Two-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive? That is the question

Don't worry! This guide will help you decide what's best for you

If you're in the market for an SUV or pickup truck, the first question you're most likely to ask yourself is whether you need a two-wheel-drive of a four-wheel-drive model.

Sure, nowadays almost all types of cars are available with all-wheel drive, from budget city cars to full-size luxury sedans, but buyers who are most confronted with the 2WD versus 4WD dilemma are those who want an SUV or a pickup truck.

There are many pros and cons for two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, and in this story, we are going to cover the most important of them. To help you decide, you'll have to answer the following questions.

Are your winters harsh or mild?

If you live in an area with snowy, frosty, and harsh winters, it goes without saying you need an all-wheel-drive SUV or pickup for added traction and safety on those slippery roads. On the other hand, if you're based in a region where winter means only occasional rain and above-zero temperatures, you may be just fine with a two-wheel-drive vehicle. Don't rush to the dealership just yet: you still need to answer some questions before making your decision.

Where are you going to drive your SUV or pickup?

Even if you live in an area with a mild climate, it's important to realize where you drive your vehicle most of the time. If you frequently go off-road or have to drive over dirt roads, across fields, through streams, mud or sand, your SUV or pickup definitely needs to be four-wheel-drive. However, if you drive on paved roads most of the time and only occasionally venture off the beaten track, a 2WD vehicle will cover all your needs.

Are you going to haul?

That is an essential question because if you regularly haul trailers around (anything from a boat, horse, or even a camper), you will need the added traction a 4x4 vehicle delivers — including on paved roads but even more so on slippery surfaces. Needless to say, if you haul even heavier stuff, you definitely need all-wheel drive. On the other hand, if you only do occasional light hauling on dry roads, a two-wheel-drive pickup will suffice.

Are you on a tight budget?

All-wheel-drive vehicles are not only more expensive to buy than two-wheel-drive versions of the same model but also cost more to run and repair. Fuel consumption is higher on all-wheel-drive pickups and SUVs, as is maintenance. So take that into account as well when choosing between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

Do you care about your vehicle's resale value?

You may think that's a stupid question to ask, but it's a known fact that an SUV or truck with two-wheel drive has a lower resale value than the same model with all-wheel drive. So that's an important thing to consider when deciding between 4x2 and 4x4. All-wheel-drive models generally hold their value better than their two-wheel-drive equivalents.

If you've read everything so far, chances are you're into pickups, so here are the best models you can buy in the United States in 2017.

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