This is a question we hear often at Fort Collins Jeep. Because there are so many variations of these systems on the market, it can be difficult to determine what's best for you and your driving habits. So without overcomplicating things we want to provide you some clarity on the differences in order to help you determine what's right for you. Additionally we will provide an overview of the different 4x4 systems offered by Jeep.

Both All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) systems are built to provide better traction and maneuverability to a vehicle in all-weather conditions. However AWD are primarily built for on road use with the capability for light off-roading , whereas 4x4 systems have the capability of handling more serious off-roading.

All-Wheel Drive systems are optimized for on-road use. AWD increases traction and provides the capability to accelerate or move forward in all-weather road conditions. And It does this better than front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive vehicles.  AWD systems have the ability to transfer power continuously to all wheels at one time. AWD delivers increased traction under normal winter conditions and light off-roading and provides the fewest number of compromises in ride and fuel economy.

Four-Wheel Drive systems operate like a  full-time AWD system, with all four wheels receiving power on a continuous basis. Generally 4WD systems are found in trucks and SUVs and have a higher than average ground clearance making them better suited for managing steep grades, uneven terrain, and deep snow. 4WD is also good for heavy-duty applications like towing or carrying heavy loads, but it's also a heavier drain on your fuel economy in normal driving conditions.  However there are part-time 4WD systems which give the driver a greater amount of control over where and how power is delivered

But let's get one thing on the table first, Jeep has 75 years plus of 4x4 mastery; it's the backbone of our brand. Jeep's varied 4x4 systems are designed to provide everything from high efficiency engines with superior on-road handling light and off-road capability to serious off-road capability with the least compromise in efficiency.  


The Jeep® Brand has a long history in America

The Jeep's 4x4 system has a long history dating back to WWI when we made the first Army issued 4x4 and have since then been tested in some of the most inhospitable locations on the planet. Since then we have evolved to provide our drivers a solid lineup of models and 4x4 systems to suit everyone from light off roader to the Moab enthusiast!

Jeep model overview and 4x4 systems

Jeep Renegade

The Jeep® Renegade has two innovative available 4x4 systems that both feature a rear axle disconnect system to seamlessly switch between two-wheel and four-wheel drive for better overall fuel efficiency. This gives the driver the ability to tackle snow and trail alike. Both Jeep Active Drive Systems can keep you moving forward, even when just one wheel has traction on the ground.

The available Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System lets you adjust traction setting-Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud-according to road conditions to ensure optimum traction.

Jeep Compass

The Jeep® Compass also has two available 4x4 systems that can take on any weather condition. The Jeep Active Drive 4x4 System covers all the bases for everyday driving. The Compass Trailhawk® with the standard Jeep Active Drive Low 4x4 System is the most capable compact SUV ever. Combined with the Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System, you have Best-in-Class 4x4 capability.

The Selec-Terrain® Traction Management System manages traction to give you all-weather capability in four modes: Auto, Snow, Sport and Sand/Mud.

Jeep Cherokee

Cherokee has three proven available 4x4 systems that can tackle all weather conditions. The simple-to-use Jeep® Active Drive I is a solid system for virtually any situation, the Jeep Active Drive II System provides low-range capability and the Jeep Active Drive Lock offers tremendous off-road capability.

The full-time Jeep Active Drive I 4x4 System will automatically engage four-wheel-drive mode when driving conditions call for it. Whether raging rain, slippery mud, heavy snow or unpredictable gravel roads, this sophisticated system actively monitors wheel slippage and automatically applies torque when needed, giving the driver maximum efficiency and control.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep® Grand Cherokee has four proven available 4x4 systems that can tackle all weather conditions. The simple-to-use Quadra-Trac I® System is a great solution for most people. The available Quadra-Trac II® System offers low-range capability. The Quadra-Drive® II System offers tremendous off-road capability and the Quadra-Trac® SRT® 4x4 System delivers the ultimate in street and track performance.

The available Quadra-Drive® II with rear electronic limited slip differential is a full-time 4x4 system so it's always active. It is our most advanced 4x4 system and delivers superior all-weather capability by transferring up to 100% of available torque to a single rear wheel if needed.

Jeep Wrangler

The Command-Trac® transfer case is smooth and quiet, yet tough and beefy, so you can tackle challenging terrain with confidence. Whether your quest for adventure takes you up and over the red rocks of Moab or sends you out onto roads buried in fresh snow, your Trail Rated® Wrangler is up for the challenge. Get in, grab on and go.

Jeep Gladiator

The Gladiator was built using the same 4x4 system as the Wrangler with the additional benefit of a HUGE payload!  

For more detail on each Jeep 4x4 System visit with a Fort Collins Jeep Sales Professional who can help you find the Jeep that's right for you! Our state-of-the-art Jeep facility in Fort Collins serves the communities of Loveland, Windsor, Greeley and surrounding areas in Northern Colorado. 

To read more about Jeep's 4x4 systems visit

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