The Ford F-150 Raptor's AWD/4WD System Is Engineering Brilliance

It's about time we all learned how it works.

Yes, there is an actual difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. It’s not just marketing jargon automakers use to describe the same thing. Basically, AWD works when there’s a drivetrain that uses a front, rear and center differential, whereas 4WD has a drivetrain that has just two differentials and a transfer case that provides equal power to all four wheels. Think Subaru Forester vs. Jeep Wrangler. But Ford managed to accomplish some brilliant engineering when it came to its new F-150 Raptor.

The off-road animal employs both AWD and 4WD, as well as RWD. Really? Is this even possible? Of course, thanks to a state-of-the-art transfer case, for starters. Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained fame really does, uh, explain things best here. He’s the trained engineer, after all.

But what’s evidently clear about the F-150 Raptor is its ability to meet the many driving conditions owners will require. Towing? Clearly not a problem, and nor is rock crawling, sand dune hopping, snow, and even boring dry, flat pavement. Hey, with a total of 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque on hand, chances are Raptor owners will want to take full advantage of that power. But they should also be aware of that clever driveshaft. It’s what makes all of those hardcore adventures, on- and off-road, possible.

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