When looking at vehicles, there are a lot of technical terms that go around.
Terms like 4x4, all wheel drive, Quatro for Audi's and motion drive for Volkswagen all allude to the same thing: 4x4 systems.
Nicol Louw, Technical Editor at CAR Magazine says that in the basic sense, 4x4 means that the drive torque of the engine gets to all four wheel of the vehicle. That gives you increased traction which can be used for off-road driving.
He adds that you can divide this into three groups.
You get your permanent four wheel drive vehicles, so its a vehicle that is always in four wheel drive you can't deselect it.— Nicol Louw, Technical Editor at CAR Magazine
The second four wheel drive is the selectable four wheel drive and a good example of this is your Toyota Hilux Bakkie. It's normally a rear wheel bakkie, all the drive goes to the rear wheels and you have to select when you want four wheel drive.— Nicol Louw, Technical Editor at CAR Magazine
The last one is on demand four wheel drive, and now we're talking about your softer road vehicles, which is for instance your all wheel drive which will be a front wheel drive normally, so the drive would only go to the front wheels, but it then has a multi-plate clutch pack that actually takes the drive to the rear wheels - only when needed.— Nicol Louw, Technical Editor at CAR Magazine
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This article first appeared on 702 : A guide to 4x4 systems in cars