Karen, Nazareth

An AWD model will almost always get worse mileage than its 2WD version. This happens for a few reasons. First off, it takes more work to turn four wheels than two, which puts a load on the engine and decreases mileage.

So, what about AWD systems that drive in 2WD mode until traction is needed, then send power to the other two wheels to find traction? These systems help mileage somewhat, but it still won’t be as good as a 2WD-only version because reduced fuel economy with AWD is due in part to the added weight of AWD components. An additional front or rear axle and center differential all add weight. On average, AWD will add around 100-300 pounds to a car’s curb weight.

The end result is that AWD models are typically rated with mileage around 1-4 mpg less than the 2WD model. Below are a few mileage examples of popular AWD models compared to their 2WD counterparts:

2008 Ford Taurus
Drive    City/highway mpg
2WD    18/28
AWD    17/24

2008 Infiniti G35
Drive    City/highway mpg
2WD     17/24
AWD     17/23

Chrysler Sebring (sedan)
Drive    City/highway mpg
2WD     16/26
AWD     15/24

Volkswagen Passat (sedan)
Drive    City/highway mpg
2WD     17/26
AWD     16/24

Learn more

Answered by Joe Bruzek on March 19, 2008 in How Does That Work? , I'm Just Wondering , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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