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Do You Really Need All-Wheel Drive Or 4X4? - This Percent Of Drivers In Your State Answer Yes

If you are shopping for a new or used vehicle, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive may be a consideration. Here is how many of your neighbors opted for it.


Winter is coming. And not just to Winterfell. It snows every month of the year someplace in the United States and populated areas like New England see snow from August to May. If you are shopping for a new vehicle, you may be wondering, "Do I really need all-wheel drive?" We could answer the question for you, but it really depends on your location and your driving needs. Luckily, the smart folks over at are great at digging facts out of registration data. They have uncovered the percentage of drivers in your particular state who opted to buy an all-wheel drive vehicle.

AWD vs. 4X4
iSeeCars analyzed over 11 million vehicles to determine which states have the most four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles on the road. For the purposes of our story, we will combine AWD and four-wheel drive. Generally, crossovers and cars have AWD and trucks, Jeep Wranglers, and full-size SUVs have four-wheel drive. Both systems turn all four wheels to give you the ability to travel in all weather conditions.
top awd statesStates with the most AWD vehicles
As you can see, cold-weather states have the highest percentage of vehicles with AWD. “‘Montana’ translates to ‘mountain’ in Spanish and has over 100 mountain ranges within its boundaries as well as many dirt roads,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “The state receives snow most months of the year, leaving roads snowy or icy, which helps explain why these all-weather vehicles are so popular.”

Subaru For The Win
Most of the mountain states opt for four-wheel drive, but not all. “Vermont, Maine, and Colorado are eco-friendly states, and as AWD vehicles tend to be more fuel-efficient than their 4WD counterparts, it’s no surprise that drivers in these states are more likely to choose AWD vehicles,” said Ly. “Subarus, which offer standard AWD, are very popular in these states, which could help play a role in these high percentages.”
all-wheel drive by state

The warmer states have the fewest percentage of drivers who opt for AWD. However, even in the warmest U.S. states like Florida and Hawaii, one in six vehicles still has AWD. About one in three shoppers opts for AWD in temperate North Carolina. This is partly due to trucks and partly due to the performance aspects of AWD premium cars like Audi and other brands. Crossovers often incorporate AWD with very little penalty, and that too contributes to the percentage.

Whether to opt-in for a vehicle that can power all four wheels is up to you. But at least now you know how the other shoppers in your state decided.

In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham.

all-wheel drive =by state


Digitaldoc (not verified)    September 25, 2019 - 7:34AM

No debate for me. If you need to get to work in all kinds of weather, like I do, then 4WD or AWD is a must in any vehicle I buy. After pushing my FWD car up the driveway in the snow, I learned this lesson.

Mark Day (not verified)    September 26, 2019 - 2:30AM

Here in Florida my choice is 4WD, why? My 2012 RAV4 V6 has a special kind of 4WD, it is always engaged up to 25mph, then it's 2WD only – all automatically, saving fuel and wear and tear. With 4WD and ABS I can drive just about the
same (spirited), in any weather. If I can't find a parking space, I make one – in a ditch, on the side of a hill (sand dune?), etc. And if a performance sedan wants to challenge me on a moist or sandy roadway – you lose.