A gray 2020 Mazda CX-9 parked along a woodland road.

What Type of Drive System Should You Look For?

The Difference Between Two-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive Systems

When browsing vehicles in your search for the perfect car, you may be asking yourself about the differences between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. While we have a wide range of vehicles for you to test out at Kelly Mazda, we want you to be as informed as possible to make your purchasing decision when it comes to the type of drive system you need.

Two-Wheel Drive

It is easiest to explain specific drives when we first cover two-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles receive power from the engine in just two wheels that are typically on the same axle.  Because power is only distributed to two wheels, these vehicles tend to be lighter and have better fuel efficiencies.

Front-Wheel Vs. Rear-Wheel Drives

Two-wheel drive systems can be divided into two categories: front-wheel drives and rear-wheel drives.  Front-wheel drives (FWD), such as the base trim 2020 Mazda3 Hatchback, receive better gas mileage and have more traction than rear-wheel systems during weather conditions. However, rear-wheel drive (RWD) vehicles, like our 2019 Mazda MX-5 Miata, have better handling than front-wheel systems. This is most noticeable if you drive down winding back roads outside of Scranton or are maneuvering through traffic.  Some vehicles are also better suited for towing than front-wheel systems.  Regardless, both vehicles run best on paved roads, such as within Scranton city-limits or major roadways in mostly clear conditions.

A Mazda3 Hatchback parked on a paved road.
A top-down image of the Mazda i-ACTIVE® System.

All-Wheel Drive

While searching for your next car here at Kelly Mazda, you may notice that many of the 2020 models feature all-wheel drive (AWD) systems or have them available at higher trim levels. These vehicles have power feeding to each tire, which is spread evenly for traction in sloppy road conditions.  This makes all-wheel-drive systems a versatile and safe option in rapid environmental changes.  In most cases, these systems have lower fuel economies than two-wheel drive vehicles.  However, Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD® system – which has been around since 2013 – is designed to both react to changes and predict road and weather conditions to keep you and your passengers safe while shifting seamlessly during the traction changes to improve on gas mileage.  This is a great option for areas that experience year-round changes in road conditions both on pavement and on winding dirt roads – ideal for the Scranton area.

On the search for your next vehicle, it is always best to understand what type of vehicle you need most.  Between two-wheel or all-wheel drive, we at Kelly Mazda want to make sure you are safe and happy with your ride.  Come down to test drive a vehicle or two and see for yourself how unique each system feels!


Check Out: Which 2019 Mazda3 Trims Have All-Wheel Drive?