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It's all the same. The difference comes in when you see "on-demand, full time, asymmetrical". Rav4 gen 1 and 2 were full time (I think) and gen 3 and 4 are on-demand.

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In my view AWD refers to a system that powers the front and rear wheels full time. It requires some kind of a slip system to allow for different front and rear wheel speeds when cornering on dry pavement.

4WD is the "loosest" term. It may be the same as AWD or even 4X4, but often implies some kind of option to either manually or automatically apply power to the rear wheels when needed in a normally front wheel drive vehicle. Our RAV4s have a sophisticated electro-coupling to accomplish it.

4X4 is almost exclusively reserved for rear-wheel drive trucks like my F-250s. They typically have high and low range manually selectable settings to engage the front wheels. They have no provision for slippage between the front and rear axles and cannot be used on dry pavement or with different sized tires in 4-wheel mode.
 

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Agree with everything that the good Dr ^ stated. Except that you can not use 4x4 on dry pavement. You SHOULD not esspecially when making tight turns (parking lot) but there is no reason you CAN not.

In fact I end up doing it often in the winter, when I leave my truck in 4hi. Several days after a storm, parking lots are often a mix of ice and dry pavement. Ice in the parking spaces and dry pavement on the plowed drive isle. Chirping a tire when pulling into or out of a spot has never cuased issues with any of my 4x4 or the rest of the folks doing the same.
 

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My understanding has always been:
AWD=all 4 wheels drive the vehicle all the time.
4WD=generally vehicle is 2WD, with the option of switching to 4WD.
4x4=as per my military days, vehicle has 4 wheels and all 4 drive it. There were also 4x2s, meaning vehicle had 4 wheels, 2 of which drove it. Clear as mud now, right?:rolleyes:
 

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I've been driving 4wds most of my life. All jeeps tho. This Rav is my first non jeep 4wd. Lol.

They are essentially all the same. All tho, when I think of AWD, I do not think of bring able to select low range and high range as I can in jeeps. Plus they automatically deliver power to the wheel that's slipping, where full time 4wd systems simply engage the axle that has a tire slipping. That's my view anyway. And the term 4x4 is used very loosely. It literally means "4 tires on the truck, 4 tires have power delivered to them". That's why there's even the term 6x6 for things like a military Deuce and a half bc they've got 4 bud rims (2 tires per bud rim) and the two tires on front. Giving it 6 wheels, 6 wheel drive, 6x6.
 

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funny, I read this article an hour before you posted this link. Of course, I gave up reading halfway through :)
Me too, but only because I have FWD and none of it applies to my RAV. :confused:
 

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Agree with everything that the good Dr ^ stated. Except that you can not use 4x4 on dry pavement. You SHOULD not esspecially when making tight turns (parking lot) but there is no reason you CAN not.
Yep! 4X4 is ok to use in a straight line (Aka dragstrip)

:thumbs_up:
 
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