your Nissan Titan utilizes the so-called "part-time 4WD system", wherein through a shift lever, you can choose to shift between 2H to 4H, 4H to 4L... The Nissan Patrol (a popular SUV not found in north america) is also equipped with this same system.
(Legend: 2H = 2WD high range; 4H = 4WD high range; 4L = 4WD low range)
here's a simple explanation on the differences between a full-time 4WD and the AWD to help you understand the 4X4 system behind the RAV4.
Full time four wheel drive is a system that powers all four wheels at all times. Each tire creates about 25% of the available torque when the ground is level with a consistent surface. Driver has a choice of a 4H (normal setting) and 4L.
When 4L is selected the wheels create substantially more torque than in 4H, at the same time the vehicle moves at substantially slower speeds. You have to keep in mind that 4L does not create more traction, it creates more torque. The low setting is an advantage for drivers who need to tow and maneuver a heavy trailer and for drivers who may want to negotiate or conquer difficult off-road terrain, when more torque and/or slower speed is needed.
The Toyota Landcruiser and Prado are among those which utilizes the full-time 4WD system.
The all wheel drive is a system that powers all four wheels of a vehicle at all times as well.
Full time symmetric AWD would be the best term to be used. Difference to full-time 4WD is that a 4L setting is not available in AWD cars. Due to the lack of "low range" AWD vehicles are much less capable in off-road settings than full-time 4WD vehicles, but work perfectly well on road. (best example of this is the 2nd generation RAV4)
Recently some new "automatic" AWD systems have emerged.
"Real Time 4WD" (a term used by Honda in their CRVs) or "active AWD" (also known as active torque control for the 3rd generation RAV4s) Automatic asymmetric AWD would be the best term for them.
Automatic asymmetric AWD is much less capable in off-road settings than full time AWD systems and inferior to full time 4WD.
However, automatic asymmetrical AWD is getting more and more sophisticated and offers pretty much everything consumers expect for everyday driving. (as you had already witnessed it in the 3rd generation RAV4) You will pretty much understand how this new system work if you have read the "2006 4WD system" PDF file posted by RAVMAN (also found in this thread)
Originally Posted by swim4tom
As some of you know that I use to own a 4x4 Nissan Titan. And from my understanding is that it is 2-wheel drive unless it is switched to 4x4 high or low.
How is this different than the RAV4 4x4? And whatâ€™s the difference between AWD and 4x4? Which is the one that the RAV4 has? What does the "Lock" do? Do I turn it on in snow? Or does the RAV engage the 4x4 automatically?
Sorry for all the newbie questions but I assume I'm not the only one in here that is confused by this.
Before I purchased the vehicle today I always thought that the RAV is always on 2-wheel drive unless the "lock" button is pushed.