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4x4 Cars and the difference between 4WD and AWD

So what are the advantages of 4-wheel drive cars?

Regardless of whether the car is permanent 4-wheel drive or not, 4x4 cars give added stability and grip in situations where a standard 2WD car may slip or get stuck. Where two wheels are only at work in a 2WD car, all 4 wheels work together simultaneously in a 4x4 to move the vehicle. If you live in a rural location with muddy tracks, or your job involves frequent off-road trips - then a car with 4x4 capability is likely to be a priority for you.

Where performance is a factor, 4WD cars are quicker off the mark than a standard rear or front wheel drive car because all the power is applied to all the wheels from the get go, so there is no lack of traction. Combine this with launch control which many performance cars also come with, and this is one of the reasons that these heavier cars with lower bhp can outperform lighter, higher-powered 2WD models.

Ok, what about the disadvantages?

To power four wheels instead of two requires additional vehicle parts, and in the case of 4WD cars (rather than AWD), it requires additional technology on board to control when the system kicks in. These extra parts and technology come at a cost and weight meaning that 4x4 cars are more expensive to purchase and run. The extra weight and the need to power twice as many wheels also means an increase in running costs. Though the latter can be circumvented to a degree in 4WD cars thanks to their clever selective mode technology.

I don't have a big budget. Does that mean I can't afford a 4x4?

Not at all! We have new 4x4 cars available throughout the Suzuki, Nissan and Subaru range plus many on offer from our impressive selection of used cars which means you'll be able to find one to suit your budget. Take a look:

No, this is not a car for serious off-road antics, but it’ll likely get further than most owners would dare to take it, plus it’ll be quite a lot of fun in the meantime.

Autocar

The Suzuki Swift 4x4 brings all-weather ability to the buyer who wants a new car but doesn't need the bulk of an SUV.

RAC

Other models to consider

The Suzuki Jimny from £12,999, the Suzuki Vitara ALLGRIP from £19,299 or the Suzuki S-Cross ALLGRIP from £24,249.

It’s good fun. While weighing the best part of a ton and a half, the Juke feels light on its feet, and the light but darty steering gives it similar responses to some of the best warm hatchbacks.

Evo

It’s an interesting car that drives better than you might think, and it’s also very comfortable for families – even on rough roads. We also like the roomy and adaptable interior.

Car Magazine

Other models to consider

The Nissan Qashqai N-Connecta 4WD from £28,505 or the Nissan Navara from £25,120 (ex. VAT).

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