Lexus AWD & 4WD Models

There are so many Lexus AWD and 4WD vehicles available that the easiest question to ask would be:Which Lexus vehicles do not come with this option? The answer would be the ES sedan, which comes in front-wheel drive only, and the Performance category of vehicles – the RC F, GS, and LC – which are exclusively rear-wheel drive. While most Lexus vehicles come with a choice of drivetrain, all of the Lexus hybrid crossovers come standard with AWD, and the two large SUVs, the GX and the LX, come standard with four-wheel drive.



All-wheel drive, which is available on vehicles that are based on a car platform, offers the best of both worlds as far as traction and fuel economy, since it only engages all four wheels when its advanced technology senses the need (through wheel slippage) and therefore uses less fuel. Full-time four-wheel drive, which is used on truck-platform vehicles, powers all four wheels at the same time, all of the time. One advantage it offers over AWD is a 4-Low setting, which can be necessary while towing a heavy trailer or driving off-road or in deep snow (whereas AWD is preferable in light snow, ice, or loose sand over pavement). Let’s run through all of the Lexus sedans, coupes, crossovers, and SUVs that come with standard or optional all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.


As mentioned above, the ES comes solely in front-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive comes standard on the IS 300 and 350, but all-wheel drive is available on each trim level. On the GS, only rear-wheel drive is available on either trim of the 300, while the 350’s two trims have a choice of RWD or AWD. The LS series – base LS 500, the LS 500h (hybrid), and the LS 500 F Sport – all come with a choice of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.


The sporty collection of deluxe two-door Lexus models contains a mix of drivetrain availability. The RC 300 and RC 350 both give the buyer a choice of RWD versus AWD. But the high-performance RC F (467 horsepower V8), on the other hand, is strictly RWD, as are the super-premium ($92,300 starting MSRP) LC 500 and LC 500h.


The UX, the smallest Lexus utility vehicle, makes all-wheel drive standard equipment on its higher-level 250 and 250h trims, but the UX 200 trims are only made in front-wheel drive. The larger NX offers a drivetrain choice on its base 300 and 300 F Sport trims, with AWD standard on the hybrid 300h. The RX 350, RX 350L, and RX 350 F Sport present AWD as an option to the standard FWD, but the hybrids, the 450h and 450hL, are AWD only.


The Lexus full-time 4WD system includes active traction control, with the proprietary TORSEN (torque-sensing) limited-slip center differential with electronic lock for optimally efficient power distribution between axles. The four-wheel Active Traction Control uses sensors on each wheel to detect wheel slippage and immediately apply braking to that wheel as it shifts power to the wheels with the best traction. All levels of the GX 460 (base, Premium, and Luxury) come standard with full-time four-wheel drive. The LX 570 Two-Row and Three-Row also both come only with full-time 4WD.