Popularity Of Four-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Growing Rapidly

Sponsored Links

If it seems like the popularity of four-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles is rapidly increasing, then it’s because it actually is. According to a new report from purveyor of automotive business intelligence, JATO Dynamics, more buyers than ever are opting for four-wheel-drive cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs.

In April alone, a whopping 50.8 percent of new 2020 model year vehicles sold in the U.S. have been equipped with some sort of four-wheel-drive system.

If that holds up for the remainder of the year, it would be the first time ever that four-wheel-drive vehicles represented more than 50 percent of new vehicle sales in a given model year. The statistic is rather astounding, given its unprecedented nature.

Sponsored Links

Incidentally, things have been trending this way for some time now: four-wheel-drive vehicles represented 49.4 percent of new vehicle sales in 2019, preceded by 47.3 percent in 2018, 42.3 percent in 2017, and 39.7 percent in 2016.

All Ford Trucks offer four-wheel-drive systems, including the F-Series Super Duty pictured here
All Ford Trucks offer four-wheel-drive systems, including the F-Series Super Duty pictured here

The reasoning behind this is pretty simple, too. Off-roading and overlanding have grown in popularity in recent years, as dedicated models like the Ford F-150 Raptor and F-Series Tremor sell like hotcakes. The trend also explains The Blue Oval’s decision to bring back the Ford Bronco while introducing the Ford Bronco Sport as a new entry to appeal to the rugged outdoor enthusiast.

In addition to that, those who live in the snow belt recognize the superior traction that 4WD or AWD systems offer in slippery driving conditions, such as in snow and on ice. Consumers who live in these climates opt for 4×4 traction in small vehicles like the EcoSport and Escape to larger ones like the Edge, Explorer and Expedition, and then to trucks like the Ranger, F-150 and F-Series Super Duty.

Sponsored Links
The Explorer ST features standard AWD to better put its 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque to the pavement
Explorer ST features standard AWD to better put its 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque to the pavement

Meanwhile, automakers are also using AWD and 4WD systems to better put the power down in performance vehicles. For instance, the Ford Edge ST and Ford Explorer ST both feature standard all-wheel-drive systems, not so much for off-roading purposes, but more for the system’s ability to effectively transfer power to the ground.

The vast majority of the vehicles in the Ford and Lincoln lineups offer AWD or four-wheel-drive. In fact, every 2020 Lincoln model offers AWD or 4WD. Meanwhile, the only 2020 Ford vehicles that don’t offer AWD or 4WD are the Mustang and Transit Connect, unless one also counts the commercial side of the business, where the Ford E-Series as well as the F-650 and F-750 Medium Duty are available exclusively with rear-wheel-drive.

The upcoming Ford Bronco will feature four-wheel-drive when it launches in the first half of 2021
The upcoming Ford Bronco will feature four-wheel-drive when it launches in the first half of 2021

We’ve suspected for some time now that America has a love affair with four-wheel-drive vehicles, but now we can confirm it with actual figures. It seems everyone wants a piece of that rugged, outdoorsy look, or perhaps they just like to have all the traction they can get when things get slippery.

We’ll continue reporting on the latest automotive trends and statistics, be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for non-stop Ford news coverage.

Sponsored Links

Subscribe to Ford Authority
For around-the-clock Ford news coverage


We'll send you one email per day with the latest Ford updates.

It's totally free.

  • Want to see your Ford vehicle or build featured on Ford Authority? We welcome your submissions. See here for details. ×

Written by Brett Foote

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

Sponsored Links

One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. Four wheel or all wheel drive is great for traction in slippery conditions, but most accidents are caused by the ability not to be able to stop…you can’t get hurt if you aren’t moving. As far as the Mustang is concerned, those who are actually better drivers, use the throttle to actually point the car into a turn and then trail brake to keep the nose pointed into the turn.

    I know…the average or should I say…below average driver on the roads today, has no idea how to effectively use a rear wheel drive vehicle…or any other vehicle for that matter. So today all wheel drive make the most sense. As far as off-roading is concerned, most of these adventures are low to very low speed excursions so tipping over becomes the only real danger…unless you’re a high speed baja or similar cross country four wheel drive competitor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next-Gen Ford Ranger Engine Lineup Leaks Out, Includes Plug-In Hybrid Model

Modded Mustang Shelby GT350 Squares Off With Charger SRT8, MK5 Supra: Video