How would one describe a 4×4 turbo vehicle? For some, it’s an all-terrain vehicle that is most suited for off-road adventures, while for others, such as millennials, it’s remembered for being the iconic car from the 1995 film “Clueless”. Whether it’s known for its purpose or as a pop culture reference, it’s best also to know its history and how it will impact the future.
Dating back to 1893, a four-wheel drive and a four-wheel steering system was patented for steam-powered traction engines by British engineer Joseph Diplock. Later on, Ferdinand Porsche was able to design and build a four-wheel-drive hybrid vehicle that made use of an internal combustion engine to spin the generator that would provide power to the electric motors in its wheel hubs.
In 1936, the world’s first known mass-produced compact four-wheel drive, the Kurogane Type 95, began production. In recent years, one was discovered and has been fully restored. The Japanese army used it as a compact vehicle that was utilised for surveying and transport — different from what a four-wheel drive is used for today.
A four-wheel drive (4WD) is just one of the many types of cars out there. There is also the two-wheel drive or 4×2 (2WD) as well as the all-wheel-drive (AWD); but just what are their differences? The AWD works by providing power to all four wheels to enhance traction. It’s neither a front-wheel nor a rear-wheel-drive as it functions as both simultaneously. It requires no human intervention as its system is always active.
A 4WD is like the AWD in that it provides power to all four wheels that are usually found in the bigger, truck-like vehicle. Their difference is in the decision-making. Most four-wheel-drive systems need to be turned on when it’s required, although there have been exceptions wherein some vehicles come with an “auto” mode that turns the systems on when a loss of traction has been detected.
A 2WD, on the other hand, is a vehicle with four wheels and 2 of which are driven. These two wheels are either the front or back wheels, but often, it’s the latter. An example of such are sport ATVs.
In recent years, the likes of Subaru, Mitsubishi, Ford, Tesla, to name a few, have been innovating the 4×4 turbo vehicles to provide better services to its consumers. Many luxury SUVs have even found its way to appeal to a broader audience for domestic use. One of the critical factors for most manufacturers 4×4 turbo vehicles is to be more fuel-efficient but still capable of providing enough power and smooth driving experience.
Innovations know no limits, even if it means going out of this world. The Lunar Roving Vehicle, a 4×4, can be found on the moon to this day. There are many more advancements in the industry to watch out for which will then become the new identifiers of the 4×4.