downshift into a lower gear range. The SUV can now traverse harsh environments like rocky deserts, deep snow, and rugged trails with ease. In the past, the only available options for four-wheel drive in SUVs were a shift-on-the-fly system or a part-time system.
When travelling at less than 60 mph, the driver of a vehicle with this type of four-wheel drive could shift the transmission into four-wheel drive without stopping the vehicle. In recent automatic models, four-wheel drive could be engaged when necessary. Vehicles like the Chevrolet Suburban and the Ford Explorer both offer four-wheel drive as an option.
One type of drive system that sends power to all four wheels is called all-wheel drive. The only real advantage it provides is enhanced traction and stability for the SUV. Since an SUV without a reduction gear in the transfer case can't handle off-road conditions very well, they usually come equipped with all-wheel drive. Unfortunately, it has poor trail-climbing abilities and struggles to free itself from soft sand.
A 4x2 High-Ride ute's ride height, ground clearance, and wheel travel are all comparable to those of a 4x4, making short work of the roughest worksite, back road, or bush track you might encounter. And a 4x2 High-Ride ute will get you places no sedan or 2WD soft-roader can go.
Electronic locking differentials are now standard on some high-riding 4x2 utes like the PXII Ford Ranger, vastly improving these vehicles' capability on rough terrain. Why? A conventional "open" differential transfers all of the power to the spinning wheel as soon as one of the driven wheels loses traction, making it quite easy to get stuck in the mud or snow. But if you lock the differential completely, the two driven rear wheels will be joined by an axle like in a go-kart. The result is that the vehicle will keep moving forwards at full speed even if one of the wheels loses traction. If you strategically place your wheels, this will help you get out of just about any jam.
Electronic traction control has come a long way in recent years, allowing other high-riding 4x2 utes that don't have locking differentials to rely on it. Test drivers with extensive experience with 4x4 vehicles have discovered that some of today's 4x4s perform better off-road when using only the traction control and not the locking rear diffs. The sleuths who made this discovery were testing 4x4 vehicles and noticed that some of them had this capability.
Although some High-Ride 4x2 utes lack the towing capabilities of their 4x4 cousins, others do. Our PXII Ford Ranger 4x2 Hi-Rider model, for instance, can tow just as much as its 4x4 sibling when properly equipped with brakes. [Footnote required] (3500 kg).
"If towing is a priority, verify that the high-riding 4x2 you're considering has adequate towing capacity for your needs," If you value towing, then
The most recent 4x2 version of the Toyota Hilux, the Hi-Rider, can only tow 700 fewer kilogrammes with its brakes than the 4x4 version can (2800 kg vs 3500 kg). Even more pronounced is the payload capacity difference between the 4x2 and 4x4 Isuzu D-Max, with the former having a 2,500-kg limit as opposed to the latter's 3,500-kg rating.
You should look for a high-riding 4x2 with sufficient pulling power if towing a trailer is an important part of your vehicle's function, whether for work or play.
More payload for the same amount of fuel used
Due to not having the 4x4 transmission, differential, and axles, high-riding 4x2 utes typically have a kerb weight that is 100 to 150 kilogrammes (kg) lighter than their 4x4 counterparts. That's five to eight bags of builder's cement, which is a lot of weight to be carrying around if you don't need to.
In addition, the weight savings may be put to good use by increasing payload by the same amount. In spite of the fact that the GVM of both the Ranger 4x2 Hi-Rider and the 4x4 we've used as examples is 3200 kilogrammes, the 4x2 is capable of towing 95 kilogrammes more. More specifically, Mazda BT50 models gain an extra 103 kilogrammes. Even though our two variants of the Hilux have different GVMs, the 4x2 has a higher peak payload by 75 kg.
Improved fuel economy is another benefit of a lighter kerb weight, though it should be noted that significant progress has been made towards reducing this performance gap. According to Ford, the gap between the fuel economy of its 4x2 Hi-Rider and 4x4 models in the first generation of the PX Ranger line was as much as 1.0 liter/100 kilometres, but in the most recent generation of the PXII Ranger, this gap has been reduced to 0.1 liter/100 kilometres (manuals). That's a step up.
What do we have?
However, the majority of pickup trucks, such as Rangers, Navaras, Stradas, and Hiluxes, only have part-time four-wheel drive. There is nothing negative to say about this given that it is a system that is both efficient and cost-effective. Full-time systems can be found in Land Rovers and certain Land Cruisers, including the LC200 and the Prado.
If you don't plan on going off-road and just want to get from point A to point B, you don't need four-wheel drive; a vehicle with two-wheel drive will do the trick. Under typical driving conditions, four-wheel drive presents a few challenges. The addition of the system results in additional weight, a reduction in fuel economy, and an increase in the cost of maintenance. This heavy hardware has a lot of potential weak points where oil could leak out.
If you are only interested in purchasing a car and not a pickup truck or an SUV, then the case for a two-wheel drive vehicle is strengthened. It is not necessary to have four-wheel drive in 95 percent of the terrain that cars can drive on. Because there is neither ice nor snow in the Philippines, this percentage is significantly higher than 99 percent. There aren't many all-wheel drive (AWD) options for cars, unless you're talking about Porsche 911 Turbos, Nissan GT-Rs, E63 AMGs, and other vehicles of a similar nature. The only other option is to purchase a Subaru. These vehicles require all-wheel drive in order to transmit more than 500 horsepower to the pavement and achieve slingshot acceleration.
Because most newer two-wheel-drive vehicles come equipped with limited-slip differentials and traction control, having a four-wheel drive vehicle is becoming less necessary—that is, unless "four-wheeling" is your idea of a good time. However, posing is an entirely different story.
A 4x2 High-Ride is the obvious choice if you want the appearance and toughness of a 4x4 ute but don't have a need for the extreme off-road capability that it provides. Consider all of the additional tools, camping gear, and factory accessories that you will be able to purchase with the money that you will save.
The drivetrains of a 4x4 and a 4x2 vehicle are fundamentally different. A vehicle's performance and price are directly tied to the drivetrain it is equipped with. It's also what sets the vehicle's kerb weight and total weight. All four wheels of a four-wheel drive vehicle receive power and torque. A 4x4 is distinguished by its increased ground clearance, larger tyres, and more robust chassis.
They outperform 4x2s in extremely difficult environments like mud, steep inclines, and floods. The fuel economy and total cost of ownership of many 4x2s are better than those of their 4x4 counterparts. A higher towing capacity is typically associated with such a setup because of the increased torque that can be generated. In terms of our currency, the price gap between the two can approach five digits. The most common types of four-wheel drive systems are full-time and part-time.
Off-road and on low-traction surfaces like grass and gravel are where full-time 4WD really shines. The use of a part-time system causes driveline bind, tyre squeal, and premature driveline wear. When switching from two-wheel to four-wheel drive "on the fly," a front axle disconnect uses a synchro mechanism to align the driveshafts' rotational speeds before engagement. Low-range gearing is a common feature of two-speed transfer cases. Every 4WD setup varies in the proportion of power sent to the front and rear wheels.
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan and the Chevrolet Corvette sports car are two examples. No sedan or 2WD soft-roader can go where a 4x2 High-Ride ute can. These vehicles' capability on rough terrain is greatly enhanced by electronic locking differentials. When one of the driven wheels loses traction, a standard differential immediately sends all of the engine's torque to the wheel that is spinning. However, some 4x2s excel off-road when driven with only traction control engaged and the rear differentials left open.
Any reduction in mass could be put to good use by carrying the same amount more cargo. You should look for a high-riding ute with adequate pulling power if towing a trailer is an essential part of your vehicle's function. An additional perk of a lighter kerb weight is improved fuel economy, though the performance gap has narrowed considerably in recent years. These differences have shrunk to just 0.1 liter/100 kilometres in the newest PXII Ranger models (manuals). Approximately 95% of the places where regular cars can be driven, four-wheel drive is unnecessary.
Limited-slip differentials and traction control are standard on most modern two-wheel-drive vehicles. If you want the rugged good looks of a 4x4 ute, a 4x2 High-Ride is the way to go.
- A four-wheel drive system, also known as a four-wheel drive or 4x4, transmits power and torque to all four of the vehicle's wheels.
- It's important to weigh the pros and cons of both four-wheel drive (4x4) and two-wheel drive (4x2) models when shopping for a new sport utility vehicle (SUV) or pickup truck.
- The Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are two examples of compact crossovers that offer all-wheel drive.
- Most shift-on-the-fly part-time four-wheel drive systems rely on a front-axle disconnect of some sort.
- The engine's output is sent to all four wheels via a two-speed transfer case and the drive axles of a four-wheel-drive SUV.
- The most important feature of a four-wheel drive system is the transfer case's ability to downshift into a lower gear range.
- One type of drive system that sends power to all four wheels is called all-wheel drive.
- Test drivers with extensive experience with 4x4 vehicles have discovered that some of today's 4x4s perform better off-road when using only the traction control and not the locking rear diffs.
- Although some High-Ride 4x2 utes lack the towing capabilities of their 4x4 cousins, others do.
- You should look for a high-riding 4x2 with sufficient pulling power if towing a trailer is an important part of your vehicle's function, whether for work or play.
- However, the majority of pickup trucks, such as Rangers, Navaras, Stradas, and Hiluxes, only have part-time four-wheel drive.
- Under typical driving conditions, four-wheel drive presents a few challenges.
- The addition of the system results in additional weight, a reduction in fuel economy, and an increase in the cost of maintenance.
- If you are only interested in purchasing a car and not a pickup truck or an SUV, then the case for a two-wheel drive vehicle is strengthened.
- It is not necessary to have four-wheel drive in 95 percent of the terrain that cars can drive on.
- A 4x2 High-Ride is the obvious choice if you want the appearance and toughness of a 4x4 ute but don't have a need for the extreme off-road capability that it provides.
- Consider all of the additional tools, camping gear, and factory accessories that you will be able to purchase with the money that you will save.
FAQs About 4X4 Vehicles
Generally, 4WD and AWD are only necessary if you live in a climate where it snows and rains a lot. Driving on dirt roads that are frequently muddy can provide more confidence when it matters most.
4x2 or 4x4 makes no difference for towing, just a slight reduction in capacity with 4x4 due to the extra axle and transfer case weight. A vehicle in the correct weight class for what you plan to tow is the critical part, and DRW will undoubtedly add stability if you are near weight limits.
Four-wheel drive is ideal for rough roads, snowy conditions, and other off-roading scenarios. Typically, only off-roading enthusiasts need 4WD, although 4WD can help with heavy-duty towing and hauling. A vehicle equipped with 4WD usually offers three modes: 4H, 4L, and Auto.
In theory, you don't need a 4WD or SUV to tow. Still, realistically for any recreational trailer like a caravan, it'll be hard to find a 2WD that will do the job, particularly if you look at factors like tow ball mass, whether a special tow kit is required, and maximum speed when towing.
4×2 vehicles have two drivers and two non-drive wheels, while 4×4 vehicles have four drive wheels. Trucks and SUVs often come in two-wheel drive (4×2) and four-wheel drive (4×4) configurations. Two-wheel drive (4×2) vehicles have two drive wheels and two non-drive wheels.