4WD, AWD, etc. (2004 Santa Fe)

I am trying to sort out the terms 4WD, AWD, and Mechanical full-time 4-Wheel Drive mean. I have heard a few different versions. Are 4WD and AWD the
same thing, but with different names? And, what does Mechanical full-time 4-Wheel Drive mean? I thought that meant that I could switch to full-time 4WD if I wanted to, but now I'm not so sure. Both Hyundai dealers and non-Hyundai dealers have told me different versions of how it works.
I would also like to figure out exactly how the 4WD on my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe LX actually functions. I thought that it meant that I could switch into 4WD if I wanted or just leave it in either in All-Wheel Drive or Front-Wheel Drive. But apparently that's not correct. Is my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe LX always in 4-wheel drive and never functioning as just Front-Wheel Drive?
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BETA-2K wrote:

No. "4WD" is generally used to refer to part-time systems that must be manually activated. "AWD" refers to full-time systems like those on Subarus and Audis.

I have no idea. It sounds like a term made up by some idiotic marketing hack to try to confuse consumers.
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That's what others have said, including a Hyundai dealership salesperson. But my Santa Fe says 4WD on the back and doesn't work that way (see hyundaitech's post).

I see "Mechanical full-time 4-Wheel Drive" on a lot of the Vehix.com descriptions of Santa Fe's that are advertised there. I thought it meant you have the option of manually switching into 5_Wheel Drive, but it doesn't.
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Oops, of course I meant to write 4-Wheel Drive not 5-Wheel Drive.
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Brian Nystrom wrote:

The terms have been used interchangeably by various manufacturers over the years. For example, the AMC Eagle used a full-time system and the insignia on the sides said "4-wheel-drive." In fact the Eagle originally used a system similar to the 2.7 Santa Fe in which the 4-wheel system was always engaged. (The company labelled this "Automatic 4-Wheel Drive.") Later Eagles could be switched into 2WD to save a little gas, but could also be left in 4WD all the time if desired.
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snipped-for-privacy@techie.com wrote:

That's great, but considering that AMC made what, five of them.... ;-)
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Brian Nystrom wrote:

Actually the Eagle sold fairly well by AMC standards, especially the first few years. There was really nothing else like it built in the U.S. at the time (introduced in late 1979 for 1980), the only other full-time 4WD cars available would have been very expensive imports. (Subaru had 4WD a few years earlier but it was a part-time system that could not be used on dry pavement.)
The Eagle was of course mose popular in the the snow belt, and about 200,000 were sold between the 1980 and 1988 model years. (Interestingly the Eagle was developed on a shoestring pretty much out of the company's desperation to have something unique and saleable in the marketplace. They figured they only needed to sell 15,000 to break even.)
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The 2.7 has full time all-wheel-drive. It's mechanical and it's always active.
The 3.5 has computer controlled 4 wheel drive. When the four wheel drive computer detects front wheel slip, it engages a coupler in the rear differential.
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Thanks. I have the 3.5L engine.
Does that mean that I am driving using Front Wheel Drive most of the time, that it only becomes 4WD if there is a front wheel slip, and that I can't manually place it in 4WD if I wanted to for some reason?
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That's exactly correct.
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Okay, thanks.
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