Obviously, 'to drive' is to operate a vehicle. 'To take by car' has a wider meaning which includes 'travelling in a car as a passenger'. This is the main difference between these two words, but to avoid confusing these terms we can easily use synonyms like 'give a lift (to)' or 'pick up', e.g. 'The bus picks up commuters at five stops' or 'It's too late to walk home. Let me give you a lift.'