Which States Have the Most Four-Wheel and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles?

By Julie Blackley

Four- and all-wheel drive vehicles are the preferred drive types for harsh weather conditions or for off-pavement excursions. While SUVs and trucks are becoming more popular across the country, a new iSeeCars study found that these vehicle types are most common in mountainous terrains that are accustomed to above-average snowfall. 

iSeeCars analyzed over 11 million vehicles to determine which states have the most four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles on the road.

Overview of Drive Types

Before seeing the results, it’s important to understand the available drive types and the difference between 4WD and AWD.

There are four main drive types: front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD). While FWD vehicles are predominantly passenger cars, RWD may be found in pickups and is common in performance-oriented sports cars and sedans. Meanwhile, 4WD systems are mainly in rugged trucks and truck-based SUVs, while AWD is commonly used in car-based SUVs, cars, and minivans.

Both AWD and 4WD systems send power to all four of a vehicle’s wheel to increase traction. The difference between the two is that four-wheel drive systems are more robust and provide increased traction to accommodate more rugged terrain. AWD and 4WD vehicles aren’t as fuel-efficient as their FWD and RWD counterparts, but they are the preferred drive type in harsh weather conditions or off-road driving.

States With the Most 4WD and AWD Vehicles

iSeeCars States With the Most 4WD and AWD Vehicles
Rank State % AWD+4WD
1 Montana 71.8%
2 Alaska 70.9%
3 Wyoming 70.1%
4 North Dakota 67.8%
5 Vermont 67.8%
6 South Dakota 66.1%
7 West Virginia 65.7%
8 Maine 65.7%
9 Colorado 64.7%
10 Idaho 63.4%
 

Montana is the state with the most 4WD or AWD vehicles, with 71.8% of the vehicles on the road having more than a two-wheel drive type. “‘Montana’ translates to ‘mountain’ in Spanish and has over 100 mountain ranges within its boundaries as well as many dirt roads,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly. “The state receives snow most months of the year, leaving roads snowy or icy, which helps explain why these all-weather vehicles are so popular.”

Four states that border Montana also make the list including third-ranked Wyoming, fourth-ranked North Dakota, sixth-ranked South Dakota, and tenth-ranked Idaho. “Similar to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho are very mountainous with similar terrains and weather,” said Ly. “Meanwhile North and South Dakota are also subjected to extreme winters with frequent blizzards.”

Remaining states include additional mountainous states: Alaska, West Virginia, Colorado, and Vermont and Maine.

Breakdown of AWD Vs. 4WD

iSeeCars further analyzed the data to break down the percentages of 4WD versus AWD vehicles among the states where these combined drive types are the most popular.

Breakdown of AWD Vs. 4WD
Rank State 4WD AWD
1 Montana 46.0% 25.8%
2 Alaska 40.8% 30.1%
3 Wyoming 48.5% 21.6%
4 North Dakota 41.6% 26.2%
5 Vermont 32.8% 35.0%
6 South Dakota 38.4% 27.7%
7 West Virginia 36.3% 29.4%
8 Maine 29.8% 35.9%
9 Colorado 29.2% 35.5%
10 Idaho 39.6% 23.8%
 

Among these mountainous states with harsh winters, all but three states prefer 4WD vehicles. The exceptions which have more AWD vehicles than 4WD are Vermont, Maine, and Colorado. This suggests that drivers in these states prefer crossovers and AWD sedans over rugged off-road vehicles.

“Vermont, Maine, and Colorado are eco-friendly states, and as AWD vehicles tend to be more fuel-efficient than their 4WD counterparts, it’s no surprise that drivers in these states are more likely to choose AWD vehicles,” said Ly. “Subarus, which offer standard AWD, are very popular in these states, which could help play a role in these high percentages.”

States with the Fewest 4WD and AWD Vehicles

iSeeCars also determined the states with the fewest AWD and 4WD vehicles.

iSeeCars States With the Least 4WD and AWD Vehicles
Rank State % AWD+4WD
1 Florida 17.4%
2 Hawaii 18.2%
3 Louisiana 18.5%
4 California 20.5%
5 Mississippi 21.4%
6 Alabama 21.7%
7 Texas 22.0%
8 Georgia 23.2%
9 Arizona 23.9%
10 South Carolina 24.2%
“It should come as no surprise that the states with the lowest percentage of AWD and 4WD vehicles are mainly states with relatively flat terrain and temperate climates,” said Ly. 

Four- and All-Wheel Drive Vehicles By State (Complete List)

Here are the complete results for all fifty states and Washington, D.C:

iSeeCars Complete Ranking of AWD+4WD Vehicles by State
Rank State % AWD+4WD
1 Montana 71.8%
2 Alaska 70.9%
3 Wyoming 70.1%
4 North Dakota 67.8%
5 Vermont 67.8%
6 South Dakota 66.1%
7 West Virginia 65.7%
8 Maine 65.7%
9 Colorado 64.7%
10 Idaho 63.4%
11 New Hampshire 62.9%
12 Massachusetts 61.0%
13 Connecticut 60.2%
14 Minnesota 59.8%
15 New York 58.8%
16 Nebraska 57.6%
17 Pennsylvania 56.6%
18 Rhode Island 55.5%
19 Wisconsin 54.9%
20 Utah 54.3%
21 New Jersey 53.9%
22 Iowa 53.8%
23 Oregon 52.3%
24 Washington 51.5%
25 Michigan 50.1%
26 Delaware 47.6%
27 Virginia 44.4%
28 Maryland 44.2%
29 Illinois 43.9%
30 Ohio 43.6%
31 Indiana 42.5%
32 Kentucky 42.1%
33 Missouri 41.7%
34 Kansas 40.6%
35 New Mexico 37.7%
36 Arkansas 35.3%
37 Oklahoma 33.2%
38 Tennessee 33.0%
39 North Carolina 32.7%
40 Nevada  29.7%
41 Washington, D.C. 28.5%
42 South Carolina 24.2%
43 Arizona 23.9%
44 Georgia 23.2%
45 Texas 22.0%
46 Alabama 21.7%
47 Mississippi 21.4%
48 California 20.5%
49 Louisiana 18.5%
50 Hawaii 18.2%
51 Florida 17.4%
 

Methodology

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 11 million vehicles in the 50 US states and the District of Columbia between January and August of 2019. The drive type of each car was tabulated to calculate the share of each drive type within each state.

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $194 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of cars and thousands of dealers. Based in the Boston area, iSeeCars.com was founded by TripAdvisor and SAP veterans determined to improve the car shopping experience for consumers.