eli5: AWD vs. 4WD mechanical differences

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How do 4WD and AWD differ? I’ve believed my whole life 4WD is better, but if all I have is 4 wheels, how is that not also all wheels? What am I missing?

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Broadly speaking the two terms are interchangeable.

Subaru has popularised awd as being equated with full time all wheel drive, where 4wd has come to mean vehicles that can be put into all wheel drive mode in specific circumstances. (As with some SUVs and crossover offroad vehicles.)

AWD – All wheels have a driveshaft providing power to each individual wheel, at all times.
4WD – All wheels have a driveshaft providing power to each wheel, however, the default setting is only RWD. The front wheels are connected through a secondary gearbox, which allows you to select whenever you want to engage power to the front wheels as well.

Theirs a little more involved with locking hubs as well, but above is a very basic outline.