Should you spend the extra money on a 4x4 or will a 4x2 suffice?
More isn’t always better, and when it comes to vehicles you're generally more inclined to go all out and purchase the 4x4 over the 4x2 variant. But do you need a 4x4 or are you allowing your ego to get the best of you? Let’s talk about the differences between the two and why one would be more suitable for you than the other.
What is the difference between a 4x4 and a 4x2?
One is capable of using both the front and rear axles (all four wheels) to drive the vehicle, while the other only uses the rear axle (two wheels). In a 4x2 the car uses one axle (rear wheels) to drive the vehicle, while a 4x4 sends power to all four wheels for more traction and stability. Most 4x4 vehicles, especially bakkies, can alternate between 4x4 and 4x2, but a 4x2 cannot.
Why choose a 4x2?
Firstly, you’ll always pay less for a 4x2 vehicle because it has fewer mechanical components than a 4x4. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) vehicles are ideal for someone who intends to use them as a daily commute, with no intentions of doing any challenging off-roading. In some cases, you’ll also save on fuel with a 2WD bakkie/vehicle because it carries significantly less weight. The second-generation Nissan Navara is a prime example - the 4x4 variant felt lethargic and heavy to drive while the 4x2 was the polar opposite. You’ll still be able to go off-road in a 4x2, so long as it isn't extreme.
Why choose a 4x4?
Remember, 4x4s are more expensive, but don’t let that put you off. You’re paying for all the additional mechanical components as well as the versatility of being able to switch between 4WD and 2WD, or 4H (high range) and 4L (low range for increased low-down torque off-road). You can also lock the differential. If none of these terms are making any sense to you right now, then you probably don’t need a 4x4 just yet, a 4x2 will still suffice.
4WD vehicles are ideal for someone who does serious bundu bashing, driving through sand, mud and over boulders and mountains. Having power sent to all four wheels will give you better traction, stability, and the ability to navigate difficult terrain.
Which one would be ideal for you
Ultimately, you have to make the final call. But should you have no aspirations of putting your vehicle through its paces off-road, a 4x2 is probably all you need. If you’re part of the other half and are pursuing an outdoor lifestyle, you might benefit from the capabilities of a 4x4. Here are some vehicles you could look at on ChangeCars' used online platform should you be in the market for an off-road capable 4x4: Land Rover Discovery, Mitsubishi Pajero, Suzuki Jimny, Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeep Wrangler.
Words: Gugu Masuku