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Which SUVs are Four-Wheel Drive?

A photo of car facing the mountains and sunset.

Most drivers confuse four-wheel drive or 4 x 4, and all-wheel drive, considering them descriptions for the same thing. Most drivers consider all SUVs four-wheel-drive vehicles. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve only driven my daughter’s Jeep Grand Cherokee; not to mention I was driving in a small village rather than up the side of a rocky mountain with an arid desert in the background. I didn’t understand the differences between these words and phrases, so let’s do that before we list the SUVs that are four-wheel drive.

Definitions

SUV

Front view of Suv car at the parking slot of a hotel.

An SUV is a sport utility vehicle. It’s become a catch-all phrase for any vehicle that looks like it could go off-roading at the drop of a hat. The hatchback and high clearance give them that look, along with the towing ability and four-wheel drive.

Four-Wheel Drive

Four-wheel drive isn’t a vehicle. It’s how power is distributed to the vehicle’s wheels. The drivetrain system sends power to all four wheels equally and simultaneously, so you have traction no matter in what conditions you’re driving.

Four-wheel drive comes in part-time and full-time. Full-time is for those drivers scaling mountains or racing across the desert and can’t be turned off. Part-time can be turned on and off and is for we muggles struggling along in gridlocked traffic in cities and highways. 

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All-Wheel Drive

Close up photo of a tyre track on snow.

You might think all-wheel drive is redundant.  AWD is actually best suited for wet conditions, snow and ice, and keeping traction on gravel roads or driveways. AWD isn’t about the power of the four-wheel drive. It’s about steady control on all four wheels when you need it and only when you need it. 

Now that you know the differences between the drivetrain systems, how about those SUVs that really are four-wheel drive?

4WD SUVs

1. 2022 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

The first vehicle I think of when the words 4WD are mentioned is a Range Rover. A tad shorter than your ordinary Range Rover, it does off-roading as well as chauffeuring the kids with an equal dash. While this model doesn’t offer much cargo space, its shortness makes it a snap to park.

Related: 12 Cars Similar to Range Rover Sport

2. 2022 Land Rover Range Rover Velar

A photo of grey range rover velar in the parking slot.

Range Rover is upping the ante on its 4WD selection. It’s rounding off formerly squared corners, producing mid-sized SUVs, as well as gussying up formerly stuffy vehicles. This one is luxurious and handles well both on and off road, in addition to offering Downton Abbey-like style.

3. 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee

The second vehicle I think of when I hear the words 4WD is a Jeep. Their SUVs are sleek and classy. New third-row seating gives drivers the capacity for inviting passengers to the fun, there’s more cargo space, as well as all the technological amenities drivers demand these days. 

Related: Subaru Outback vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee | Toyota Highlander vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee

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4. 2022 Ford Explorer

A photo of red ford explorer in the street.

It’s a pretty safe bet that “built Ford tough” wasn’t just meant for pickup trucks. Ford SUVs range from two to three rows, have plenty of safety technology, and more than adequate cargo space. Add the engine specs that give the Explorer its 4WD superiority, and you have yourself a heckuva ride.

Related: Toyota 4Runner vs Ford Explorer

5. 2022 Chevy Tahoe

A forerunner in cargo space, drivers will find the Tahoe SUV offers room for eight comfortably seated, and a somewhat luxurious cabin. The 4WD offers all the tech you’ll ever need, in addition to impressive gas mileage.

6. 2022 Lexus LX

A photo of metallic white lexus lx in the car show.

Serious off-roading capability added to a luxurious cabin experience makes the LX a winner in the 4WD stakes. It gets great gas mileage, the cargo space is incomparable at 71 square feet, and it has great road manners for city driving.

7. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder

While it’s not a Jeep, the Pathfinder 4WD does go off-roading as well as tows. The cabin is spacious, seating eight people. It has respectable power under the hood, and all the tech you’ll need, in addition to innovative storage cubbies throughout the cabin.

8. 2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

A white brande new toyota land cruiser along with the wild waves.

America won’t be getting the Toyota 4WD Land Cruiser, but I hear we’ll be getting it in the Lexus version (also made by Toyota.) The Land Cruiser’s off-roading capability is legendary, so this version should be epic. It’s lighter, I hear, by 400 pounds, with a reconfigured body including headlamps specifically designed for off-roading.

The vehicle offers drivers third-row seating, a dash chock-full of cool tech, and competitive cargo space. It will go on sale this summer.

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9. 2022 Honda Passport

The Passport 4WD has been jazzed up to add stability both off-roading and on the highway with an 18-inch wheel base and a rugged body. It has the towing ability, gets good gas mileage, and seats five people amongst the competitive cargo storage space. The tech is cool, too, so this model should give you a really great off-roading experience.

10. 2023  Cadillac Escalade

A black cadillac escalade photo on sunrise.

I, personally, wouldn’t dream of taking a luxury model Caddy on a mountain trail, but if you add the 4WD to the package, you can. Otherwise, the Escalade offers drivers its trademark luxurious woods, soft textiles, polished satin metals, impressive get-up and go, along with all the tech you could possibly need.

It gets decent mileage, it seats eight, it tows, and it offers comparable cargo space. Okay, so a Caddy on a stony mountainside might sound out of place, but with this engine, I’d give it a go!

11. Kia Sportage

More and more car makers are going with all-wheel drive, but it’s possible to get 4WD on some models. This is one. The SUV offers drivers good gas mileage, comfortable seating for five, impressive tech, storage, and good looks.

12. 2022 Mercedes SUV

Close up photo of black mercedes suv in the road sunlighted.

While all car makers have several styles of SUV, Mercedes has a bunch. They are the CLA, GLS, CLS, GLA, C-Class, GLC, E-Class, GLE, and S-Class. We’ll tackle the 2022 Mercedes GLE here. As I wrote before, I can’t see a luxury SUV named Mercedes going mud-boggin’, but the power under the hood says you can.

Of course, it’s a Mercedes, so the luxurious appointments are second to none, with admirable tech, good storage capacity, and seats five. It gets decent gas mileage and offers drivers a new twist with automatic high beams.

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13. 2022 Volvo XC90

This 4×4 SUV gets good gas mileage, tows, has seats for up to seven, and offers an impressive luxury package (I’d go for the massaging front seats.) The cargo storage is competitive, the tech is admirable, and its looks are very nice.