4WD stands for four-wheel drive. Typically, a four-wheel drive option is available in trucks, sport utility vehicles and off-road vehicles. The drive train in a 4WD vehicle allows all four wheels to receive torque or power at the same time. This action allows superior control on many surfaces and is necessary for effective off-road activities. Cars typically have all-wheel drive (AWD), which is power to all four wheels at all times.
Subaru and Suzuki
Subaru has a tradition of AWD vehicles that offer superior traction and handling. The 2011 Subaru Legacy ($20,000 to £18,200) offers all-wheel drive and has been a top safety pick. The 2011 Subaru Impreza also possesses standard four-wheel drive and is priced slightly lower ($17,000 to £13,000). The 2010 Suzuki Grand Vitara ($20,000) has dual range four-wheel drive for off-road activities and has been given a safety award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Toyota Venza & Sienna
The 2011 Toyota Venza ($30,000) possesses the all-wheel drive option and a six-cylinder engine. An advantage the Venza has over other four-wheel drive cars is superior fuel economy. Government crash testing on the 2010 Toyota Venza yielded a perfect five-star score. The Toyota Sienna is a minivan that offers the option of all-wheel drive. Minivans are superior to carrying people comfortably and with the all-wheel drive option, the Sienna is adequate to handle hazardous driving conditions.
Domestic 4WD - Ford
Although foreign automakers such as Volvo and Saab (Swedish) have more experience with four-wheel drive cars due to the climate, American automaker Ford offers a domestic product. The 2011 Ford Fusion ($19,000 to £15,600) offers a six-cylinder all-wheel drive power train to compete with the imports. The Fusion is a midsize sedan and has solid reviews noting the stability and handling in all weather conditions. It has excellent fuel economy and offers a flex-fuel engine (able to use higher ethanol containing fuel) as well as a hybrid version for the environmentally conscious.