When it comes to buying a 4×2 or 4×4 car, there are a number of aspects one needs to consider. More like choosing between a front-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive vehicle, there isn’t a clearer answer to that. It essentially depends a lot on the primary use of the vehicle. 

We will be looking at the differences and aspects of both drivetrains and why you would choose one over the other. 


What is 4×2 and 4×4?

The easiest explanation is that a 4×2 car uses one axle to drive all four wheels. For instance, the two wheels in one axle are driven by the engine while the remaining two wheels are just spinning. A 4×2 is common in standard vehicles.

Whereas in a 4×4 vehicle, all four wheels drive the car. This means that every one of the four vehicles is fed power by the engine. This is most common in SUVs and bakkies giving them the capability to go off-road. 

Why choose a 4×2?

Now that we know what 4×2 is all about, it is time to look at why one should buy a 4×2. In simple terms, 4x2s aren’t really ideal to be used on slippery and intense off-road conditions simply because they tend to have less traction. However, they are good everyday cars and they cost less than their 4×4 counterparts. 4x2s can go off-road and a lot of them with diff locks are very good at doing so.

A 4×2 car is best to buy if your primary use of it includes driving on tar, minor off-roading and basic towing. It is also best to keep in mind that 4x2s do not use too much fuel, thanks to the powertrain having to drive only two wheels. 

Why choose a 4×4?

On the other hand, a 4×4 does absolutely everything with so much aplomb compared to what its 4×2 stablemate can do. A 4×4 car is equipped with a four-wheel-drive capability and costs more. 4x4s boast increased traction and stability — something that gives them better handling prowess in different weather conditions. A 4×4 is the one to buy if adventuring and off-roading is part of the list of things you want to do with the car. 

A 4×4 car is mostly equipped with different driving modes; 2H, 4H and 4L. In 2H, power is sent entirely to the rear wheels. This mode is suitable for everyday driving. In 4H, all four wheels come into play with high range and in 4L, all four wheels are fed power and a low gear ratio is used. 

In short, a 4×4 becomes the jack of all trades yet they can be expensive to maintain and repair whilst also requiring more money for fuel. 

How do I know which is best for me?

Whether you intend to do gnarly off-roading or just minor, there is always a vehicle for you. If you do not plan to go off-road, then it is best to stick with a normal 4×2 while if you intend to go off-road very seldomly, the 4×2 with a diff lock is the absolute choice. 4x4s are good if you plan to go off-road a lot and if you want to do some challenging off-roading then look at some of the Fit for purpose 4×4 off-road vehicles for the serious off-roader: Land Rover DefenderJeep WranglerToyota Land Cruiser, Mahindra Thar and Nissan Patrol.

Some examples of 4×2 bakkies are: Toyota Hilux 4x2, Ford Ranger 4×2Mazda BT-50 4×2Isuzu X-Rider 4×2Mitsubishi Triton

Some examples of 4×4 bakkies are: Toyota Hilux 4×4, Ford Ranger 4×4, Nissan Navara 4×4, Isuzu D-Max 4×4Mitsubishi Triton 4×4Volkswagen Amarok 4Motion