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?
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
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
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
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
The 2.7 has full time all-wheel-drive. It's mechanical and it's always
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
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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