If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you may be considering a Ford with AWD or 4WD. These systems offer improved traction and stability, making them ideal for use in off-road or slippery conditions.
However, they can also add to the cost of your vehicle. In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of AWD and 4WD systems available on Ford vehicles, as well as their benefits and drawbacks. With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether an AWD or 4WD Ford is right for you.
The Ford Bronco is a true 4WD vehicle that has been heavily designed for off-road use. With the impressive four-wheel drive system, it gets extra traction and helps it to climb over obstacles. The Bronco also has a high ground clearance (starting at 8.3″) and is equipped with a skid plate (optional) to protect the underbody from damage.
These features make the Bronco an ideal vehicle for exploring remote areas or tackling challenging terrain. This is by far one of my favorite Ford vehicles, if not my favorite vehicle overall right now, as it offers a much better driving experience than a Wrangler, with none of the downsides.
The Ford Bronco Sport comes with standard intelligent four-wheel drive (and G.O.A.T Modes), making it a great choice for drivers who want to get off the beaten path but don’t have the budget (or want the size of the standard Bronco).
While this may not be the off-road king of the road, it will do awesome for most people that spend about 95% of their time on pavement but want something a bit more rugged than the Bronco Sport’s sibling, the Ford Escape.
The Ecosport is Ford’s entry-level, and smallest addition to the Ford SUV lineup. While the standard Ecosport may not have standard intelligent 4WD, it is optional for an additional amount, making it an awesome budget option if you need an SUV with power to all wheels.
This 4WD system is great for people who occasionally have to tackle snow and ice but don’t necessarily need all the features of a full 4WD SUV.
The Edge is available in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations. It is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine, which is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Edge has a roomy interior with plenty of head and legroom for passengers.
While the Ford Edge is not going to be built past the 2023 model year, it still is an awesome option for someone that wants a good midsize SUV with 4WD (all trim levels have it included).
The intelligent 4WD system on the Edge is good for rougher terrain and snow but will not be as capable as 4WD systems on larger SUVs. It is good enough for most people that don’t do hardcore off-roading and just need 4WD for daily driving.
The Ford Escape has been around for decades, and this newest generation is the most car-like yet. While the Bronco Sport took the more rugged route, this is a much more refined and basic design SUV for those that don't want to stand out quite so much.
If you liked the Ford Bronco Sport above, but wish it was a bit more refined and car-like, then the Ford Escape is going to be your better option.
The Escape has intelligent 4WD available on the SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels. If you are someone that wanted a sedan but needed an SUV, then the Escape is meant for you. It does its best to carry car-like characteristics, but with the higher seating position of a crossover.
The Expedition is available in two or four-wheel drive, and can seat up to eight passengers. It has a towing capacity of up to 9,000 pounds, making it an excellent choice for hauling trailers or boats. The Expedition is also available with a variety of options, including a moonroof, navigation system, and rear-seat entertainment system.
The Ford Expedition is Ford’s largest SUV, especially when it comes to the Expedition Max. While strangely none of the trims have a 4WD standard on the vehicles, they do have it as optional on every trim.
Unlike many of the other crossovers on this list, this is a true SUV and an awesome people mover. If you have a large family and need some awesome ground clearance, there are few vehicles on the road that can compare. My favorite trim level is the Timberline, which includes a better, tuned suspension, zone lighting, and more.
The Explorer has been around for quite some time, and the current generation is the best one yet. With the return the RWD layout, it handles considerably better on the roads than it ever has before. It is well rounded, and is an exceptional vehicle.
Having owned multiple Ford Explorer SUVs over the years (none of the current generations), I like the vehicle. This generation sits on a rear-wheel-drive-based platform, but 4WD is easily optional on all trim levels.
The Explorer, with its 4WD system, is great for winter months, off-road excursions, and even towing (up to 5,600 pounds). It is great for those who need a full-size SUV with 4WD but don’t want to be limited to the Expedition.
This pickup needs no introduction, it is the best sold vehicle stateside and for good reason. The newest generation brings features like seats that lay all the way back, an onboard generator, and tons of other stand-out features that make it an awesome truck.
- Towing Capacity: 8,200 - 14,000 pounds
This list wouldn’t be complete without including the most sold vehicle in the USA, the Ford F-150. Every F-150 can either be equipped with 2WD or a true 4WD system (which is full-time power to all wheels, rather than the more AWD-like system of the crossovers).
Not only can you choose to have a four-wheel-drive, but you can choose from tons of different trim levels, ranging from the entry-level XL to the performance Raptor (and Raptor R, with 702 horsepower).
The Ford Lightning is the F-150 gone electric. While there have been minimal changes to the exterior and interior of the Lightning from the F-150, the drivetrain is all-new. If you are looking for a capable pickup truck, but wish it ran on electricity, this should be at the top of your list as a good option.
As Ford’s first electric pickup truck, the Ford Lightning of course is standard with 4WD, as 4WD is important to maintain the F-150’s off-roading and towing (can tow up to 7,700 pounds, but heavily affects range) credentials.
This is an awesome first attempt from Ford to build a full-size pickup truck that is both capable, and luxurious.
The Mustang has gone electric, but not quite as most people imagined. This one comes in the form of an electric crossover with Mustang styling, and an impressive electric drivetrain. Never has a Mustang been more family friendly.
The Mach E comes standard with a rear-wheel drive layout, but can be equipped with AWD when you opt for the dual-motor version of the SUV.
This also gets you an increase in range and allows for all-wheel torque vectoring. If you want an electric vehicle that is both capable, fast, and looks awesome (many fans of the Mustang might disagree), then you probably should take a close look at this one.
The Ford Maverick replaces the old Ford Ranger as a compact pickup truck in Ford's lineup, just with a few changes. This pickup is based on the Bronco Sport platform, making it front-wheel drive based with a compact bed. It is a fantastic truck for those that have never driven a pickup before, and can be an awesome option for businesses.
The Ford Maverick is the newest Ford pickup truck and its 4WD system is meant to be used in daily life, not just 4×4 off-roading.
As the other sibling the Bronco Sport and the Escape, the Maverick comes standard as a front-wheel-drive vehicle, but you can opt for the 4WD version when building out your pickup. I am a huge fan of the Maverick, as its low entry-level price point is impressive, and the vehicle should work for so many different people, ranging from families to city dwellers.
The Ford Ranger may not be the compact pickup truck of the past, and it is now a larger mid-size lifestyle pickup. This pickup is awesome for those that really do need a pickup, but not quite as large as its F-150 sibling. With great gas mileage, and easy to drive dynamics, it plays a pivotal role in Ford's lineup.
The Ford Ranger made its return to the USA in 2019 and 4WD is available on all trim levels. The 4WD system is great for those that need more advanced off-roading capabilities, as well as a bit of extra grip when driving on icy roads.
This vehicle also has an impressive tow rating of 7,500 pounds when properly equipped. The 4WD system also works great for those that need to load up their car and drive on rough terrain or muddy roads.
If you need to get work done, the F-Series Super Duty is an awesome truck to have. You can choose from either the F-250 or the F-350, depending on how much you need to carry or tow. This has long been a staple in the heavy-duty trucks in modern times.
No great work truck is complete without a 4WD system to pull it out of the work-site mud. While the Super Duty comes standard with a rear-wheel-drive layout, you can easily equip it with a transfer case and 4WD (and probably should).
4WD is a must if you are looking to tow heavy loads, and 4WD can also help increase the vehicle’s off-roading capabilities.
What is the difference between Ford’s intelligent 4WD and true 4WD?
Ford’s intelligent 4WD is similar to AWD, while 4WD is more commonly used for off-roading. Intelligent 4WD will only engage the 4 wheels when additional traction is needed, such as on slippery roads.
True 4WD can be used for off-roading and in combination with a low gear setting such as 4LO, 4WD can give you added traction even on the most treacherous terrain. 4WD also gives you more control when towing a heavy load, so it is important to consider 4WD if you plan on using your Ford vehicle in this way.
What is the difference between AWD and 4WD?
Although both systems send power to all four wheels, there are several AWD vs 4WD differences. For example, AWD is mostly found in cars and crossovers while 4WD is typically used with trucks and SUVs.
AWD is typically a permanent system that is always engaged, while 4WD can be switched on and off as needed. Additionally, AWD tends to be more efficient than 4WD since it only sends power to all four wheels when it is actually needed.
As a result, AWD is often the preferred choice for those who live in areas with frequently changing weather conditions. However, 4WD provides more traction and stability in off-road situations, making it the better option for those who frequently venture off the beaten path.
So there you have it! That is all of the Ford vehicles that offer four-wheel-drive or Ford’s Intelligent 4WD (which is essentially AWD). I hope this article helped you out in your journey to finding the right vehicle for your needs!