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What Does 4D Mean on a Car? Know More!

  • Cars Explained
  • Silas Smith
  • 4 minutes

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4D is one car term you might’ve come across if you are someone who has been following cars for a while. But it can be confusing as it denotes different aspects surrounding a car, like transmission or its number of doors. We’ll look at what 4D means on a car in this article and how it differs from 4WD.  

Cars usually have many acronyms associated with their various parts, which even hardcore car lovers may not be aware of. 4D falls into this category. People often confuse 4D with 4WD, which is not the actual case.  

What does 4D mean in car transmission? 

4D is associated with the transmission system of your car. As you might know, cars employ two types of transmissions: automatic and manual. 4D is one of the gear selections in an automatic transmission.  

Cars with automatic transmissions have letters and numbers like P, R, N, D, L, S, 1, and 2 marked on them to aid you in choosing the right gear. However, some cars have markings like 4D, 2L, etc., where 4D means 4th gear + Drive. 4D means overdrive on a car.  

What is 4D (Overdrive)? 

4D or the overdrive gear on a car might sound like a performance-enhancing mode, but in reality, it is not. Overdrive selection helps your car reduce its engine load and improve its efficiency. As a result, when you activate 4D mode in your car, the speed remains constant after achieving peak velocity.   

What does 4D mean on car doors? 

As its name suggests, 4D means cars with four doors. However, this is just layman’s terminology and not used by automotive companies or professionals. Similarly, 2D is another term used to describe two-door cars by non-car enthusiasts. 

SUVs and sedans are common examples of 4D cars. These vehicle types have four doors, a trunk, and a hood covering the engine bay. However, we’re sure you might’ve seen two-door cars in sedan form. These are called coupes and have much smaller space in the back.  

4D in drive modes 

People often confuse 4D with 4WD and 4×4. However, they do not have anything in common. 4WD, a.k.a four-wheel Drive, is related to the off-road capability of a car. This system helps deliver torque and force to all four wheels of your car to help it navigate tricky terrain. With a good 4WD car, you can easily climb through steep slopes, whizz past muddy terrain, and can also aid you in crossing rivers. Cars have an option to switch to 4WD modes, using a 4WD mode selector on the car, which has 2H, 4H, and 4L modes on it.  


What is the difference between 4D and 4WD? 

4D on a car is related to the automatic transmission system. It is also used to refer to four-door cars. However, 4WD or 4×4 refers to the four-wheel-drive capability of a car, which facilitates power delivery to all its wheels.   

What is the difference between 4D and AWD on a car? 

If you’re still not convinced by our explanation of 4D and are still confusing 4D with the AWD system in cars, then we’ll also explain how they differ.  

AWD is a more advanced form of 4×4 technology that monitors traction at each wheel and sends power where needed most (a technique known as “Torque Vectoring”). With all-wheel Drive, you can drive with complete confidence regardless of the conditions.  

Modern cars usually have two AWD systems: Part-time AWD and Full-time AWD. 

The components of an all-wheel drive system work together to provide each wheel the traction it needs, so you can drive the vehicle safely and securely on any surface. This system includes differentials, multi-plate clutches, and viscous couplings.  

As you might’ve realized, 4D on cars is nowhere connected to any of these components.  


Knowing the common terminologies surrounding a car is important for a car owner. Understanding what 4D means on a car is of those terms. With this article, we hope you’re no longer confused between a 4D and 4WD or an AWD. Knowing more about such stuff helps you take care of your car well and make informed decisions. Happy motoring! 

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