Back in the day, there weren’t many choices for car buyers to select from. Because of innovative technology, more options have become available to cater to the different needs of different people. These include the FWD, AWD and RWD. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out the verdict on FWD vs AWD vs RWD.
Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)
The FWD is a practical choice for many reasons. As you start to run the car, the motor turns the front wheels – hence, its name. The transversal mounting of the engine and its transaxle has many advantages, one of which is its small size. An example of a FWD is the 2010 Corolla from Toyota. This type gives great traction even in slippery conditions. Another advantage is having a rear suspension that is independent from the axle. However, car experts and enthusiasts may stay away from FWDs because of the need to handle acceleration and turning. Also, they have an uneven distribution of weight when moving the differential and transmission to the front, which creates poor cornering.
Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)
The RWD has become less popular over the years, thanks to the practicality offered by FWDs. RWDs have a longitudinally mounted engine. An example would be the Chrysler 300. Here, the transmission isn’t below or next to the engine, but is instead directly behind it. This improves weight distribution significantly, but still is less efficient. These types of vehicles aren’t great for slippery conditions because rear wheels cannot carry weight as well as front wheels can. This means that they are more prone to fishtails. RWDs are great for high performance cars because they can handle a lot more torque and are better at handling. A number of exotic cars may have their engines towards the car’s rear end, which greatly improves steering response and rear wheel traction.
All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
AWDs were launched to solve problems that FWDs and RWDs had in the past. They transmit power to all of the vehicle’s wheels simultaneously. Specific layouts can vary across manufacturers, since AWD systems have been adapted from both or either FWD and RWD platforms. AWDs feature modern traction control, which improves the direction of torque to the wheels and gives great traction. With four wheels instead of the usual two, you can get better grip. Subaru cars are mostly AWDs. This type is perfect for slippery conditions. The downside is that they are heavier and more expensive to maintain, even in terms of fuel.
FWD vs AWD vs RWD: Which Is the Right One for You?
Basically, FWDs are ideal for daily commuters in states that have some rain and snow throughout the year. They are very efficient and practical. RWDs, on the other hand, are for drivers who rarely have to face rain or snow. These provide excellent power and handling. Finally, AWDs are for commuters or car enthusiasts alike who deal with regular snow, rain, and ice. These are excellent for driving on occasional gravel and dirt roads, too.
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